Top 5 Twitter reactions to Obama’s speech on education

Did President Obama’s State of the Union address satisfy expectations on education? Read what these educators and influencers had to say on Twitter.


U.S. President Barack Obama’s emphasis on education during his fifth State of the Union address, which last slightly more than one hour, generated a lot of buzz on social media sites including Twitter. While some praised and supported the President’s speech, others were more pessimistic, claiming that the issue of education did not receive as much attention as it should have.

From working to ensure every child has access to a quality education to connecting classrooms with internet access, here are five Twitter posts from some of the biggest influencers in education.

Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of Washington, DC public schools and arguably America’s most-famous education activist, praised Obama’s remarks on preparing students with the necessary skills to be marketable in the workforce.


Darleen Opfer, director of RAND Education and Distinguished Chair in Education Policy, observed that the President mentioned “education” and “schools” 26 fewer times than he had in the previous State of the Union address.


Elementary school teacher Dan Phelps felt that Obama’s comments on education offered nothing new, and insinuated that educators – not corporate business – should be in charge of formulating education policy.


President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass opined that it would have been preferable if the President narrowed his focus on education to provide more detailed solutions.

Richard Haass

Doug Levin, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), questioned why Obama’s message on education did not translate to legitimate education priorities in the United States.


What did you think of the President’s State of the Union address? Did his remarks on education satisfy your expectations? Share your opinions with us in the comments section below and follow the conversation on Twitter at @eschoolnews.


How 3 districts leverage librarians’ digital knowledge

School librarians are critical to schools’ digital success

librarians-digitalLibrarians and libraries are in a unique position to help schools and districts prepare for and progress through the digital transition, according to a just-released Alliance for Excellent Education report.

Librarians and school leaders can partner to create strategic technology purchasing and implementation plans, and librarians and educators are able to work together on technology integration when it comes to teaching and learning. School libraries, then, become critical to digital learning experiences.

The American Library Association and the American Association of School Librarians has adopted the term “school librarian” to include library media specialists, teacher librarians, and media coordinators.

(Next page: Three districts that know librarians are key to the digital transition)


Obama touts ed tech, 21st century skills

The jobs of the new economy will require higher-order skills such as “problem solving” and “critical thinking,” President Obama said during his State of the Union address Jan. 28.


Obama said said efforts are under way to connect more schools and students to broadband internet service “without adding a dime to the deficit.”

He also said efforts are under way to connect more schools and students to broadband internet service “without adding a dime to the deficit.”

In a wide-ranging speech that lasted 65 minutes, Obama discussed these and other education priorities in the context of creating more economic opportunities for all Americans.

Obama’s speech started on a high note for educators, as his very first statement referred to a teacher.

“Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades,” he said.

However, after this promising start, in the end the president offered no new policy directives related to education. Instead, he discussed the need to act on measures he has already advocated, such as expanding preschool education and connecting more students to high-speed internet access.

“In this rapidly-changing economy, we have to make sure that every American has the skills to fill those jobs,” the president said. He called for more “on-the-job training” and said he wanted to connect businesses with community colleges to design training programs to fill their specific needs.

But “it’s not enough to train today’s workforce,” Obama said. “We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.”

Obama said his signature education program, Race to the Top, has “helped states raise expectations and performance.” Acknowledging that the jobs of the future will demand more than rote memorization, he challenged educators and policy makers to find “new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test.”

In last year’s State of the Union address, Obama asked Congress to help make high-quality preschool available to all four-year-olds. Although the 2014 budget that lawmakers passed earlier this month increased Head Start funding by $1 billion, and included $250 million for another round of Race to the Top Early Learning grants, it failed to include $750 million in funding that Obama had requested for states to expand preschool education.

“As a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight,” Obama said. “But in the meantime, 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own. They know we can’t wait.”

The president also referred to his ConnectED program to bring broadband internet access to 99 percent of the nation’s students within the next five years.

“Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit,” he said.

(Next page: Reaction to Obama’s speech)


ASCD annual conference draws top-name speakers

Dan Pink, Sir Ken Robinson to speak at 69th annual ASCD event March 15-17

ASCDKeynote speeches from best-selling author Dan Pink and education advisor Sir Ken Robinson will highlight the 2014 Annual Conference and Exhibit from ASCD, to be held in Los Angeles March 15-17.

The conference will showcase ideas for raising student achievement and boosting the effectiveness of teachers and school district leaders. Attendees will be able to choose from more than 350 sessions that will help them prepare students to be creative, critically minded, and compassionate citizens.

“Each year, ASCD holds our Annual Conference and Exhibit Show to bring together educators from around the globe to share, network, learn, and improve their practice,” said Gene Carter, CEO and executive director of ASCD. “This year’s Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in sunny Los Angeles will be no exception, and we look forward to presenting educators with innovative solutions to promote the success of each child.”

The general session speakers will be…

Daniel H. Pink: “Leadership and the New Principles of Influence.” Drawing on social science and cutting-edge practices from organizations around the world, Pink will demonstrate the new ways leaders are persuading, influencing, and motivating others. He will show the power of underused techniques—such as perspective-taking, problem-finding, and using purpose as a motivator—and offer concrete steps to put these ideas into action. Pink is the author of five provocative books, including the long-running New York Times bestsellers A Whole New Mind and Drive. His latest book, To Sell is Human, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal business bestseller.

