The new federal education law is supposed to return to the states greater control over their public schools. But judging from the mood recently at the annual conference of the Education Commission of the States, the states are anything but optimistic about the future, or about the new law. The apprehension reminded me of the 1989 education summit convened by President George H.W. Bush. Back then the goal was to persuade governors to adopt a set of national education goals. All but a couple of states bought into the idea of "systemic change" with support from the federal government. view article arw

California teachers received the largest average pay increase in the nation last year and about four times the national average, according to a new report. The report, Ranking of the States 2016 and Estimates of School Statistics 2017, was published in May by the National Education Association. It annually tracks trends year over year and compares states on a number of measures including teacher pay, student enrollment, and spending. view article arw

 A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by more than a dozen Louisiana residents trying to remove the state's public schools superintendent from office. The lawsuit claimed Superintendent of Education John White needed to be reconfirmed by the state Senate to continue holding the position. view article arw

The attorneys general of 18 states and the District of Columbia are suing the U.S. Department of Education over a rule to protect student loan borrowers that was supposed to go into effect July 1. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had announced a "reset" of the rule, known as "borrower defense to repayment," on June 14. view article arw

A recent Brookings report reviewed the evidence on several specific issues related to public pre-K programs. These scaled-up state or district programs are intended to prepare four-year-olds for kindergarten. They are less intensive than the much smaller and heavily studied early childhood experiments, such as the Perry Preschool or Abecedarian programs, that have been shown to generate large long-term benefits relative to their costs. view article arw

When Trayvon McKoy moved to Washington, D.C., from Maryland about two years ago, he'd never played drums before in his life. Then, when he enrolled at Ballou High School, he says he didn't have much choice. "I didn't even want to be in the band. My parents forced me." They also played in the band at Ballou when they were students here. "And it's probably one of the best things that's probably ever happened to me," he says. view article arw

Liberal Arts in the Data Age

June 3008:25 AM
 

College students who major in the humanities always get asked a certain question. They’re asked it so often—and by so many people—that it should come printed on their diplomas. That question, posed by friends, career counselors, and family, is “What are you planning to do with your degree?” But it might as well be “What are the humanities good for?” view article arw

The call came in from two leading researchers of the World Bank. “Preschool is on the international agenda. As we roll out programs around the globe we’re concerned about doing it right—ensuring high quality and having a strong evidenced based curriculum. So what’s the deal? We’ve heard misgivings about the whole-child approach.” view article arw

Teaching children according to their individual “learning style” does not achieve better results and should be ditched by schools in favour of evidence-based practice, according to leading scientists. Thirty eminent academics from the worlds of neuroscience, education and psychology have signed a letter to the Guardian voicing their concern about the popularity of the learning style approach among some teachers. view article arw

The current dilemma facing Oklahoma educators can be articulated through the state's two most recent teacher of the year honorees. Shawn Sheehan, formerly a math teacher in Norman and the 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, announced last month his decision to leave the state in search of better pay and better working conditions in neighboring Texas. Jon Hazell, a science teacher from Durant and the current teacher of the year for Oklahoma, has spent most of his tenure as the state's top educator essentially begging his fellow teachers to stay and fight. view article arw

BOULDER, CO (June 20, 2017) – EdChoice and the American Enterprise Institute each recently released a report contending that the introduction of school choice can promote economic development in economically distressed urban areas. The first report presents a case study of a charter school that has, according to the report, contributed to the economic development of the city of Santa Ana, California. The second report presents a proposal for a hypothetical voucher-like program that, if implemented, would purportedly spur economic development in high-poverty neighborhoods by luring higher income families into those neighborhoods. view article arw

The Mississippi Department of Education is firing a testing company, saying scoring errors raise questions about the graduation status of nearly 1,000 students statewide. The state Board of Education revoked a contract with NCS Pearson in closed session Friday, after the Pearson PLC unit told officials it used the wrong table to score U.S. history exams for students on track to graduate this spring. view article arw

Here in Virginia, our public schools and students are consistently ranked among the best in the nation. We have built on that record of accomplishment by working closely with our federal, state and local partners.  By aligning our education pipeline with the New Virginia Economy, we have helped lay the groundwork for more young people to succeed. In 2016, Governor McAuliffe secured more than $1 billion for our K-12 and higher education systems. view article arw

A self-made Vermonter, Glenn Bowman has sent both his children to out-of-state prep schools. His son plays lacrosse and football at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and his daughter studied advanced dance at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. As the owner of a successful soapstone company that’s been featured on Martha Stewartand mentioned in The New York Times, Bowman could pay the $50,000-plus annual tuitions at each school out of his own pocket, he said. But he doesn’t have to. view article arw

You will likely have encountered the common assertion that we need to send people into trade schools to address problems like college dropout rates and soft labor markets for certain categories of workers. As The Atlantic recently pointed out, the idea that we need to be sending more people to trade and tech schools has broad bipartisan, cross-ideological appeal. This argument has a lot of different flavors, but it tends to come down to the claim that we shouldn’t be sending everyone to college (I agree!) and that instead we should be pushing more people into skilled trades. Oftentimes this is encouraged as an apprenticeship model over a schooling model. view article arw

