Daily News Roundup, February 21, 2013

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

HOW TO FOSTER GRIT, TENACITY AND PERSEVERANCE: AN EDUCATOR’S GUIDE
How can we best prepare children and adolescents to thrive in the 21st century? This question is at the heart of what every educator attempts to do on a daily basis. Apart from imparting content of knowledge and facts, however, it’s becoming clear that the “noncognitive competencies” known as grit, perseverance, and tenacity are just as important, if not more so, in preparing kids to be self-sufficient and successful. To that end, the Department of Education’s Office of Technology has released a report called  Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance — Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century that addresses how educators can integrate these ideas into their teaching practice: Are these competencies malleable and teachable? How significant a role do they play in students’ success? What are the best learning environments to encourage and foster these attributes? The post is in the MindShift blog.

 

ABOUT K-12

U.S. TEACHERS’ JOB SATISFACTION CRATERS — REPORT
Half of America’s public school teachers say they feel great stress several days a week and are so demoralized that their level of satisfaction has dropped 23 percentage points since 2008 and is at its lowest in 25 years, according to an annual survey of educators. The 29th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, which is being released today, has more bad news about the effects of modern school reform: Only 17 percent of teachers and 22 percent of principals are very confident that the Common Core State Standards, an initiative supported by the Obama administration that is being implemented in most states,  will actually improve student achievement. It’s no wonder so many teachers have low morale. They say that modern school reform — with its emphasis on getting rid of bad teachers, assessing teachers by student standardized test scores, and rewriting tenure and collective bargaining laws — essentially demonizes them. The post is in The Washington Post’s The Answer Sheet blog.

DEADLINE ON EVALUATIONS
A stalemate over teacher evaluations in New York City prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to toughen his stance on Wednesday, instructing state officials to impose their own plan if the city and its educators can't reach an agreement by June. The governor included the measure in a package of executive budget amendments and said it wouldn't be a one-time act. "Any year that the New York City school district does not have a plan in place, then [the state Education Department] would come in and put the plan in place," Mr. Cuomo said. The governor, a Democrat, had set a January deadline for districts to comply with a 2010 law requiring the new teacher evaluations. The vast majority reached deals with their unions to create a four-tiered rating system that relies in part on student scores on standardized tests. But New York City, by far the largest school system in the state, failed to come to a deal and lost $250 million in state funding for the approaching academic year. New York has long had a system that rates teachers as "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory," with a very small percentage receiving a poor evaluation each year. The article is in The Wall Street Journal.

 

ABOUT HIGHER ED

HOW EDX PLANS TO EARN, AND SHARE, REVENUE FROM ITS FREE ONLINE COURSES
How can a nonprofit organization that gives away courses bring in enough revenue to at least cover its costs? That's the dilemma facing edX, a project led by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that is bringing in a growing number of high-profile university partners to offer massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Two other major providers of MOOCs, Coursera and Udacity, are for-profit companies. While edX has cast itself as the more contemplative, academically oriented player in the field, it remains under pressure to generate revenue. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

AS LEARNING GOES DIGITAL, BIG DATA CAN GUIDE US
"Fear and trepidation" are stalking the educational landscape, according to Roy Pea, who stood at the podium with an awful green monster projected on the slide behind him. It's MOOC hysteria, showing at a school near you: "Something New in Shock-Thriller Education." Well, not quite. But Pea, the David Jacks Professor of Education, told an audience at the recent annual meeting of the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) that missing amid all the hand-wringing and worry over the advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and digital learning is any serious consideration of the linkages between course design and the learning sciences, and between learning sciences and analytics. Those gaps, and an exploration of what "learning sciences" actually means, were the subject of his keynote speech, "Learning Sciences and Learning Analytics: Time for a Marriage," delivered to educators and educational technology specialists gathered in Denver. The post is from the Stanford School of Education website.

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