7 things educators want to tell Bill Gates

Just five years after leaving the day-to-day operations of Microsoft, Bill Gates has become a major player in education policy — and some teachers are not pleased, the Huffington Post reports. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated billions of dollars to advocacy groups and research organizations that support causes such as charter schools and standardized testing. The foundation’s ability to spend unprecedented amounts of money on education reform causes has recently made Gates unduly influential in the education world

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Study: Most states don’t score well on financial literacy

Given the extraordinary amount of debt that Americans wallow in daily, you’d think that teaching financial literacy in school and at home would be a priority, the Washington Post reports. Guess again. A new study on the state of financial literacy programs in public schools ranks only 7 states with an A and 22 with a D or F. And it says that parents are no more comfortable talking to their kids about sex than they are about money, so young people aren’t learning about the subject at home, either. The study, which you can find here, was done by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, which assigned grades to states for the quality of their financial literacy programs…

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Study finds spatial skill is early sign of creativity

A gift for spatial reasoning — the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator — may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields, according to a study published Monday in the journal Psychological Science, the New York Times reports. The study looked at the professional success of people who, as 13-year-olds, had taken both the SAT, because they had been flagged as particularly gifted, as well as the Differential Aptitude Test…

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FREE Common Core, digital resources

The Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (FREE) makes it easier to find digital teaching and learning resources created and maintained by the federal government and public and private organizations.

About the new Beta version

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has introduced a new version of FREE, which is powered by the Learning Registry—an open database for sharing digital learning resources. It runs on a custom version of WordPress, an open source content management system. The new FREE incorporates a responsive design to best serve customers who access FREE from mobile devices.

The new FREE is a work in progress, as the DOE is mapping more and more resources to national and state standards and envisions adding more social features to the site in the future.

The DOE welcomes your feedback and ideas! Contact the Department at FREE@ed.gov or on Twitter @FreeResources.

Background on FREE

FREE was conceived in 1997 by a federal working group in response to a memo from the President. The site was launched a year later. It was redesigned and relaunched for the first time in November 2006 and again in June 2013.

Federal agencies, if you’re looking to involve teachers in developing teaching resources, see  lessons learned.

FREE is maintained by the Office of Communications and Outreach and the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative.

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Teacher recruitment tool will factor in controversial ratings

In an incendiary move guaranteed to divide the education community, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has partnered with a web-based teacher hiring system that will factor in the Council’s recently released teacher preparation program ratings.

NCTQ’s annual study rated the quality of teacher prep programs, stirring the education reform pot, with many institutions praising the report, while others say NCTQ doesn’t have the experience to rate teacher preparation programs. (Read “Report: Teacher preparation programs an ‘industry of mediocrity.’”)

(Next page: The new teacher recruitment tool)

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California holds out against Obama’s education vision

California is almost always there to boost President Obama‘s policy agenda as he fights fierce headwinds in Congress, working with the executive branch to carry out the administration’s vision on healthcare, renewable energy and clean air, the Los Angeles Times reports. But when the topic shifts to overhauling education, the state has become one of the administration’s biggest headaches…

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How to teach music and art online

For centuries, the landscape for arts education has had a certain unique niche that often has often consisted of the one-on-one ‘master & apprentice’ relationship between teacher and student, edudemic reports. The necessity of passing down a craft has come from a few places, notably the economic need from working artists as well as he love and interest of the art from prospective students…

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7 education facts that will anger, move you

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old indefatigable advocate who was shot in the head by the Taliban, delivered a stirring speech at the United Nations on Friday–-a message that will pave the way for her continued fight to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to learn, the Huffington Post reports. The budding activist focused her talk on the power of education, playing particularly close attention to the needs of women and girls –- the ones who are “suffering the most.”

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The secret war on afterschool programs

The Obama administration has for some time been supporting the expansion of learning time in school—which sounds useful but often isn’t—by diverting money intended for afterschool programs, many of which are high quality and offer different venues for kids to learn, the Washington Post reports. Here to explain this is Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs…

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Mobile Technology Use in K-12 Schools

Mobile technology is on the rise. Worldwide, tablet sales grew about 70 percent from 2012 to 2013 and are projected to surpass the sale of laptops and desktops by 2015. In this rapidly changing technology environment, how are U.S. school districts adapting? This report summarizes the findings of a national survey of K-12 leaders on their current and future plans for adoption of mobile technology as well as key challenges.

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