May 2010 Archives

U.S. House (Finally) Passes STEM Education Bill

The U.S. House today approved legislation to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act, following partisan wrangling in recent weeks that had delayed final action.

Common Standards: Sing It, Aretha!

As we move into what I've come to think of as adoption season for the common standards, states have much to think about. But the Race to the Top competition doesn't give states much time to think things over. (To maximize their points in that competition, they have to promise to adopt common standards by Aug. 2.) That's why some have been arguing that the federal education department should consider easing up on that Aug. 2 deadline. Deciding whether to supersede your own standards, which took boatloads of time, money and political juice to put in place, is no small ...

Former Justice Says 'No Child' Law Undermines Civics Ed.

Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggests that the No Child Left Behind Act holds some blame for the weak knowledge of civics among young people.

West Virginia Approves Common Standards

West Virginia gives conditional approval to the common standards.

Common Standards Create Race to Top Snags in Two States

Common standards factor into Virginia's decision to pull out of Race to the Top and prove a stumbling point in Oklahoma legislation designed to enhance its position for the federal contest.

Hawaii, Maryland Tentatively OK Common Standards

Hawaii and Maryland become the second and third states to adopt the common standards even before they are out in final form.

Texans Must Study 'Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits'

Texas's standards require students to study the "free enterprise system and its benefits."

Seeking an End to the 'Massachusetts Madness'

You've been reading here about Massachusetts' tightrope walk on Race to the Top and the common standards. You remember: the state, much revered for its high academic standards, says it will not adopt the common standards if they are less rigorous than its own. But to be best positioned to win a chunk of the money available under Race to the Top, it has to promise by the June 1 RTT application deadline to adopt the common standards—which won't be released in their final form until June 2—by August 2. What's a state to do? Some people are...

The Texas Social Studies Debate Is Over, or Is It?

The Texas state board of education has completed work on controversial new standards for social studies, but critics suggest this isn't the final word on the matter.

Common Standards: Focus Soon Shifts to State Adoption

Colorado, like other states, is hashing out how to mesh adoption of common standards with its own newly revised standards.

Hussein? Texas Board Debates Mention of Obama's Middle Name

As I wrote the other day, the Texas state school board is back in action this week, focusing its energy on debating, and debating, new social studies standards. It's expected to hold a final vote on the standards later today. Among the topics of discussion? Whether to include President Obama's full middle name, Hussein—which, of course, also happens to be the last name of a former dictator in the Middle East—in a standard that calls on high school history students to examine the historical significance of the 2008 presidential election, reports the Dallas Morning News. David Bradley,...

Not Exactly Smooth Sailing for America COMPETES Bill

Efforts to pass STEM legislation in the House are proving tougher than expected, amid partisan wrangling.

Can We Get Comparability Without One National Test?

In a new paper, the College Board, the ETS, and Pearson Learning explore ways to get test-score comparability across multiple assessments.

New Urban NAEP Results Out: 8th Graders See Small Gains

New NAEP results show that 8th graders in large cities posted small gains in reading over the past two years.

Texas Board Back for Last Round in Social Studies Debate

The Texas state board of education is expected to wrap up work on controversial new social studies standards this week.

Mass. Group Seeks Common-Standards Communications

A Massachusetts group demands communications exchanged on the common standards.

Massachusetts: Pulling Out of Race to Top Round 2?

Massachusetts says it's reconsidering applying for Round 2 of Race to the Top.

Additional Players in Race to Top Assessment Contest?

The ETS, College Board and Pearson Learning form a new collaborative on assessment to support the Race to the Top initiative.

A Controversial Way to Teach Geometry

A teacher illustrates a geometry lesson by discussing the angles students would need to calculate if they were shooting at the president.

Common Standards: Bumps in the Road to State Adoption?

As states consider adopting the common standards, some areas of wariness come into focus.

Will States Use Common Standards to Boost Race to Top Bids?

