From Tuesday’s inbox…
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
From Tuesday’s inbox…
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
As I mentioned on Monday, when I announced the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning – Special Issue: Primary And Secondary Distance Education : Expanding The Knowledge Base In The Schools Sector, I indicated that I would be posting an entry for each of the articles in that special issue. The fifth of these articles is “Book Review – eLearnings: Implementing a national strategy for ICT in education, 1998-2010.”
Book Review – eLearnings: Implementing a national strategy for ICT in education, 1998-2010Darren Sudlow
In 2010 Core Education released a book entitled, Elearnings: Implementing a national strategy for ICT in Education, 1998-2010 which outlines the journey various stakeholders have been on during that period.
This review examines the value of the book for a teacher working in a fully online or ‘blended’ context.
Full Text: PDF
With these article notices already pre-set, I’ve had some busy blogging days this week. Now more news from the neo-liberals…
To view this email as a web page, go here.
PLUGGED IN 05.22.13powered by iNACOL…News…Student Data Too Often a Tangled Web for Schools, Report SaysDigital EducationSchools are flooded with data these days, but students, parents, teachers, and administrators often lack the ability to make use of it because the systems for collecting, storing, and analyzing that information don’t mesh with each other, many officials who work with, or in, K-12 education say. That lack of (read)Reynoldsburg takes over charter e-schoolColumbus Dispatch | Columbus, OHThe Reynoldsburg school board is taking over the charter e-school that it placed on probation last year. In a 3-1 vote at last night’s meeting, board members removed the governing board for the Virtual Community School of Ohio and replaced it with five new members. School board member Ryan Brzezinski was (read)Flipped Classroom 2.0: Competency Learning With VideosMind/ShiftThe flipped classroom model generated a lot of excitement initially, but more recently some educators – even those who were initial advocates – have expressed disillusionment with the idea of assigning students to watch instructional videos at home and work on problem solving and practice in class. Biggest (read)iCademy is new online K-12 charter school from LSSUUpper Peninsula’s Second Wave (MI)Charter schools are nothing new for Upper Peninsula universities; they are located all over the state. But the latest one chartered by Lake Superior State University is different. It’s a K-12, public, free, online school operated by a nonprofit. Called iCademy, the school will open in August, with enrollment opening (read)State moratorium could halt Fox River Valley virtual schoolDaily Chronicle | DeKalb, ILThe Illinois Virtual Charter School at Fox River Valley will be delayed for a year if Gov. Pat Quinn signs into law a moratorium on charter schools like it. On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate passed House Bill 494, which would put a moratorium on the creation of new virtual charter schools until April 1. The Illinois State (read)In Support of the Common CoreVander Ark on InnovationCommon Core State Standards are thoughtful expressions of college- and career-ready expectations in reading, writing and math. The common expectations–adopted voluntarily by 45 states–are already unleashing innovation, making it easier for teachers to share resources and strategies, and improving (read)‘Flipped classroom’ overturns traditional teaching methodMedill Reports | Chicago, ILTwo math teachers at Evanston Township High School have turned their class upside down, an approach an expert says could help students perform better in the state standard tests. Math teacher Sachin Jhunjhunwala, who has worked in various technology companies for many years, said he knew the (read)Khan Academy Receives Financial Support to Focus on Common CoreDigital EducationFueled by a $2.2 million grant, Khan Academy will develop online content and tools over the next two years to help teachers and students meet the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. The popular producer of free online content already has a large volume of practice materials and videos that are (read)Macmillan Education Partners with KnewtonPress ReleaseToday, Macmillan Education, a leading global publisher of English Language teaching (ELT), school curriculum, digital and online materials, announced a partnership with leading adaptive learning company Knewton. Macmillan – widely recognized for its 150-year history of innovative publishing and award (read)
Find out more about iNACOL and our mission on:
This email was sent to: email@example.com
This email was sent by: North American Council for Online Learning dba International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA, 22182-4040, United States
We respect your right to privacy – view our policy
Some news from the neo-liberals…
Straight A’s appears below the webinar reminders.
