Daily News Roundup, November 8, 2013

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

News You Can Use is an aggregation of information drawn primarily from the education press and public blogs. Items are selected because they are thought to add to the conversation around current education issues, and there is an attempt to select those that present varying viewpoints. They do not represent the opinions or work of the Carnegie Foundation. Carnegie’s work is instead featured in In the News.


State education leaders are moving to calm political tempests over the Common Core State Standards by adopting or reaffirming policies aimed at asserting local control over data, curriculum, and materials. But the classroom-level impact of those moves could be negligible as states forge ahead on common-core implementation. On the one hand, officials' actions in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Michigan highlight anxieties over the privacy of information about individual students and what some see as state and federal intrusion into classrooms. At the same time, the specific steps, all in states run by Republicans, largely emphasize existing policy or practice. The article is in Education Week.

TALLAHASSEE -- It’s the latest trend in education and it’s coming soon to a school near you. But what exactly is a MOOC? On Thursday, Florida lawmakers got schooled on massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The concept is being tested in Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas counties, and will likely be expanding across the state. MOOCs are virtual classes that allow unlimited enrollment. Students watch recorded lectures and move through the material at their own pace. They typically have little or no interaction with the instructor. "It’s about open-source learning and innovative techniques," said state Rep. Manny Diaz, a Hialeah Republican, noting that MOOCs are best suited for independent and motivated students. MOOCs are popular in colleges, and are slowly spreading to Florida’s K-12 system. The article is in the Miami Herald.


An educated workforce is one of the bedrocks not just of a strong American middle class, but also of a strong U.S. economy. To ensure that America has the most competitive global workforce, President Barack Obama articulated a goal that, by 2020, every American should continue their educational training after high school so that the United States will increase its proportion of college graduates. This ambitious policy objective will require our postsecondary education system to embrace changes and find new ways to improve student success while maintaining affordability and quality. One way that some postsecondary institutions are innovating is by focusing more on what students learn, rather than where or how long the learning takes place. This can be a more efficient way for students to progress toward a degree, yet it is a very different way for higher education to operate. The article and report are from the Center for American Progress.

The financial outlook for community colleges is improving, but the two-year college systems in many states remain under significant stress, according to a survey being released today. The study is based on a survey of state directors of community colleges, and is conducted annually by the Education Policy Center of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Since the economic downturn started in 2008, community colleges (and the rest of public higher education) have been hit by many rounds of mid-year budget cuts, followed by flat or decreasing budgets, and the new survey suggests that this trend may be changing in many states. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.



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