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Education News Bulletin - December 23, 2009

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  • Bay Area Edupreneurs Moderator
    Education News Bulletin December 23, 2009 SPOTLIGHT New Jobs Bill Offers $23 Billion for Education NATIONAL--Cash-strapped school districts hoping to avert
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 23 2:53 PM
      Education News Bulletin
      December 23, 2009


      New Jobs Bill Offers $23 Billion for Education

      NATIONAL--Cash-strapped school districts hoping to avert layoffs could get a boost from legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Dec. 16 that is intended to provide a jolt to the sluggish economy, in part by creating a $23 billion "education jobs fund." Districts and states could use the money to restore cuts to K-12 and higher education to cover the cost of compensation and benefits for teachers and other employees. The funds could also be used for services related to school modernization, renovation, and repair. The money—which would be in addition to the infusion of up to $100 billion in education aid provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—would come from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which was intended to help stabilize the banking industry. The $154 billion measure, which redirects $75 billion in TARP funds to job creation, was approved on a vote of 217-212, with 38 Democrats joining all Republicans in opposing the legislation. The U.S. Senate may take up its own version of a jobs bill next month. (Education Week – subscription required)



      Report: VOISE Academy: Pioneering a blended-learning model in a Chicago public high school

      CHICAGO--In the fall of 2008, a new high school located in the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden neighborhood of Austin on Chicago's West Side opened its doors to 151 freshmen. Called VOISE Academy (VOISE), this school was different from many of the new high schools opening in Chicago at that time, as it blended a traditional brick-and-mortar school environment with something much less familiar—a fully online curriculum. Now in its second year of operations, VOISE, which stands for Virtual Opportunities Inside a School Environment, plans to add a new grade each year until it serves up to 600 students in grades 9 through 12. (Innosight Institute)



      Elevating the Teaching Profession (By Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education)

      NATIONAL--The U.S. Secretary of Education, believing that "teaching should be one of the nation's most revered professions," outlines a plan for teachers to receive the support, recognition, and rewards they deserve. (The American Educator)



      Creating a Curriculum for the American People: Our Democracy Depends on Shared Knowledge (By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.)

      NATIONAL--America, "the last best hope of earth," is held together not by a national religion or shared ethnicity, but by our diverse citizens' devotion to freedom and democracy. From our founding to today, education scholars have been concerned with creating schools that would graduate civic-minded citizens dedicated to the common good. As the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln knew, the only way to create such schools would be to establish a common, core curriculum. Such a curriculum would not only strengthen our democracy, it would increase our commitment to equality by opening to all children the educational opportunities that today, sadly, are available mainly to our most privileged. (The American Educator)


      Dropout Factories: New Strategies States Can Use

      NATIONAL--Amid a welcome surge of investments in education, President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have put a priority on turning around the 2,000 high schools known as the nation's "dropout factories." These schools routinely graduate 60 percent or fewer of their students, and together account for half of America's dropouts. For years, they have appeared to be impervious to efforts toward change, with a decade's worth of piecemeal reforms and incremental school improvement strategies failing to produce the results many had hoped for. Secretary Duncan is seeking to change this reality by combining carrots and sticks, including new incentives through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state and local education policymakers to address their low-performing schools—especially their lowest-performing secondary schools—and increased federal accountability for raising graduation rates. The pressure to find ways to fix schools fast will no doubt tempt some to quickly scale up interventions that have made an impact in a few places. But it would be a waste of precious resources to do so without carefully analyzing the conditions that make success possible. Too often, good ideas are applied in the wrong places. (Education Week – subscription required)


      Report: Reviving the education engine

      NATIONAL--As the national unemployment rate exceeds 10% and state postsecondary institutions report significant enrollment increases, it is clear that many are looking to the U.S. education system to provide the education and training they will need to find livable-wage jobs.1 Unfortunately, many students looking for a clear and short pathway through postsecondary education to a new job find a system that is hard to navigate, where transitions from one level of education to the next are complicated and often result in students wasting valuable time and resources that don't lead to a postsecondary credential. (Education Commission of the States)