Reminder: RSVP for Upcoming Alliance Webinars:
- Wednesday, May 22: Alliance Book Club: Leaving to Learn: How Out-of-School Learning Increases Student Engagement and Reduces Dropout Rates: Written by Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, Leaving to Learn argues that efforts to stem the dropout crisis and engage all young people in deep and productive learning will continue to fall short unless educators address the problem of student disengagement.
- Thursday, May 23: Build Your People: Professional Learning That Creates a Teacher Workforce for the Digital Age: Every school leader knows about the district that bought the expensive devices, which then sat unwrapped on shelves because of a failure to invest in quality professional development. In this webinar, the Project 24 panel of experts will share their lessons learned on how to integrate and embed powerful professional learning experiences for all teachers and staff.
- Wednesday, May 29: A Dive Into Connected Learning: In an age when students are linked to technology through a variety of ways, educators need to find ways to connect students’ levels of engagement with technology to their academic achievement. This webinar will focus on “connected learning,” which is a framework that draws on the power of technology to link young people’s interests, social networks, and academic achievement.
Volume 13, No. 10
May 20, 2013
In This Issue:
GETTING DEFENSIVE: House Spending Plan Would Cut Education and Other Domestic Spending to Preserve Military Spending
A spending plan being circulated by U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) would cut funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education appropriations bill by about $35 billion, or 22 percent less than the current level, in favor of protecting spending for the military and homeland security. Working within an overall spending limit of $967 billion, Rogers chose to allocate a total of $625 billion for the Defense, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security appropriations bills, a cut of $4 billion or less than 1 percent from the current level.
“This is clearly an austere budget year—sequestration has taken a huge toll on discretionary spending,” Rogers was quoted as saying by Politico. “This is the hand that sequestration has dealt us, and we have no choice but to try and make the best of what we have. It is my sincere hope that the House and Senate can come together on a sustainable budget compromise to replace sequestration and establish a responsible, single House and Senate top-line discretionary budget number.”
U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), top Democrat on the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, took a different view of Rogers’s plan. “The disinvestment proposed for health, education, and labor programs reveals that the majority believes that poor people, kids, college students, sick people, the unemployed and the disabled should just fend for themselves,” DeLauro said. “The majority’s funding proposal would help create a permanent underclass in this country when we should be ensuring competitiveness in the global economy with robust education and training programs. … The majority’s funding proposal tells our most vulnerable children that they just aren’t important to us and we are content to let them struggle for the rest of their lives.”
Rogers’s allocations, informally known as “302(b)s,” do not set funding levels for individual programs, but they do set the amount of federal money each individual appropriations bill is allowed to contain. However, reducing the overall amount of money available in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill by such a large percentage means that many individual education programs are likely to take funding hits—exactly which ones will be determined later in the process. In the meantime, the House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the 302(b) allocations on May 21.
Politico called Rogers’s plan a “prescription for more stalemate unless the House and Senate leadership begin to get more serious about budget negotiations with one another and President Barack Obama.”
President Obama, as well as Democrats in both the House and Senate, want to set a spending cap at $1.058 trillion—approximately $91 billion higher than Rogers’s plan—that assumes the sequester is eliminated. CQ Roll Call reported on May 17 that U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) plans to use a $1.058 trillion spending cap and that she is expected to begin circulating her 302(b) allocations to the committee during the week of May 20.
OBAMA SEES DEEPER LEARNING IN ACTION: President Praises “Hands-On” Learning Approach, Advocates for Rethinking and Redesigning America’s High Schools
In a May 9 speech at Manor New Technology High School in Austin, Texas, President Obama called on Americans to rally around what he called the “single-greatest challenge” facing the nation—reigniting the “true engine of economic growth”—a rising, thriving middle class. He listed three things necessary to create more jobs and opportunity for the middle class: (1) making America a magnet for good jobs; (2) ensuring that hard-working people can achieve a decent living; and (3) helping people earn the education and develop the skills they need to succeed in good jobs. (Click on the image above to watch video of the president’s speech).
