Some of the News Fit to Print
CALIFORNIA DISTRICTS TEAM UP TO PUSH SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS
Frustrated by their own state's pace and direction of school improvement, eight California districts have banded together to move ahead on rolling out the Common Core State Standards and designing new teacher evaluations based in part on student performance. The districts, which include Los Angeles and San Francisco, also are mounting a major breakaway from California in seeking their own NCLB waiver. The article is in Education Week.
NATIONAL COUNCIL GIVES STATES LOW GRADE ON TEACHER PREP POLICIES
The National Council on Teacher Quality released the latest edition of its State Teacher Policy Yearbook report. Although a number of states improved their showing from last year, the states still only averaged a D-plus on the full set of their policies. Only four states -- Alabama, Florida, Indiana, and Tennessee -- received the report's highest grade of a B-minus. The article is from EducationNews.org.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
DAVOS FORUM CONSIDERS LEARNING’S NEXT WAVE
DAVOS, Switzerland — She may not have been the youngest speaker ever at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but Khadija Niazi, 12, was certainly captivating. Hundreds of the conference’s well-heeled attendees listened intently as Ms. Niazi, of Lahore, Pakistan, described her experience with massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, that are spreading rapidly around the globe. MOOCs are vastly extending the reach of professors at some of the world’s best universities, particularly at Stanford, Harvard, M.I.T., Yale, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Duke. Ms. Niazi has been taking courses, free so far, from Udacity and Coursera, two of the earliest providers of this new form of instruction. Her latest enthusiasm is for astrobiology, because she is fascinated by U.F.O.’s and wants to become a physicist. Education has long played a part in the annual deliberations here. But this time, many participants may have detected what Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, described as “a lot of attention.” The article is in The New York Times.
CAN TEXTBOOKS REALLY BE FREE?
Providing college students with free textbooks is no easy task. That seems to be the major lesson from several efforts to produce e-books that are low-cost or free to help reduce students' costs. Money pressures, slow adoption by professors, and quality concerns stand in the way as these projects hope to rival traditional publishing. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
A DREAM WITHIN REACH
After years on the back burner, immigration is set to command more of Congress’s attention in the coming months, including several provisions important for higher education that are likely to be part of any proposed comprehensive legislation. Immigration was mentioned only infrequently during the election. But the drubbing Republicans took among Latino voters led to speculation that both parties might be open to overhauling immigration this year. On Tuesday, President Obama will lay out his plan in a speech in Las Vegas. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
DREAM ACT STUDENTS APPLY FOR COLLEGE AID
For the first time, undocumented immigrants in California will be able to apply for state financial aid under the controversial California Dream Act. While federal funding is still out of reach, the state measure now allows children who were brought to the country illegally, but who attended a school in the state for at least three years to qualify for up to about $12,000 in Cal Grants to use toward college. The article is in the San Francisco Chronicle.
INDIANA BILL AIMS TO BOOST COLLEGE READINESS BY TYING FINANCIAL AID TO STATE EXAMS
Students who fall behind in high school will have to brush up their skills if they want state financial aid to attend college under a bill passed by the Indiana's House Education Committee. House Bill 1005 aims to reduce the number of students who start college in remedial classes and direct them into free programs sponsored by the state. The article is in the Indianapolis Star.