Joint Statement from the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Center for American Progress, Jobs for the Future and the National Council of La Raza on the Introduction of the Graduation Promise Act

Washington, DC–Today, four national organizations committed to improving educational outcomes for America´s high school students applaud the introduction of the Graduation Promise Act (GPA). The GPA is designed to improve high schools and reduce dropout rates, and was introduced today by U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, Richard Burr, R-NC, and Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy. The GPA is enthusiastically supported by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Center for American Progress, Jobs for the Future, and the National Council of La Raza.

"America is facing a dropout crisis," said John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. "This crisis was the impetus behind our report, Addressing America´s Dropout Challenge , co-authored with Jobs for the Future, and is the big flashing sign saying ´Act Now´ that Congress should heed."

In America today, two in three students leave high school unprepared for college or the modern workplace. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that almost 90 percent of the fastest growing U.S. jobs require at least some postsecondary education. The nation´s fifteen-year-olds, when measured against their counterparts in other industrialized nations, rank fifteenth in reading, twenty-third in math, and thirtieth in problem-solving skills.

"We know what can and should be done to end the dropout crisis in this country," said Gov. Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. "By targeting resources to solutions proven to work, the GPA turns knowledge into action. These Senators have shown the will; their legislation shows the way. Congress should pass the GPA to help make ´every child a graduate´ a reality."

For minority and low-income students, the situation is especially dire. High school students living in low-income families drop out of school at six times the rate of their peers from high-income families, and only about 55 percent of Black students and 52 percent of Hispanic students graduate on time from high school with a regular diploma, compared to 78 percent of White students.
"Forty years ago, the United States led the world in high school graduation rates; it now ranks seventeenth," said Marlene B. Seltzer, President and CEO of Jobs for the Future. "We are moving in the wrong direction. The GPA answers the need to move forward and ensure that all students stay in school and graduate ready for college and work."

"It´s unacceptable that slightly more than half of Latino and African American students graduate from high school," said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. "The GPA will help reverse these trends by focusing attention and resources on this critical issue."
The GPA authorizes $2.5 billion in new funding to:
*Create a federal-state-local secondary school reform partnership focused on transforming the nation´s lowest performing high schools;

*Build capacity for high school improvement and provide resources to ensure high school educators and students facing the highest challenges receive the support they need to succeed;

*Strengthen state systems to identify, differentiate among, and target the level of reform and resources necessary to improve low performing high schools and ensure transparency and accountability for that process;

*Advance the research and development needed to ensure a robust supply of highly effective secondary school models for those most at risk of being left behind, and identify the most effective reforms;

*Support states to align their policies and systems to meet the goal of college and career-ready graduation for all students.
The GPA will be highlighted during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on high school reform on Tuesday, April 24, at 10 a.m.

About the Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

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TEACHADE 1st FREE WEB 2.0 SITE TO DELIVER RELEVANT RESOURCES TO TEACHERS VIA PERSONAL DESKTOP

Miami–TeachAde (www.teachade.com), a Web 2.0 resource for K-12 teachers, today unveiled new website functionality designed to provide teachers with relevant resources from multiple content providers, delivered daily to each user´s private TeachAde homepage.

"Busy teachers spend valuable time surfing the Web to find relevant, high-quality lesson plans, multimedia files, weblinks and other class resources," said Wade Dyke, president and chief executive officer of TeachAde. "Now, TeachAde does the work for them, sending them resources matched to their specific interests in a convenient, simple-to-use desktop setting."

Teachers can receive free lesson plans and other materials customized to what they teach simply by registering their subject and grade level preferences on TeachAde. The website´s powerful, searchable database will then feed pertinent resources directly to members´ personal TeachAde desktop, a new feature that allows teachers to manage their class resources from one location. The site´s new "drag and drop" feature allows users to simply highlight the resources they want to keep and "drag" them to the calendar or folders on their desktop. They may also use the desktop to keep track of groups they join or start on TeachAde, and network with colleagues.

Dyke said that all resources on TeachAde are provided by trusted educational content providers, including teachers themselves, who can use the site´s simple authoring or uploading tools to share favorite lesson plans, tests, PDFs, URL addresses and other files.