“Our economy can’t succeed unless our young people have the skills that they need to succeed,” Obama said. “And that’s what’s happening here, right at Manor New Tech. There’s a reason why teachers and principals from all over the country are coming down to see what you’re up to. Because every day, this school is proving that every child has the potential to learn the real-world skills they need to succeed in college and beyond.”
Manor (pronounced May-nor) New Tech is part of the New Tech Network, a group of 115 schools in eighteen states that are designed to foster students’ abilities to understand core content and use their knowledge to think critically and solve problems, and to communicate effectively—the deeper learning competencies that are essential for their future. The school, like the others in the network, accomplishes this goal by integrating technology into every classroom and engaging students in a project-based approach that enables them to apply their learning to authentic situations.
Obama mentioned some of these projects in his address: “A history teacher might get together with a science teacher to develop a project on the impact of castles in world history and the engineering behind building castles. Or a group of students might be in charge of putting together a multimedia presentation about moral dilemmas in literature as applied in World War II.” In addition, as the president noted, students take part in internships, which give them hands-on experiences in real work settings, and they give as many as 200 speeches during their school career, which develops their communications skills. “I can relate,” Obama quipped.
In its short life—it opened in 2007—Manor has been enormously successful. With a highly diverse student body of which more than half receive free or reduced-price lunches, its students’ scores on state tests exceed the state average, its graduation rate is greater than 90 percent, and its college-going rate is nearly 100 percent. And, as Obama pointed out, 60 percent of those college-bound seniors were the first in their families to go on to higher education.
But he also pointed out that the school accepts students by lottery, because demand exceeds the available capacity.
“Every young person in America deserves a world-class education,” Obama said. “We’ve got an obligation to give it to them. And, by the way, that helps the whole economy. Every business in America [wants] to draw from the world’s highest-skilled and most educated workforce. We can make that happen. But we’re going to have to put our shoulder against the wheel and work a little harder than we’re doing right now as a nation.”
Obama outlined several education reforms he is pushing to meet this goal: (1) give every child in America access to high-quality, public preschool; (2) recruit and train 100,000 new teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math and help the nation’s most talented teachers serve as mentors for their colleagues; (3) rethink and redesign America’s high schools; and (4) make college more affordable.
Obama said Manor was a model for what a twenty-first-century high school should look like. He noted that the school’s hands-on learning approach prepares its graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. “What makes this place special is, is that there’s all this integration of various subjects and actual projects, and young people doing and not just sitting there listening, so we’ve got to reward schools—like this onethat focus on the fields of the future, use technology effectively to help students learn, and are also developing partnerships with local colleges and businesses so that a diploma here leads directly to a good job,” Obama said.
Obama laid down the challenge: “There are too many kids in America who are not getting the same kinds of opportunities, through no fault of their own. And we can do better than that. Every young person in America deserves a world-class education. We’ve got an obligation to give it to them.”
A transcript of the president’s speech is available at http://1.usa.gov/YSYZu3.
Portions of this article originally appeared in a blog post written by Alliance Senior Fellow Robert Rothman for the Alliance’s “High School Soup” blog. Rothman’s complete article is available at http://www.all4ed.org/blog/president_obama_sees_deeper_learning_action.
ESEA IN PLAY?: House Education and the Workforce Committee to Move Forward on NCLB Rewrite “In the Coming Months,” Chairman Kline Says
Originally signed into law more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) technically expired in 2007. On several occasions over the last few years, various attempts have been made by both political parties in Congress to rewrite the law, but they ultimately fell short. Since 2012, President Obama has granted waivers to thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia from some of NCLB’s requirements, including the one requiring that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Although Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed concerns about the waivers, they have been unable to pass legislation to replace them.
During a May 7 U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee hearing titled, “Raising the Bar: Exploring State and Local Efforts to Improve Accountability,” both Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Representative George Miller (D-CA), the Committee’s top Democrat, gave a glimmer of hope to education advocates hoping for an NCLB rewrite when they expressed a willingness to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as NCLB.
In his opening statement, Kline criticized the waivers as a “short-term fix to a long-term problem” and said that they left school leaders facing uncertainty, “knowing the federal requirements they must meet to maintain their waiver are subject to change with the whims of the administration.”
