6 ways school bus wi-fi could benefit your district

Gaps in internet access are an all-too-familiar struggle for many schools, particularly those in rural or low-income districts where coverage is spotty or too expensive.

In 2015, President Barack Obama said internet access was no longer a privilege, but a basic necessity. School districts are adopting that frame of mind and are trying their best to keep students connected as long as possible.

Equipping school buses with wi-fi helps extend learning, especially for students who have long bus rides due to rural locations or extra-curricular activities.…Read More

What is Obama’s K-12 education legacy?

Common Core, Race to the Top, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—just a few top-down, often-controversial, metrics-heavy K-12 reform initiatives favored by the Obama Administration that seemed to have a lot more traction during the President’s first-term with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the helm than during the second term.

“President Barack Obama will perhaps be best remembered for what many considered a top-down approach to education reform, and Arne Duncan was the architect of that strategy,” writes Tara Garcia Mathewson for EducationDIVE. From a strong support of Common Core to even the ESSA, “a strict emphasis on standards is one of the biggest marks of the administration.”

[For the higher education version of this story, click here.]…Read More

Report: Race to the Top isn’t delivering big results

The Obama administration’s signature education initiative, Race to the Top, can’t deliver much educational improvement in America’s public schools because there is a huge mismatch in its mandates and what is actually possible to accomplish with the provided funding and requirements, according to a new report released Thursday. The title of the report precisely explains what it is about: “Mismatches in Race to the Top Limit Educational Improvement.”

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Obama: $900 million to turn around the ‘dropout crisis’

President Obama proposed $900 million in school grants today designed to improve low-performing schools, particularly those with high dropout rates, USA Today reports. “Over 1 million students don’t finish high school each year,” Obama said during an education event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, adding that most dropouts are in the African-American and Latino communities. There may have been a time when kids could leave school and still get a good enough blue collar job to pay the bills, Obama said, but: “That’s just not the case anymore.” The $900 million in grants targets states with graduation rates of less than 60 percent, the president said. Schools that fail to increase those rates face the prospect of new principals, new managements, or even outright closure. Obama spoke at an event sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance, led by one of his prominent supporters: Former general and Republican administration official Colin Powell.

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Obama urges states to raise academic standards

In order for U.S. to be first in world education, states need to raise their academic standards.
For the U.S. to lead the world in education, states need to raise their academic standards, Obama says.

Saying America’s “primacy in the world” is at stake, President Barack Obama on Feb. 22 prodded states to raise their academic standards by using the best leverage he has: money.

Speaking to governors gathered at the White House, Obama said he won’t “accept second place for the United States of America.” He noted that it continues to lag behind other nations in critical areas, including high school math and science skills.

Obama told the governors he wants a change in the nation’s education law that would allow states to receive federal aid for poor students only if they adopt academic standards that are deemed truly to prepare children for college or careers out of high school.…Read More

Obama to propose new rules for reading and math standards

In a proposed change to the No Child Left Behind law, the Obama administration would require states to adopt new academic standards to qualify for federal money from a $14 billion program that concentrates on impoverished students, reports the New York Times. The proposal, part of the administration’s recommendations for a Congressional overhaul of the law, would require states to adopt “college- and career-ready standards” in reading and math. The current law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, requires states to adopt “challenging academic standards” in reading and math to receive federal money for poor students under the program known as Title I, but leaves it up to states to decide what qualifies as “challenging.” The result was that states set their standards at widely varied levels, some as rigorous as those used in high-performing countries like Japan, but others at far lower levels that lay out mediocre expectations for their students at best…

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A federal effort to push junk food out of schools

The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries, and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years, reports the New York Times. In legislation soon to be introduced, candy and sugary beverages would be banned and many schools would be required to offer more nutritious fare. To that end, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver a speech Feb. 8 at the National Press Club in which he will insist, according to excerpts provided to the Times, that any vending machines that remain in schools be “filled with nutritious offerings to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our nation’s children.” But Republican support for the initiative is far from certain, with many Republicans saying they will wait to see legislation before signaling whether they would put aside long-held views that local school boards should control food offerings…

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