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

4 points DeVos makes about school choice

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos offered a vague look at the Trump Administration’s plans for school choice during her keynote at the American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit.

In her remarks, DeVos again emphasized the administration’s support for local control of education, and she urged states to invest in school choice plans.

She also highlighted examples of students who have used school choice programs to achieve academic success.…Read More

In a shaky political climate, here’s why students are more important than ever

Politics is a funny beast. Being a journalist, I watch the gyrations and positioning with interest. When I was coming up in the business, I used to cover town council and school board meetings. It’s amazing; even then you could go to any town council or school board meeting anywhere and find remarkable similarities. With all the changes in the world over the last 30 plus years, politics still look the same to me.

Because I’m staunchly southern, one of my restaurants of choice is my local Waffle House. I remember a recent conversation I had there over a cup of coffee and hash browns, smothered, covered and chunked. My companion and love of my life, Kristy Holloway, remarked that you could go to any Waffle House in the country and see the same customers, same waitresses and same kitchen staff. The same well-defined personalities playing the same roles. And the same holds true for politics—the big-time politics you see in the news and the politics you don’t see in every school district in America.

Education Bigger than Politics…Read More

Making the case for common K-12 standards

Education is changing, things are in flux, and there is uncertainty. In this ever-dynamic landscape, “common” standards for education seemingly get a bad rap, but they’re useful, particularly for the development and distribution of open education resources (OER).

The key to creating and curating great OER that will survive the choppy waters of policy changes is to maintain education standards that can operate independently from Common Core, or any state or federally mandated standards.

When OER curation was in its infancy, there were few common standards in place for vetting and cataloging this content. At Knovation, after years of hands-on experience with over a million educational resources, frequent interactions with teachers and students, and by partnering with experts in their field, we have developed common standards that allow curation processes to scale and flourish.…Read More

Reactions flare to DeVos’ confirmation

President Donald Trump’s nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos for U.S. Education Secretary caused immediate and intense reactions from supporting and opposing sides.

Her final approval by the U.S. Senate, which required Vice President Pence to cast a historic vote to break a 50-50 tie, shows just how turbulent her nomination process was. That approval came after a close party-line vote in the Senate HELP Committee.

Democrats have consistently argued that DeVos is unqualified to hold a national education position because she has never taught, attended, or sent her children to public schools. She stumbled over important issues in her confirmation hearings, including IDEA requirements, proficiency versus growth, and whether schools receiving taxpayer dollars should be held to the same accountability standards.…Read More

Here’s what schools need to know about ESSA right now

Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told the Council of Chief State Schools Officers (CCSSO) that states should continue to move forward with their ESSA plans. However, accountability regulations may be significantly changed. What exactly does this mean for schools?

The Difference between NCLB, ESSA and Common Core

In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was implemented, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Due to the rapid transition from NCLB to ESSA, it is important for educators and vendors to be aware of the key differences between the two. Steve Rowley, CEO of Acumen Partners, and with Michael Campbell, vice president of Acumen Partners, presented the latest updates on ESSA in the webinar, “Making Sense of ESSA: What You Need to Know,” co-hosted by edWeb.net and MCH Strategic Data.…Read More

10 high-need education policy areas for 2017

Competition for jobs is increasing thanks to an ever-growing global economy. Today’s students are preparing for jobs that, in some cases, do not yet exist. In order to ensure students’ college and career readiness, the K-12 and higher education systems must be strengthened, according to a policy paper from New America, a non-partisan think tank.

Citing low student engagement, high dropout rates and gaping opportunity differences between high-income and low-income groups, New America’s Education Policy program identified a list of 10 essential education policy actions for the Trump administration, Congress, and state and local policymakers.

…Read More

After ethics review, Senate postpones vote for Betsy DeVos

According to the Washington Post:

“The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has postponed the vote on Trump’s education pick Betsy DeVos, hours after receiving the completed ethics review for the Michigan billionaire.

The committee vote, originally scheduled to take place Tuesday has been rescheduled for Jan. 31 at 10 a.m., according to a statement from the HELP committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). The announcement arrived after the Office of Government Ethics, an agency that examines nominees’ financial disclosures and resolves potential conflicts of interest, released its long-awaited report Friday. Alexander said he wants to give each Senator on the committee time to review the documents.…Read More

DeVos confirmation hearing elicits intense reactions

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, emerged from her confirmation hearings with Republicans praising her commitment to school choice and with Democrats voicing concerns over what they see as a lack of experience to ensure equity for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

During the hearings, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) did not back down as he repeatedly asked DeVos to address yes-or-no questions about a variety of education issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act–a key federal law that allocates federal funding to schools to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are met.

Kaine and DeVos sparred over the matter of whether all schools–public, public charter or private–should be required to meet IDEA requirements if they receive federal funding.…Read More