States consider the points that adopting the common standards can provide in applying for Round 2 of Race to the Top funds.

Broad Gains Seen in Educational Attainment

A new study, while showing increasing educational attainment by all groups of Americans, still shows troubling lags and gaps.

Why the Race to Top Assessment Competition Is Important

The former education director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation argues that states have a grand opportunity in the Race to the Top assessment competition.

Chicago Museum, University Launch Science Ed. Program

A Chicago museum and university are teaming up to offer a new teacher-training program in science.

What K-12 Can Do to Ease the Latino College-Completion Gap

A new paper from WestEd outlines what schools must do to ensure that Latino students are prepared for college and careers.

Protesters in Idaho Suggest IB Program Is Anti-American

Protesters in Idaho express concern that the IB program spreads anti-American ideas in U.S. schools.

Anti-Porn Measure Stalls House Vote on STEM Bill

House Democrats pulled the America COMPETES Act from the House floor without a final vote, in the face of a surprise Republican maneuver.

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies Classes

Arizona bans courses that promote "ethnic solidarity."

Final Common Standards Due Out June 2

The final version of the common standards is due for release on June 2.

'National Lab Day': It's More Than Just a Day

National Lab Day aims to promote hands-on science learning.

Is Texas Disguising Dropouts as Home-Schooled Students?

Experts raise questions about whether thousands of home-schooled students are actually dropouts.

New President for Math Teachers' Group Highlights Agenda

The NCTM's new president discusses his group's agenda for the year.

Mich. House, Senate Back Plan to Make Algebra II Optional

The Michigan House and Senate have overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow students to opt out of an Algebra II requirement if they obtain their parents' permission.

Creeping Kudzu and Teaching Writing: the Connection

The editor of a journal for student research papers argues that an "evidence-based" approach to literacy instruction can undermine good teaching.

More Contenders for Race to Top Assessment Competition?

The College Board and ACT Inc., are soliciting state interest in forming consortia to apply for Race to the Top money for high school end-of-course tests.

Trying Out the Common Standards in Urban Districts

Six urban districts are reported to be participants in a plan to pilot the common standards.

Friday Reading Roundup

Stories worth reading on what makes schools for boys of color work, and on reading-comprehension research.

CDC Analysis Suggests P.E. Can Boost Student Learning

A new federal study finds "substantial evidence" that physical activity can help improve student achievement.

More on That Mystery Consortium in RTT Test Contest

More details emerge about a consortium planning to apply for Race to the Top Assessment money.

ASCD Plans Professional Development for Common Standards

ASCD plans to design professional development for the common standards.

The Role of Common Standards in the New ESEA

A Senate hearing the other day was something of a lovefest for the common-core standards.

Race to Top Test Competition: Who's in the Game?

Remember that other Race to the Top competition? The one that will dole out $350 million for development and implementation of assessments aligned to common standards? Well, we have our first official indication of who's going to apply for that money. Those of you wonky enough to have followed every breath of this thing are going to jump all over me and say that we already had an inkling of who was going to apply. And that's true; we've reported on the evolution of the applicant groups, or "consortia," and how their applications will be judged, in stories here and ...

Kalamazoo School Wins (That Other) Race to Top

Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan has won the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.

Common-Standards Writers Speak: Chapter 2

We don't get a chance very often to hear from the folks who are leading the writing of the common-core standards. Just a couple weeks ago, David Coleman (English/language arts) and Jason Zimba (math) discussed the project at length at a forum here in Washington. Now, excerpts from video interviews with two of the other lead writers, Sally Hampton (ELA) and Phil Daro (math), are being posted on the website of America's Choice, where both are senior fellows. The interview clips, posted on the organization's "common-core-standards resources" page, are brief but interesting. (Hampton's are up now; Daro's are forthcoming.) ...

State Reviews New Batch of Digital Texts in California

California has reviewed a new set of digital textbooks for use in classrooms statewide.

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