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From the Editor

Happy Holidays, friends! Whatever holidays you are celebrating, we wish you a joyous time with your friends and family. We’re grateful to have had so many valuable contributions to the News Alert from our friends and industry colleagues throughout 2015! This week’s special edition of the News Alert highlights the most read articles from this year to give you another chance at catching up on them. The highlighted collection below presents the articles that received the most pageviews. Enjoy! We’ll see you back here on Friday, January 8, and we wish you and yours a very happy holiday. Read More »

EDNET 365, Procurement, FY16 Omnibus Appropriation

If you've not had the opportunity to visit EdNET 365, you're missing out on a major resource. Created by our talented conference team, EdNET 365 offers the opportunity to take a deeper dive into the many topics covered at EdNET 2015 with videos, session recaps, infographics, polls, and resources designed to keep the EdNET Conference experience alive throughout the year. If you've never been to EdNET or missed this year's conference, it's a great way to get a taste for what the conference experience is like. It's also an easy place to join one (or more) of the EdNET social communities. As EdNET 365 evolves over the year, we hope to use it to gather ideas and input for EdNET 2016. Read More »

ESEA Finally Reauthorized, Industry Award Programs

Seven years late and after a series of incredible twist and turns, No Child Left Behind was laid to rest as the ESEA reauthorization become a reality. On Thursday, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, calling the new legislation a "Christmas miracle," a reference to its wide bipartisan support. The bill had moved swiftly through the Senate on Wednesday where it passed on a vote of 85 to 12.

The Continuing Resolution that is funding the federal government in the absence of a FY 2016 budget expires today, December 11. It now looks like Congress is giving itself another week (pending House action), until December 16, to hammer out a final two-year omnibus package that would avoid a major budget battle in the 2016 election cycle and leave new budget negotiation in the hands of a new administration. If we get a comprehensive omnibus, it will be interesting to see how Congress allocates the additional $33 billion in spending that this year's Bipartisan Budget Act authorized.

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ESEA Reauthorization Nears, EFF Goes after Google on Privacy

It's now almost a certainty that we will see No Child Left Behind reauthorized this year or early in the new year. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act on a vote of 359 to 64. That's quite a change from the grudging passage of the House's original version of the bill - the Student Success Act - back in July, when it squeaked through on a purely partisan vote of 218-216. Though a number of House conservatives were still not satisfied with the bill, most members seem to believe that the compromises made by the Conference Committee resulted in a more balanced bill acceptable on both sides of the aisle. The Senate is expected to consider the bill next week and passage should be easy. Then all that's needed is President Obama's signature. Read More »

ESEA Reauthorization Moves Forward

The Every Student Succeeds Act - the long-awaited reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - passed out of its conference committee on Thursday on a 39 - 1 vote. It remains to be seen if the bipartisan atmosphere of the Conference will carry over into the House and Senate passage votes, which will take place after Thanksgiving. The Senate seems likely to pass the bill fairly easily. Getting House approval for the bill could be trickier. The White House has not made its position known. Read More »

Redesiging High School

The President hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools this week. The event featured the now familiar combinations of a small, tightly targeted federal effort supported by significant commitments from the private sector. The Department of Education will announce its intention to award over $20 million in Investing in Innovation (i3) grants to support the reform and redesign of high schools that serve low-income students. This application cycle will mark the first time that i3 has a specific focus on high school redesign. The Department also announced details on two new Career & Technical Education prizes: The EdSIM Challenge and the CTE Makeover Challenge. Read More »

Too Much Testing?

We are very pleased to introduce a new quarterly feature this week, focused on the business side of the industry. Baran Rosen, President of Whitestone Communications, will be sharing his insights on merger and acquisition activity in the education market. Whitestone Communications maintains an extensive database on M&A activity in the Internet, information, publishing, and training fields, which forms the basis for the firm’s annual Who’s Buying Whom publication. If you’re interested in seeing the monthly reports that Baran is drawing on for his analysis, visit the Whitestone website and sign up for a free subscription.

I know everyone has seen the President's initiative to cut down on the amount of time American students spend getting tested. While most of us agree with the sentiment, there really is little the administration and Department of Education can do to effect this change. Read More »

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, #GoOpen

It appears that the possibility of the U.S. government defaulting on its debt or shutting down has been averted, thanks to a last minute deal involving Congressional leaders and the White House, negotiated by departing Speaker John Boehner. The House voted on Wednesday to approve a two-year deal that extends the debt limit through March 2017, provides sequester relief by increasing domestic and military spending by $80 billion and sets clear spending targets for the next two years, through September 2017. The Senate is expected to act on the bill next week.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 passed by a vote of 266-167. All House Democrats voted for the measure, joined by 79 Republicans. Conservatives complaints about the spending increase were moderated somewhat by ensuring that the increases are fully paid for using a combination of tax and policy changes. Nevertheless, most House Republicans voted against the bill.

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White House Astronomy Night: OER

On Monday, a group of students, teachers and scientists spent the evening stargazing at the White House. President Obama hosted the second White House Astronomy Night, held on the South Lawn on what proved to be a cool but clear night. The night's activities were designed to inspire more girls and boys with the wonder of science and space and increase opportunities for all Americans to develop careers in science, technology, and innovation-driven disciplines. In a now familiar pattern when promoting initiatives for which there is no legislation or federal funding, the President used the occasion to announce a variety of new commitments, by cities and organizations all over the country, to expose even more students and their parents to STEM education. Read More »

Congratulations on Another Great EdNET!

Congratulations on another great EdNET! I’ve seen so much about the content and networking on our social channels, and many of you have reached out to me personally to share what a wonderful experience it was.

I am sorry to have missed this year, but I am looking forward to reporting back on the buzz from Atlanta very soon, so stay tuned!

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