Innovative tech standards want your feedback

None of us would leave for a destination without a plan of action, without a direction and the right equipment to complete the journey. We all know that we want to provide the best pathways for our students to help foster 21st century skills.

As administrators, our responsibilities cover many areas including technology, which has become a necessary component of living and work. Technology can do many things, but in order to prepare our students for the future, education professionals need a new plan for how to employ it. For example, technology can accelerate innovation in teaching and learning and inspire learners to reach their greatest potential, it can provide students a window into a world right outside their door or halfway across the world.

That is why the ISTE Standards for Administrators are so important, as they provide all of us a set of expectations to effectively lead our schools and districts in an ever-changing digital world. Truly, these standards are the roadmap to accomplish the journey our students, teachers and schools seek to complete.…Read More

How to measure edtech impact in the ESSA era

The Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) and Empirical Education Inc. recently released the Guidelines for Conducting and Reporting EdTech Impact research in U.S. K-12 Schools. These guidelines help clarify how research is conducted and how information is presented to users of edtech products based on the changes brought by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In “Measuring Edtech Impact in the ESSA Era,” experts delved into the details of the guidelines.

The updated guidelines take into account nearly all edtech products today in the cloud, providing more access to teacher and student usage data. They also account for the timeline for compressed development of edtech products, and standards of evidence having changed to a more developmental scale with ESSA replacing No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Districts are more frequently asking for their own student and teacher product usage data to perform their own studies. The structure and definitions provided by these new guidelines are useful in helping them obtain what they need and figure out how to do their evaluations.…Read More

Thriving special education programs have these 7 elements

Focusing on inclusion, using data, and forming partnerships are among the practices that can help make special education programs successful in schools, according to a report.

Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion,” from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), details the special education program philosophy behind 10 California charter public schools, how they implement best practices on their campuses, and what policy arrangements have allowed them to succeed.

The qualitative study offers new insights into the best ways to serve students with disabilities in all schools, in particular the benefits of inclusive education. These practices have have also yielded incredible results for the schools, with boosts in enrollment and performance in both ELA and math.…Read More

U.S. public wants more life skills for students

The American public wants more than academic quality from its local public schools–career skills classes, licensing and certificate programs, and technology and engineering classes are increasingly identified as important for today’s students in a new public opinion survey.

The public also wants educators to find ways to help students develop their interpersonal skills and limit standardized tests.

These findings are just part of the latest edition of the annual Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, the defining public opinion survey on American public education for the past 49 years.…Read More

6 paths to innovation under ESSA

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a marked departure from its much-maligned predecessor, No Child Left Behind, and it puts much more power in states’ hands. Now, a new guide is helping ensure states harness that power to prioritize innovation.

Part of the challenge in sustaining innovation lies in the need for states to go beyond stacking new metrics on existing policies, according to The State Innovator’s Toolkit: A guide to successfully managing innovation under ESSA. Instead, they will have to think differently about what innovation means in their schools and how they can reimagine processes to support such progress.

But because some of NCLB’s structures remain intact under ESSA, states could attempt to innovate but remain stuck in the same cycle. The brief outlines a series of frameworks to help states think about how their systems can successfully manage innovation under ESSA.…Read More

4 ways schools can combat Trump’s ed budget cuts

The Trump Administration’s 2017 and 2018 education budget proposes some drastic cuts, most notably, the elimination of the $2.3 billion Title II-A (ESEA) funding and $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

According to the administration, ESEA funding and 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs are ineffective and duplicative. But the budget documents (which consist of more than 27 volumes of artifacts) did not explain why they are ineffective (or with what they are duplicative), though there is no shortage of opinions on both sides of the debate.

This is our current reality. Outrage isn’t going to help, so I’m focusing on the actions we can take, given the reality we face.…Read More

Do you know about the “Trump Effect” on public education?

The 2017 Education Next annual survey of American public opinion on education shows public support for charter schools has dropped, even as opposition to school vouchers and tax credits for private-school scholarships has declined.

In a dramatic change of opinion over the past year, support for charter schools has declined by 12 percentage points, from 51 percent last year to just 39 percent this year (36 percent opposed). Support has fallen by 13 percentage points among Republicans and by 11 percentage points among Democrats, to 47 percent and 34 percent support respectively, leaving the partisan gap on the issue largely unchanged.

Opposition to private school choice declines despite partisan differences. Opposition to universal vouchers, which give all families a wider choice, has declined from 44 percent to 37 percent, while support for vouchers targeted to low-income parents has increased by six percentage points (43 percent in 2017 up from 37 percent in 2016).…Read More

Do education policy makers believe in science?

John Hattie is an education researcher who changed the way we think about what works in the classroom. His meta-study, Visible Learning (2009), analyzed 50,000 studies of more than 80 million students. This seminal work, with its 2011 and 2015 updates, shined the light on the importance of visible learning and taught us what interventions were most effective in education. His research ranked almost 200 different factors according to their influence on student achievement and uncovered insights about relative effectiveness that should drive policy discussions for education stakeholders.

Yet, somehow, it doesn’t. Legislative sessions in many states closed recently with new or updated laws that directly contradict volumes of robust scientific research. If we continue to neglect existing evidence, we endanger our ability to make progress and compete in a global economy.

Moving the Needle on Improving Results…Read More

Where’s the buy-in for performance pay?

As more states across the nation look for ways to recognize and reward excellent teachers, a new study reveals at least one large pocket of resistance for providing additional compensation to star teachers.

Examining the impact of a 2011 Florida law which mandates that Florida school districts provide the highest salary awards available to teachers who are rated “Highly Effective”, the study from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds little evidence of district buy-in.

The study, Backing the Wrong Horse: The Story of One State’s Ambitious but Disheartening Foray into Performance Pay, shows how 16 out of a sample of 18 Florida districts are continuing to pay higher salary awards to teachers who earn graduate degrees than teachers whose performance stands out. On average, the reward for a Master’s degree in these districts is four times greater than the reward for being found Highly Effective.…Read More

5 ways to get the U.S. to a 90 percent high school graduation rate

The latest annual report in a series tracking the U.S. high school graduation rate reveals that, while the national graduation rate is 83.2 percent, the nation could miss its goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020 due to persistent equity gaps.

The 2017 Building a Grad Nation report, the eighth annual update on progress and challenges in boosting high school graduation rates, reveals that only half of U.S. states are on track to reach a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020.

A close look at the data shows disparities in graduation rates in five key areas.…Read More

5 ways technology can support educators in an environment of expanding school choice

President Trump’s recent education budget proposal has received a great deal of attention for cutting education by $9.2 billion or 13.6 percent. The administration is proposing an additional $400 million for vouchers and $1 billion more in Title 1 funds to support school choice. While details of the budget will evolve as it moves through the congressional approval process, it is likely that we will see an increase in funding that expands school choice.

School choice is a controversial topic with advocates believing it will drive innovation in education and civil rights advocates and education reform leaders raising concerns about the unintended consequences to public schools, especially those serving the most vulnerable population, low-income families.

In a recent study by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Research examining Americans’ understanding and attitude towards school choice, 47 percent of respondents said they favor expansion of charter schools and 45 percent favor vouchers. In that same study, 58 percent have heard little about charter schools and 66 percent have heard little about school vouchers.…Read More