• Tennessee NCLB waiver decision could come within weeks
    It could be weeks before Tennessee finds out whether it will be granted exemption from No Child Left Behind standards, or it could be months. Either way, the state appears to be well positioned. A recent report from the Center for American Progress described Tennessee as being one of only two “standout” states to have applied for the waivers, praising state officials for composing a clear and focused application.
  • Key to school improvement: Reading, writing, arithmetic … and character?
    A study of 20 elementary schools in Hawaii has found that a focused program to build social, emotional and character skills resulted in significantly improved overall quality of education, as evaluated by teachers, parents and students.
  • Key to improving students’ performance is developing relationships
    For all the highbrow strategies to get more kids to graduate from high school, Clark County School District Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Pedro Martinez thinks the beleaguered Clark County School District is learning what really works. The secret, Martinez said, is for principals and teachers to recognize, acknowledge and care about every student — and especially to understand the academic needs of struggling students at risk of dropping out altogether.
  • Digital Textbooks Offer Students, Schools Significant Savings
    When it came time to purchase new books in 2011, Anoka Hennepin School District let these teachers write their own instead. They put it all online. Digital publishing has begun to overtake print publishing.
  • Kline Releases Draft Accountability: The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act [via press release]
    U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline released draft legislation to reform current elementary and secondary education law, known as No Child Left Behind. The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act reforms by:
    Providing information to parents on teacher effectiveness.
    Increasing school choice and engaging parents in their child’s education.
    Increasing state and local innovation to reform public education.
    Eliminating unnecessary and ineffective federal programs.
    Supporting Impact Aid.
  • Kline Releases Draft Accountability: Student Success Act [via press release]
    U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline released draft legislation to reform current elementary and secondary education law, known as No Child Left Behind. The Student Success Act reforms by:
    Returning responsibility for student achievement to states, school districts, and parents, while maintaining high expectations.
    Providing states and school districts greater flexibility to meet students’ unique needs.
    Investing limited taxpayer dollars wisely.
    Strengthening programs for schools and targeted populations.
    Maintaining and strengthening long-standing protections for state and local autonomy.
  • In Defense of No Child Left Behind
    At the same time, the law has many shortcomings. It left most of the major decisions to states and localities, and “Go hold yourself accountable” doesn’t work any better in education than it does on Wall Street. The last decade also laid bare the lack of will at the federal level for genuinely enforcing education policies, which led to states evading the law in ways large and small. Knowing that consequences from Washington were unlikely, states put so many loopholes into their accountability systems that it rendered many of them meaningless, and they allowed school districts to take the easy way out when faced with the hard work of turning around low-performing schools. Meanwhile, No Child’s requirements made clear just how ill-prepared almost every state education department is to lead a system of a high-performing schools. Compliance and bookkeeping rather than innovation and a focus on outcomes for students became the norm. Strategies to improve teacher credentialing turned into meaningless bureaucratic paper chases, and public school choice was an illusory option because parents had to contend with local officials throwing up roadblocks to their transfer rights under the law.
  • Eduwonk » Good Teachers Matter
    This new paper on teacher effects that’s been making the rounds, it’s kind of a big deal.  New York Times writes it up. Two cautions on how far this is ready to go…
  • Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain
    Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.

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