January 9, 2014
Equity in achievement, funding a hurdle for states amid progress
This year’s Quality Counts report does not present data on its traditional policy categories, which include standards, assessments, and accountability, along with the teaching profession. Quality Counts 2014 does not grade the states in those areas. The online version of Quality Counts 2014 provides updated state scores and letter grades for chance for success, K-12 achievement, and school finance.
Waiver states struggle with priority schools, English learners, Ed. Dept. finds
The first monitoring of No Child Left Behind waivers shows states struggling to intervene in schools with the biggest achievement gaps, to ensure that the worst schools implement the right improvement strategies, and to help English-learners adjust to new standards. The Education Department released reports for six states, showing varied degrees of success—and problems—as states adjust to a new accountability system.
State lawmakers face tough choices on Common Core
State legislators begin their 2014 sessions this month grappling with the best way forward on the Common Core State Standards in a tricky political climate, with a majority of governors and lawmakers up for election in the fall. For many states, this year will be a key juncture for decisions about the standards—and related exams—before their full weight is felt in classrooms, district offices, and state education departments in the 2014-15 school year.
InBloom sputters amid concerns about privacy of student data
The education nonprofit inBloom touted a program to synthesize student data to help target the needs of individual children and revolutionize personalized learning. Backed by $100 million in grant, the company formed partnerships with nine states that together have more than 11 million students. But the program has sputtered and six of the states dissolved their relationships with the company.
San Jose Mercury News
California Democrats propose universal preschool for 4-year-olds
California Democrats proposed creating universal preschool for 4-year-olds in an effort to enroll more children from immigrant and low-income families. The program would be voluntary, just as kindergarten is in California. The state already funds preschool for certain 4-year-olds, but S.B. 837 would order districts and charter schools to make that class, known as transitional kindergarten, available to all 4-year-olds.
Inside Higher Ed
Four states agree on ‘block transer’ of Gen Ed Core
Colleges in Hawaii, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah have reached agreement on a framework designed to allow students to prove that they have reached proficiency on key general education learning outcomes that can be transferred between the institutions. The Interstate Passport project seeks to make it easier for students to move among the Western states, and represents a step away from the credit hour.