Daily News Roundup, November 4, 2013

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

ABOUT K-12

EDUCATION CUTS HANG IN BALANCE AS BUDGET HAGGLING BEGINS
Education advocates are keeping close tabs on a congressional conference committee charged with coming up with a budget solution in hopes that lawmakers may stop a series of blunt, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. The cuts, which have already eliminated thousands of Head Start slots and caused some schools near Native American reservations and military bases to lay off staff, are slated to stay in place for a decade unless Congress acts to halt or change them. The article is in Education Week.

CATHOLIC SCHOLARS URGE BISHOPS TO OPPOSE COMMON CORE
A group of more than 100 Catholic scholars have signed a letter to the nation's Roman Catholic bishops condeming the Common Core State Standards and urging the church leaders to resist adopting them, or abandon the standards if implementation has already begun implementation. The letter's 132 signatories include professors in many disciplines, including theology, philosophy, political science, and architecture. And they come from not only Catholic universities, such as Fordham University, but also private and public nonsectarian institutions like Princeton University and Texas State University. Bringing the scholars together is Gerard V. Bradley, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, who is circulating the letter, dated Oct. 16.The letter notes that the common core has caught on strongly in Catholic schools. More than 100 dioceses and archdioceses have embraced the standards in math and English/language arts. But Bradley and his co-signers argue that those educators are doing "a grave disservice to Catholic education in America." The post is from Education Week’s Curriculum Matters blog.

SCHOOL SIZE: DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
Many of the new small schools in New York City are having more success preparing students for high school graduation, college and careers than traditional large high schools. But these schools often lack what adults today recall as the highlights of their high school days: extracurricular activities, school plays, sports teams, advanced placement classes, not to mention experienced teachers. Yet recent research supports the Bloomberg administration's approach to breaking up comprehensive high schools into smaller options. How can large zoned high schools keep a place for themselves in the city’s ambitious school system? Equally, how can small schools provide the wide spectrum of activities that enrich students’ lives and create community? The piece is from WNYC’s School Book.

L.A. SCHOOLS USE ‘PARENT COLLEGE’ AS A WAY TO BOOST ACHIEVEMENT
Parental and Community engagement is one of the four primary turnaround strategies to boost test scores and academic achievement in a school population that is 89 percent Latino, where 95-percent are eligible for free and reduced lunch and nearly one in three are English language learners. The organization spends about 10 percent of its organizational budget, or approximately $900,000 annually, on those efforts. "The reality is that our parents really are our students' first and most important teachers," said Joan Sullivan, CEO of Partnership LA. "Unless we invest in embracing and developing a relationship with them we're not going to find the kind of success we ultimately want." The piece ran on PBS’ NewsHour.

ABOUT HIGHER ED

THE EDUCATION FACULTY
Schools of education need to improve the way they evaluate faculty members -- whether on or off the tenure track -- according to two reports released Friday by the American Educational Research Association. One report, on evaluating faculty members for tenure and promotion, finds that significant changes are needed in how teaching and research are evaluated. The other report says that faculty members off the tenure track deserve "appropriate conditions of professional employment and support." The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

STANFORD SEEKS TO RECLAIM MOOC BRAND
Stanford is looking to reclaim some leadership in the MOOC movement from the private companies down the street. For some of its offerings it has started using Open edX, the open-source platform developed by edX, an East Coast nonprofit provider of MOOCs. And Stanford is marshaling its resources and brainpower to improve its own online infrastructure. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

INITIATIVE TO CHANGE HIGHER EDUCATION
Can 50 face-to-face courses, one massive open online course and more than 50,000 students working together change higher education? That’s what Duke University professor Cathy N. Davidson hopes, even as she embraces the technological issues of guiding an effort the size of a small city. The initiative, called “The History and Future of Higher Education,” is being coordinated by Davidson, co-founder of the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, or HASTAC. The sprawling collaborative includes dozens of universities across the world, international conferences, webinars, an open online discussion forum and -- of course -- a MOOC. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

HOW FLORIDA COLLEGE MAJORS ARE ABOUT TO GET META
The same Florida law which (mostly) eliminates remedial courses at community colleges also creates meta-majors to help streamline the path to a degree. Meta-majors are eight broad categories that encompass the breadth of degrees available at colleges and universities and correlate with career fields. The goal is to help students finish their studies and provide more information on career fields and the cost of degrees. The article is from StateImpact Florida.

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