Missouri Environmental Education Association

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Header Picture Captions: Left to Right: Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial S.P. Nature Detectives, Summer 2010; Academie Lafayette, Kansas City, Stream Class; Sustain Mizzou Green Team recycling at an MU home football game, Columbia. If you have pictures of your students learning aout or working in the environment (with permissions) send them to weaverjc@missouri.edu and we will post them.

Education News

MEEA is responsible for the summaries posted below. Not in the sense that we wrote them, but in the sense that we were selective in what we quoted or summarized. Be sure and visit the host site for full details on the story, accurate quotes and complete citations.

March 2015 (to MEEA April 2015 Newsletter)

Time spent gaming, not the game, negatively affects behavior. Science Daily. March 31, 2015. Children who play video games for more than three hours a day are more likely to be hyperactive, get involved in fights and not be interested in school, says a new study. It examined the effects of different types of games and time spent playing on children's social and academic behavior.

Greenery improves perception of neighborhoods. Science Daily. March 31, 2015. "Parents consider high-rates of single parent families, a lack of trust amongst neighbours, and the presence of graffiti, rundown buildings and heavy traffic as being indicative of an unsafe environment, while children feel safer than their parents if the streets are better lit and if there is more greenery," Côté-Lussier explained. She believes this is due to the fact that children are scared of the dark and because vegetation can reduce stress. "Planting trees is not just good for the environment, it also has a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of the population," she said.

Study: Suspensions, zero tolerance policies don't curb drug use. Education News, Grace Smith. March 29, 2015. Data from the International Youth Development Survey, which collected representative samples of 7th and 9th grade students in Washington State and Victoria, Australia, found that “students attending schools with suspension policies for illicit drugs were 1.6 times more likely than their peers in schools without such policies to use marijuana in the next year.”

White House announces $240M in new STEM Ed pledges. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. March 26, 2015. President Barack Obama is planning to announce pledges received from the private sector totaling over $240 million, all to be put toward increasing student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The announcement will come during the White House Science Fair.

Incorporating exercise into classroom lessons increases children's physical activity levels. Science Daily. March 25, 2015. Children who participate in a short-burst exercise program incorporated into their classroom lessons take 300 more steps per day than children who do not participate in the program, according to a study published in the journal Childhood Obesity. CHAM JAM (Children's Hospital at Montefiore Joining Academics and Movement) is an audio CD consisting of 10-minute, education-focused aerobic activities led by teachers in the classroom, that has been shown to increase children's activity levels when performed up to three times per day....Teachers reported that CHAM JAM was a helpful tool in encouraging children to exercise but beyond that it also helped them to focus better on lessons afterwards and encouraged them to do the exercises together with their families at home.

Reports; Too many parents duped into buying sugary drinks. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. March 18, 2015. ...almost half of the parents who participated in the survey believed flavored water to be a healthy option, and over one quarter of parents were under the impression that fruit drinks and sports drinks were also healthy. Interestingly, African American and Hispanic parents were found to be more likely than white parents to view sugary drinks as a healthy option....Parents admitted being influenced by package labels which claim the ingredients are “real” or “natural,” contain vitamin C, or were low in sodium or calories.

Wyoming re-thinking ban on climate change science in classrooms. Education News, Grace Smith. March 5, 2015. Teaching climate change standards as fact hasn’t been allowed in Wyoming public schools – until now. A bill reversing the ban has passed the House and Senate and now awaits Gov. Matt Mead’s signature. ,,, However, NGSS supporters are concerned that the amendment would allow too much leeway, such as the freedom to alter or remove key parts of the standards. This happened in West Virginia last year when sections concerning climate change were modified.

New assessment tool can predict successful teachers. Science Daily. March 2, 2015. The study investigated the factor structure and reliability of a new measure of teachers' skill in detecting and identifying effective classroom interactions, the Video Assessment of Interactions and Learning (VAIL). The assessment involves showing teachers brief video clips, asks them to describe what strategies teachers used to support specific aspects of learning and development and then offer specific examples. Teachers' skill in detecting and identifying effective interactions on video significantly predicted the quality of their own teaching.

February 2015

Missouri judge rules pact with Common Core testing 'illegal'. KSPR/ABC. February 25, 2015. Cole County Circuit judge Daniel Green ruled Tuesday that the state's partnership with the Common Core testing company is an "illegal interstate compact not authorized by the U.S. Congress."

Obama administration to offer free parks admission for kids. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. February 24, 2015. Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, the initiative will offer information and resources for teachers and families, allowing them to easily find nearby public lands and waters as well as programs that support youth outings. In addition, transportation support for schools in need and educational materials will also be supplied, writes Vanessa McGrady for Forbes.

