Archive for the ‘Federal government’ Category

National School Choice week: 49 million students still without options

Here is an op-ed column by Robert Enlow, the president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the legacy foundation of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose. His piece highlights National School Choice week, which kicks off on Sunday, Jan 27.

Enlow addresses the growing choice landscape, including Georgia’s private school tax credit.

By Robert Enlow

Heidi and Frank Green used to worry about their daughters while they were at school. The Clarksville, Indiana couple was concerned about bullying, cursing, large class sizes, a revolving teaching staff, and a general lack of attention for students.

Thankfully, the Greens say their lives have changed for the better as daughters Gillian and Emma are now eager to attend school. Today they are getting quality instruction at their new Catholic school thanks to a voucher program adopted in Indiana two years ago.

“School choice should be everywhere,” said Mrs. Green. “Parents should be able to decide …

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Reaction of education groups to Obama gun proposals

Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. People continue to visit memorials after gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Friday, Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a memorial in Newtown. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

President Barack Obama proposed universal background checks and prohibitions on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown where a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, in an elementary school last month.

According to the AJC:

A month after that horrific massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don’t require the backing of lawmakers. The president’s executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

Related, Gov. Nathan Deal told the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues breakfast this morning that he sees value in the controversial proposal of …

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Top 10 education issues facing Georgia

This is my live account from  the Georgia Partnership on Excellence in Education daylong media symposium Friday featuring education movers and shakers

First up is Dr. Dana Rickman, policy and research director for the partnership, on the Top Ten Education Issues to Watch in 2013.

Please note that all these comments are from the speakers today, not from me. (I did add a few comments, but I clearly designate them as mine.) I am writing as folks speak and may miss a typo but will go back during the breaks and clean this up.

Top 10 issues, says Rickman:

Race to the Top: Halfway through implementing grant. Where do we stand?

Elevating low performing schools. Will require high performing  teachers and leaders.

How do we pay for k-12 eduction? (”I don’t know,” says Rickman. “That really is the answer to that question.”)

Help wanted: Hiring 250,000 new graduates. Where are they? Only 42 percent has a college degree; State needs 250,000 more graduates.

Early learning: What this issue …

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Students First? Michelle Rhee’s report card: Is the issue more choices or better choices?

Michelle Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, released state report cards, but the grades have no relation to student achievement.

Michelle Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, released state report cards, but the grades have no relation to student achievement.

All the discussion about expanding school choice through private school tax credits, charter schools and vouchers glosses over a critical caveat: More choices don’t necessarily lead to better choices.

Earlier this week, Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization released a report card on state education policy determined in large part by the extent of school choice afforded families and the effort to dismantle teacher unions.

By focusing on public policy, the StudentsFirst report card looked more on State Houses than schoolhouses. Georgia earned a D-plus because StudentsFirst felt the state doesn’t go far enough in providing information and choices to  parents.

While the StudentsFirst report card considerations are extensive, they don’t include student outcomes, which is why Louisiana dramatically outscores Massachusetts, the state that …

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Can we personalize education and persuade students that it’s on them to learn?

The release earlier this week of international benchmark testing scores produced came the usual laments about where the United States stacked up.

As always, Asian countries took the crowns in math and science performance. Among the 60 countries that participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the United States ranked 11th in fourth-grade math, 9th in eighth-grade math, 7th in fourth-grade science and 10th in eighth-grade science. (In the original TIMSS from 1995, U.S. eighth-graders ranked 23rd in math among 41 nations.)

But, while America’s standings aren’t bottom-of-the-barrel, the scores trouble forecasters who believe that the economic future belongs to countries that excel in science, technology, engineering and math.

American students still lack the math mastery of other nations. For example, 7 percent of U.S. eighth graders scored at the advanced level in math, compared with 48 percent in Singapore and 47 percent in South Korea.

So, what’s …

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Another round of global comparisons where U.S. falls short. But our kids can read well.

Another round of global studies of education prowess. Another round of laments over the under performance of U.S. students.

Two reports released today — the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study — found that U.S. students  perform better than the global average, but still lag behind many kids in East Asia and Europe.

There was one very bright spot: Fourth graders in this country are among the world’s top readers. (For a more upbeat spin on these results, check out Business Insider, which added all the scores and found the U.S. was 6th out the top 16 nations, surpassing, among others, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.)

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study examine the performance of elementary and middle school students.

(For a sense of what these tests mean, the Center for Public Education has some great primers on …

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US DOE: Lowest performing schools are improving

From US DOE on its School Improvement Grants:

The U.S. Department of Education today released an early snapshot of student performance data at schools that have received federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program funds, a key component of the Department’s blueprint for helping states and districts turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools.

Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1300 of the country’s lowest-performing schools. The data released today provides the first overview of performance for the first cohort of schools after one year of implementing SIG. The data begins in the 2009-2010 school year and ends in the 2010-2011 school year, the first year schools received SIG funds.

In three main areas, these early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools;

•Schools receiving SIG grants are improving. The first year of data show that two thirds of schools showed gains in math. …

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Kentucky test results offer glimpse into how Common Core assessments will affect Georgia and other states

Noteworthy scores out of Kentucky, the first state to introduce tests explicitly tied to the Common Core State Standards.

Kentucky is part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium of 23 states including Georgia that is developing a common set of k-12 assessments in English and math grounded in what it takes to be ready for college and careers.  Those assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year

While the new Kentucky tests are not the PARCC tests, they are closely aligned and thus seen as a harbinger of things to come.

And what’s coming will initially be disappointing,  although expected. Testing experts say that a conversion to a new test usually brings a drop in scores.

Education Week reports that the  share of Kentucky students scoring “proficient” or better in reading and math dropped by roughly a third or more in both elementary and middle school the first year the tests were given.

According …

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A real miss at Ole Miss: Students protest Obama re-election with racial epithets

Folks, Stopped commenting at 6: 12 p.m. as I thought we had crossed into the absurd. Happy to end with the sensible comment from the UM student, Thanks, Maureen

Expect a lot of unfortunate attention to Ole Miss as a result of a rabble of immature students reacting badly and crudely to President Obama’s re-election last night. They shouted racial epithets and burned Obama signs until University of Mississippi police arrived and dispersed them.

While some news accounts appear to exaggerate the late-night event as a riot, the Daily Mississippian reported it with greater temperance:

Hundreds of Ole Miss students exchanged racial epithets and violent, politicized chants in response to the announcement of the re-election of President Barack Obama.

What began as an argument around midnight quickly spread across campus.

UPD responded to a fire alarm being pulled in Brown Hall as crowds gathered near Kincannon and Stockard (dorms).

I think the best comment in response to this ugly …

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The President wins. Does education win, too?

President Obama won re-election Tuesday. What does it mean for education?

President Obama won re-election Tuesday. What does it mean for education?

One of the least discussed issues in this presidential campaign was education.

Beyond sharing their respect for teachers, the two candidates gave few details about their education vision or plans.  Education was never discussed with much depth at any of the debates.

With the re-election of President Obama,  we can presume a continuation of Race to the Top type strategies where reform is incentivized.

Not all educators are happy with that model, as reflected in the anxiety over the direction that Race to the Top is taking states, including Georgia. Race to the Top requires extensive testing and ties teacher evaluations to test results.

But the re-election of President Obama is prompting positive statements from education organizations, including the National Education Association.

Here is a press statement from the NEA:

Students and children scored major victories throughout the United States today, as …

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