Some of the News Fit to Print
Some of the News Fit to Print
STUDY: 15 PERCENT OF YOUTH OUT OF SCHOOL, WORK
WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday. That’s almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report. Other studies have shown that idle young adults are missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life or use the knowledge they acquired in college. Without those experiences, they are less likely to command higher salaries and more likely to be an economic drain on their communities. The article is in the Boston Globe.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
AN INDUSTRY OF MEDIOCRITY
Bill Keller writes in The New York Times: Of all the competing claims on America’s education dollar — more technology, smaller classes, universal prekindergarten, school choice — the one option that would seem to be a no-brainer is investing in good teachers. But universities have proved largely immutable. Educators, including some inside these institutions, say universities have treated education programs as “cash cows.” The schools see no incentive to change because they have plenty of applicants willing to pay full tuition, the programs are relatively cheap to run, and they are accountable to no one except accrediting agencies run by, you guessed it, education schools. It’s a contented cartel.
A PATH TO ALIGNMENT
Indianapolis—Lumina Foundation has issued a report by two widely respected educators that examines how Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Degree Qualification Profile (DQP) can better forge alignment between the nation’s K-12 and postsecondary education systems. Discussions around the need for alignment between K-12 and postsecondary competencies are not new. This report, however, highlights ways that CCSS and DQP can be used together to promote development of a common language throughout the entire pathway to a college degree.
WIRED FOR TEACHING
A growing number of faculty members are using social media in the classroom and are finding technology to be both a help and a hindrance, according to a new survey. About 40 percent of faculty members used social media as a teaching tool in 2013, an increase from 33.8 percent in 2012, according to a report by the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson Learning Solutions. Likewise, more faculty members used social media for professional communications and work in 2013 (55 percent) than in 2012 (44.7 percent). In both years, faculty members most often used social media for personal purposes. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
IDAHO SEES EARLIER TEST AS A TOOL TO BOOST COLLEGE READINESS
Idaho high school sophomores are taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) as part of a statewide effort to help districts graduate more college- and career-ready students. Its increased use -- an estimated 20,000 10th-graders could take the exam this year -- will provide detailed information on students' strengths and weaknesses that has not typically been available to schools. The article is in the Idaho Statesman.
TEACH FOR AMERICA RISES AS POLITICAL POWERHOUSE
With a $100 million endowment and annual revenues approaching $300 million, TFA is flush with cash and ambition. Its clout on Capitol Hill was demonstrated last week when a bipartisan group of lawmakers made time during the frenzied budget negotiations to secure the nonprofit its top legislative priority — the renewal of a controversial provision defining teachers still in training, including TFA recruits, as “highly qualified” to take charge of classrooms. It was a huge victory that flattened a coalition of big-name opponents, including the NAACP, the National PTA and the National Education Association. But it barely hints at TFA’s growing leverage. The article is in Politico.
THE AMERICAN SYSTEM FOR IMPROVING OUR SCHOOLS
Marc Tucker blogs for Education Week: I submit that the most serious impediment to running a first class education system is our seeming inability to focus on the design of the system itself. The gold standard education research methods are singularly unsuited to the task. It is not possible to randomly assign state populations to state education systems. Education systems, it turns out, cannot be studied in the same way that most health treatments can.
FASTER MATH PATH
A faculty-led group called the California Acceleration Project has helped 42 of the state’s community colleges offer redesigned, faster versions of remedial math and English tracks. But the group’s co-founders said they would be able to make much more progress if the University of California changed its transfer credit requirements. Remedial courses are widely seen as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to improving college graduation rates, as few students who place into remediation ever earn a degree. The problem is particularly severe for black and Hispanic students, who account for almost half of the California community college system’s total enrollment of 2.4 million.