San Francisco sees segregation as side effect of school choice. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. February 24, 2015. While court rulings and laws banning educators from using race as a term for admissions and school assignments have contributed to the current segregation happening throughout the district, it is believed that increased school choice opportunities, which may be difficult for low-income families to decipher and navigate, in addition to the limited availability of free transportation, are playing a role in demographic shifts.

Missouri leads nation in suspension rates for black elementary school students. KCUR, Sam Zeff. February 23, 2015. According to the report, 14.3 percent of black elementary students in Missouri were given school suspensions in the 2011-2012 school year. That compares to just 1.8 percent of white students. The gap of 12.5 percent, is also top in the nation.

States, schools trying to improve EL in Common Core Era. Education News, Grace Smith. February 21, 2015. Much of the credit for Oregon’s success is given to E.L. Achieve and its co-founder Susana Dutro and the training given to superintendents, principals, and teachers in many Oregon districts since 2006. Some of the teaching techniques include hand motions and gestures, using advanced language even with the youngest students (words such as “prefer” and “scrumptious” rather than “like” and “good”), teaching forms and patterns like comparing and contrasting and spending 40% of class time writing and talking.

First Amendment Establishment clause still controversial in U.S. Schools. Education News, Grace Smith. February 19, 2015. The parents of two children who attend Swainsboro Primary School in Emanuel County, Georgia have brought a lawsuit against the district because daily prayers are held in the classrooms – and for embarrassing their children after their parents complained.

Obama announces intention to re-write No Child Left Behind. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. February 18, 2015. As he works to create a new plan, Obama will focus on a decrease in the amount of standardized tests taken, a larger investment in preschool, and providing every child with “a fair shot in the new economy.”

Jindal hopes to lead national repeal of common core. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. February 12, 2015. Jindal has sued the Obama administration, arguing that the federal government had unconstitutionally forced the standards onto states through promises of federal education funding....
The standards are frequentlly criticized by conservatives. A June NBC poll found 58% of Tea Party Republicans oppose Common Core in comparison to 31% of the general public. A Gallup poll from September found similar results, with 58% of Republicans holding a negative view of the standards compared to just 23% of Democrats.

Study shows preschool reduces the need for special education. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. February 4, 2015. A study published this week has found that a high-quality early childhood program can reduce the number of children who are diagnosed with a variety of learning disorders by the third grade.

Quality Counts 2015: State Report Cards Map. Education Week.Missouri gets a C- (71.4) based on low scores for K-12 achievement and within that category, low scores for equity. Details require registration.

January 2015

Speaker Boehner supports annual tests in NCLB renewal. Education Week, Alyson Klein. January 28, 2014. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, has said that he is favor of keeping No Child Left Behind's annual, statewide assessment schedule in a rewrite of the law....Now it looks like he'll have support for that approach from Rep. John A. Boehner, the Speaker of the House. Boehner was an architect of the original NCLB law when he served as chairman of the House education committee back in 2001. (Secretary of Education Duncan is also in favor of annual testing of math and reading).

Teacher training programs face criticism and questions. Columbia Missourian/St. Louis Post Dispatch, Koran Addo. January 23, 2015. College programs that train Missouri's future teachers are facing an unprecedented level of scrutiny as the state overhauls how educators are certified....The changes — which mirror a national push in the past decade for higher teacher education standards — have come under fire not only for the way they have been enacted, but also for the premise behind them.

Fast food impedes academic performance. Education News, Sherlyn Summers. January 22, 2015. A new nationwide survey conducted by researchers at Ohio State University revealed that a child’s daily consumption of fast food hampers his or her academic performance. The study showed that students on a regular fast food diet had slower growth in math, reading, and science skills compared to their non-fast food eating counterparts.

Nixon seeks$50M increase in basic school aid. Yahoo/AP, David A. Lieb. January 21, 2015. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to propose a $50 million increase in basic school aid during Wednesday's State of the State address, but some education groups already have concerns that it won't be enough to avoid potential cuts.

Missouri lawmakers push for civics test requirement for graduation. Missourinet. January 21, 2015. The "Missouri Civics Education Initiative" would require every high school student to pass a United States Citizenship Civics test-the same one hundred question test immigrants are required to take for U.S. Citizenship-prior to receiving a diploma. Students would need to score sixty percent or higher to pass the test.

Report: Over half of American students in low-income families. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. January 20, 2015. The report, A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and Nation, found 51% of students in pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade in 17 states were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program in the 2012-13 school year. The majority – 13 — of those states were in the South. The remaining 4 were in the West.

