February 14, 2015

3:03 AM | Strengthening Early Learning in a New ESEA Part 2
This is the second post in a three-part series on strengthening early learning in a new ESEA. In my first post, I discussed a new opportunity to incorporate ways to strengthen early education, PreK-3rd grade, in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In this post, I’ll explore a few ideas that would require big changes in the law but could greatly benefit young students. Generally, early education—and pre-Kindergarten in particular—is relegated to nothing more than […]
2:49 AM | The GED is Out and Common Core is In
NEW YORK — Nurul Ali was less than half way through the science portion of the new high school equivalency exam last fall when he closed his testing booklet in frustration. After a year of preparation, he didn’t recognize most of the topics. “I thought, if I read any more of these questions I’ll go crazy, so I just closed my book and guessed,” said the 20-year-old Queens resident, who arrived in the United States two and half years ago from Bangladesh and finished […]

February 13, 2015

11:01 PM | Teachers Turn Themselves into "Detectives" to Make Blended Learning Work
TAMIAMI, Fla. - As the end of the class period nears, students in an algebra class silently solve problems on a four-minute quiz. Later that day, two math teachers review every answer on these quizzes. They aren’t grading the papers. They are detectives. They’re combing through each pencil stroke, searching for clues. For each incorrect answer, they retrace the student’s steps to figure out what went wrong. Then they use this information to devise a plan so that every student […]
8:53 PM | Lead Writer Responds to Common Common Core English Gripes
Before taking on her role as lead writer of the Common Core State Standards, Susan Pimentel - who has a bachelors degree in early childhood education from Cornell University - was chief architect of the American Diploma Project Benchmarks (ADP), which some consider a precursor to the Common Core. Like the Common Core, ADP sought to close the gap between high school and the expectations of college and the workplace. After completing the Common Core writing process, Pimentel founded the […]
7:00 PM | How Companies Can Make Millions off American Public Education, Despite Not Doing a Very Good Job
Pearson Education is one of the country’s largest education companies. The British-owned conglomerate is the parent of a variety of media brands, including Addison-Wesley, BBC Active, eCollege, Fronter, Longman, MyEnglishLab, Penguin Readers, Prentice Hall, and Financial Times Press. The company’s Operating profit in 2012 was about $1.4 billion. But that doesn’t mean the company is altogether doing a good job. According to this fascinating article at Politico: Pearson stands […]
3:39 PM | Avoiding the 'Recipe for Disaster' in Ed Tech Plans
MIAMI, Fla. — Every school in the Miami-Dade County Public School system - nearly 400 buildings - is wired with Wi-Fi. The nation’s fourth largest school district, with about 355,000 students, also revved up bandwidth to ensure that schools had enough speed as more students and teachers went online. District leaders purchased new devices and digital curricular content to use in the classroom. They are now well ahead of President Obama’s goal to modernize connectivity in every […]

February 12, 2015

10:02 PM | Congressional Report -By Colleges- Complains They're Over-Regulated
A congressional task force says colleges and universities are overburdened by federal regulation, including requirements that they disclose certain consumer information to students and families. The task force, appointed by a bipartisan group of senators, consists entirely of 16 present and past university and college chancellors and presidents and representatives of university associations, and the report was produced by the universities’ primary lobbying organization, the American […]
7:07 PM | Strengthening Early Learning in a New ESEA
This is the first of three posts on early learning in a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Change is on the horizon for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a process which acquired some new urgency when the Republicans took control of the Senate in January. And “change” is really the only way to move things forward. Senator Alexander’s (R-TN) bipartisan partisan approach—where he introduced a discussion draft without conferring with […]
3:52 PM | The real robot economy and the bus ticket inspector
While driverless car pilot projects get going across the UK, the robot economy has already started on the top deck of a London Bus“I can only go on what the machine says.” My ears prick up. The Oyster card inspector on my bus to work has found someone who (apparently) hasn’t paid her fare. He argues: “I connect to the scanner by the driver when I get on the bus, and check every passenger’s card to see if they have recently swiped that scanner.”She contests […]

February 11, 2015

9:43 PM | Q and A with Daniel Weisberg of TNTP
NEW YORK — Is there a better way to recruit, train, evaluate and retain public school teachers? As much of the country shifts to new Common Core standards, Daniel Weisberg, named CEO last week of the alternative teacher-certification and advocacy group The New Teacher Project (TNTP), thinks that question is more important now than ever. It’s one reason the former private sector lawyer and chief labor strategist under New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein believes giving […]
3:40 PM | Scott Walker Is ALL about Jobs
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a controversial figure. During his tenure as the chief executive of the state, he’s become notable for his enthusiastic efforts to destroy the power of public labor unions by requiring them to recertify annually and taking away the power of those unions to bargain collectively over pensions and health care. But recently he went ever further in his efforts to roll back progressive achievements in his state. According to a piece by Kevin Drum over at […]

