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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 »

Speak Up 2016 Results

Project Tomorrow has been releasing elements of its Speak Up 2016 data at various industry meetings over the past six week, leading up to the Congressional Briefings in Washington D.C. Speak Up has been collecting data about the role of technology for learning since 2003. More than 514.000 surveys were completed during the 2016 data collection (October 2016 to January 2017), from more than 435,000 students, 38,000 teachers, 4,500 administrators, nearly 30,000 parents, and 5,800 community members. Read More »

FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Both the House of Representatives (by a 309-118 vote) and the Senate (by 79-18) have passed the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which funds the government through the end of FY 2017 (September 30, 2017). The President is expected to sign the bill, though he certainly did not get everything he wanted. The Trump administration had asked Congress to cut 2017 discretionary spending by $18 billion, in order to offset the increases he wanted for defense and security. Read More »

Executive Order on Education

President Trump signed an Executive Order on education this week. It doesn't break any new policy ground. Instead it is a pointed restatement of the President's belief that the states are the ultimate arbiters of education policy with the federal government too often interfering with the state's ability to exert its rightful control. The Executive Order directs Secretary DeVos to review all Department of Education regulations and guidance documents and determine whether they comply with Federal laws that prohibit the Department from exercising any direction, supervision, or control over areas subject to State and local control - specifically curriculum, program of instruction, school administration and personnel; and the selection and content of library resources, textbooks, and instructional materials. The Secretary is to publish any proposed regulations and withdraw or modify any guidance documents no later than 300 days after the date of the Executive Order. Read More »

Annual Assessments

The statewide assessment season is once more in full swing as schools approach the end of the school year. Overall, the 2016-17 state assessment picture was relatively stable. Education Week reported that 21 states, the same number as 2015-16, planned to administer either the PARCC or SBAC assessments, with the remaining states using some combination of custom, state-designed or combination test. Read More »

Principal Autonomy in FL

ASCD Smart Brief picked up a story from the SunSentinel that reports on the Principal Autonomy Program, a new Florida initiative that allows school principals the freedom to make decision for their schools without regard for many of the existing policies and regulations in areas such as textbooks, curriculum and staffing. Last year the Florida legislature passed a bill that exempts participating districts from the state's K-20 Education Code and State Board of Education rules. The program is only open to Broward, Duval, Jefferson, Madison, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole Counties. If districts decide to participate, they can select up to three of their low-performing schools for inclusion in the pilot program. Read More »