Achievement cut scores set for Missouri Assessment Program. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. January 14, 2015. At its January meeting, the State Board of Education approved achievement level cut scores for the spring 2015 English language arts and mathematics portions of the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) for grades 3-8. The scores were determined through an inclusive process that involved teachers, parents, higher education faculty, business leaders and other community members in member states of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Educators who work with English language learners and students with disabilities were included to help ensure that achievement levels would be fair and appropriate for all students.

Julia Steiny: Only 1 in 12 kids has normal balance and core strength. Education News,Julia Steiny. January 14, 2015. While working in classrooms of wriggly kids, Hanscom started seeing what she thought must be physical anomalies among them. So she solicited others to help her conduct research. To their horror, they found “that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance.”...In the school off-season, Hanscom runs a camp, Timbernook, which for all the world looks like a forest kindergarten or nature-focused adventure playground. In other words, it looks like a place where kids can actually play. Not surprisingly, when ADD kids go to Timbernook, their symptoms disappear

December 2014

Missouri Legislature takes on education in 2015. Columbia Missourian, Kasia Kovacs. December 31, 2014. SB27 gives schools letter grades, do away with tenure for teachers hired after August 27, 2015, and require annual evaluations for teachers and administrators. SB28 just has the letter grade provision. HB42 would allow buildings in failing districts be considered for accreditation one by one and changes transfer policy. SB1 allows accredited districts to start charter schools in unaccredited districts. SB70 would prohibit the State Board of Education from classifying a district as unaccredited if no state board of education member represents the district. SB64 requires the board to classify all schools one way or the other.

Education Department releases college rating framework. Education News, Kristen DeCarr. December 29, 2014. According to the draft framework, schools may be judged on graduation and retention rates, the ability of graduates to pay back their student loans, as well as the school’s accessibility to low-income and first-generation students.

Schools considering later start times for safety. Education News, Grace Smith. December 17, 2014. Schools nationwide are considering delaying school start times to better match the needs of teenagers....The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), earlier this year released a statement that adolescents who do not get enough sleep can suffer from physical and mental health problems, an increase in automobile accidents, and a decline in academic performance. Unfortunately, teens’ natural sleep cycle makes it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11:00 p.m. and then attend a 7:30 a.m. — or earlier — first class the next day.

State board names new Missouri Commissioner of Education. MO DESE news release. December 17, 2014. Following interviews with five finalists, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to select Dr. Margaret Vandeven (pictured bottom right) as the next Commissioner of Education, effective January 1, 2015....A primary focus for Dr. Vandeven will be Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, a major improvement effort that aims for student achievement in Missouri to rank among the top 10 states by 2020. The plan’s four goals include graduating all Missouri children ready for college and career; preparing all children for success in kindergarten; and preparing, developing and supporting effective educators.

New York the latest state to join farm to school program. Education News, Kristen DeCarr. December 10, 2014. New York is the latest state to be chosen to participate in the US Department of Agriculture’s pilot program, Farm to School, connecting school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers...States chosen to participate receive a federal grant of $100,000, allowing schools to either purchase more foods from local farmers or get students involved in growing their own ingredients on school grounds. Schools are given a guide which lists the number of ways schools can obtain their fresh ingredients while abiding by the regulations. In addition, the USDA hosted a series of webinars that highlights the ways in which schools can participate.

Study: Grades, Attendance more important than test scores. Education News, Grace Smith. December 5, 2014. A research report released last month, conducted by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR), entitled “Middle School Grade Indicators of Readiness in Chicago Public Schools“, states that doing well in middle school is a solid indicator of whether a students will succeed in college.

Educator refuses to leave Common Core panel. News Tribune/AP. December 3, 2014. Nick Kremer, a language arts coordinator at Columbia Public Schools, has been a supporter of the national standards, which Jones and other Republicans are seeking to revamp. Jones said he asked Kremer to leave the panel after learning he does not have the required 10 years of teaching experience....While Kremer acknowledges he hasn’t spent 10 years in a classroom, he says he does have that much experience when his years as an administrator are included. Asked by the Associated Press whether he thought his position on Common Core was why Jones wants him to leave, Kremer said he didn’t know. He said he would stay on the committee, which is looking into English standards for junior high and high school students, “between now and when the judiciary interprets the law to indicate that the speaker does have the statutory authority to replace me mid-process.”

November 2014

Controversial Missouri Commissioner of Education Nicastro retiring. Education News, Grace Smith. November 25, 2014. Missouri’s education commissioner, Chris Nicastro, has intervened in Missouri’s public schools with zeal, particularly in those schools struggling to perform in high-poverty districts such as Kansas City and St. Louis — and soon her tenure will be over.

