January 2012 Archives

Another Side of Globalization and Education

The Washington Post's Steven Perlstein (via Matt Yglesias) takes a look at how economic, technological and business evolutions in recent decades have negatively impacted civic leadership at the regional level, as regionally focused companies that previously viewed their fortunes as tied to particular regions or communities have disappeared, and the larger multinational corporations no longer have a particular stake in specific regions or communities. Though Perlstein doesn't mention it, this is an issue that is particularly relevant for education: Historically, business leaders have had both an interest in a well-educated workforce and the authority and political clout to lead on ...


Now, About this RTT for Districts Thing....

In a recent Ed Week interview, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signals that he'd like to use the bulk of $550 million in new federal RTT funds to fund an RTT competition for school districts--something the Congressional appropriation language gives him the authority to do. This makes some sense, given that some districts that are leading the way on education reform suffer the bad luck of being located in states that either didn't participate in RTT, or just kinda suck on education reform. On the other hand, the idea raises a whole host of questions and implications, including: • Who would...


Early Learning Challenge is NOT About Pre-K

Last year, when the administration announced that it was going to devote $500 million in Race to the Top funds to the Early Learning Challenge Grant competition, a bunch of K-12 reform folks asked me about the "pre-k Race to the Top." And I always had to start out by explaining that, "actually, Early Learning Challenge is not a pre-k program, but is more about building statewide systems and improving child care quality across the range of programs serving 0-5 year olds"--which was about when my K-12 focused friends' eyes started to glaze over..... So maybe this chart (click ...


What Does it Mean to Say We Want Teachers to Be a Profession on Par with Doctors?

One interesting result of the the seemingly ever-increasing vogue for evoking Finland in education reform conversations is that it's become a sort of conventional wisdom that "In Finland, teaching is a high-status profession, comparable to doctors," a statement I most recently saw evoked by omnipresent Finnish educator and Finnish-style reform (whatever that means) evangelist Pasi Sahlberg in this Ed Week forum. Then someone controlling edweek's twitter feed asked if teachers should be on the same pay scale as doctors. Obviously, it makes intuitive sense that if we value teaching, we should respect teachers (although I think it's possible to get ...


Focus on ELC Focus Areas: E-Z Does it and Competitive Preference

Now we look at ELC Focus Area E, which was about systems for measuring outcomes and progress. Specifically, Focus Area E asked states to address one or both of two criteria: • Kindergarten Entry Assessment [E(1)] • Early Learning Data Systems [E(2)] This criterion was also worth 40 points, divided evenly among the number of criteria the state chose to address. But there's an important twist! ELC also included a competitive preference priority linked to Kindergarten Entry Assessment: Specifically, states that answered criterion E(1) and earned 70% of the total possible points could receive an additional 10 "competitive...


Why Early Childhood Advocates Should Care About College Costs

My friend Kevin Carey, writing in The New Republic, offers a bold and novel strategy to create new affordable higher education options for students and reign in the growth of college tuition--which has grown much more rapidly than inflation in recent decades. This idea is in many ways a large scale version of the approach Kevin and I laid out last year to create new "charter colleges of early childhood education"--but while that proposal was focused primarily on developing cost-effective ways to improve the skills and knowledge of early childhood educators, Kevin's is about overhauling the entire higher education ...


Focus on ELC Focus Areas: It's D-Liteful!

Today we take a look at ELC Focus Area D, which asks states to describe their plans for building a great early childhood workforce. This Focus Area, which was worth 40 points, had 2 components: • D(1)Developing a Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework and progression of credentials • D(2)Supporting early childhood educators in improving their knowledge, skills, and abilities States had to address at least one of these two components. 12 States chose to address only one component, and 35 (including D.C. and Puerto Rico) addressed both. Of the 12 states that chose to address only 1...


Focus on ELC Focus Areas: What Do You C?

This week, I'm going to be taking a look at ELC Focus Areas--3 sections of the ELC application in which states were allowed to make some choices about what elements to address, as opposed to the 2 Core Areas in which states had to address all components. The Focus Areas and Core Areas each counted for 140 points of the application's total 300 possible, with an additional 20 points available for addressing two "Competitive Preference Priorities" worth 10 points each. As I mentioned last week, California's unexpected win in the Early Learning Challenge competition owed a great deal to its ...


So How Did California Win an ELC Grant, Anyway?

When ELC grant winners were announced last month, California's win was one thing that had a lot of folks scratching their heads. How, folks asked, can a state with California's budget woes, that lacks a fully operational statewide QRIS, that just got ruled out for Round 3 of Race to the Top and had to return a federal grant to build out its data systems be a winner in this competition? I took a look at the scoring results to find out. The primary answer is that California made good choices in the 3 "focus areas" of ELC (where states ...


ELC Score Surprise: 3 States that Didn't Meet the Absolute Priority

This week I look at interesting takeaways from the state ELC applications and scoring. States competing for the Early Learning Challenge grant earned points for how well their application addressed the grant's selection criteria, as well as how they addressed two "competitive [reference priorities." But in addition to the selection criteria and competitive priorities, ELC also included an "absolute priority"--a priority that states have to address in order to be considered for the grant. Three states that applied for the Early Learning Challenge--Iowa, Kansas, and West Virginia--were judged by reviewers not to meet the absolute priority (as was Puerto ...


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