Nonprofits, Schools Can Receive Free AT&T Wireless Internet Service, Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots for At-Risk K-12 Students

Connected Nation (CN) is launch today an online application for the AT&T K-12 connected learning program, which is focused on closing the homework gap for at-risk students by providing free AT&T wireless internet service and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to students nationwide.  Nonprofit organizations and schools that serve at-risk youth nationwide are invited to apply.

According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, nearly 17 million public K-12 students have fallen into the “homework gap” due to COVID-19 school closures.  In addition, Bellwether Education Partners estimates that approximately 3 million at-risk students may not have experienced any formal education—virtual or in-person—since March 2020.

The program is primarily focused on impacting students in the following groups:…Read More

Future Ready Schools heralds school librarians as leaders

New project highlights critical role school librarians play in supporting Future Ready goals

Future Ready Schools (FRS), led by the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, announced Future Ready Librarians, an expansion of the FRS initiative aimed at positioning librarians as leaders in the digital transformation of learning.

The FRS initiative helps district leaders recognize the potential of digital tools and align necessary technologies with instructional goals to support teaching and learning.

“In today’s digital world, the school library has evolved from a place to merely check out books to one that offers opportunities for collaboration, project-based learning, and online access,” said Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise. “Similarly, librarians are now playing central roles in school leadership and working daily with students, teachers, and administrators. Through Future Ready Librarians, school librarians will be better equipped to support teachers in their transition to a digital learning environment while themselves becoming more future ready.”…Read More

More than half of students struggle with reading, report says

New report examines literacy development and urges Congress to do the same as NCLB rewrites progress

reading-literacyNearly half of minority students and students from low-income families enter the fifth grade without basic reading skills, according to a new report urging Congress to focus on students’ literacy development beginning in early childhood.

Noting that 60 percent of both fourth and eighth graders currently struggle with reading, the report from the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) notes that Congress should put an emphasis on students’ literacy development from the early years and up through grade twelve as it works to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The report, The Next Chapter: Supporting Literacy Within ESEA, is based on the 2013 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. According to the report, 50 percent of African Americans, 47 percent of Latinos, and 47 percent of students from low-income families read below NAEP’s basic level.…Read More

8 ways schools can become truly Future Ready

Advice for districts seeking to become better at digital teaching and learning

future-readyBeing Future Ready is about more than just signing a pledge or attending an event. It’s about taking measurable, sometimes scary, steps toward a digital future that is still very much uncertain, according to speakers at a recent ISTE panel discussion on the topic, “Is Your District Future Ready?

The Future Ready effort, championed by the Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education, hopes to permanently intertwine digital connectivity and learning in schools by getting administrators to think more broadly (and critically) about technology, PD, and the curriculum they use.

The backbone of the project is a short pledge superintendents take confirming their commitment to enlightened digital learning and advocacy (about 2,000 superintendents have signed it so far). There are also related regional summits that delve into how schools and districts can achieve Future Ready aims, such as empowering teachers, closing the digital divide, or supporting community efforts.…Read More

Are qualified teachers always effective teachers?

An effective teacher can alter a student's achievement by as much as 50 percentage points.
An effective teacher can alter a student's achievement by as much as 50 percentage points.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools are required to make sure every teacher is “highly qualified,” which—according to the law—means teachers must be certified in the subject areas they teach. But amid a growing consensus that “highly qualified” doesn’t necessarily mean “highly effective,” a movement is under way to reshape how the nation views successful teaching.

The effort is particularly relevant as learning in today’s schools undergoes a 21st-century transformation, some observers say—and they say true reform won’t occur until education leaders redefine what “highly qualified” teaching means.

In the typical instructional model of the past, the teacher was a “sage on the stage,” well versed in facts within a specific subject area and able to teach from a textbook. But now, 21st-century education demands a different kind of teacher, many stakeholders say—more of a mentor than a sage, and someone who can facilitate both individualized and collaborative learning.…Read More

Former governors fight for digital learning

The Council says it will create policies around digital learning. Copyright: Shareski
The newly formed Digital Learning Council says it will create policies around digital learning. Copyright: Shareski

Part of providing a 21st-century education means incorporating digital resources into the classroom, but not every school has the knowledge or necessary to implement education technology successfully. To help remedy this situation, former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and former Democratic Gov. Bob Wise of West Virginia have put their party differences aside to head a new Digital Learning Council that will create implementation guidelines for states and schools.

According to Bush and Wise, technological innovations have already changed the way the nation works, shops, and entertains itself. The Digital Learning Council aims to help transform education by moving digital learning to the forefront of education and away from the niche role it plays today.

“Today, more than two million students take courses online and 1.5 million home education students take online courses, but that barely scratches the surface of what is possible through technology,” said a statement from the nonprofit Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), of which Wise is president.…Read More

Rural schools need more federal attention

The report helps dispel common myths about rural schools.
The report helps dispel common myths about rural schools.

According to a new report, one out of every four rural students fails to graduate from high school, a problem that owes largely to a lack of attention to the needs of rural schools. From changing Title I formulas to providing cutting-edge technology, it’s time to provide more support to those who need it most, the report says.

Called “Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers: What Federal Policymakers Need to Know,” the report was released by the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), a national policy and advocacy organization with a commitment to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for success. It was funded by the Walmart Foundation.

According to the report, approximately 3.4 million students attend rural high schools, yet one out of four students fails to graduate. Overall, rural school enrollment is on the rise—up 15 percent over the past several years—but more than 20 percent of the nation’s poorest-performing high schools are located in rural areas.…Read More