Data Quality Campaign pushes for data-driven decisions. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. November 24, 2014. The annual report, Data for Action 2014, looks at a series of actions recommended by the Data Quality Campaign for states to utilize to improve student learning. Fortysix states (including Missouri) are participating. The study has seen the most state growth in providing consistent support for longitudinal data systems and in helping teachers and school leaders learn to access, use and integrate the data into instructional practices.

New school lunch programs not making the grade. Environmental News Network/Johns Hopkins University. November 18, 2014. Based on analysis of school meals and the new requirements, the whole grains served are mostly processed, which means they are converted into sugar when digested, and many of the required foods, like fruit and milk, contain added sugar because many schools opt to serve canned fruit, fruit juice, and flavored milk. The new requirements do not limit the amount of added sugar in school meals. The researchers are recommending that the requirements be expanded to limit added sugars and processed foods and to ensure carbohydrate quality.

Obama administration calls for 'Excellent' teachers, but leaves it up to states definition up to states. Education News, Kristn Decarr. November 17, 2014. The Obama administration is beginning enforcement deadline for states to submit plans for placement of 'excellent' teachers in classrooms with poor and minority students. So far, officials have mentioned that teachers who are not 'excellent' include those in their first year of teaching, those without certification and those who take more than 10 days off each year.

Florida parents rally for recess. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. November 6, 2014. The state Department of Education does not require recess for Florida students. However, school boards can set district policy on the subject, and principals make the final ruling on the matter for the majority of the state.Parents throughout the state are upset that their children are not receiving this additional 30 minutes of unorganized physical activity in addition to their physical education class time. Many are beginning letter-writing campaigns and online petitions.

Teachers evenly split on Common Core, but parents turn sour. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. November 4, 2014. A new Gallup poll shows that American teachers are divided on their views concerning the Common Core standards, with 44% seeing them as negative and 41% looking at them positively....While parents are also divided on the issue, their views have become increasingly negative over the past few months.

Missouri Amendment 3 fails following strong public opinon against it. KSHB 41 Kansas City, Staff. November 4, 2014. An amendment that could have changed the way teachers are paid in Missouri failed to pass on Tuesday....The constitutional amendment would have based teacher pay on student test scores and limited teachers to three-year contracts....Dozens of school districts in and around the Kansas City metro had fought against the amendment, saying it would take away their control over local schools.

October 2014 (to MEEA November Newsletter)

Apple ConnectED grants total $100 million in 29 states. Education News, Jordan E. Wassell. October 30, 2014. The Apple ConnectED grants will be given to 114 schools in 29 different states. Every student that attends one of the schools will receive an iPad. The teachers and administrators each get a Mac Book Air, iPad and Apple TV for their classroom, writes Zac Hall for 9 to 5 Mac.

Maybe education can change people's minds about climate change. Washington Post, Chris Mooney. October 28, 2014. In middle school "individualists," as their level of scientific knowledge about global warming increased, so did their acceptance of the idea that it is caused by humans. In fact, the knowledge-acceptance relationship was stronger in these young individualists than it was among kids who had a disposition toward communitarianism -- an ideological view that is best captured in Hillary Clinton's famous phrase "it takes a village," and that emphasizes our co-dependency in society, rather than the importance of individual freedom and initiative.

Reports: Cost, infrastructure hinder internet at schools. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. October 25, 2014.The Pearson Mobile Device Survey 2014 looked at data from 2,252 K-12 students in 2014. The survey discovered that although 93% of the students had Internet access at home, only 62% attended a school with WiFi.

Survey: Teachers embracing games in the classroom. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. October 22, 2014. According to the finding of a survey by Games and Learning Publishing Council, 74% of the teachers surveyed reported using digital games as a means of instruction. Of those teachers, 80% say their students play games at least once a month, and 55% say games are used on a weekly basis in their classrooms. Teachers report using the games for a multitude of reasons, including delivering local curriculum (43%), state/national curriculum (41%), and assessing students on supplemental (33%) and core knowledge (29%).

Do highly-decorated classrooms distract students? Education News, Grace Smith. October 20, 2014. A recent study has found that for kindergartners, at least in their classrooms, less is more. Published in May of this year, the study in Psychological Science was one of the first attempts at trying to discover the impact of classroom decorations on a child’s learning. Not surprisingly, it found that classrooms which were decorated to a high degree caused students to be more distracted and to score lower on tests than those students who were taught in a room with bare walls.

