EdNET Insight - From the Editor http://www.ednetinsight.com en-us http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Central by Imulus (http://imulus.com) info@ednetinsight.com Efforts To Improve Procurement http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/efforts-to-improve-procurement.html Several interesting announcements over the past month related to procurement practices in the K-12 market. As public entities school districts are often required to abide by procurement guidelines that mandate competitive bidding and strict contractual agreements. While meant to protect schools and encourage lowest cost purchasing, the process is cumbersome and time consuming. Schools continue to seek ways to purchase that are both more cost effective and efficient. ]]> Friday, February 24, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/efforts-to-improve-procurement.html Assessment Update http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/assessment-update.html Education Week reports continuing erosion in the number of states planning to administer the assessments created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The SBAC and PARCC assessments were specifically designed to measure student progress on mastering the Common Core State standards. While the Common Core Standards—renamed, revised, and in some locations still reviled—have largely survived, the assessments have not done as well. In some states pulling out of the assessment consortia was the price of seeing the Common Core survive; in most states the assessments also suffered in the general backlash against "too much testing." ]]> Friday, February 17, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/assessment-update.html Selecting Quality Instructional Materials http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/selecting-quality-instructional-materials.html The State Education Technology Directors Association released <a href="http://qualitycontent.setda.org">From Print to Digital: Guide to Quality Instructional Materials</a> this week, a toolkit designed to support states, districts and schools with the process of selecting quality instructional materials for learning. State, district and school leaders can use the guide to launch and maintain vetting processes for the selection of quality instructional materials aligned to standards. The guide includes best practice examples from states and districts and national, state and local resources to consider when selecting quality instructional materials. The online resource explains the key steps in this process—planning, budget, selection, implementation, and effectiveness. ]]> Friday, February 10, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/selecting-quality-instructional-materials.html Kids and Reading http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/kids-and-reading.html Scholastic released its 6th edition of the <a href="http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/">Kids & Family Reading Report</a href>. On the whole it's mostly good news. Kids ages 6-17 report having read 23 books over the past year. The 32% of kids who are frequent readers - kids who read books for fun 5-7 days a week - read 42 books, while the 24% who are infrequent readers - kids who read for fun less than one day a week - read only 7 books. Moderately frequent readers (44%) - kids who read books for fun 1-4 days a week - read 14 books over the past year. When you consider the amount of screen time that children in the age range are logging, I guess one or two books a month isn't too bad. Seven books a year is more worrisome. ]]> Friday, February 03, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/kids-and-reading.html Changes at the FCC http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/changes-at-the-fcc.html Among the many changes that happen when a new administration takes over the reins of government, the balance of power at the Federal Communications Commission changes. The resignation of Chairman Tom Wheeler on January 20 left President Trump free to appoint Ajit Pai as the new FCC chairman. Since Pai is already a commissioner, his appointment did not need to be confirmed by the Senate, and he is already making staff appointments and will chair his first Commission meeting on Jan 31. He will, however, need to be reconfirmed for another five year term by the end of 2017, though that's something of a formality under the circumstances. ]]> Friday, January 27, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/changes-at-the-fcc.html DeVos Hearing, State of the State Speeches http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/devos-hearing--state-of-the-state-speeches.html After a week's delay the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. In general, the confirmation process does not seem up to the task of seriously vetting candidates for their various cabinet posts and that was certainly true for the HELP hearing. To me it was a matter of considerable heat but not much light. ]]> Friday, January 20, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/devos-hearing--state-of-the-state-speeches.html Digital Media Literacy http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/digital-media-literacy.html I've been nudged by several long-time colleagues this week to take a look at the News Literacy Project (NLP). NLP is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit that works with educators and journalists to teach middle school and high school students how to sort fact from fiction in the digital age. NPL also fosters an understanding of the importance of the First Amendment and a free press in a democracy, especially the watchdog role. ]]> Friday, January 13, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/digital-media-literacy.html DeVos Confirmation Hearing, 2017 Predictions http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/devos-confirmation-hearing--2017-predictions.html Welcome to 2017 everyone. It's hard to believe that we are already a full week into the new year. <br> The pace of the Trump administration's transition picks up as Congress begins to hold confirmation hearings for cabinet nominees. The 115th Congress convened on Tuesday and walked right into a buzz saw of its own making with the controversy over the House's plan to abolish the Office of Congressional Ethics. Most of the confirmation hearings are unlikely to draw quite as much attention, though there are some real battles in the offing. The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is scheduled for January 11. Aside from her strong advocacy for charter schools and support for vouchers, little is known about DeVos' positions on other education issues. ]]> Friday, January 06, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/devos-confirmation-hearing--2017-predictions.html End of Year Notes http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/end-of-year-notes.html We'll be taking a publishing break over the holidays, returning with the first issue of 2017 on January 6. From me and from everyone at MDR, I want to extend best wishes for a peaceful and joy-filled holiday season. As 2016 draws to a close there is so much to be thankful for and so much still to look forward to. We are blessed to work in an industry that makes a difference beyond the bottom line and beyond our personal satisfaction. Your products and services make it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn. I know that each of you cares deeply about American education and the future of all of America's children. I see how much education companies do every day to support schools and teachers and students. 