Running the numbers: New data on the state-of-play in education

In this week’s Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan:

  • Educator retention hinges on these 3 things
  • E-rate spending reveals schools’ tech evolution
  • New report: Equity, Cybersecurity Top List of State Education Technology Priorities

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All about the IT department: Proven strategies for success…Read More

New York State Education Department Approves Curriculum Associates as a Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) Sponsor

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., September 14, 2020—The New York State Education Department has approved Curriculum Associates as a Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) sponsor. With this approval, educators across New York can now receive state-approved CTLE credits by completing Curriculum Associates’ active, personalized, and research-based professional development courses which can be delivered online or in-person.

“Professional development is so critical to educators’ growth and success, especially now given the challenges of this school year,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “Our courses are tailored to meet the unique needs of each school and district and to support all educators in an engaging and effective way. With the CTLE sponsorship, we look forward to continuing to provide New York educators with both timely and topical professional learning facilitated by former educators who truly understand the ins and outs of classroom teaching.”

Curriculum Associates was chosen as a CTLE sponsor after completing a rigorous review that examined the organization’s procedures to identify, design, and evaluate CTLE activities; procedures and criteria for selecting instructors; procedures to evaluate effectiveness; plan to maintain records; and more. As part of the state requirements, educators must complete 100 CTLE hours every five years.…Read More

Free resources for middle and high school.

Philippe Cousteau, Jr.’s environmental youth leadership organization EarthEcho International offers its free environmental education resources to teachers, students, and families affected by school closings due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Resources are available immediately via the EarthEcho Website: www.EarthEcho.org

The resources, many of which are designed to satisfy national and state education standards, are a collection of live virtual events, recorded videos and short activities designed by teachers and EarthEcho’s education team to support high-quality experiential learning. Most of the videos and activities are intended for middle and high school students but can be utilized with upper elementary students as well.

These materials serve as a unique alternative to assist teachers, parents, and homeschoolers looking for options to keep students engaged in science and conservation during these challenging times. They also equip young people to explore and protect their local natural resources.…Read More

These 3 policy areas could help principals become more effective

New report details how state policymakers can help strengthen, support principals

principals-policyWhile school principals are often low priorities on state education policy agendas, a handful of states have taken steps to strengthen the role principals play in schools, according to a new report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation.

After analyzing how principals are supported and prioritized in a number of states, Paul Manna, professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary and the report’s author, suggests that those states’ actions focus on three areas in policymaking.

1. State leaders can move principals higher on policy agendas. Teachers typically have the larger share of agendas and professional development investments, according to the report. But when principals are elevated in state policy agendas, it can strengthen other state education efforts. “Numerous state education policy initiatives developed during the last two decades depend heavily on excellent principals for their success,” the report notes.…Read More

Opinion: Freezing wages will move education backward

When state legislatures freeze wages, education suffers, says Kit Hawkins for the Post-Bulletin. Post-Bulletin Publisher Randy Chapman wrote an eloquent commentary about the positive opportunity enjoyed by Rochester Chamber members when we attended the Minnesota Chamber of Business conversation entitled “Building a world-class education system.” The luncheon featured U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was blunt in his comments about the state of education in Minnesota. That presentation was followed by a panel of business leaders who offered some concepts to improve our public education system. The final panel included representatives of our Minnesota Legislature who bantered about next steps for Minnesota. They sounded enthusiastic and supportive of education…One week later, I am confused, frustrated and disappointed. What appeared to be the beginning of a nonpartisan, business and education plan for our state’s future is now a legislative effort to pretend to fix schools and solve a budget crisis by micromanaging our school boards and education leaders…

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States’ rights and states’ wrongs on school reform

States are the toast of Washington again. Tea Partiers and the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives idealize them. When Congress read the U.S. Constitution last week, the 10th Amendment – the one reserving power to the states – was an applause line. Of course, celebrating states and localism is nothing new. More than 150 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville declared that it is “the political effects of decentralization that I most admire in America.” More recently, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis hailed states as “laboratories of democracy.” But when it comes to education, we shouldn’t lionize states when they’re too often failing to fix our schools, Time reports.

Consider two recent examples. In 2008 then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings asked states for creative ways to improve failing schools and offered regulatory waivers to support the best ideas. The response? Underwhelming. “States were not bold enough in seeking meaningful and disruptive change to confront school failure,” Spellings told me the other day…

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Editorial: Too many education cooks

For the two decades that California has had a secretary of education, the position has never made much sense. Appointed by the governor, with a staff of a dozen or so people, this post has no real authority because the state Constitution places responsibility for the schools under the elected superintendent of public instruction, the job recently assumed by Tom Torlakson, says the Los Angeles Times. The secretary’s office has accomplished little and has had more than its share of turnover. Gov. Jerry Brown was right to get rid of it; that was an easy save of almost $2 million a year. But to be completely clear, the secretary of education wasn’t the real problem. The underlying mistake is contained in the Constitution, which mandates an elected superintendent. Ideally, Brown would be able to do away with that post and the appointed Board of Education, bring the Education Department under his wing and streamline the bulky and often-contradictory administration of the public schools. The state’s budget crisis gives California an opportunity to reexamine this awkward sharing of powers. The secretary has traditionally advised the governor on legislation and acted as his spokesperson on the schools; the state board, appointed by the governor, draws up education regulations and adopts textbooks and curriculum standards. The state superintendent, who oversees the giant Education Department, is supposed to carry out all these directives…

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Four longtime state education leaders receive national honor

State education leaders from Colorado, Florida, Utah and West Virginia are the recipients of the 2010 Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The national award is given annually to state board of education members in recognition of outstanding service to public education, reports PR Newswire.

“Randy DeHoff, T. Willard Fair, Greg Haws and Barbara Fish are the embodiment of the professionalism and dedication we so need in education leadership,” said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn. “State boards are the backbone of American public education, and this system is at its most effective when board members like our four honorees are involved. Every year, hundreds of citizens serve unsung as the people’s voice in public education by serving on state boards of education and we honor the outstanding commitment in time, motivation and leadership these individuals have contributed to educating the students of their states.”

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