School lunch costs on the rise as USDA, SNA offer different views. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. October 9, 2014. According to the SNA, which represents 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the nation, the rise in costs is due to the USDA estimate that “will force local school districts and states to absorb $1.22 billion in new food, labor and administrative costs in Fiscal Year 2015 alone, up from $362 million in additional costs in FY 2014.”...An analysis from the USDA, however, showed a nationwide net increase in school lunch revenue of almost $200 million, which included annual reimbursement rate adjustments.

Study: Digital readers don't match up to real paper. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. October 3, 2014. Researchers discovered that participants who had read the story on the Kindle did significantly worse in recalling event order when asked to place 14 events from the story in chronological order....Research has discovered that when a person reads a text online, they trigger a different part of their brain that focuses on “non-linear” reading, causing the reader to be more likely to skim through the pages than they would be reading the same text in print form.

September 2014 (to MEEA October Newsletter)

Several studies link childhood obesity to low grades. Education News, Kristin DeCarr. September 26, 2014. A recent series of at least six studies has linked childhood obesity to poor grades.According to researcher Anne Martin, the effects of obesity are great enough to cause a drop in grades, and the research shows that girls are at a greater risk for the effects than boys. The reasons for the drop in academic success are not completely known, but there is believed to be a link between obesity and being “written off” by teachers, as well as a more slowly developing brains in obese children.

Denver students protest over US History course focus. Education News, Grace Smith. September 26, 2014. Suburban Denver high schools experienced a walkout this week when students protested against a proposal to focus history education on citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority. In their own act of civil disobedience, hundreds of students left their classrooms in the state’s second largest district, where a sick-out of teachers had closed two high schools earlier in the week. The Associated Press says this area around this district is politically and economically diverse and has become a key political battleground.

Will Common-Core testing platforms impede math tasks? Education Week, Liana Heitin. September 23, 2014. Unlike previous state assessments, those being developed by the two federally funded consortia will include complex, multipart word problems that students will answer on screen. While some of those questions will provide built-in tools that allow students to put points on a graph or draw lines on a ready-made picture, other questions will ask them to write their answers in narrative form, using a keyboard.

Tension marks Common Core rewrite. AP. September 22, 2014. Under a new Missouri law, eight task forces each comprised of more than a dozen appointees are supposed to recommend new learning benchmarks for public school students to replace the national Common Core guidelines by the 2016-17 school year.... But not all of the appointees had been named in time for Monday’s initial meetings. Those who were present first argued about whether to actually meet, then about whether officials from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education should be present, who should take notes and whether the public should be allowed to watch their work....After they resolved those issues, task force members sparred over the merits of the Common Core standards, which were developed by a national organization of state school officers and the National Governors Association.

Lawsuit filed over education standards. Columbia Daily Tribune/AP. September 21, 2014. The lawsuit said the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes a $4.3 million allocation for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an entity whose existence the plaintiffs claim violates the U.S. Constitution and various “provisions of federal and Missouri law.”

Missouri education commissioner to resign. Columbia Daily Tribune/AP. September 16, 2014. Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro announced Monday that she will resign at the end of this year, concluding a five-year tenure marked by repeated criticism as the state adopted new school accreditation standards and dealt with struggling districts.

US Chamber of Commerce notes 4 lacking areas in education. Education News, Grace Smith. September 16, 2014.In a new report from the US Chamber of Commerce, four areas of learning are not up to par domestically when it comes to international competitiveness and career preparation: college-level courses, STEM education, basic reading, and math proficiency. US News and World Report’s Allie Bidwell reports that states nationwide have made improvements in K-12 systems, but are lagging behind others. and.....The four worst offenders in the “truth in advertising” measurement were Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Michigan. This finding was based on disparities between state test results and the results from NAEP testing. This tampered reporting gave parents an unrealistic sense of how their children were performing in reading and math. Massachusetts, Missouri, and Tennessee did the best job of giving parents an honest picture of how their children were doing in school.

OECD Report: US dips in education spending. Education News, Kristen DeCarr. September 15, 2014. According to a new report out from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US is spending less on education while the UK is pouring more money into its ed system.

Campaign for teacher tenure measure called off. Columbia Daily Tribune/AP. Septebmer 10, 2014. Supporters of a Missouri proposal to link teachers’ job evaluations to student performance called off their campaign yesterday, acknowledging the measure wasn’t polling as well as they had hoped.

Board to vote on rule change to expand A+ program to 'lawfully present' students. Columbia Daily Tribune, Ashley Jost. September 2, 2014. The expansion of the A+ program involves students who have been granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” status from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and are now considered “lawfully present” in the United States. The status — which was created in 2012, is good for two years and is subject to renewal — allows eligibility for work authorization and post-secondary education benefits.


