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STEM's "Great Challenges"

Last week 100Kin10 announced $28.175 million in pledges from 19 foundations and corporations, 7 of whom are new to the Funders' Collaborative. This round of pledges brings the total amount of dollars committed to support 100Kin10 partners' STEM teaching work to $103 million since 2012. 100Kin10 also launched an interactive map that illustrates how various challenges in STEM education are intricately interconnected.

This is the kind of announcement that the Obama administration would have celebrated with a White House gathering. President Obama focused a lot of attention on STEM. Unable to free up any federal funding, his administration took the approach of enlisting a wide range of private sector supporters who committed to a variety of activities to support the overarching goal of advancing STEM in education. That's where 100Kin10 comes in. Read More »

House Marks Up ED Budget

Congress is moving ahead on moving its Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills forward. While The House is making cuts to domestic spending levels, they are taking a much more moderate approach than the one proposed by the President in his FY 2018 budget request. The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its draft spending bill on Thursday. It appropriated $66 billion for the Department of Education, a reduction of $2.4 billion from FY 2017. Cuts are never easy to accept, though this is a better deal than the more than $9 billion the President wanted to cut. The bigger problem is that most of that $2.4 billion comes from the elimination of ESSA's Supporting Effective Instruction program (Title II) much of which is used by districts to fund teacher professional development. Read More »

Industry Views of ESSA

Last month I asked readers to share their views about the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) and their expectations about the legislation's impact on their businesses. It's time to share the results. In general, the jury is still out. Nearly half (44%) of responding companies are "not sure" if putting most policy and program implementation decisions in the hands of states, combined with light regulation on the part of the Department of Education will be good for business. There are still a lot of unknowns. While Secretary DeVos has rescinded a number of ESSA regulations put in place by the previous administration, there are no clear indications of what approach the Department will now take on a variety of issues. Read More »

Google, Microsoft and Platforms at ISTE 2017

By all reports ISTE 2017 was big, busy, and buzzy. Lots of that buzz came from Google, who continues to enhance Google Classroom and expand its other education programs. At ISTE, the company announced Google Cast for Education, a free app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom and updated Quizzes on Google Forms to allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions. Teachers can also add review materials, like explanations, supplemental websites or review videos—and get instant feedback on student progress. Read More »

Future Ready Librarians, School Finance Report

The news from Future Ready Librarians (see the story in today's Feature News section) about the development of a micro-credential for librarians—"Empowering Students as Creators" got fairly wide coverage this week. I was surprised that a number of outlets positioned the story as a "reboot" for school libraries or a "New role" for school librarians. I read it more as a validation of the central role school librarians play in ensuring that their students are literate in every sense of the word. Librarians were on the front line of introducing technology to schools, setting up pods of PCs in the library, searching out learning software and productivity tools and supporting the early "computer literacy" efforts. Libraries quickly transformed into learning centers, places where students could get help with online research, borrow a digital camera, edit a video, learn to create a web page, work together on projects and still find a quiet corner to enjoy a favorite book. And libraries continue to evolve, today often hosting a maker space, supporting all kinds of project-based learning and helping teachers find resources that allow then to flip their classrooms. Read More »

Technology Counts 2017

Education Week released "Technology Counts" this week, its annual look at technology use in American schools. Once I got over the shock of realizing that this is the 20th edition of "Technology Counts" (and my own awareness that I've been doing this stuff for a lot longer), I was struck by two different trend lines in the report. One set of stories talks about the rapid evolution and improvement of various technology tools—like projectors and significant advances in numbers of computers purchased and mobile devices. Technology has made it easier to access the rich archival information, primary sources, and video holdings of major museums, libraries, research institutions, and scientific powerhouses like NASA AND NIH, making it possible to expand social studies and science classrooms well beyond local boundaries. Cloud-based productivity tools support collaborative writing and online course are expanding students access to a wealth of offerings. Read More »

DeVos FY18 Budget Testimony

Have you taken our ESSA survey? I'd really like to hear from a broad array of education industry players to help shape our plans for future MDR reporting and analysis of ESSA implementation. As you know, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is scheduled for full implementation starting this fall. We're really curious about what you're thinking. What parts of ESSA do you do want to know more about? What are your expectations about ESSA's impact on your school market business? What questions do you have and what are your major concerns? The eight question survey should take no more than five minutes. We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Click here to go to the MDR ESSA Survey. And thank you! Read More »

ESSA and Professional Learning

I've written a lot about the Every Student Succeeds Act this past year. We're about to go live this fall and I'm wondering what's on your mind as you look forward to this new era of school reform. I hope you're willing to share your thoughts. Scroll down to the Market Insights section below for more information and a link to a really short survey.

I think it's terribly ironic that just as ESSA embedded a clear and research-based definition of professional learning, the federal funding that helps support that learning is threatened. While the president has proposed eliminating Title II funding in his FY 2018 budget request, I really believe it's more likely that Congress will make a more moderate cut accompanied by some program modifications. Read More »

Official FY2018 Budget Proposal Released

As anticipated, the Office of Management and Budget released the official budget request for FY 2018. And, as anticipated, the cuts to domestic program like education (-13%) and the EPA (-31%) are staggering. There are a few important things to remember at this stage of the budget process. Even in good years, an administration's budget proposal is just that—a proposal. President Obama's budget requests for education were largely ignored and President Bush fared only slightly better. The federal purse strings are firmly in the hands of Congress. Of course in the end, the President can veto an appropriations bill, but that's something of a nuclear option and we're a long way from that. Congress has a lot of work to do in order to get its twelve appropriations bills written and passed before the September 30 deadline. There are numerous trade-offs still to be made and bargains to be struck. Read More »

CTE Reauthorization

Despite all the drama in Washington, Congress actually continued to work on real issues. On Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed its Perkins reauthorization bill, H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The markup process proceeded smoothly and only a few changes were made to the introduced version of the bill through amendments. The bill was approved by unanimous voice vote. It's now up to the Senate and there is no set timeline in place for any Senate action. Read More »