Some of the News Fit to Print
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‘SEQUESTER’ CUTS STILL IN PLACE AMID BUDGET WRANGLING
The U.S. Congress missed a chance last week to avert the automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration when it passed legislation extending funding for all programs—including education—at current levels, minus a 5 percent across-the-board reduction. Lawmakers' decision means that the squeeze is likely to stay in place for the 2013-14 school year, which districts are already preparing for. President Barack Obama expressed dismay that Congress did not act to ward off the cuts when it finalized its spending bill for fiscal 2013, which was approved on March 21. But he indicated he would sign the spending legislation, in order to prevent a government shutdown. The article is in Education Week.
CARNEGIE CORP REPORT OUTLINES PRINCIPLES FOR HIGH SCHOOL REDESIGN
Noting that "nowhere is the need for redesign greater or more urgent that in American high schools," the Carnegie Corporation released a report today that outlined 10 principles for high-performing secondary schools. It contends these practices need to be embraced in high schools if students are going to be successful under the demands of Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The report, Opportunity by Design: New High School Models for Student Success, suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach to learning is outdated and schools should look at new ways to manage teaching, time, technology, and money. The post is from Education Week’s College Bound blog.
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STOPPING THE CLOCK ON CREDITS THAT DON’T COUNT
A third of students now transfer sometime during their academic careers, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says, and a quarter of those change schools more than once. When these students’ credits don’t transfer with them, they churn, seemingly endlessly, in college, piling up debt and wasting time repeating the same courses. It now takes full-time students, on average, 3.8 years to earn a two-year associate’s degree and 4.7 years to get a four-year bachelor’s degree, according to the advocacy organization Complete College America—further increasing the already high cost to families, and, at public universities, states. Only 61 percent of full-time students who set out to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree manage to do it within even eight years, Complete College America reports. The article is from the Hechinger Report.
COURSERA’S CONTRACTUAL ELITISM
If you wonder why your university hasn’t linked up with Coursera, the massively popular provider of free online classes, it may help to know the company is contractually obliged to turn away the vast majority of American universities. The Silicon Valley-based company said to be revolutionizing higher education says in a contract obtained by Inside Higher Ed that it will “only” offer classes from elite institutions – the members of the Association of American Universities or “top five” universities in countries outside of North America – unless Coursera’s advisory board agrees to waive the requirement.
IDEAL MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE PREPARATION
Charles Coble's Ten Key Questions emerged from his work on the Analytic Framework, a continuum of teacher development strategies from recruitment to professional development. As the Framework became more complex, leaders asked for the most critical components of a quality teacher preparation program. Hence the questions, among them: Does the selection process into teacher preparation attract candidates with demonstrated academic success? Do the programs blend disciplinary and pedagogical content? Do teacher education programs include formal support to their novice teachers through an induction period as a part of their formal program? This information is from the Education Commission of the States.
LIGHTER TEACHING LOADS FOR FACULTY CONTRIBUTE TO RISING COLLEGE COSTS
The rising cost of college can't be blamed just on dwindling state appropriations or inflation, according to a report released on Wednesday by Education Sector and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. A decline in the teaching loads of tenured and tenure-track faculty members also plays a role, it says, driving up tuition costs by an average of $2,598 for students at four-year colleges over a seven-year period it studied. The report, called "Selling Students Short: Declining Teaching Loads at Colleges and Universities," says the decline in teaching loads "has had a dramatic influence on the spiraling costs of higher education." The report's author, Andrew Gillen, who is Education Sector's research director, says that examining why teaching loads have become lighter despite greater instructional needs could provide relief for students and families who are struggling to keep pace with tuition increase
‘A-PLUS’ COUNTRIES FALTER ON INTERNATIONAL MATH STUDY
Ongoing overhauls of state mathematics standards are intended in part to prepare American students to compete with their international peers. Yet a new analysis of the most recent Trends in International Math and Science Study suggests that so-called "A-plus countries"— whose math achievement in 1995 prompted American educators to take a page from their standards in developing the Common Core State Standards in math—have not sustained that achievement in more recent exams, and that better examples of academic leaders might be found closer to home. The analysis, "The Latest TIMSS and PIRLS Scores," was released this week as part of an annual report on education by the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy, which also looked at 8th grade advanced math courses and ability grouping and tracking issues in reading and math. The post is from Education Weeks’ Inside School Research blog.
CAN BETTER ORGANIZATION PRODUCE MORE GRADUATES?
Under Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's education overhaul, every student will have to meet academic milestones on the road from preschool to college. To reinforce this unified approach, Kitzhaber appointed a chief education officer who is charged with overseeing every stage of education. Oregon is part of a small but growing number of states trying to improve academic results by aligning the education system. The article is from Stateline.org.