August 2014

Districts increase annual performance report scores. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education News Release. August 29, 2014. More than half of Missouri’s school districts increased their scores in the Annual Performance Reports (APR) released by the Department on Friday.....More than 97 percent of districts earned at least 70 percent of possible points. In all, 56.6 percent of districts raised their APR scores from 2013.

Child-Friendly Cities are the goal, restoration is the 'How'. Education News, Julia Steiny. August 28, 2014. Critically, Child-Friendly -Ciity'’s goals dovetail nicely with restorative practices, the interpersonal skills that lifted Hull out of the doldrums. Leeds’ genius, then, is to combine two powerful, internationally-growing movements into one astounding initiative. The CFC’s goals are exciting, inspiring. But the gritty, daily work of changing a city’s culture demands handling oceans of interpersonal conflict — from schoolyard beefs to calming entrenched bureaucrats as systems change. So restorative interactions are the powerful fuel driving the engine behind CFC’s lofty goals. Richardson says, “The default behaviour of children’s services in all its dealings with local citizens, partners, and organisations will be restorative – high support with high challenge.”

Duncan announces 1-year delay on tying teacher ratings to test results. Education News, Kristin Decarr. August 28, 2014. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced that states are now able to delay using student test results in the ratings of teacher performances for another year....Duncan said teachers needed more time to get used to the new Common Core standards and the type of testing that goes along with them, writing on his blog, “I believe testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools.”

Poll: Teachers, parents souring on Common Core quickly. Education News, Kristin Decarr. August 25, 2014. The annual poll by EducationNext first conducted in 2007, is given to a representative sampling of about 5,000 American adults and public school teachers, covering important issues in education....when the words “Common Core” were taken out of the question, public support for the standards rose from 53% to 68%. This could mean that the public is not against a set of national standards, or that they simply do not understand the Common Core, they merely oppose the label.

Study: Tougher math, science courses may lead to more dropouts. Educaiton News, Jordan E. Wassell. August 22, 2014. A study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis has found that dropout rates increase with a more rigorous course load. These findings are come as especially bad news since many high schools have ramped up their requirements for math and science, reports Jim Dryden from Washington University in St. Louis.

New grant to cover AP testing fees for low-income students. Education News, Kristin Decarr. August 20, 2014. A federal government is offering grants totaling $28.4 million to 40 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, in an effort to offset costs associated with offering Advanced Placement tests taken by low-income students.

St. Louis Court approves right to transfer to accredited schools. Education News, Grace Smith. August 20, 2014. On Friday, a St. Louis County Circuit Court ruled that the children who were named as plaintiffs in a suit against the state and three area school districts would be allowed to re-enroll in the schools they had transferred to at the beginning of last school year.

Missouri, Kansas get grants to help with AP exams. St. Louis Post Dispatch/St. Jospeh News Press, Ken Newton. August 13, 2014. Addressing what an official called an “equity issue,” the U.S. Education Department has awarded $28.4 million in grants to states for helping low-income students afford the costs of taking advanced placement tests....The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received $188,048 in the grant distribution, and the Kansas State Department of Education received $82,176.

Poll: Obesity tops list of parent worries for U.S. children. Education News, Grace Smith. August 18, 2014. In a new survey by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, adults were asked what the biggest health concerns were for the children in their communities and for children nationwide. Twenty-nine percent believed that the biggest problem was childhood obesity in their community, and 55% said it was a “big problem” nationwide.

State Board of Education hears specifics on test score drops. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jessica Bock. August 12, 2014. Across Missouri, the percentage of public school students who passed communication arts this year dropped more than 2 percentage points. Math passing rates also dipped, state education officials told board members Tuesday.

Missouri teachers to be evaluated on their students' achievement. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Elisa Crouch. August 10, 2014. (New methods will) focus more on whether students are learning by incorporating standardized test scores and other measures into the review. They will use current and previous tests to determine growth — how much students learned under their teacher that year.

Missouri voters to consider teacher tenure, evaluations in November. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Elisa Crouch. August 5, 2014. The measure would require more than half of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on student academic outcomes, and it would allow districts to set a teacher’s pay based on how well his or her students perform. It would give districts more control over the terms of their contracts with teachers — allowing administrators to dismiss staff more easily. It would also prohibit districts from entering into contracts with certified staff that exceed three years.


July 2014

School supply prices on the rise, back to school spending down. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 31, 2014. The cost of outfitting children for their classes this fall has gone up by more than 7% from last year, writes Jane H. Cho of The Ohio Plain Dealer. In response, parents are being much more careful about their spending, taking money-savings steps like utilizing coupons and waiting for sales, as well as delaying some purchases until prices come down after the first day of school.