TeachAde is available to teachers, college professors and college students for free, with full functionality provided to members following a simple online registration process. The site restricts advertising, although commercial members are allowed to display their brands and trademarks when participating in the TeachAde community.

TeachAdeTM (www.teachade.com), is an interactive website designed for K-12 teachers, giving them the ability to receive relevant resources in a personalized desktop setting to enhance their teaching and professional development, as well as network with other teachers. Powered by Web 2.0 second-generation, Internet-based technology that permits online collaboration, the free site is designed to improve education by enabling Web teacher communities and resource sharing.

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LifeSize®, kynamatrix and GBH Join Forces to Link Six U.S. Universities through High Definition Video Communications

STANFORD, CA–April 24, 2007–LifeSize®, the high definition video communications company, kynamatrix Research Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to science, education and innovation via the promotion of interactive communications, and GBH Communications, a provider of ConferenceIP solutions, today announced they have joined forces to deliver high definition video communications to six universities throughout the United States. Called "ResearcHDiscovery," the project will connect all participating universities to foster collaborative relationships and research.

To launch the project, a special event will commence at Stanford University´s Center for Design Research at 11am PT today where representatives from LifeSize, kynamatrix and GBH will conduct ribbon cutting ceremonies with each university over LifeSize high definition video communications systems. In addition to Stanford, participants include Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Washington.

"The ResearcHDiscovery project represents the launch of a new era in collaborative research, opening virtual windows between university labs to discover new ideas as boundaries are eliminated," said Alyce Hoggan, executive director and project founder at kynamatrix Research Network. "We foresee the project adding value to academic research across the nation, reducing the need for travel and saving energy, and we are immensely grateful to LifeSize and GBH for their generous support in bringing our vision to reality."
As part of the ResearcHDiscovery project, each university lab was granted a high definition video communications system from LifeSize, installation services from GBH and a HD display from kynamatrix. Every LifeSize system includes a high definition codec with embedded four-way multipoint capabilities, a high definition camera, an integrated audio conference phone and a wireless remote control.

"The ability for people in different locations to communicate via high definition video communications is testimony to how technology can have a positive impact on knowledge sharing," said Craig Malloy, CEO of LifeSize. "We are honored to be part of this innovative project and by working together with kynamatrix and GBH, we will bring advancements to the world of academics that previous videoconferencing systems simply could not achieve."

According to Von Bedikian, president of GBH Communications, "The ResearcHDiscovery project is one of the most exciting explorations of the potential of high definition videoconferencing technology underway today. As the leader in this field, we see our donation to this innovative program as both an obligation and an opportunity. We are honored to be partnered with both kynamatrix and LifeSize in forwarding collaboration between these leading universities."

LifeSize´s high quality video and audio experience will offer a transparent environment for connecting these universities to regularly brainstorm, develop and review inter-university graduate programs, and manage relationships with students and advisors while never leaving campus. Research labs can also take advantage of the innovative systems to reduce travel costs, as well as study the behavioral and social aspects of high definition video communications.

The participating universities recognize the significance of the project:
Head of the School of Design, Dan Boyarski at Carnegie Mellon University said, "This gift will be one more tool for us to explore as we collaborate across disciplines and distances. We believe that powerful display devices will help us "really see" what is being talked about, and we plan to study the effects of this tool on our design process and the quality of collaboration. We´re very excited!"

Associate Professor, Gregory D. Abowd from the School of Interactive Computing and GVU Center from Georgia Tech acknowledged, "This equipment will help to maintain active collaborations across several major universities and provide opportunities to establish more meaningful interactions with colleagues with similar research perspectives. We also expect it to provide connection between our student populations as well."

Professor Daniel Schodek from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University stated, "Globalization has become common in design practice in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning. Participants from all over the world interact on a daily basis to produce and implement visions for our buildings, landscapes and cities. These practices demand new ways of interacting among the many participants involved. We look forward to experimenting with the kynamatrix Research Network as a way of introducing our students to the emergent digital tools and environments that can best support these new practice modes."