Some of the News Fit to Print
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MINORITY GROUPS REMAIN OUTNUMBERED IN TEACHING PROGRAMS, STUDY FINDS
Despite major changes in the racial makeup of American public school students, the people training to be teachers are still predominantly white. According to a study being released today by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, which represents colleges and universities with teacher certification programs, 82 percent of candidates who received bachelor’s degrees in education in 2009-10 and 2010-11 were white. By contrast, census figures show that close to half of all children under 5 in 2008 were members of a racial or ethnic minority. The article is in The New York Times.
THINK TANK’S REPORT DOCUMENTS IMPACT OF STATE HIGHER ED CUTS
A Washington think tank that focuses on the impact of government policy decisions on low-income students issued a report Tuesday aimed at documenting the extent of state budget cuts for higher education and arguing that they are hurting students and state economies. The report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities largely mirrored the findings of recent studies by the State Higher Education Executive Officers and others. The information is from Inside Higher Ed’s Quick Takes.
SUNY SIGNALS PUSH TOWARD MOOCS
The State University of New York’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday endorsed an ambitious vision for how SUNY might use prior-learning assessment, competency-based programs, and massive open online courses to help students finish their degrees in less time, for less money. The plan calls for “new and expanded online programs” that “include options for time-shortened degree completion.” In particular, the board proposed a huge expansion the prior-learning assessment programs offered by SUNY’s Empire State College. The system will also push its top faculty members to build MOOCs designed so that certain students who do well in the courses might be eligible for SUNY credit. The post is from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog.
REMOVING OBSTACLES TO STEM EDUCATION IS CRITICAL TO U.S. VITALITY
San Jose State President Mohammad H. Qayoumi writes in the Huffington Post: Embracing technology is critically important, as 21st-century jobs will increasingly require an educated and highly skilled workforce. Over the next 10 years, 5 out of 8 new jobs and 8 out of 10 of the highest paying positions in the United States will be in careers related to science, technology, education, and math (STEM) subjects. But in a decade the United States could face a shortage of one million STEM graduates. The nation's economic vitality hangs in the balance.
THE COMMON CORE MEETS STATE POLICY: THIS CHANGES ALMOST EVERYTHING
Stanford Professor Emeritus Michael Kirst writes in a policy brief from PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education): The Common Core State Standards are designed to transform current instruction by focusing teacher attention on fewer, higher, and deeper standards (NGA/CCSSO, 2010). Current state assessment and accountability systems in California, however, are not aligned with the Common Core’s specific instructional approach.
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BEYOND THE CREDIT HOUR
The U.S. Department of Education has endorsed competency-based education with the release today of a letter that encourages interested colleges to seek federal approval for degree programs that do not rely on the credit hour to measure student learning. Department officials also said Monday that they will give a green light soon to Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America, which would be the first to attempt the “direct assessment” of learning – meaning no link to the credit hour – and also be eligible for participation in federal financial aid programs. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
THE GREAT AID GAP
Certificates are the fastest-growing form of postsecondary credential, a recent Georgetown study said, prized by employers for equipping workers with skills in high demand. Last year, the nation’s colleges awarded one million such certificates — more than triple the 300,000 awarded in 1994 and more than one-fifth of all postsecondary credentials awarded last year. But as certificates grow in number and importance, many educators are calling attention to what they see as an overlooked problem in the nation’s efforts to upgrade workers’ skills and deal with soaring higher-education costs: Federal financial aid goes overwhelmingly to students in traditional degree programs, while little goes to the many students in noncredit certificate programs who may need it more. As many employers complain of difficulty finding applicants with the proper skills, many educators and economists say the government should make it easier for students to take certificate programs. The article is in The New York Times.
A MASSIVELY BAD IDEA
Rob Jenkins writes in the The Chronicle of Higher Education's On Hiring blog: According to a recent article in the Chronicle, a state senator in California has sponsored a bill that would establish “a statewide platform through which students who have trouble getting into certain low-level, high-demand classes could take approved online courses offered by providers outside the state’s higher-education system.” In other words, students at California’s public colleges who are unable to enroll in regular classes due to overcrowding will instead be steered into MOOCs, or massive open online courses. That strikes me as a massively bad idea.
WHO OWNS A MOOC?
Faculty union officials in California worry professors who agree to teach free online classes could undermine faculty intellectual property rights and collective bargaining agreements. The union for faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz said earlier this month it could seek a new round of collective bargaining after several professors agreed to teach classes on Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based provider of popular massive open online classes, or MOOCs. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
ED TECH PD FOCUSES ON STUDENT LEARNING
To help teachers integrate technology more effectively into their teaching, professional development around educational technology should be a higher priority for schools and districts, experts say, and it needs to be ongoing and collaborative. Most importantly, they say, professional development on educational technology should focus, with razor-sharp attention, on what students need to learn, rather than on how to use a specific device. The article is in Education Week.