Missouri, Kansas School Districts to receive free lunches. Education News, Kristin Decarr. July 29, 2014. Students in the Missouri and Kansas school districts of Kansas City and Hickman Mills will receive free school lunches under a new federal provision issued by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.

Reports question validity, purpose of exit exams. Education News, Grace Smith. July 21, 2014. A new report entitled “The Case Against Exit Exams” suggests that the tests should be re-purposed to serve aids to prepare high school seniors for either college or the workforce, not used as a final hurdle for students to graduate.

How much do kids learn in summer school? The answer's not always clear. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Elisa Crouch. July 21, 2014. Assessment data provided by more than a dozen districts in the area paint very different pictures about how much students learn by the end of summer school. And there are gaps in what even districts themselves know.

Missouri parents sue to keep children in better-perfomring schools. Education News, Kristin Decarr. July 17, 2014. Seven Normandy, Missouri, school district parents are suing the state board of education in order to keep their children in better-performing schools....The lawsuit argues that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) should not have restarted Normandy as a state-run district on July 1. The state did this in an effort to limit the number of students who could transfer out of Normandy, reports Dale Singer for St. Louis Public Radio. The change was a measure of prevention on the part of the state in an effort to keep families who had just moved to the district from transferring out.

Nixon endorses school standards measure. St. Louis Post Dispatch/AP. July 14, 2014. The Democratic governor on Monday signed legislation that tasks groups of parents and educators with writing new standards to replace Common Core....Advisory groups will develop new school standards in Missouri for English, math, science and history to be put in place by 2016. The State Board of Education will hold several public hearings on the proposed changes. For each subject, one group will determine benchmarks for elementary students while an additional panel will write the goals for older students.

School vending machines say goodbye to Fritos, Oreos. Education News, Nick Green. July 3, 2014. July 1 marked the beginning of new nutritional guidelines under which items such as Fritos and Oreos will no longer be available in vending machines located on campuses which are part of the “Smart Snacks in School” program brought about by a collaboration of First Lady Michelle Obama and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to an article by Jessica Wohl of The Chicago Tribune - See more at: http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/school-vending-machines-say-goodbye-to-fritos-oreos/#sthash.uDvjdhMk.dpuf

10 Missouri districts sending staff to concealed weapons training. Education News, Grace Smith. July 1, 2014. The” armed teachers” idea has backers who say that, especially in rural areas, getting law enforcement on campus could take too much time. So far, teachers from 10 districts across the state have completed training in the past 18 months. When the trainees return to school , they are anonymous, except to the administration. Faculty is chosen for training based on: their ability to remain calm under pressure; their veteran status; their firearms experience. (Bill allowing armed school staff vetoed by Governor Nixon).

June 2014

Ken Burns developing online history education website 'Chronoscribe'. Education News, Kristin Decarr. June 25, 2014. Chronoscribe would look like a virtual globe, with all the events of history placed on it, accessible to users much in the same way users can access Wikipedia, writes Debbie Kelley for The Gazette. The website also will include special tools for teachers and students for classroom use. After Indiegogo fundraising campaign, goal is to have it up by 2016.

Western Governors tops list for secondary teacher education. Education News, Grace Smith. June 24, 2014. Western Governors University in Utah has been recognized as the nation’s top-ranked online college for secondary teacher education. Lisa Schencker, writing for The Salt Lake Tribune, reports that this 17 year-old institution is completely online....The school’s graduate teaching program for elementary teachers did pretty well itself, ranking 16th in the country. The college was awarded this recognition out of 1,600 programs in 800 institutions nationwide, with most of these schools being traditional, not online.

Playtime may be more important to development than parents thought. Education News, Grace Smith. June 24, 2014. Professor Yuko Munakata of the University of Colorado is a proponent of developing “executive function” in children. A professor of psychology and neuroscience, Munakata created a study to start the ball rolling toward an understanding of whether structured time or flexible time for children has an impact on their ability to “manage themselves”....When the children were evaluated to discover how well they managed themselves, the results showed that the more time spent in unstructured activities, the better they were at executive functioning. Munakata says this is just the first step, but that the study is “suggestive and intriguing”.

Missouri district receives grant for national math and science initiative. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. June 20, 2014. The Waynesville R-VI School District will be the first in Missouri to implement a college readiness program from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Department of Defense Educational Authority (DoDEA).