2017 is likely to be a challenging year, but then, what year isn't? All we can do is face each challenge as it comes and work together to provide supportive, inclusive and exciting environments that pull kids into the adventure of learning and set them on the path to success. I wish you all safe travels, warm fellowship and some quiet time to reflect and recharge before the New Year. ]]> Friday, December 16, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/end-of-year-notes.html Computer Science Education Week, Privacy and Security Concerns http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/computer-science-education-week--privacy-and-security-concerns.html Computer Science Education Week has been celebrated since 2009. In 2014, Code.org help organize Computer Science Education Week around a new theme, the "Hour of Code." That year, Computer Science Education Week reached over 15 million students and over 35,000 events across 167 countries. One year later, in January of 2015, the Hour of Code reached 100 million "hours served," making the Hour of Code and CS Education Week the largest education campaign in history. 2016 could be even bigger, helped along just a bit by President Obama's Computer Science for All initiative. ]]> Friday, December 09, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/computer-science-education-week--privacy-and-security-concerns.html DeVos Nominated for Secretary of Education http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/devos-nominated-for-secretary-of-education.html <p>Time spent with family and friends over Thanksgiving provided a welcome break from post-election anxiety and uncertainty. So did the generosity that marked Giving Tuesday. From local efforts like food drives and holiday gift collections through national campaigns like the partnership of First Book and Penguin Random House, aimed at providing up to 550,000-new books to children in need, and so many more, it was wonderful to see education companies reach out to support children and families across America.</p> <p>The nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education goes a long way to resolving any lingering uncertainty about education policy in the Trump administration, Like President-elect Trump, DeVos is a school choice advocate.</p> ]]> Friday, December 02, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/devos-nominated-for-secretary-of-education.html Another CR, Future Opportunity http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/another-cr--future-opportunity.html 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. <p> 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. ]]> Friday, November 18, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/another-cr--future-opportunity.html The Trump Transition http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/the-trump-transition.html 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. ]]> Friday, November 11, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/the-trump-transition.html RCE Coach, NAEP Science 2015 Scores http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/rce-coach--naep-science-2015-scores.html The Department of Education is ready to test a new tool that schools can use to evaluate the technology they are using. The <a href="https://edtechrce.org/">Ed Tech Rapid Cycle Evaluation Coach</a href> (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. ]]> Friday, November 04, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/rce-coach--naep-science-2015-scores.html Record Graduation Rate, SSAEGuidance http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/record-graduation-rate--ssaeguidance.html 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. ]]> Friday, October 28, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/record-graduation-rate--ssaeguidance.html K-12 Computer Science Framework http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/k-12-computer-science-framework.html This week saw the release of the <a href="https://k12cs.org/">K-12 Computer Science Framework,</a href>. Developed by the Association for Computing Machinery, Code.org, 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. ]]> Friday, October 21, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/k-12-computer-science-framework.html High School Testing http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/high-school-testing.html 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. ]]> Friday, October 14, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/high-school-testing.html Data: State of Our Cities, Opportunity Project Tools http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/data--state-of-our-cities--opportunity-project-tools.html 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. <p> 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. ]]> Friday, October 07, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/data--state-of-our-cities--opportunity-project-tools.html Some News To Note http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/some-news-to-note.html 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! <br><br> 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 <a href="https://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/etd-awards/2017-entry-form/">7th annual EdTech Awards</a href>. 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. <br><br> 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. ]]> Friday, September 23, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/some-news-to-note.html Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/horizon-report---2016-k-12-edition.html 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. ]]> Friday, September 16, 2016 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/horizon-report---2016-k-12-edition.html