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 Annual Assessments http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/annual-assessments.html 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. ]]> Friday, April 21, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/annual-assessments.html Principal Autonomy in FL http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/principal-autonomy-in-fl.html <i>ASCD Smart Brief</i> picked up a story from the <i>SunSentinel</i> 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. ]]> Friday, April 14, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/principal-autonomy-in-fl.html Thoughts from CoSN, Redefining Ready! http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/thoughts-from-cosn--redefining-ready-.html I was so happy to be able to spend a day at the CoSN Conference this week. CoSN attracts an audience that leans heavily towards CTOs and Instructional Technology Directors, but a number of districts bring teams that might include the superintendent, a curriculum person or a business manager. This year's theme was "Invent the Future" and while many sessions addressed forward-looking strategies and emerging technologies like AR and VR, some old themes surfaced as well. Some of these older topics may always be with us (at least for the next several years), including concerns around student privacy and data security, digital equity and more technical topics such as interoperability and network infrastructure. ]]> Friday, April 07, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/thoughts-from-cosn--redefining-ready-.html FY 2017 Budget, Use of EngageNY http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/fy-2017-budget--use-of-engageny.html In a year when dealing with funding the last five months of FY2017—with Republicans in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress—should be fairly straightforward, major news outlets are beginning to publish stories about the potential for a government shutdown when the current Continuing Resolution expires on April 28. In truth, budget negotiations are never easy. The numbers have to balance and so do the political tradeoffs. Those trade-offs are getting tougher by the day. ]]> Friday, March 31, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/fy-2017-budget--use-of-engageny.html New ESSA Guidance http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/new-essa-guidance.html Well it's official now. Congress has acted and the President has signed legislation repealing two sets of Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations—those governing teacher-preparation programs and the school accountability regs—issued by the Obama Department of Education in November 2016. And they've done it using the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used piece of oversight legislation passed in 1996. The CRA requires that a majority in both chambers of Congress must pass a "joint resolution of disapproval," which must then be signed by the President. The joint resolution of disapproval cannot be filibustered, so the process can move fairly quickly. The CRA had been used successfully only one time before, in 2001. Though Congress tried to use the CRA more recently, President Obama vetoed those efforts. There was no question of a veto this time around. ]]> Friday, March 24, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/new-essa-guidance.html Trump FY 2018 Budget http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/trump-fy-2018-budget.html The White House released a preliminary version of the President's 2018 Budget request this week. While it largely reflects the priorities the President has detailed throughout his campaign and since taking office, it is still something of a shock to see it all turned into somewhat concrete proposals. <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf">"America First: A Budget Proposal to Make America Great Again,"</a href> which covers only discretionary spending (some 27% of the total), is short on details. The White House says those will come in the full budget, to be released later this spring. It will include the administration's mandatory budget and tax proposals, as well as a full fiscal path. ]]> Friday, March 17, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/trump-fy-2018-budget.html New Tool: Evidence for ESSA http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/new-tool--evidence-for-essa.html It would be a rare week that passes without at least one article or analysis in the education press about evidence. There are those who argue that schools are purchasing and implementing programs willy-nilly, with no regard to whether they have any evidence of effectiveness. Others point out that not much evidence exists—especially for technology-based programs—so the schools are doing the best they can. There are organizations working with schools to help them better understand how to judge the evidence that developers and publishers provide for their instructional programs. And others who work with both schools and vendors to make better use of pilot programs, classroom based research efforts and taking implementations to scale. ]]> Friday, March 10, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/new-tool--evidence-for-essa.html State of the State Education Priorities http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/state-of-the-state-education-priorities.html The Education Commission of the States (ECS) released its <a href="http://www.ecs.org/?s=Governors%27-Top-Education-Priorities-2017-State-of-the-State-addresses">annual summary</a href> of the top education priorities identified by 42 governors in their 2017 State of the State addresses. ECS tracks and analyzes governors' addresses, identifying emerging trends and priority issue areas. The report focuses on the top seven most common themes. A complete detailing of each governor's education policy priorities to date can found in Education Commission of the States' <a href="http://www.ecs.org/state-of-the-state-addresses-2011-current-year/">interactive database</a href>. ]]> Friday, March 03, 2017 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/state-of-the-state-education-priorities.html 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