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Understanding the Underserved Learner: The Condition of STEM 2014

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Understanding the Underserved Learner: The Condition of STEM 2014 (PDF)
Source: ACT
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Understanding the Underserved Learner: The Condition of STEM 2014 is an ACT report that determines underserved students’ interest and their college and career readiness in math- and science-related areas. Students’ readiness in these areas could affect their STEM career opportunities and help address the national deficit of skilled STEM workers.

The report, released today, identifies underserved learners using student characteristics that are often related to a lack of access to high-quality educational and career planning opportunities and resources.

+ Underserved students make up a large portion of the potential STEM target group. Of the 899,684 students from the 2014 graduating class who reported an interest in STEM, more than 418,000 (47%) were underserved students.

+ Underserved graduates are just as likely as ACT-tested students overall to be interested in STEM—49 percent have an interest in STEM in each case.

+ Underserved students are far less prepared for success in college STEM coursework than are students overall. For example, only 25 percent of underserved STEM students met the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in science, compared to 59 percent of students who are not underserved. Erasing this readiness gap in science would help more than 140,000 students become ready for first-year college science coursework.

More Canadian parents opting for home schooling their children; 29 per cent increase between 2007 and 2012

June 23, 2015 Comments off

More Canadian parents opting for home schooling their children; 29 per cent increase between 2007 and 2012
Source: Fraser Institute

n increasing number of Canadian families are choosing to home school their children, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Home Schooling in Canada: The Current Picture—2015, notes that 21,662 Canadian children were registered as ‘home school students’ (with likely more not officially registered) in 2012, an increase of 29 per cent over a five-year period.

The study references the mounting academic literature about home schooling across North America and builds upon earlier Fraser Institute research from 2001 and 2007. It finds that while decisions to homeschool in the past were ideologically or religiously driven, families are now choosing the option for more pragmatic reasons.

For example, parents are choosing education-at-home because it corresponds with their personal circumstances such as having children involved in time-consuming extra-curricular activities; a child with a health or learning disability; or because the family lives in a remote location or travels extensively.

Why Wait 100 Years? Bridging the Gap in Global Education

June 15, 2015 Comments off

Why Wait 100 Years? Bridging the Gap in Global Education
Source: Brookings Institution

In the last 200 years, the number of children attending primary school globally has grown from 2.3 million to 700 million today, covering nearly 90 percent of the world’s school-age children. But the gulf in average levels of education between rich and poor countries remains huge. Without a fundamental rethinking of current approaches to education, it’s going to take another 100 years for children in developing countries to reach the education levels achieved in developed countries. Something needs to change.

State approaches to funding dual enrollment

June 15, 2015 Comments off

State approaches to funding dual enrollment (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Research shows that students who dually enroll are more likely to finish high school and succeed in postsecondary education than their peers with a similar grade point average (GPA), test scores, demographics, etc. Yet in many states, students and parents are largely — if not entirely — responsible for covering dual enrollment course costs, placing these courses out of reach of students in greatest need.

This Education Commission of the States policy analysis explores approaches states are taking to minimize — or completely eliminate — tuition and other costs for dually enrolled students. For each state highlighted, this report describes the state’s mechanism for funding dual enrollment, the potential benefits and drawbacks of each approach, student access and program outcomes, and considerations on the politics or culture underlying these funding approaches.

Getting College and Career Ready During State Transition Toward the Common Core State Standards

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Getting College and Career Ready During State Transition Toward the Common Core State Standards
Source: American Institutes of Research

As of October 2014, 43 states have adopted the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS or “Common Core”). The Common Core standards were developed in 2009, released by mid-2010, and represent a cross-state effort to adopt a set of “college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics.”

The CCSS initiative grew out of concerns that existing state standards are not adequately preparing students with the knowledge and skills needed to compete globally, necessitating a clearer set of learning expectations that are consistent from state to state. But the CCSS initiative is not without controversy, and it has become increasingly polarizing.

This study provides a first look at how student college- and career-readiness have progressed in the early years of Common Core implementation. It is motivated by concern that changes triggered by the standards transition might be disruptive to student learning in the short run, even when those changes may become beneficial once fully implemented.

The paperwork pile-up: Measuring the burden of charter school applications

May 28, 2015 Comments off

The paperwork pile-up: Measuring the burden of charter school applications
Source: American Enterprise Institute

Key Points

  • Charter schools were created with a clear bargain in mind: charter authorizers would give operators autonomy to run schools as they saw fit as long as those schools met defined performance metrics.
  • Currently, the balance between accountability and autonomy is heavily tilted toward accountability, with charter authorizers requiring unnecessarily extensive, time-consuming applications.
  • Excising unnecessary or inappropriate requirements could shorten the average charter application by one-third, saving applicants more than 700 hours of work and avoiding wasting money that could be better spent educating students.

A Look at Funding for Students with Disabilities

May 15, 2015 Comments off

A Look at Funding for Students with Disabilities (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

This year is the 40th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142 — most commonly known as the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law not only changed the way that students with disabilities are educated in this country, it also fundamentally changed the way that states fund their K-12 education programs. This ECS Progress of Education Reform outlines some of the facts — and myths — surrounding IDEA and how its passage has made state policymakers think differently about how they fund their public schools.

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