September 2010 Archives

STEM Roundup II: Diversity, Engineering Standards, and Computer Science

Several new reports focus on aspects of improving K-12 education in the STEM fields.


Common-Standards Watch: Minnesota's ELA Makes 38

Minnesota becomes the 38th state to adopt the common standards, but only in English/language arts


Common-Standards Watch: South Dakota Takes A Step

The South Dakota board of education votes to move common standards to the public-hearing stage.


Race to Top Assessment Consortia Get More Money

State assessment consortia get more money from federal officials.


STEM Roundup: NGA Plans, Modeling Project for States, NOAA Report

There are still more developments in promoting STEM education this week (beyond Obama's call for 10,000 new STEM teachers over two years). First, the National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices today kicked off a public-private partnership with states and a business alliance called Innovate+Educate to improve STEM education through the "sharing of best practices and leveraging industry investments," according to a press release. Meanwhile, the Business-Higher Education Forum and Raytheon Company yesterday announced a set of new activities to help policymakers and educators improve STEM education. They include a package of "hands-on tools" as well as a ...


Making Common Standards Into Curriculum

Teaching reading across the disciplines is a key challenge of the common standards, argues Core Knowledge Foundation founder E.D. Hirsch Jr.


Science Teacher Wins 'Genius Grant' From MacArthur

A physics and engineering teacher at a California high school is among this year's 23 MacArthur Fellows.


UPDATED: Obama Sets Goal of Recruiting 10,000 New STEM Teachers

President Obama calls for recruiting 10,000 new STEM teachers over the next two years.


Texas Board Adopts Measure on Religious Bias in Textbooks

The Texas state board of education narrowly adopted a nonbinding resolution warning textbook publishers from promoting an "anti-Christian/pro-Islamic" bias in classroom materials.


Texas State Board Debates Resolution on 'Pro-Islamic' Bias in Textbooks

The Texas resolution appeared to have the backing of at least several social conservatives on the state board of education.


Pearson/Montgomery County Curriculum Deal Gets Praise

You've read here about the controversial deal that Maryland's biggest school district made with ed publishing giant Pearson to partner on an elementary-level curriculum. There's been some unpleasantness on this; most recently, the Maryland board of ed unloaded a bit of ire on the Montgomery County school system about it. Now The Washington Post is weighing in, devoting a small but valuable chunk of editorial real estate to wishing everyone could just calm down and see the deal as a win for everybody....


New Report: 'Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited'

The new report outlines a host of recommendations to improve education and research in the STEM fields.


Can States Afford to Implement Common Standards?

The nation's education publishers got a chance to get the president's ear yesterday, and here is what they said: the common standards may be great, but you need to help states afford to put them into practice. The concern about paying for the implementation of the common standards ricocheted around the room yesterday where the school division of the Association of American Publishers was holding its annual fall meeting on Capitol Hill. It was an intimate affair; only about 40 publishing executives listening to speakers outlining the education landscape. One focus was the common standards, an area that is wide ...


College Admissions Exam Smackdown: Another Round

Those of you who were interested in the recent annual SAT report might recall that it yielded some interesting news about the historic rivalry between the SAT and the ACT. For the first time, more students took the ACT than the SAT, according to traditional measures. When I reported that fact in our Web story, my phone rang almost instantly. The College Board was taking issue with my representation of the SAT's loss of dominance, pointing out that its numbers—which included, for the first time, a group of students it hadn't reported before—showed more students taking the SAT....


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Chief Discusses Plans, Market

Barry O'Callaghan, the CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, talks about his company's plans, the evolving marketplace, and the "tipping point" in education.


Md. Stops Short of Making Environmental Ed. a Graduation Requirement

Maryland board calls for integrating environmental education into the curriculum, but stops short of embracing a plan to make it a graduation requirement.


Reading Roundup: First Curriculum, Then Assessment

An author of the common standards cautions against developing tests for the common standards before developing curriculum.


Feds Should Enlarge Role in Adolescent Literacy, Report Says

A new policy brief outlines steps the federal government should take to improve literacy development at the middle and high school levels.


Criticism of Texas Social Studies Standards Overblown, Analyst Says

The new Texas social studies standards are "for the most part conventional and inclusive," despite the controversy, an analyst concludes.


Obama Touts STEM Education Report, New Initiatives

President Obama today highlighted a new report calling for new federal steps to improve STEM education and announced some new private initiatives.


Adult-Literacy Caucus Forms in U.S. House

A new bipartisan caucus in the U.S. is focused on improving adult literacy.


White House Panel Issues Report on STEM Education

The Presidential Council of Advisers on Science and Technology has just issued a new report calling for new steps to advance STEM education.


GED: A College Pathway That Few Complete

It's pretty well established by now that despite its nickname, the GED is not a "high school equivalency test." Young people who earn a General Educational Development certificate don't fare as well in earnings or in postsecondary education as those who graduate from high school. But now a new study suggests that the GED offers a key pathway to college for those who didn't finish high school. At the same time, it offers sobering reminders that few GED recipients go far enough along that pathway to reap most of its benefits. The study was circulated to insiders earlier this spring, ...


