Arne Duncan wants special education students to take general exams

The Huffington Post reports: Should students with disabilities be held to the same academic standards as their peers? And should schools and teachers be held accountable for their progress? U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan answered that question with a resounding yes, proposing a seemingly wonky regulatory change that could have profound effects on some of the nation’s most vulnerable learners. Since President Barack Obama came into office, his administration has upheld and advanced policies that have increased the stakes of standardized testing, arguing that student progress ultimately matters above all other concerns. Policies such as the Race to the Top competition derive from the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, which tied federal school aid to standardized test results. A subsequent 2003 regulation allowed states to use “alternate achievement standards” for up to 1 percent of students with the most challenging cognitive disabilities…

Read the full story

…Read More

CPS school closure ruling: Federal judge says massive Chicago school closure plan can proceed

After a hard-fought battle to save some 50 Chicago Public Schools from closing, a federal judge dealt the fatal blow to the city’s school closing opponents in a new ruling, the Huffington Post reports. U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee denied the plaintiffs’ preliminary injunctions against closing schools in court Thursday. As the Sun-Times reports, Judge Lee ruled he will not bar CPS from closing 49 elementary schools and a high school program, effectively squashing school closing opponents’ last legal option to halt the massive shutdown. In his 54-page ruling, Judge Lee wrote the plaintiff’s failed to prove students forced to attend new schools “would suffer substantial harm as a result of the school closures,” the Associated Press reports…

Read the full story

…Read More

Now is the time for digital tech to transform K-12 learning

The time has come to extend digital connectivity to every student in every classroom, the Huffington Post reports. Access to the internet is an essential tool for equipping students with 21st century skills. And as the debate over the future of education heats up, traditional learning methods are being called into question, and we’re starting to see the K-12 landscape being reshaped in bold new ways. As the world continues its love affair with smart phones and tablets, mobile has become so essential to our lives that most people couldn’t imagine life without it. Over the next five years, smartphone shipments are expected to surpass the seven billion mark, which is roughly the equivalent of the world’s population…

Read the full story

…Read More