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Meeting the Professional Learning Needs of Career and Technical Education Teachers

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Meeting the Professional Learning Needs of Career and Technical Education Teachers
Source: American Institutes for Research

States, districts, and teachers identify a need for professional learning that enables Career and Technical Education teachers to help their students meet new standards and respond more effectively to shifts in policy and requirements. This brief outlines the most-needed training topics, the challenges to meeting these needs, and the learning opportunities that work best.

Key Points

The most highly desired topics for professional learning include

  • integrating academics into CTE instruction;
  • using industry-based certifications to plan instruction;
  • using student data for decision making;
  • providing dual enrollment and articulation programs;
  • teacher certification; and
  • curriculum development and revision.

The greatest obstacles to receiving the appropriate training were identified as

  • lack of dedicated or available time;
  • scheduling complexities; and
  • lack of funding or resources.

CTE teachers preferred

  • collaborative and experiential learning, finding these approaches helpful in meeting their need to master technologies, techniques, and skills specific to CTE courses and content; and
  • teacher collaboration in planning, teamwork in instructional delivery, and an increased focus on student learning rather than on teaching.

Education — State standard-setting processes in brief

January 21, 2015 Comments off

State standard-setting processes in brief (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Concerns about academic standards, whether created by states from scratch or adopted by states under the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) banner, have drawn widespread media attention and are at the top of many state policymakers’ priority lists. Recently, a number of legislatures have required additional steps, such as waiting periods for public comment, that state education leaders must follow, and ECS anticipates that the 2015 sessions will see continued debate on this issue.

This brief describes state standard-setting processes and provides profiles of eight states’ standardsetting and review processes, as well as the measures used by those states to validate their standards. Don’t miss Appendix A. It provides historical context around standard setting and the evolution of state standards.

A New Majority Research Bulletin: Low Income Students Now a Majority in the Nation’s Public Schools

January 17, 2015 Comments off

A New Majority Research Bulletin: Low Income Students Now a Majority in the Nation’s Public Schools
Source: Southern Education Foundation

Low income students are now a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools, according to this research bulletin. The latest data collected from the states by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), show that 51 percent of the students across the nation’s public schools were low income in 2013.

In 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40 percent of all public schoolchildren. In 21 states, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a majority of the students in 2013.

Most of the states with a majority of low income students are found in the South and the West. Thirteen of the 21 states with a majority of low income students in 2013 were located in the South, and six of the other 21 states were in the West.

Mississippi led the nation with the highest rate: ­71 percent, almost three out of every four public school children in Mississippi, were low-income. The nation’s second highest rate was found in New Mexico, where 68 percent of all public school students were low income in 2013.

Google releases guide to help schools integrate its technology into classrooms

January 14, 2015 Comments off

Google releases guide to help schools integrate its technology into classrooms
Source: Google

Google today released what it calls “a guide to activating technology in schools” as part of its education efforts. Intended to assist teachers and IT administrators, Google says the new guide based on what other schools processes provides schools with the following frameworks to bring the web into the classroom.

The guide is organized by a “5-step approach to deploying a digital education solution”:

  • Defining your goals
  • Investing in Internet access
  • Building your team
  • Offering web tools
  • Managing the change

Google says its education guide for schools is currently available in 10 languages and includes stories of how other schools have integrated Google Apps for Education, Google Sites, and more. The guide is rich with case studies, videos, product recommendations, organizational instructions, and much more.

College Counseling in High Schools: Advising State Policy

January 12, 2015 Comments off

College Counseling in High Schools: Advising State Policy (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Key Takeaways

High schools sending more students to four-year postsecondary institutions have distinctly different practices and counselor attitudes than high schools sending fewer students to four-year institutions.

Research supports high-impact, low-cost approaches such as college coaching and texting initiatives that can especially help low-income and firstgeneration college-goers.

Emerging state policies and initiatives are aligned with these approaches.

Exploring Opportunities for STEM Teacher Leadership: Summary of a Convocation (2014)

January 12, 2015 Comments off

Exploring Opportunities for STEM Teacher Leadership: Summary of a Convocation (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Many national initiatives in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education have emphasized the connections between teachers and improved student learning. Much of the discussion surrounding these initiatives has focused on the preparation, professional development, evaluation, compensation, and career advancement of teachers. Yet one critical set of voices has been largely missing from this discussion – that of classroom teachers themselves. To explore the potential for STEM teacher leaders to improve student learning through involvement in education policy and decision making, the National Research Council held a convocation in June 2014 entitled “One Year After Science’s Grand Challenges in Education: Professional Leadership of STEM Teachers through Education Policy and Decision Making”. This event was structured around a special issue of Science magazine that discussed 20 grand challenges in science education. The authors of three major articles in that issue – along with Dr. Bruce Alberts, Science’s editor-in-chief at the time – spoke at the convocation, updating their earlier observations and applying them directly to the issue of STEM teacher leadership. The convocation focused on empowering teachers to play greater leadership roles in education policy and decision making in STEM education at the national, state, and local levels. Exploring Opportunities for STEM Teacher Leadership is a record of the presentations and discussion of that event. This report will be of interest to STEM teachers, education professionals, and state and local policy makers.

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Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (2015)

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (2015)
Source: National Research Council

A Framework for K-12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe a new vision for science learning and teaching that is catalyzing improvements in science classrooms across the United States. Achieving this new vision will require time, resources, and ongoing commitment from state, district, and school leaders, as well as classroom teachers. Successful implementation of the NGSS will ensure that all K-12 students have high-quality opportunities to learn science.

Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards provides guidance to district and school leaders and teachers charged with developing a plan and implementing the NGSS as they change their curriculum, instruction, professional learning, policies, and assessment to align with the new standards. For each of these elements, this report lays out recommendations for action around key issues and cautions about potential pitfalls. Coordinating changes in these aspects of the education system is challenging. As a foundation for that process, Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards identifies some overarching principles that should guide the planning and implementation process.

The new standards present a vision of science and engineering learning designed to bring these subjects alive for all students, emphasizing the satisfaction of pursuing compelling questions and the joy of discovery and invention. Achieving this vision in all science classrooms will be a major undertaking and will require changes to many aspects of science education. Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards will be a valuable resource for states, districts, and schools charged with planning and implementing changes, to help them achieve the goal of teaching science for the 21st century.

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