from the Education
Commission of the States
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December 12, 2013
What States Are Doing
The Way Forward
The Washington Student Achievement Council adopted a 2013 Roadmap to increase educational achievement that will be delivered to the legislature this month. The goal is for all adults in Washington to have a high school diploma or equivalent by 2023 and for at least 70% of them to have a postsecondary degree. Focused strategies have three objectives: ensure access, enhance learning, and prepare for the future. To see the full roadmap, go here.
Interventions for Students Who Aren't College- or Career-Ready
Worried about what to do about students not meeting higher standards? Check out some interesting ways in which states addressed remediation at the K-12 level this year:
When Skills Equal Face Time
An increasing number of states are looking at competency-based or proficiency-based student progression. See what legislative action supported this concept in 2013.
Student Debt Rising
Seven in 10 college seniors graduated last year with debt averaging $29,400, according to this report. Private loans constituted 20% of their debt; those loans are usually more costly and come with fewer repayment options. Federal loans are safer, according to the authors. Average debt generally increased 6% a year from 2008 while family incomes stagnated and college grads faced worse job prospects. See Table 3 for a 50-state view of average debt, percent with debt, and ranks. (The Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success)
Improving the Institute of Education Sciences
An inquiry into the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) found IES slow to respond to stakeholders' needs. Further, IES doesn't have a structured process for incorporating stakeholder input into its research agenda. Among recommendations: Congress should consider granting education authority to combine funds authorized for ESEA program evaluation, and IES should use available data to manage peer review, develop a structured process to gather stakeholder input, develop performance measures that reflect all key agency activities, and assess dissemination strategies. Here is the full report. (GAO Highlights)
Financial Aid Toolkit
An online searchable database, the Financial Aid Tool Kit for guidance counselors and other advisors, has been launched by the U.S. Department of Education. It provides access to the entire financial aid lifecycle from applying for financial aid to repaying student loans. (U.S. Department of Education)
Teacher Prep Programs Often Fail to Deliver
Although effective research-based strategies do exist to help new teachers manage their classrooms, an analysis of 122 teacher preparation programs finds most don't draw from research. Half ask candidates to develop their own "personal philosophy of classroom management." Based on 150 studies, five of the most important classroom strategies include: establish rules that teach behavior expectations, build structure and routines to guide students in a variety of situations, reinforce positive behavior with praise, impose consequences for misbehavior, and engage by teaching interesting lessons that include opportunities for student participation. (National Council on Teacher Quality)
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