Obama to Students: Work Hard, Take Pride in Differences

You've probably heard about Obama's back to school speech (transcript here, video here, our PK-12 blog post here). Steering clear of the controversy sparked by last year's speech, he urged students to dream big and write their own destinies, no matter how difficult their current circumstances may be. Anything is within reach with hard work and attention to one's studies, he said. He recounted that he was "kind of a goof-off" in high school, and his mom had to sit him down and exhort him to apply himself. He even worked in an anti-bullying plea for tolerance. Wonder if the ...


Science Board Urges Steps to Nurture 'STEM Innovators'

The board of experts in science and engineering sees a pressing need to better identify and nurture "STEM innovators," and calls for efforts to "cast a wide net."


Calif. Measure Has Arts Education Advocates Up in Arms

A California bill aimed at reducing the dropout rate has critics worried that it will erode arts education in schools.


Advisory Panel to Offer Obama Ideas for Advancing STEM Education

A White House advisory panel is getting ready to issue a report with ideas for how the federal government can help to improve STEM education in the United States.


SAT Scores: A New Group Shifts the Picture

The College Board includes a previously excluded group of students in its annual report, which lowers test scores a point but allows it to claim that it maintains a popularity edge over rival ACT.


Friday Roundup Part II: Math, Arts Ed., Financial Literacy, and Book Bans

A quick roundup of developments in math, financial literacy, arts education, and book banning.


Friday Roundup: 21st-Century Skills, Reading Programs

A couple of curriculum-related bits for you this morning: • We told you recently that the Partnership for 21st Century Skills was moving in with the Council of Chief State School Officers. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute's Checker Finn weighs in on this in the organization's weekly newsletter. (Hint: he doesn't have buckets of love to heap on P21. Along with a list of others, Finn's been critical of P21's ideas, arguing that they shortchange knowledge in the push for skills.) • An interesting bit of research surfaced the other day that carries a disappointing message for how well supplemental reading...


Georgia Plans to Require Science as a Measure of AYP

Georgia is planning to require all elementary and middle schools to use science achievement as a factor in making AYP under the No Child Left Behind Act.


Reading Roundup: An Angry Board of Ed, Gates Report

A few bits to peruse on this late summer morning: • The Maryland board of education gets on its biggest district's case for the controversial curriculum contract it signed with Pearson (more about that contract here). • Whiteboard Advisors, a consulting outfit here in Washington, takes an "insiders' survey" about perceptions of the two state consortia that recently won Race to the Top assessment grants. It finds some intriguing things, and offers a little tease here. Full results are due out tomorrow. • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation highlights its work on the common-core standards in its annual report (see Page 5). ...


New Video Series Tackles the 'Science of Football'

A new video series intended for classroom use will explore the "science of football."


NSF Awards $2 Million to Study Russian Math Curriculum

A $2 million grant from the NSF will enable researchers to study an elementary math curriculum developed in Russia.


Race to Top Assessments: Experts Weighing In Today

The blogosphere hasn't exactly been spilling over with chat about the Race to the Top assessment grants awarded last week. (See story here, more on Ed Sec Arne Duncan's speech here, and details about how the consortia were judged here.) If you are craving more dialogue about these potentially influential new tests, you might want to drop by the National Journal, which is devoting a good chunk of space to that topic today. The entries are just now trickling in, so keep checking back as they stack up. The National Journal's experts-in-education forums typically draw thought-provoking input from heavy-hitters in ...


Texas Proposal Envisions Cuts to Textbook Budget

Texas may cut state spending on textbooks and science labs as part of a budget plan produced by the state education agency.


How Reviewers Rated the Race to Top Assessment Contenders

A look at the scoring sheets offers some insight into the winners—and the review process.


Duncan: New Assessments Will Be "Game-Changing"

As you know if you've been reading this space, Ed Secretary Arne Duncan announced the winners of the Race to the Top assessment competition yesterday. (Check our story here for a catch-up if needed.) We linked you to his speech yesterday, but it's meaty enough that it's worth revisiting today. It's not that there was anything new or groundbreaking in the address; it's just that Duncan situates the assessment announcement more fully in the context of the administration's priorities and goals than is often the case. If you had any doubt about what Duncan and his boss envision for teaching, ...


Two State Consortia Win Race to Top Assessment Grants

Two state groups win federal Race to the Top funding to design comprehensive testing systems, and a third, vying for funding for high school tests, fails to make the grade.


Race to Top Assessment Winners to be Announced Today

Winners of the Race to the Top assessment grants will be announced this morning.


K-8 Model May Hold Advantage Over Middle School, Study Suggests

A new study suggests that students may be better off attending a K-8 school than moving to a stand-alone middle school.


Lawmakers Seek to Keep Texas Content Out of Calif. Textbooks

The California legislature has approved a plan intended to prevent controversial new social studies standards in Texas from reaching Golden State classrooms.


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