Kline said the committee will move forward with a proposal to rewrite NCLB “in the coming months” based on four principles that Republicans believe are critical to rebuilding and strengthening the nation’s education system: (1) restoring local control and encouraging states and school districts to develop their own accountability plans; (2) reducing the federal footprint by eliminating duplicative or ineffective federal programs; (3) focusing on teacher effectiveness by allowing states and school districts to develop their own teacher evaluation systems based in part on student achievement; and (4) empowering parents to select the school that best fits their children’s needs.
Noting that states, districts, and schools are making “large-scale” transitions to new standards, new assessments, new accountability, and new school improvement systems and teacher evaluation systems, Miller said these transitions were occurring without a federal partner.
“Between congressional inaction on ESEA and sequestration, we have created an uncertain environment and we’re not offering people the support that could help them succeed in a time of massive transformation,” Miller said in his opening statement, adding that a “proper” reauthorization of ESEA presents an “incredible opportunity to take schools into the future.”
Like Kline, Miller said he had “deep concerns” with the waivers and their implementation, but he acknowledged that he understood why the administration undertook the waiver process. “Many of those concerns stem from the states wanting to adopt policies that reach back to pre–No Child Left Behind, such as proposing to diminish or to not have subgroup accountability,” Miller said. “We all agree, Democrats and Republicans and the administration, that the federal role should shift in this reauthorization. States, districts, and schools should be able to manage their schools in a way that current law doesn’t allow.”
Issues that Miller outlined as priorities for Democrats included identifying and improving low-performing schools, having high expectations for students and schools that ensure students graduate ready to succeed in college and the workforce, and maintaining a commitment to civil rights.
The hearing also featured testimony from Louisiana Department of Education Superintendent John White; Northfield Public Schools (MN) Superintendent Chris Richardson; Eric Gordon, chief executive officer of Cleveland Metropolitan School District; and Matthew Given, chief development officer of EdisonLearning (Atlanta, GA).
Witnesses identified several positive benefits from NCLB, including its focus on data that highlighted achievement gaps between student subgroups. Still, witnesses called NCLB “deeply flawed” and said that the gains they were seeing were often in spite of NCLB and not because of it. Some specific flaws they identified were NCLB’s “one-size-fits-all” improvement models and its failure to consider subjects such as science, social students, the arts, and twenty-first-century workforce skills.
During his testimony, Richardson discussed how Northfield teachers were grouped into professional learning communities (PLCs) by grade level or subject area and were responsible for analyzing student data to address their needs. “Each PLC team combs data, identifies students not on track, determines appropriate interventions, [and] implements those interventions,” Richardson said. “Many students are back on track within six weeks.”
In one high school, longitudinal data revealed that failing classes as a freshman increased the chances that a student would not graduate on time or drop out. In response, the PLC developed an academy for struggling students that included smaller classes and individualized instruction after school hours. After implementing the program, the percentage of freshmen failing dropped from 25 percent to 8 percent and the graduation rate went up to 96 percent.
Northfield was also able to raise the graduation rate of its Latino immigrant students, who make up about 12 percent of the student population, from 36 percent to more than 90 percent by implementing a program called Tackling Obstacles Raising College Hopes (TORCH) that helps support and provide career exploration postsecondary opportunities for these students. As a result, the school saw an 1,100 percent increase in TORCH graduates accessing postsecondary education.
Witness testimony and archived video from the hearing are available at http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=332571.
TEACHING TO THE CORE: New Council of Chief State School Officers and Aspen Institute Report Bridges Divide Between Teacher Effectiveness Standards and Common Core Implementation
State education agencies (SEAs) must play a pivotal role in the implementation and performance of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)—adopted by forty-six states and the District of Columbia—if states are to see gains in teacher effectiveness and student learning outcomes, a new policy report from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Aspen Institute finds. The report, Teaching to the Core: Integrating Implementation of Common Core and Teacher Effectiveness Policies, offers ten organization and functional recommendations to help state departments succeed in carrying out the new responsibilities necessary to see long-term improvements in teacher and student outcomes.
