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The 4 essential elements of passion-based learning

E-School News – Jill Badalamenti

“Teaching students effectively means getting to know them — and their passions. Think back to when you were still in school. What do you tend to remember most? Do you think back to the unique field trips you went on? The cool science experiments? What about a favorite teacher? For me, it was projects and Mrs. Gianni. That’s what I remember most about school and the teacher that comes to mind. Mrs. Gianni had blond hair that always looked like it needed to be dyed. She was young and energetic. I also remember the way she made me feel, her high expectations, how she was always smiling, and how I felt like I could be anything in her eyes.”(more)

New Center for American Progress Report: Tougher Standards Strengthen Student Achievement

The 74 Million – Eric A. Hanushek

“New research from the Center for American Progress finds that low-income students in states with strong standards and accountability policies made greater gains on federal tests. The research comes just as the federal government has partially backed away from such policies, bowing to a growing backlash against testing and the Common Core standards. The new report by Ulrich Boser and Catherine Brown of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress examines scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), comparing NAEP gains to states’ actions in adopting tougher standards, assessments, and accountability systems. Specifically, the researchers looked at the quality of each state’s academic standards, whether state tests are aligned to those standards, and whether stakes — such as sanctions and rewards for low- and high-performing schools, respectively — are attached to those tests. They then used a statistical technique which revealed states with better scores on measures of standards, assessment, and accountability saw larger NAEP gains in eighth grade reading and fourth grade math.”(more)

What Matters for Student Achievement

Education Next – Eric A. Hanushek

“The Coleman Report, “Equality of Educational Opportunity,” is the fountainhead for those committed to evidence-based education policy. Remarkably, this 737-page tome, prepared 50 years ago by seven authors under the leadership of James S. Coleman, still gets a steady 600 Google Scholar citations per year. But since its publication, views of what the report says have diverged, and conclusions about its policy implications have differed even more sharply. It is therefore appropriate—from the Olympian vantage point a half century provides—not only to assess the Coleman findings and conclusions but also to consider how and where they have directed the policy conversation. It must be said from the outset that the Coleman team relied on a methodology that was becoming antiquated at the time the document was prepared. Almost immediately, econometricians offered major critiques of its approach. But even with these limitations, as an education-policy research document, the report was breathtakingly innovative, the foundation for decades of ever-improving inquiry into the design and impact of the U.S. education system.”(more)

A Remarkable Feat in Education

The U.S. News and World Report – Gerard Robinson

“In December, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and replaced the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, which also reauthorized the 1965 law and has governed schools since 2002. Most notably, the Every Student Succeeds Act radically reduces the U.S. Department of Education’s authority over state curriculum frameworks, standards and testing decisions; gives states the power to use “evidence-based” models when investing in the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools; and curtails the secretary of education’s authority over state and local policy making. To make this clear, the law even states.”(more)

Holiday boredom, meet STEM

Dell – Heather Wilson

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is becoming more and more important – and with good reason. These are necessary skills in today’s tech-savvy world, and they represent a pathway to some of the most in-demand and promising jobs. But global education systems aren’t producing enough critical thinkers to keep up with the demand. This is according to many experts, including those from Girlstart in Texas and TERI in India – two non-profits aimed at harnessing the potential of STEM-related skills so young people may acquire what they need to compete in today’s global workforce. Dell partners with Girlstart and TERI – and with 60 other non-profit organizations around the world – to help underserved young people access technology and education. Dell provides these partners with grant funding, its latest technology and Dell team members’ expertise.”(more)

Why a Holistic Approach to STEM Education Matters

Samsung – Robin Bienfait

“The next generation of learners will forge ahead in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. These skills are a central element of a well-rounded education; however, STEM education should not be an isolated entity. Many institutions don’t look for opportunities to weave science and technology into other coursework when they should. In fact, results from a 2015 GfK Knowledge Panel survey of K-12 teachers nationwide, revealed that approximately half of the respondents dedicated only 10 percent or less time to STEM coursework, or didn’t know what STEM was at all. Education is multi-dimensional, and educators should work to de-compartmentalize science, mathematics and technology from other subjects.”(more)