      'Teacher U': A New Model in Employer-Led Higher Education

      NEW YORK--One evening in 2005, Norman Atkins and David Levin were sitting in a restaurant with several beers between them, talking about things that left them sleepless in the small hours of the morning. Both men had founded networks of charter schools operating in and around New York City. Supported with public money and free from bureaucratic control, their schools had made remarkable strides in helping low-income and minority children learn. Both had attracted millions of new dollars from philanthropy and were primed to expand. But they were haunted by the shared prospect of their most valuable resource—teachers—running dry. So they decided to do what they knew best: create education organizations in a shape very different from the standard mold. In doing so, they set a course that could change the way higher education trains professionals of all kinds. Atkins's organization is called Uncommon Schools, while Levin co-founded the Knowledge Is Power Program, the nation's largest charter network, with 82 schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia. A third network, Achievement First, quickly came on board. All of their models depend on talented teachers working in intensive, coordinated systems of instruction and student support. … The result was Teacher U at Hunter College, a unique nonprofit program led by Atkins. One hundred students enrolled in the two-year master's program in 2008, and 300 more began this fall. Students teach full time during the week, then meet one Saturday a month, when they're taught by a combination of Hunter faculty members and master teachers from the charter schools. (Chronicle of Higher Education)



      Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them

      BUFFALO — Many 4-year-olds cannot count up to their own age when they arrive at preschool, and those at the Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center are hardly prodigies. Most live in this city's poorer districts and begin their academic life well behind the curve. … For much of the last century, educators and many scientists believed that children could not learn math at all before the age of five, that their brains simply were not ready. But recent research has turned that assumption on its head — that, and a host of other conventional wisdom about geometry, reading, language and self-control in class. The findings, mostly from a branch of research called cognitive neuroscience, are helping to clarify when young brains are best able to grasp fundamental concepts. (New York Times – registration required)


      Economy Doesn't Slow Demand for Early Entry to College

      NATIONAL--James S. Miller, the dean of admissions at Brown University, figured this could be the year that the frantic demand for admission under binding early-decision programs might begin to subside. After all, under such programs, admitted students cannot seek competing financial aid offers. And yet, the Brown admissions office received nearly 500 more early applications this fall than it did last year, when the economic downturn was just beginning, an increase of 20 percent. "I wish I knew the answer why," Mr. Miller said in a telephone interview. "The university president asked me, and I told her I just don't know." Other institutions have experienced similar increases this fall. Duke, Northwestern, Cornell, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Dartmouth said that they, too, received substantially more applications for their early-decision programs this year than they did last — though Cornell, Brown and Hopkins said they had admitted fewer students early than they did a year ago. (New York Times – registration required)


      Upper Mismanagement: Why can't Americans make things? Two words: business school

      NATIONAL--One of the themes that came up while I was profiling White House manufacturing czar Ron Bloom earlier this fall was managerial talent. A lot of people talk about reviving the domestic manufacturing sector, which has shed almost one-third of its manpower over the last eight years. But some of the people I spoke to asked a slightly different question: Even if you could reclaim a chunk of those blue-collar jobs, would you have the managers you need to supervise them? It's not obvious that you would. (The New Republic)


      How Governments Can Spur High Charity Performance

      NATIONAL--The economic downturn has thrown a spotlight on the complex flows of money, ideas, and influence that bind government and nonprofit groups together. Nearly 30 percent of the $1.1-trillion in revenue reported by charities in the United States originated in fees and grants from government, according to 2005 data, the latest figures available. Those revenues are focused on especially critical needs as the nation grapples with the worst economy in decades: Demand is growing for nonprofit groups to provide food, housing, health care, and worker training — causes that traditionally operate with significant financing from government. Perhaps just as important as the economy in putting attention on this issue, several prominent efforts by the Obama administration — including the economic-stimulus law and plans to provide millions of dollars to spur investments in "what works" — are reverberating throughout the nonprofit world. As government and nonprofit groups collaborate more closely, it's time for government at all levels to examine how to:
      • Channel a greater share of their dollars to high-performance organizations that consistently deliver good results.
      • Finance nonprofit organizations in ways that preserve and enhance their effectiveness.
      The White House Office of Social Innovation has drawn a lot of attention to the question of how government can channel money to top-performing groups. So has the Social Innovation Fund, housed at the Corporation for National and Community Service, which seeks to increase the flow of government and private dollars to America's most promising community organizations. (Chronicle of Philanthropy via Bridgespan)


      Century Foundation Blog: The Best and Worst in Education of 2009 (by Richard Kahlenberg)

      NATIONAL--Looking back on 2009 in the education world, I've gained a new appreciation of the virtues of our largely decentralized education system. In the past year, the bad news is that federal policies have been mostly underwhelming, with a focus on charter schools and merit pay for teachers, which some are calling a "Bush III" agenda. By contrast, good news comes from a few local districts that have taken important steps on their own to address what research suggests matters most in education – reducing the separation of rich and poor children. (The Century Foundation)

      See also Scholastic Names the Decade's Ten Big Ideas in Education
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