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made it clear, appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday, that she sees no connection between school funding and school performance. As evidence, she criticized the Obama Administration's $7 billion grant program to improve struggling schools, an effort that yielded no significant impacts in test scores or graduation rates. view article arw

For more than a decade, standardized-test scores have been the dominant metric for measuring what public-school students know and are able to do. No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education law enacted in 2002, ushered in a new era of student testing and school compliance. And in the years that followed—to meet targets and avoid sanctions—education leaders at the local and state levels have sought a variety of ways to boost students’ performance on tests, including extending the school day and giving bonus pay to teachers based on students’ test scores. Even less conventional methods, such as banning cell phones and offering yoga-like exercises, emerged as school administrators pursued the holy grail of high standardized-test scores. view article arw

More than a dozen elementary school students in Fremont had to be tested for HIV and hepatitis after being poked with a needle that a fellow student brought onto campus. "I thought I was going to get very sick and die slowly," said eight-year-old Bryan Bullock. Bullock says he was walking on campus when another student stopped him.   view article arw

 Some parents of Shawnee Mission School District students in eastern Kansas aren't happy to learn the public school district has bought eight semi-automatic rifles for its school resource officers. The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/2sRjtXo ) the rifles were bought in 2015, but that parents only recently learned of them. view article arw

California must be so flush with cash that it simply doesn’t care how many millions are lost to charter school scams. In California, accountability ranges between lax to non-existent, and charter leaders use public money with no oversight. Sometimes they are honest; sometimes they are not. Does it matter? Apparently the public doesn’t mind squandering its tax dollars to help charter owners get rich. view article arw

TOPEKA, Kan. — The sudden end of Kansas’ aggressive income tax reductions serves as a cautionary tale for other GOP-dominated states about the pitfalls of moving too far too quickly, some Republicans said Wednesday.  Legislators on Tuesday night overrode Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill that largely rolls back the income tax cuts he championed in recent years. They concluded the cash-strapped state needed the extra revenue to fix the budget and raise additional funds for public schools.  The conservative governor refused to take questions Wednesday from reporters after publicly decrying lawmakers’ votes the night before as harmful to the state’s economy. view article arw

Carson City, Nevada, June 5 - Backed by a strong grassroots campaign, Nevada lawmakers decisively rejected Senate Bill 506, Governor Brian Sandoval's proposal to spend $60 million in public funds to revive an "education savings account" (ESA) voucher program previously declared unconstitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court.  With the Legislature's biennium session set to end June 5, the defeat of the Governor's bill puts an end to proponents' three-year effort to bring private school vouchers to the Silver State. The nation's most expansive ESA voucher law, Senate Bill 302, was enacted in the last biennium session in June 2015. The program never got off the ground after a group of public school parents challenged the law in court.  view article arw

The police officer who fatally shot the man responsible for a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University last year has received an award for his actions. WBNS-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2si9HA7 ) OSU officer Alan Horujko has received the Steven Michael Smith Valor Award from the Ohio Tactical Officers Association. The award is named for a Columbus officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2016. view article arw

The Republican chairman of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee expressed deep skepticism Tuesday that President Trump’s education budget would survive congressional scrutiny, saying that proposals for drastic cuts in crucial programs would run into bipartisan opposition.  “This is a difficult budget request to defend,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a hearing held by the subcommittee on labor, health and human services. “I think it’s likely that the kinds of cuts that are proposed in this budget will not occur, so we need to fully understand your priorities and why they are your priorities.” view article arw

Sixth grader Ananya Vinay went head to head with Oklahoma eighth grader Rohan Rajeev for 20 rounds in what was described as a marathon day that began more than 12 hours earlier before winning the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday. “It’s like a dream come true, I’m so happy right now,” she said after she was handed the trophy. view article arw

Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.  The administration would channel part of the savings into its top priority: school choice. It seeks to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies. view article arw

A new report shows Oklahoma isn't a particularly hospitable state for one group of well-educated professionals, and ranks far below neighboring Texas. Teachers? Nope. Nurses.  Analysts working for WalletHub reviewed all 50 states based on numerous metrics to determine which are the most “conducive to both personal and professional success” for new nurses. Oklahoma ranked 36th. No state bordering Oklahoma ranked lower, and our state's rank was far below several bordering states. New Mexico ranked second. Texas ranked fourth. Colorado ranked fifth. view article arw

Republicans late Monday unveiled compromise legislation to prevent North Carolina school districts from potentially having to cut supplemental programs or that could cause crowding in other classrooms next fall. The measure is intended to meet more slowly a mandate to reduce average class sizes in early grades. The bill, approved by the Senate education committee, addresses upcoming requirements to reduce the maximum class sizes in kindergarten through third grade that would more closely match state funding to hire teachers in these grades. view article arw

There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It's the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, says in an article in the Washington Post, "Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism."  view article arw

A Mississippi school district has been ordered to desegregate its schools after what the Justice Department called a five-decade-long legal battle. The Cleveland School District, about two hours northwest of Jackson, was told that it must consolidate its schools in order to provide real desegregation for students in the city of about 12,000. view article arw