Approaches to accelerated remediation are taking off in California. The Carnegie Foundation’s alternate sequences, dubbed Statway and Quantway, are being tried in California as well as 10 other states. Pamela Burdman described these pathways and others in a report that LearningWorks, a California-based nonprofit group, released last week. And in Texas, all two-year institutions are working on a remedial math redesign, called the New Mathways Project, which draws heavily from Carnegie’s work. Cal State has bestowed Statway with transfer-prerequisite status, according to officials in the state. UC does not, however. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
MOVING BEYOND A FALSE DEBATE
Sarah Carr writes in The Hechinger Report: At schools that have embraced the college-for-all aspiration, career and technical education is seen as being as outdated as chalkboards and cursive handwriting. Instead, the (mostly poor and mostly minority) students are endlessly drilled and prepped in the core humanities and sciences—lessons their (mostly middle- or upper-income and mostly white) teachers hope will enable the teenagers to rack up high scores on the ACT, SAT, and Advanced Placement exams and go on to attend the four-year college of their dreams (although it’s not always clear whose dreams we’re talking about). On the surface, the tension between college-for-all and career and technical education pits egalitarianism against pragmatism. What could be more egalitarian, after all, than sending the nation’s most disadvantaged secondary students off to the vaunted halls of institutions once reserved for the most privileged? Only eight percent of low-income children in America earn a bachelor’s degree by their mid-twenties, compared to more than 80 percent of students from the top income quartile. Yet what could be more pragmatic than acknowledging that in cities where more than half of students fail tests of basic academic skills, imposing purely academic aspirations might be a fool’s errand?
GENDER, JOBS, AND G.P.A.
As early as eighth grade, girls are more likely to say they want to go to college and to earn better grades in school because of it, a new study says. The National Bureau of Economic Research working paper set out to account for a relatively recently widened gender gap in secondary school grade point averages. Looking at 8th- and 10th-graders and high school seniors, the researchers searched for correlations between G.P.A. and plans for the future, non-cognitive skills (social skills, motivation, etc.), the family environment, and working while in school. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
RESULTS OF PERFORMANCE-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS ‘MODEST, BUT POSITIVE’
Low-income students who receive performance-based scholarships show modest gains in academic achievement, but their retention rates from semester to semester appear unchanged, according to a study released on Tuesday by MDRC, a nonprofit research group. The study—“Performance-Based Scholarships: What Have We Learned?”—compiles results from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration, a project the group began in 2008 that has extended to 12,000 students in Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio. The project, designed to increase financial support for low-income students and give them monetary incentives to progress, is supported primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
NCLB WAIVERS IN JEOPARDY OVER TEACHER EVALUATIONS
When Congress became too mired in partisan squabbles to pass a comprehensive education reform bill to replace the No Child Left Behind Act, the Department of Education began allowing states to opt out of some of the law’s more draconian provisions by granting them waivers in exchange for a plan to improve student achievement . So far more than 40 states and the District of Columbia have applied and received the waivers. But three of them – Kansas, Oregon and Washington – are now being warned that they’re in danger of not getting waivers renewed for the 2014-15 academic year. In a letter to the education authorities in the three states, Deb Delisle, Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Education, warns that the granted waivers have been placed on “high-risk status.” The waivers granted to Washington, Kansas and Oregon were conditional, meaning that the states needed to take additional steps to qualify for them. The article is from EducationNews.org.
INSIDERS SAY NCLB WAIVER FOR CORE DISTRICTS BAD POLICY
Three-quarters of Washington "insiders" say U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's decision to grant a special waiver to eight California districts is bad policy. That's according to the latest Whiteboard Advisers's survey of mostly inside-the-Beltway folks, who have some harsh things to say about the No Child Left Behind Act waiver granted by the Education Department on Aug. 6. The post is from Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog.
CALIFORNIA UPENDS SCHOOL FUNDING TO GIVE POOR KIDS A BOOST
California has revamped its school funding formula in ways that will send billions more dollars to districts that educate large numbers of children who are poor, disabled in some way or still learning to speak English. It's an approach that numerous other states, from New York to Hawaii, have looked into lately. But none has matched the scale of the change now underway in the nation's largest state. "The trend is toward more and more states providing additional assistance to students with special needs," says Deborah Verstegen, a expert at the University of Nevada, Reno. "California is moving into the forefront with this approach. The piece is from NPR.