Sir Ken Robinson: “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.” Based on his newly released and highly acclaimed book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Robinson—an English author, speaker, and international advisor on arts education—will take listeners on a compelling tour of what can happen in all our lives when passion and talent meet. He draws on the personal stories of high achievers in many fields, including Sir Paul McCartney, Arianna Huffington, Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), Meg Ryan, and renowned physicist Richard Feynman.

Russell J. Quaglia: “Moving Forward with Our Greatest Resource: The Students.” Quaglia, the president and founder of the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations, will share his groundbreaking work regarding student aspirations and the importance and power of student voice. He will discuss data he has collected from more than 1 million students and the importance that data has on each and every one of us. His presentation will have implications regarding how we interact with one another, how schools are organized, and how we assess the teaching and learning environment.

To learn more or to register for the 2014 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, visit the conference website,


How lawmakers have failed students living in poverty

50 years after President Johnson’s War on Poverty, the 2014 budget still falls short of helping students most in need


As the child poverty rate has ballooned in the U.S. over the last few years, our political will to combat this problem hasn’t responded in kind.

Fifty years after President Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” there is broad disagreement over whether the nation’s anti-poverty measures have been a success.

But when you compare rising child poverty rates with stagnant funding for programs such as Title I, one thing seems clear: Congress isn’t doing enough to help our poorest children.

This month, a highly partisan Congress came together and passed a budget for fiscal 2014. Sure, lawmakers were three months late with their action—but most pundits applauded them for putting aside their differences and passing a reasonable bill.

There was much to like about the final 2014 budget, if you’re an educator. For instance, it includes more money for early childhood education—and it rolls back most of the cuts from sequestration that have been so devastating to many schools.

But forgive me if I’m not impressed. While educators certainly will welcome getting back nearly 90 percent of the funding lost to sequestration, the truth is that the 2014 budget still falls short of providing for our nation’s most vulnerable students. And Title I funding is a perfect example.

Established as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the federal Title I program was a cornerstone of President Johnson’s War on Poverty.

A large percentage of K-12 funding comes from local property taxes, meaning that students in wealthier neighborhoods enjoy higher per-pupil funding than their peers in other schools. Title I was meant to offset this disparity and give poor children a more level playing field for their education.

But as the number of U.S. children living in poverty has risen, Title I funding hasn’t kept pace—especially in the last few years.

(Next page: How Title I funding compares to rising child poverty rates)


How can we maximize the potential of learning apps?

Let’s dive directly into the world of educational apps. Our survey suggests that the majority — one might even say, the vast majority — of educational apps encourage pursuit of the goals and means of traditional education by digital means, Mind/Shift reports. They constitute convenient, neat, sometimes even seductive pathways to accomplish what were already goals in an earlier era: mastering concepts, learning arithmetical operations, identifying geographical locations or historical figures or key biological or chemical or physical processes. We could dub them “digital textbooks” or “lectures” or “pre-programmed educational conversations.” Decades ago, major behaviorist B. F. Skinner called for teaching machines that would automate the traditional classroom, allow students to proceed at their own rate, provide positive feedback on correct answers, and either repeat a missed item or present that item via another pathway…

Read more


The two-horse smartphone race

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. should make it abundantly clear this week that the smartphone industry is increasingly dividing into the haves and have-nots, The Wall Street Journal reports. The two companies are expected to report record earnings for the first three months of the year, largely on the strength of smartphone sales. They together ship nearly half of all smartphones, pushing aside weakened competitors such as Nokia Corp., HTC Corp., and Research In Motion Ltd…

Read more


When this New Zealand school got rid of playtime rules, it actually got safer

One school has found that eliminating rules can actually be a good thing, The Huffington Post reports. After Swanson Primary School in New Zealand got rid of rules during recess as part of a study, administrators saw a decline in rates of bullying, injuries and vandalism, as well as an increase in students’ ability to concentrate during class, according to New Zealand outlet TVNZ. The AUT and Otago University study, which began several years ago and concluded at the end of last year, eliminated recess rules in an effort to discover ways to promote active play, according to the outlet. As a result, kids were more engaged in their activities…

Read more


The Netflix of kids’ books? Epic launches on iPad for $9.99/month

The Netflix monthly subscription model is a hit for movies and TV, and is spreading to music with paid versions of services like Pandora and Spotify. In 2014, it looks like the model could finally catch on for eBooks, Gigaom reports. On Tuesday, a company called Epic launched a service that offers children a monthly library of over 2,000 children’s books on the iPad, including popular titles like Olivia, the Berenstain Bears and  Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The books arrive instantly through streaming, and the service also provides features like personalized recommendations and off-line access…

Read more


How to Make BYOD Work for Your Schools

Drawing from many successful BYOD deployments at K-12 schools and interviews with leading technology consultants and school administrators, this white paper explores the lessons learned and key building blocks of a universal learning environment.

Answer the three quick questions to download the White Paper: ” BYOD and K-12: Building Blocks to Universal Learning Environments”