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COLLEGES USE PROJECT WIN-WIN TO BOOST GRADUATION RATES
Project Win-Win has helped community colleges and four-year schools in Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin find hundreds of ex-students who have either earned enough credits to receive associate degrees or are just a few classes shy of getting them. Backed by financial support from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education, the pilot project began several years ago with 35 colleges in six states. As it winds down, some participating schools plan to continue the effort on their own. The article is in the Huffington Post.
WHITHER WORKFORCE TRAINING BILL?
WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives approved legislation Friday that would consolidate the number of federal job training programs and make other changes in the government's system of work force training. But the measure, which would renew the law governing work force training for the first time in 15 years, is a highly partisan piece of legislation that has virtually no chance of being enacted in its current form. The Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act (H.R. 803), crafted without significant Democratic involvement by the Republican majority of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, would eliminate dozens of small and often group-specific programs and consolidate the many streams of federal revenue that flow to those programs into a more centralized Workforce Investment Fund that states and local Workforce Investment Boards would have significantly latitude in allocating. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
HOW COMMUNITY COLLEGES COULD CUT COSTS
The state's 72 community college districts spend tens of millions of dollars on administrative positions that could be consolidated or shared by districts a short drive away, a California Watch analysis has found. That's money that could be spent educating students at a time when state budget cuts have shut so many out of the system. At the start of the fall 2012 semester, more than 470,000 students had been wait-listed for classes at community colleges statewide. The article is in the San Francisco Chronicle.
UC FACULTY LEADERS BLAST ONLINE EDUCATION EXPANSION
In a crossing of swords between academics and politicians, the University of California’s top two faculty leaders on Friday strongly criticized legislation that would allow students bumped from overcrowded core courses at state schools to instead take online courses from other colleges or private companies. The bill, authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), “raises grave concerns,” Robert L. Powell and Bill Jacob, the chairman and vice chairman of the UC system’s faculty Senate, wrote in a letter to colleagues. Among other things, “the clear self-interest of for profit corporations in promoting the privatization of public higher education through this legislation is dismaying,” they said. The article is from the L.A. Times.
THE PROFESSORS WHO MAKE THE MOOCS
What is it like to teach 10,000 or more students at once, and does it really work? The largest-ever survey of professors who have taught MOOCs, or massive open online courses, shows that the process is time-consuming, but, according to the instructors, often successful. Nearly half of the professors felt their online courses were as rigorous academically as the versions they taught in the classroom. The survey, conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, attempted to reach every professor who has taught a MOOC. The online questionnaire was sent to 184 professors in late February, and 103 of them responded.
IN COMMON CORE, TEACHERS SEE INTERDISCIPLINARY OPPORTUNITIES
The common core standards lay out specific literacy requirements for history/social studies, science, and technical subjects, and they emphasize research and synthesizing skills. Rather than tackling these new objectives in subject-area silos, some teachers are choosing to address them by integrating real-world themes and social issues into projects, and by reaching across hallways to do this work with colleagues. The article is in Education Week.
MORE TEACHERS ARE GROUPING KIDS BY ABILITY
New findings based on more than 20 years of research suggest that despite decades of controversy, elementary school teachers now feel fine placing students in "ability groups." The research, out Monday from the centrist Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education, finds that between 1998 and 2009, the percentage of fourth-grade teachers who said they created ability-based reading groups skyrocketed from 28% to 71%. In math, between 1996 and 2011, the practice rose from 40% to 61%. The practice remained fairly constant in eighth-grade math, rising from 71% to 76%. Data for other eighth-grade subjects was incomplete or inconclusive. The article is in USA Today.
Carnegie Knowledge Network Webinar Series
A Conversation with Stephen Raudenbush
How Should Educators Interpret Value-Added Scores?
Please join us for the fifth webinar of the Carnegie Knowledge Network’s What We Know Series on Value-Added Methods and Applications.
Value-added estimates are imperfect measures of teacher quality, but making choices in the face of doubt is hardly unusual. We routinely contend with projected weather forecasts, financial predictions, medical diagnoses, and election polls. But as in these other areas, in order to sensibly interpret value-added scores, it is important to do two things: understand the sources of uncertainty and quantify its extent. In this webinar, Carnegie Panelist Steve Raudenbush will draw upon his knowledge brief to discuss the imprecision of value added, possible errors of interpretation, and the impact of interpretation on different decisions.
Christopher Thorn, Director of the Advancing Teaching - Improving Learning program
Who should attend?
Practitioners and policymakers who want to learn more about how current research can inform the design and implementation of educational evaluation systems.
When is it?
Friday, April 5, 2013
2:00 p.m. Pacific
5:00 p.m. Eastern
Register now »