“States are actively seeking ways to provide greater support to teachers and principals on both Common Core implementation and teacher evaluation so educators have the tools, resources, and time they need to effectively change their practice for the benefit of their students,” said CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich. “This Aspen Institute and CCSSO paper will help states by describing the linkages between implementation of Common Core and teacher effectiveness policies.”
As school districts and states across the country debate and implement new teacher evaluation policies, planning for possible timeline conflicts with the implementation of the CCSS is important. The report raises a concern that teachers will be evaluated based on outdated measures of student progress toward college and career readiness once the new standards are in place. “This sends a mixed signal to teachers regarding the system’s priorities: Focus on teaching the old standards, or focus on transitioning to the Common Core?,” the report asks.
The solution to integrating new teacher effectiveness policies with the CCSS is for SEAs to take a more hands-on role with the goal of creating a culture of adaptation and adherence to the new standards. The report offers ten recommendations for SEAs to succeed in this transition.
The first six recommendations focus on organizational design and functions of state departments:
(1) Create a planning and management group made up of key leaders and support personnel, along with leading educators and principals, involved in the rollout of the CCSS and teacher effectiveness policies.
(2) Acquire and develop the internal knowledge and expertise necessary to ensure that the CCSS are implemented with integrity and fidelity.
(3) Ensure that professional development activities for teachers are plentiful and reflect the expectations within the CCSS.
(4) Create and support professional networks of school district leaders, principals and teachers to accelerate professional learning and deeper understanding of the CCSS in conjunction with teacher evaluations.
(5) Enable and prioritize instructional shifts toward the CCSS in classrooms and in teacher evaluations.
(6) Create a single, coordinated communications plan for college and career readiness that highlights the value of the CCSS and the linkages with teacher effectiveness policies.
The final four recommendations explore changes in practice at state departments:
(7) Require that the language and definitions outlining high-quality teaching practices used in teacher evaluations be aligned with the CCSS.
(8) Insist that assessments used in the evaluation of teachers measure the CCSS.
(9) As a complement to teacher evaluations, develop principal evaluation criteria that highlight the importance of implementing the CCSS with fidelity.
(10) Support innovations in educators’ daily schedules that provide time for teachers to collaborate on CCSS-related activities during the school day.
Ultimately, the report notes, SEAs must reinvent themselves from agencies that oversee how school districts use state and federal funds to ones that support continuous improvements in learning standards and teacher effectiveness policies. With an SEA’s leadership and involvement, educators and students can maximize the opportunities presented with the implementation of the CCSS, improving student outcomes and equity for all students.
“Breaking down organizational silos is essential,” said Ross Wiener, author of the report and executive director of the education and society program at the Aspen Institute. “Common Core and teacher evaluation must work together as two parts of a whole. This is system-level work that shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of individual schools or teachers.”
Teaching to the Core is available at http://bit.ly/12mxzvl.
Straight A’s: Public Education Policy and Progress is a free biweekly newsletter that focuses on education news and events in Washington, DC and around the country. The format makes information on federal education policy accessible to everyone from elected officials and policymakers to parents and community leaders. Contributors include Jason Amos, editor; Cyndi Waite; and Kate Bradley.
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal education policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance, visit www.all4ed.org. Follow the Alliance on Twitter, Facebook, and the Alliance’s “High School Soup” blog.
To receive Straight A’s by email please sign up for our mailing list.
If you would rather not receive future communications from Alliance for Excellent Education, let us know by clicking here.
Alliance for Excellent Education, 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 901, Washington, DC 20036 United States
From yesterday’s inbox…
We are wrapping up Digital Literacy month with webinars and tutorials on copyright and plagiarism.
- Take a Copyright Crash Course Online Tutorial to learn about how ownership of copyrighted materials works, what is fair use and when and how to get permission to use someone else’s materials.
- Attend webinars on Why Student’s Plagiarise, How do Identify Plagiarism, Reducing Plagiarism through Assessment, How to use Electronic Sources appropriately and How to Deal with Plagiarism.
- View the archived Digital Literacy CEET Meet for a library of valuable resources and insights.
Visit CEET NING at: http://ceetbc.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network