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Arts in Education, House Passes FY 2018 Appropriations Bill

Last week, the Education Commission of the States released "Beyond the Core: Advancing Student Success Through the Arts." The report details research that shows that arts education can have dramatic effects on critical 21st century skills, such as creativity, teamwork and perseverance. Further, while arts education supports success across student groups, disadvantaged and at-risk students often see even greater success through these programs. The arts also provide students with tools and practice in creatively making decisions and solving problems when no prescribed answers exist. Read More »

Senate Education Appropriation Approved

Well it appears we now have a three-month Continuing Resolution that will keep the federal government operating until mid-December. The legislation passed in the Senate on Thursday. The House is voting on the legislation today (Friday) and it is expected to pass largely on the strength of Democratic votes. The CR comes as part of the deal the President crafted along with leading Congressional Democrats to extend the debt ceiling as well as provide emergency funding for hurricane relief. Read More »

49th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll

PDK released the results of its 49th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools this week. While polls of the public about topics like American education reflect public opinion at one point in time, it is true that this specific poll has a long history and can provide a lot of historical context, allowing readers to see how opinion has changed over time. It also explores public attitudes towards emerging trends in the K-12 arena. Read More »

Curriculum as Reform

I'm seeing a lot more discussion of curriculum as a key factor in improving student learning. Robert Pondiscio and Checkers Finn at Fordham, Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris in the Reinventing Curriculum blog published in the T.H.E Journal, and of course E.D. Hirsch. A new policy spotlight from Chiefs for Change—Hiding in Plain Sight: Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning—is one of the latest to make the argument that high-quality standards matched with high-quality instructional materials, lead to strong student outcomes. Read More »

Education Next Poll, Interoperability

Education Next released the 2017 Poll on School Reform, its 11th annual survey of a representative sample of the American public. The 2017 Education Next survey, conducted in May and June of this year, polled more than 4,200 respondents, including oversamples of parents and teachers. The web site includes an interactive tool that allows users to view answer trends over 11 years. This is an interesting poll. For some questions, the researchers divide respondents randomly into two (or more) groups and ask each group a slightly different version of the same question, allowing for a more nuanced view of public opinion. This year, for example, one group of respondents were told about President Trump's position on an issue while the other group was not, allowing the researchers to estimate the "Trump effect" on public thinking. Read More »

FCC Confirmations, Spending for College Course Materials

The Federal Communications Commission is up to its full complement of commissioners at last. Before recessing for its summer break, the Senate confirmed Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr as two new commissioners. Chairman Ajit Pai, who needs to be reconfirmed before the end of the year, will have to wait until the fall for his vote. FCC commissioners are appointed by the president (three from his party and two from the opposition) and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The president designates one of the commissioners to serve as chairman. Read More »

Dynamic Learning Project, ESSA Evidence Regs

Google just doesn't quit, with a new demonstration of its commitment to the education market, Google and Digital Promise have announced a new partnership—the Dynamic Learning Project—that will address the what the organizations describe as an emerging "second level digital divide" which is created by major differences in the ways teachers and students use technology. Some of you will have been around long enough to remember concerns in the initial movement of computers into classrooms. It was entirely too common to see poor students in low-performing schools doing a lot of drill and practice, while their better-off counterparts in high-performing schools were learning to use productivity tools and being set tasks that allowed them to use computers in more open-ended and creative ways. Today we would talk about using technology to support a hands-on, collaborative approach to learning—student-centered and focused on critical thinking, inquiry and research—as opposed to mere test prep or skill development. Read More »

WeAreTeachers, ETIN's Research Guidelines

A shout out to my colleagues at WeAreTeachers, which was named a Top Five Social Media Influencer, based on a survey conducted by EdWeek Market Brief. WeAreTeachers is keeping company on the Top Five list with Amazon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Cengage Learning and K12 Inc. The WeAreTeachers community continues to grow, with over 1.7 million followers on Facebook and 200 million social impressions a month. WeAreTeachers celebrates educators with classroom ideas, "helpline" advice, inspiration and laughs every day. It's quirky and irreverent humor is a big hit with teachers, as are its grants and contests and free resources. Read More »

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 »