Professor William J. Mitchell from the MIT Media Lab said, "This system will be instrumental in connecting with our collaborators throughout the world. Design research is often highly visual, spatial, and inspired by compelling and iconic imagery. Thus this system will aid in the exchange of ideas, both verbal and graphic. The use of high-resolution technologies will make international collaborations only a problem of aligning schedules and not of the vividness of the ideas."

Professor Larry Leifer from the Center for Design Research at Stanford University stated, "We plan to use this system for graduate education and doctoral research. For education, student-teams working in globally distributed design courses are expected to benefit from the use of full scale, high definition, and communication media. The expected impact is increased creative interaction and precision innovation by these teams as they work on corporate sponsored projects."

He continued, "For research, distributed design team activity will be recorded and used as sample data in several ongoing design-thinking research projects aiming at understanding the complex factors that affect the quality of team interaction and its impact on innovation. The improved fidelity of the system will provide us with recordings of much higher quality than we have been able to record in the past. In turn, the system is expected to improve communication between distributed researchers in the academic network. The net impact should be to accelerate our understanding and management of design innovation."

Chair of the Department of Technical Communication, Judy Ramey with the University of Washington stated, "This gift will make a very important difference in the development of collaborative research in the department! We very much appreciate it."

About kynamatrix

Kynamatrix Research Network is a volunteer-operated nonprofit scientific research organization founded in 2004 with a mission to promote innovation, research, and scholarship in the area of interactive communications and multidisciplinary collaboration. As a registered 501(c)(3) charity, donations to kynamatrix are deductible under IRC 170. For more information about kynamatrix´s mission and accomplishments, and to join efforts, visit www.kynamatrix.org.

About GBH

GBH Communications is the most comprehensive provider of conferencing solutions, products, and services to businesses, government, and educational institutions nationwide. GBH is the only company that offers its customers all of the key ConferenceIP elements, including: VoIP; video conferencing; audio conferencing; MCUs/gateways; communications endpoints; telephone headsets; IP PBX; professional services; and technical services. Founded in 1983, GBH Communications has installed thousands of systems throughout the U.S. GBH supports its customers with a nationwide sales force located in fourteen branch offices coast-to-coast, in-house factory-certified technicians, factory-authorized refurbishment facilities and unmatched TechShield support programs. More information on GBH can be found at www.gbh.com or call us at 1-800-222-5424.

About LifeSize

LifeSize® is the first company to develop and deliver high definition video communications products. Founded in 2003 by industry veterans, LifeSize´s award winning solutions combine exceptional quality, user simplicity and administrator manageability to make video communications a productive, true-to-life experience. LifeSize is headquartered in Austin, TX with subsidiaries in Europe and Asia Pacific, and a network of channel partners in more than 30 countries.

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ISTE Convenes First Grassroots Advocacy Conference

Washington, D.C.–The International Society for Technology in Education
(ISTE®) brought together nearly 80 educational technology leaders from 20+ U.S. states on April 22 for the first-ever ISTE State Advocacy Capacity Building conference.

Held at the L´Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., the conference included panels and workgroups focused on developing relationships with U.S. state policy-makers; building coalitions; leveraging conferences and other events; and using communications tools for advocacy. Most of the participants and many of the presenters were members and leaders of ISTE´s affiliate organizations.

According to Jill Pierce, director of technology for the Loudon County Board of Education (TN) and one of several representatives from ISTE affiliate, the Tennessee Educational Technology Association, "Having a conference of this quality shows us how to utilize the national-level resources ISTE can provide to build advocacy in our own state."

Dr. Thomas Bookler, assistant regional superintendent based in DuPage County (IL) and a representative from ISTE affiliate, Illinois Computer Educators, concurred. "I walked away with a myriad of new ideas and ways that we can move the educational technology agenda forward in Illinois."

"We are thrilled with the success of this first state-level advocacy event," said ISTE CEO Don Knezek. "State-level policy, programs, and funding are absolutely critical for transforming education so it meets the needs of digital-age learners. And we´re very glad we can support our affiliates as they develop their capacity for effective grassroots action."