February 10, 2015

10:34 PM | Rethinking the unthinkable
A new report from the US National Academies looks at the ‘wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad’ idea of geoengineering the climate. Jack Stilgoe, a sociologist who has spent the last three years working with geoengineering researchers, takes an early look Earlier today, the American National Academies published their much-anticipated report on geoengineering. I am about to publish a book about the emergence of geoengineering as everyone’s new best bad idea. So you’ll […]
4:00 PM | How College Mergers Can Screw Students
For 125 years the Corcoran School of Art occupied a unique position in Washington. Founded with money provided in the estate of banker and art collector William Wilson Corcoran to promote art education in the nation’s capital, Corcoran was an example of a now rare institution very common in the 19th-century, the museum-college hybrid. It worked pretty well for much of the 20th century, producing generations of painters and sculptors (as well as Project Runway’s Tim Gunn and […]
3:19 PM | How Do You Fix America's High Schools? We're Going to Find Out
By now, we all know the importance of quality early childhood education in setting students up for success. But what about all the kids who don’t get needed interventions, start school behind and stay stuck there? Many arrive in high school several years below grade level. Their teachers and administrators have one last chance to make up for lost time before a child becomes an adult, giving them arguably the hardest job in public education. This wasn’t always their charge. More than […]
2:14 PM | Why Mentors Need to Stop Trying to Fix Black and Brown Students
Black and brown students need good schools, great teachers and professional opportunities - not personality mechanics. We should place more energy in fixing what makes schools unattractive rather than creating mentoring programs that attempt to bang square pegs into round holes. Last week, I signed on to be a mentor for a new school-based program created by Grand Rapids, Michigan, Public Schools named Grade School to Grad School (G2G). G2G focuses on black and brown boys who are chronically […]
2:10 PM | Traits and Management
K-12 education has been convulsed for years by the idea that good teaching is a trait, a tacit justification for all the versions of the loony idea that we can increase learning by just finding the ‘bad teachers’  and firing them. The latter scheme looks even better if “finding” employs a bureaucratic, mechanistic process of testing students (on things that can be measured “objectively”–bye-bye art, music, creativity, and courage). The alternative […]

February 09, 2015

2:42 PM | Can science be the solution if it is part of the problem?
Science and innovation should help societies tackle the problems of social inequality. But perhaps they are implicated in the problem. Melanie Smallman looks back at Davos to consider the World Economic Forum’s love affair with science.The World Economic Forum brought together the world’s richest and most powerful in Davos last month. Looking through the programme, it was clear that science and technology was at the heart of their discussions. In fact the World Economic […]
2:00 PM | Should We Stop Making Kids Memorize Times Tables?
Stanford University’s Jo Boaler says teachers and parents should stop using math flash cards, stop drilling kids in addition and multiplication and especially stop forcing students to do calculations quickly under time pressure. Good-bye Mad Minute Mondays, where teachers hand out quiz sheets with 50 problems to be completed in less than a minute.  But wait — doesn’t everyone have to learn times tables?  No, says Boaler. Although her position is unorthodox, […]

February 06, 2015

7:32 PM | How Not to Deal with a College Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Epstein is a very rich man. The financier was also very generous with his $2 billion fortune and contributed millions to political causes and cultural institutions. He enjoyed friendships with people like Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey. And then things got awkward. In 2008 Epstein pleaded guilty to procuring an underage girl for prostitution and served a year in jail. This makes things a little difficult for the many colleges to which he gave money. According to this piece at Inside […]
5:56 PM | TFA Likes Evaluation System Unlikely to Impact TFA
Recently Teach for America, the national teacher corps that selects recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in underperforming schools, indicated its support for the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to grade the country’s colleges of education and eliminate bad schools. According to a piece at the Wall Street Journal: Urban Teacher Center, Teach For America and seven additional alternative-certification programs planned to say on Monday that proposed rules by […]
4:26 AM | Welcome Changes and Remaining Questions in the ECMC-Corinthian Deal
About eight months after the implosion began, a significant chunk of Corinthian Colleges is officially in new hands.  Yesterday, the company formally closed the sale of 53 Everest and Wyotech campuses to the Educational Credit Management Corporation, or ECMC–a student loan guaranty agency and debt collector based in Minnesota. The schools will still use the Everest and Wyotech brands under the company name Zenith Education Group. There are still some major […]
4:22 AM | More Expert Thoughts on Updating No Child Left Behind's Title III
As the debate over No Child Left Behind continues in Washington, D.C., New America’s Dual Language Learners National Work Group has asked several dual language learner (DLL) experts for their thoughts on how to update Title III of that law. Our first post along these lines included ideas from Dr. Eugene Garcia and Dr. Patricia Gándara. — Maria MillardPolicy Analyst, Education Commission of the States Funding for English Language Learners (ELLs) is an emerging policy focus. […]

February 05, 2015

5:30 PM | The Education Gap Extends to Extracurricular Activities, Too
The disparity in American education quality is well known. Researchers and journalists have written extensively about gaps in funding, grades, discipline, graduation, college attendance, and reading and math scores on standardized examinations. It turns out there’s another one: extracurricular activity. Students from poor families just get less exercise in school and participate in fewer clubs, than students from more affluent backgrounds. According to an article over at the Atlantic, a […]
2:49 PM | Enrollment in Online Courses Slows, New Report Finds
The number of college students taking at least one course online continues to rise, but at the slowest rate in more than a decade, and the proportion of academic leaders who consider online education just as good as in-person teaching has dropped and leveled off. Still, the increase in online enrollment is outpacing overall enrollment growth, including to a new survey from the Babson Survey Research Group, which tracks it. After wild enthusiasm for massive open online courses in […]
6:57 AM | Anne Glover on Brussels: a moment of magic realism in the European Commission
Following her BBC Hard Talk interview this week, Anne Glover, former chief scientific adviser to the President of the European Commission, gives a frank account of the highs and lows of her three years in Brussels.I want to summarise a three-year journey that was very rewarding but contained elements of Quixote, Kafka and Macondo. It started with an announcement by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso when he stood for re-election in the European Parliament on 15 September […]
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