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Another CR, Future Opportunity

Congress is back in session, with about 15 working days between now and its final adjournment. To some extent the pressure is off, with the assurance of a government firmly under Republican control come for at least the next two years. There is still a lot of unfinished legislative business, but much of that is likely to be deferred until the 115th Congress convenes early in the new year.

One of the things that won't be resolved this year is the FY 2017 budget. FY 2017 started on Oct 1. When it became clear that Congress would not be able to complete its budget work in time, it passed a Continuing Resolution with an expiration date of Dec 9. Congressional leaders had hoped to make real progress on the appropriations bills in the lame duck session, But the Trump administration has expressed its preference for passing another short-term continuing resolution and Congress is going along. The new CR would extend through March 31, 2017. That would keep FY 2017 spending level with that of FY 2016 through the first six months of FY 2017. Read More »

The Trump Transition

The education press if full of speculation about what the Trump victory means for education. Right now, all we can do is speculate. There are some things we do know, however. Education will not be a top tier priority. There are just too many critical issues for an administration that intends to usher in almost total policy shifts on the economy, health care and immigration, for starters. That means that within a few broad parameters, the Department of Education will be on its own for a while after the inauguration, as larger policy issues are resolved. Read More »

RCE Coach, NAEP Science 2015 Scores

The Department of Education is ready to test a new tool that schools can use to evaluate the technology they are using. The Ed Tech Rapid Cycle Evaluation Coach (RCE Coach) was developed by Mathematica Policy Research in partnership with SRI, International, Concentric Research and Evaluation, and Cooper, with funding from the Office of Educational Technology. Last year, the Office of Educational Technology issued an RFP for Rapid-Cycle Technology Evaluations, looking for innovative approaches to evaluating educational apps that would help schools make evidence-based decisions when choosing apps to use with students. Read More »

Record Graduation Rate, SSAEGuidance

Once again there is a lot of buzz around graduation rates. The National Center for Education Statistics published the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate for 2014-15, a series of tables that display the percentage of students from the original cohort who graduated in four years with a regular high school diploma. Nationally, high school graduation rates stand at a record high 83.2%. Since the 2010-11 school year, when states, districts and schools began uisng this new common metric, the national graduation rate has increased by roughly 4 percentage points. Graduation rate varies by state and for specific sub-groups of students. Increases in the graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year were seen for all ethnic groups, as well as for disabled students and students from low-income families. Read More »

K-12 Computer Science Framework

This week saw the release of the K-12 Computer Science Framework,. Developed by the Association for Computing Machinery,, the Computer Science Teachers Association, the Cyber Innovation Center and the National Math and Science Initiative, the Framework provides a core set of concepts and practices for teaching computer science. It is not a set of standards. Organizers expect that states and school districts will use the framework to create their own standards, curriculum and instructional approaches. This is an instance where the schools are likely to welcome outside input as many lack the expertise to develop standards and curriculum on their own, especially at the earlier grade levels. Read More »

High School Testing

While the new Every Student Succeeds Act still requires that students be tested at least once in high school in reading or language arts, mathematics, and science, it also gives states quite a bit of wiggle room in designing their high school assessment and accountability systems. States are in the process of deciding which high school assessments they will use as well as how these assessments will factor into their new accountability systems. Achieve has published two new briefs exploring these issues, designed to provide policymakers with the information they need to make these important decisions. Read More »

Data: State of Our Cities, Opportunity Project Tools

On September 29, President Obama signed the Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2017. This short-term CR will keep federal agencies and programs funded through December 9. Under a CR spending is held level with the prior year’s budget, though this CR includes an across the board cur of slightly less than 0.5% to ensure that spending stays below the mandated budget caps.

Congress returns for a lame duck session on November 14. Typically not much comes out of lame duck sessions, but given how little was accomplished over the past year, there’s plenty to work on. Leaders seem to want to complete the appropriations process. There are 11 bills still to be passed. Read More »

Some News To Note

I am so looking forward to EdNET this year. Vicki has put together a terrific program and there are lots of real issues to discuss. See you in Dallas!

I had a note from Victor Rivero, Editor-in-Chief at EdTech Digest. Victor wants to be sure that everyone knows that there is still time to enter the 7th annual EdTech Awards. The entry deadline is September 30, 2016. The EdTech Awards honor cool tools, inspiring leaders, and innovative trendsetters in the education and technology sector. Check out the press release in today's Announcements section for details.

The President was busy last week. He hosted two White House Summits, one on reinventing high school and the other on computer science. The pattern of these events has become very familiar. Read More »

Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition

The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition has been released. The report is produced by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), made possible by Share Fair Nation under a grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation. CoSN also released a new Toolkit to accompany the 2016 Horizon Report, designed to assist schools share the report's latest education trends and open conversations around whether and how the identified trends relate to challenges in their local communities. Read More »

The New Head Start Performance Standards

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the new Head Start Performance Standards. Department officials say that the new standards represent the biggest changes made since the standards were originally published in 1975. Even without new regulations Head Start has changed a lot since its 1965 inception. Over the years the program has placed more emphasis on expanding children's learning opportunities, with a resulting demand for better-prepared teachers. Building on that ongoing evolution, the new standards further strengthen curriculum requirements for children, increase expectations around professional development for teachers and ramp up the program's efforts on behalf of children with disabilities, homeless students and English language learners Read More »