Atomic Learning, Pearson Education, and Promethean, Inc, provided corporate sponsorship for the event.

About ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the trusted source for professional development, knowledge generation, advocacy, and leadership for innovation. A nonprofit membership association, ISTE provides leadership and service to improve teaching, learning, and school leadership by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education. Visit www.iste.org or call 1.800.336.5191 to learn more about ISTE.

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Miami-Dade County Public Schools Selects Sophos

BOSTON–April 23, 2007–Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, today announced that Miami-Dade Public Schools has selected Sophos to protect 90,000 desktops and 50,000 email accounts from spam, viruses, worms, spyware and potentially unwanted applications for the next four years. The district will also utilize Sophos Professional Services to ensure that the switch from its legacy McAfee solution to Sophos is accomplished seamlessly.

After more than a year of evaluating numerous security solutions, Sophos was selected as the best choice for the district based on breadth of coverage; speed of detection; better computer performance; the size, speed and frequency of updates; a simplified console; superior detection technology; and the quality of Sophos´s technical support.

"Throughout the evaluation, Sophos was enormously attentive to our needs and requirements," said Thomas Sims, director, network services, Office of Information Technology at Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "In the end, we decided to invest in Sophos based on its exceptional level of service and expertise; simplified management capabilities; and proactive, multi-tier protection across our entire district."

"We are pleased to have been selected by one of the most widely recognized school districts in the United States to provide comprehensive security at the endpoint and gateway," said Mark Hatton, president of Boston-based, Sophos. "Sophos is committed to providing flexible, reliable and centrally managed solutions that are consistent with the district´s needs."

Sophos Integrated Solutions:
Sophos Endpoint Security eliminates known and unknown threats, providing scalable, proactive protection across laptops, desktops and servers. Simplified, centralized management provides comprehensive control, while proactive detection technologies, small rapid updates, and round-the-clock support combine to reduce the cost and complexity of securing business networks.

Sophos PureMessage provides integrated gateway and messaging protection from spam, viruses and spyware. It scans all inbound, outbound and internal email messages and includes threat reduction technology to protect against new or unknown email-borne threats.

About Sophos

Sophos is a world leader in IT security and control. Sophos offers complete protection and control to business, education and government organizations–defending against known and unknown malware, spyware, intrusions, unwanted applications, spam, policy abuse and uncontrolled network access (NAC). Sophos´s reliably engineered, easy-to-operate products protect more than 100 million users in more than 150 countries. Through over 20 years´ experience and a global network of threat analysis centers, the company responds rapidly to emerging threats and achieves the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry. Sophos is a global company with headquarters in Boston, MA, and Oxford, UK. For more information on Sophos, visit www.sophos.com

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Marion County Public Schools to Implement Pearson School System´s Chancery SMS for 2007 School Year

FOLSOM, CA–April 23, 2007–Pearson School Systems, a division of Pearson Education–the world´s leading integrated education company–announced today that Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) in Ocala, Florida has selected Chancery SMS as its new enterprise-level student information system (SIS). Chancery SMS will serve as the district´s foundational student management solution in 53 schools–supporting more than 42,000 students–during the 2007–2008 school year.

"A lot of change is taking shape in Florida´s public schools and the push to modernize student information systems is an important one," said Dr. Diana Greene, Deputy Superintendent, Marion County Public Schools. "MCPS selected Chancery SMS because it will provide us with a highly customized and efficient solution that will meet complex Florida State reporting requirements and enhance the communication structure of the entire district, through its convenient web interface."

Chancery SMS will provide MCPS with a proven, award-winning SIS, capable of supporting the district´s enterprise-wide and cross-functional requirements. As a scalable solution that automates student information management processes, such as attendance and grades, Chancery SMS will allow MCPS to maximize student performance and meet state and federal reporting and accountability standards. The technology will play a central role in helping MCPS achieve seamless integration of critical applications and is customizable to meet MCPS´ evolving needs.

