You've read before in this blog that the role the federal government is taking—or ought to take—in the development of common standards is a touchy subject. Fresh rounds of evidence popped up yesterday, with the news that President Obama proposes tying Title I money to the adoption of college- and career-ready standards, a clear—though not exclusive—nod to the set currently under development. The National Conference of State Legislatures gave an elbow jab to the feds, as you can see in reading our story about Obama's proposal. Take a look, also, at this announcement from...


New research from Michigan State University suggests that parental influence and access to math courses are likely to guide students to careers in the STEM fields and medicine, says an article in ScienceDaily. The article draws on information presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Only 4 percent of students who experienced low parent encouragement to attend college planned to enter a postsecondary program and major in a STEMM field," said Jon Miller, a professor of integrative studies at Michigan State who presented the findings at the meeting. (Editor's note: The ...


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan apparently told governors at a meeting yesterday that the Obama administration wants to tie billions of dollars in annual Title I aid for low-income students to whether states adopt standards judged to be "college- and career-ready," my colleague Lesli Maxwell is reporting over at State EdWatch. President Barack Obama is meeting today with most of the nation's governors at the White House. During that session, he's expected to share specific proposals for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known in its latest iteration as the No Child Left Behind Act), with a ...


Just as Kentucky this month became the first state to adopt common academic standards for math and English/language arts, a Senate committee in the Bluegrass State has unanimously approved a bill to establish guidelines for teaching Bible literacy in public schools. Stories from the Associated Press and the Courier-Journal newspaper of Louisville both describe the effort, with somewhat different angles. "The purpose is to allow the Bible to be used for its literature content as well as its art and cultural and social studies content," the AP quotes state Sen. David Boswell, a Democrat and the chief sponsor, saying ...


The National Writing Project is getting an $800,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to expand a program that uses digital media to teach young people to write.


One of the guys leading the common-standards initiative sat down in front of a roomful of state board of education members in Philadelphia yesterday and said, "I'm not from the federal government." A wave of chuckles rippled through the room. But he was getting at something serious. The quip by Chris Minnich, who is overseeing the common-standards work for the Council of Chief State School Officers, was intended to ease some of the skepticism about the initiative being led by CCSSO and the National Governors Association. He was appearing with the NGA's David Wakelyn at the third in a series ...


Time for a bracing change of pace for those of you interested in high school issues. The National Center on Education and the Economy is proposing a very different way of doing high school curriculum and assessment, and it's outlined in The New York Times. The folks at NCEE have the idea that if students can pass a set of rigorous board examinations at the end of 10th grade, they should be able to move on to community college. If they aspire to a more selective institution, they can remain in high school and take college-prep classes. (This is an ...


Amid strong opposition, state education officials are apparently backing off a recent proposal to rewrite social studies standards.


Forty-eight states have signed on to support the development of common academic standards. But they may be supporting something that doesn't have much evidence of effectiveness in improving learning, according to a new paper from a think tank here in Washington. In a policy analysis released today, Neal McCluskey, the associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, argues that the case for a set of standards shared by all states is empirically weak. In "Behind the Curtain: Assessing the Case for National Curriculum Standards," he argues that expanding educational choice is a more effective way ...


A task force concludes that the "national system of preparing physics teachers is "largely inefficient, mostly incoherent, and massively unprepared to deal with the current and future needs" of U.S. students.


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