Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Best Part of NCLB Reauthorization You’ve Never Heard Of

Education Next – Nora Gordon

“Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) two weeks ago released their bipartisan agreement to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). I’m sure reasonable minds will differ, but the Every Child Achieves Act strikes me a remarkably bipartisan balance on the hot-button issues of testing, standards, and accountability that students, parents and teachers experience so personally and have dominated this year’s reauthorization discussion. The larger legacy of the Every Child Achieves Act may well be how it cleans up supplement not supplant, a little discussed and often misunderstood fiscal rule with a big impact on how schools actually spend the $14 billion of NCLB Title I funds. The proposed legislation makes two important changes: (1) it requires districts to show they are distributing their state and local funds across schools without regard to the federal funds that each school receives; and (2) it increases local autonomy over how to spend Title I funds.”(more)

Shakespeare getting little love from American colleges

The San Francisco Chronicle – Nanette Asimov

“A new study finds that English departments at just four of 52 top-ranked universities require English majors to take a course on the 16th century playwright and poet who is considered the English-speaking world’s greatest man of letters. UC Berkeley is one of the four. “Our department feels very strongly about this,” said Professor Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, who chairs the English department at UC Berkeley. “Shakespeare is the single most influential writer in English. Not only that, he’s one of the most supremely absorbing writers in any language. We couldn’t imagine how a student could achieve a degree in English without taking a course in Shakespeare.” Only Harvard, Wellesley and the United States Naval Academy share that view, according to the study released Thursday — believed to be the Bard’s birthday — by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C., that focuses on academic freedom and holding “colleges and universities accountable.” The study, “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile,” looks at the 26 top-ranked universities in the nation — including the eight Ivy League schools — and the 26 top liberal arts colleges as ranked by this year’s U.S. News & World Report, and found more than 92 percent do not require English majors to take a course on Shakespeare. Stanford is one of them.”(more)

Teaching Tomorrow’s Founders: Ideas for K-12 Education

Forbes – Gosia Glinska

“What put Hurst on a path to become a serial entrepreneur was her desire to tackle a big problem in tech—the lack of diversity. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in computer science, Hurst moved to New York City, where she worked as a software developer. As a woman, she wanted to empower other women to break into the male-dominated tech industry. First, she started a Meetup group in Manhattan to teach women to write code. In 2010, she launched Developers for Good, then Girl Develop It and CodeMontage. Today, Girl Develop It has more than 30,000 members across the U.S. In 2014 alone, the nonprofit taught 9,000 women to write code.”(more)

When To Pay For Education-Related Financial Help

Forbes – Robert Farrington

“There is a booming industry forming to help people with education financial assistance. There are companies and services that can help with FAFSA and Financial Aid, finding scholarships, financial planning for college, and help with your student loans after graduation. The topic of “how to pay for college” is one of the fastest growing areas in financial services, but consumers need to know when they should and when they shouldn’t pay for help. Because in any area that is booming, there are bound to be companies prowling for victims and scamming student loan borrowers.”(more)

What If Students Could Fire Their Professors?

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“A bill circulating in the Iowa state Senate would rate professors’ performance based on student evaluations. Just student evaluations. Low-rated professors would be automatically fired — no tenure, no appeals. The bill’s author, state Sen. Mark Chelgren, a Republican, argues that too many students are taking on student loan debt but not getting their money’s worth in the classroom. “Professors need to understand that their customers are those students,” Chelgren told the Chronicle of Higher Education.”(more)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A very British business

The Economist – Staff Writer

“THEY are known, quaintly, as “public schools”, though they are certainly not open to just anyone. Their names—Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Fettes—conjure up images of striped blazers and straw boaters, speech days and rugger matches. Be not deceived: for all their whimsiness, these are some of the world’s most ruthless businesses. Britain’s elite private schools are service-industry superpowers. They have increased their fees threefold in real terms since 1980 but still have parents beating at their doors. They have become thoroughly global: more than a third of their boarding pupils are foreign and the schools have established campuses in far-flung places such as Almaty, Kazakhstan (Haileybury) and Bangkok (Harrow) as well as more obvious ones like Singapore and Beijing. The secret of their success is simple: they provide a first-class academic education, and a ticket to the best universities, in an age when the rewards for academic success are rising. Their exam results far outstrip those of state schools (though there is a debate over how much this is because of the selectivity of their intake). They bag two-fifths of the undergraduate places at Oxford and Cambridge, despite educating just 7% of children in Britain.”(more)

Should Personalization Be the Future of Learning?

Education Next – Benjamin Riley and Alex Hernandez

“As technology has continued to permeate the classroom, the concept of personalized learning has gained traction among educators and policymakers. In this forum, our authors take a step back to ask a critical question: should personalization be the future of K–12 schooling? What are the risks? What do students stand to gain? Can personalized learning accomplish what we might hope? Benjamin Riley, founder of Deans for Impact, makes the case for an abundance of caution, while Alex Hernandez, a partner at Charter School Growth Fund, supports continued efforts to get personalization right.”(more)

Schools Can’t Innovate Until Districts Do

Education Next – Robin J. Lake

“Every sector of the U.S. economy is working on ways to deliver services in a more customized manner. In the near future, cancer treatment plans will be customized to each patient based on sophisticated genetic data and personal health histories. If all goes well, education is headed in the same direction. Personalized learning and globally benchmarked academic standards (a.k.a. Common Core) are the focus of most major school districts and charter school networks. Educators and parents know students must be better prepared to think deeply about complex problems and to have skills that are relevant for jobs that haven’t yet been created. Promising new school models are showing what’s possible by:.”(more)

What “The Cage-Busting Teacher” Means For School Reformers

Education Next – Frederick Hess

“If you’re an aficionado of the Education Gadfly or Education Next, there’s a fair chance you’ve read or heard me discussing my new book, The Cage-Busting Teacher. It’s written wholly for educators and fueled by interviews and discussions with hundreds of teacher-leaders. In it, I observe that even terrific teachers routinely say they feel stymied, offer insights on how teachers can create the schools and systems where they can do their best work, and explain where practitioners tend to stumble on this count. But what about policymakers and reformers? What does The Cage-Busting Teacher mean for them? How can they create the conditions whereby cage-busting teachers can thrive? Let me offer four suggestions. First, policymakers and reformers need to keep in mind that they’re not the ones who educate kids. Heck, they’re only occasionally in classrooms—and they’re not the ones held accountable for how students are faring. From the teacher’s perspective, they—we—are backseat drivers. Everybody gets frustrated by backseat drivers, even when they have good advice to offer. Passengers can carefully study the GPS or old-fashioned roadmap while the driver focuses on the road. They can see signs that the driver missed, maybe even the truck out front making an unexpectedly fast stop. But backseat drivers need to remember all the stuff they’re not dealing with…because they’re not actually driving.”(more)

The College Education Game Just Got Changed

Time – Sabrina Toppa

“Arizona State now offers online pay-as-you-pass freshman years with no required SAT. Arizona State University (ASU) is partnering with the education nonprofit edX to offer students around the world the opportunity to take freshman year courses online — without a required SAT score or high school transcripts. The earned credits enable students to finish their degrees at Arizona’s campus or that of any university campus accepting the courses.”(more)