"Marion County Public Schools represents an important milestone in Pearson´s growth in the Florida SIS market," said Mary McCaffrey, President, Pearson School Systems. "Florida school districts are looking for proven, customizable, web-based student information systems that meet the complex Florida DOE requirements. We are excited to be an SIS leader in Florida and are committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure our solutions effectively meet the needs of our current and future customers in the region."

MCPS will use Chancery SMS in tandem with the Pearson Inform data analysis and decision support tool to gain a greater perspective on each student´s individual performance. Additionally, educators can report and analyze performance data to identify areas of strength or weakness for each student; monitor their progress against district, state, and federal standards; and evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs.

About Pearson Education

Educating 100 million people worldwide, Pearson Education (www.pearsoned.com ) is the global leader in educational publishing, providing scientifically research-based print and digital programs to help students of all ages learn at their own pace, in their own way. Virtually all students in America learn from a Pearson program at some point in their educational career. The company is home to such renowned publishing brands as Pearson Prentice Hall, Pearson Longman, Pearson Scott Foresman, Pearson Early Learning, Pearson Learning Group, Pearson Digital Learning, and Pearson Addison Wesley. Pearson Education is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the international media company. In addition to Pearson Education, Pearson´s primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

About Pearson School Systems

Pearson School Systems is advancing student learning through its highly interoperable enterprise solutions for student information management. As the market leader in K12 technology innovations, Pearson School Systems supports millions of students, with a product lineup that includes PowerSchool Premier, Chancery SMS, Mac School, Win School, and SASI. Pearson Inform, the achievement data analysis and decision support tool rounds out a solution set designed to provide administrators, teachers, students, and parents with comprehensive software options that are easy-to-use and can be customized to meet a wide range of end-user needs. All Pearson products are fully supported with training and the finest customer support services in the industry. www.pearsonschoolsystems.com .

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Va. Tech tragedy reveals Wikipedia’s power

The New York Times reports that for a few days last week, Wikipedia served as an essential news source for hundreds of thousands of internet users trying to gain understanding about the Virginia Tech shootings. From the last count, 2,074 editors the site created a detailed and polished article on the tragedy–including 140 separate footnotes as well as sidebars. According to the foundation responsible for the site, there were 750,000 visits in the first two days with an average of four visits per second…

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/23/technology/23link.html?ex=1177992000&en=a869e47cc243b2e3&ei=5070&emc=eta1

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Teen nets $25K in texting contest

InformationWeek reports that over 300 text messagers crowded New York’s Roseland Ballroom to show off their texting skills for a chance at a $25,000 price in the LG National Texting Championship. The competition was staged in several rounds. In the first round, 300 competitors were split into tables with 4 people seated per table. Contestants started the round with hands behind their back, and upon a signal to start, had to enter a 150-character phrase. Speed and emphasis were emphasized in the competition, and any competitor who entered a phrase incorrectly was ineligible to win the round. After the initial round, competitors who advanced had to face a round of one-on-one matches in order to qualify for the semifinals. After the semifinals, thirteen-year-old Morgan Pozgar of Claysburg Pennsylvania faced 21-year-old college LA student Eli Tirosh in the finals, taking home the $25,000 prize…

http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/04/13yearold_gets.html

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Software patents: Why should we care?

In a viewpoint column for Educause, Alfred H. Essa argues that education is at a crossroads. With institutions facing rising costs and declining public support, as well as increased competition from for-profit entities, information technology is one of the few levers we have at our disposal for controlling costs and improving quality in education. However, the specter of software patents is putting the use of this lever at risk…

http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm07/erm0729.asp

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Colleges make crisis aid pact

The Hartford Courant reports that Hartford-area college officials signed a mutual emergency aid pact on Wednesday. While this pact had been planned before the Virginia Tech shootings, the tragedy served a stark reminder for campus disaster plans. St. Joseph, Goodwin College, Trinity College, the University of Hartford and Wesleyan University all agreed to assist each other in the event of such as fires, hurricanes, and other disasters. This agreement is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, and calls on colleges to maintain communications, coordinate transport, provide housing and food, and if possible, accept students from other campuses…

http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-ctcolsafety0419.artapr19,0,6910279.story?coll=hc-headlines-local

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