Higher Ed Coalition back Common Core Implementation. Education News, Kristin Decarr. June 13, 2014. Common Core standards have come under fire recently as states increasingly question their value and ask, “Is Common Core helping or hurting our students?” According to the Higher Ed for Higher Standards coalition, they are necessary for success in college and beyond

Great "Walking Bus" providing parents, schools, major savings. Education News, Kristin Decarr. June 11, 2014. One such program in Providence, Rhode Island, is experiencing great success, according to an article by Jennifer McDermott for The Associated Press. The program manager, Allyson Trenteseaux, leads children on a mile-long route through one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, giving parents peace of mind that their children will have a safe trip to and from school....The program also has a social aspect:On the walks, Trenteseaux said, she mends relationships among the kids, builds relationships and intervenes when there are problems. During the winter, a walk leader noticed some of the children were wearing slippers and bought them all boots.


May 2014

Michelle Obama, Republicans clash over school menu issues. Education News, Nick Green. May 29, 2014. Four years after convincing Congress to pass her child nutrition law, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking the offensive in staving off a Republican bill in Congress that would allow schools to opt out of the healthier foods standards.

More high schools requiring online coursework for graduation. Education News, Grace Smith. May 29, 2014. Officials in the states requiring online courses say that requiring a student take an online course is a necessary step toward “college and career readiness”.

Tablets ok for schools and prisons, but failing in college. Education News, Rebecca Stimmler. May 22, 2014. In schools and prisons, tablets are driving education and paving innovative ways for students of all ages to learn. However, in higher education institutions, tablets are lagging.

Missouri Governor announces education funding cuts. Heartland Connection/AP. May 20, 2014. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is making more cuts to public education because of a decline in casino and lottery revenues....Nixon announced more than $35 million of new spending restrictions Tuesday. That's on top of $22 million of restrictions announced in April.

Illinois seeks to move on from Common Core, NCLB. Education News, Rebecca Stimmler. May 20, 2014. The Chicago Teachers’ Union House of Delegates has written a recommendation letter that rejects the Common Core State Standards in testing and instruction. The union has decided to request that the Illinois Board of Education look into reversing use of the Core. The Chicago Teachers’ Union will also implore the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which is its parent union, to look into the Core standards it at its meeting that will soon be held, reports Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post.

Missouri lawmakers approve a Common Core compromise. Kansas City Star, Joe Robertson. May 15, 2014. Missouri’s great compromise on Common Core passed Thursday with strong majorities in the House and Senate, keeping the state on board with the controversial standards — at least for two years....Missouri remains one of the 44 states that have adopted the learning targets for math and English language arts. But whether that designation lasts is up for grabs....The bill will set educator work groups to the task of developing a set of Missouri standards.

U.S. children reading less; Internet, smartphones main causes. Education News, Rebecca Stimmler. May 15, 2014. Over the past 40 years, the number of children who read for pleasure has dropped considerably, according to San Francisco-based Common Sense Media. Their study explored changes over time that were done in seven surveys and tests by public and private groups, reports Andrew Seaman for Reuters.

Wyoming is 1st state to reject science standards. Yahoo News/AP, Bob Moen. May 8, 2014.Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, is the first to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components.

Missouri lawmakers seeking new education standards. Joplin Globe, Eli Yokley and Emily Younker. May 2, 2014. The legislation would require the Missouri Board of Education to form work groups to develop academic standards for the subjects of English language arts, mathematics, science, and history and governments. The standards would have to be in place by the 2016-17 academic year.

April 2014

Student data hub InBloom shutting down. Education News, Grace Smith. April 25, 2014. InBloom had 400 different data fields, writes Natasha Singer, reporting for The New York Times. Parents’ objections to the software were based, in part, on the “intimacy” of some of the details. When Louisiana parents became aware that their children’s social security numbers were being uploaded to InBloom, Louisiana’s legislators passed legislation to back away from the non-profit, and prohibit any such repositories to be used by their schools.

Ask yourself: Will you help the environment? Science Daily/Concordia University. April 22, 2014. Whether it's recycling, composting or buying environmentally friendly products, guilt can be a strong motivator -- not just on Earth Day. Now, research proves that even just asking ourselves, or predicting, whether we will engage in sustainable shopping behavior can increase the likelihood of following through -- especially when there's an audience.

Three states mull exit from Common Core, PARCC. Education News,Grace Smith. April 21, 2014. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has reversed his position on supporting Common Core and wants to withdraw from the group of states that uses the standards and its accompanying Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. Other states rethinking PARCC are Massachusettes and Colorado. (Missouri is part of the Smarter Balanced test consortium. Test development and collection of testing data is separate from deciding what it is that students need to know).

Survey: Link between strong schools, teachers, students undeniable. Education News, Grace Smith. April 18, 2014. Students who ho believed that their schools are “committed to building students’ strengths” and who “have a teacher who makes them excited about the future” are almost “30 times as likely to be engaged learners as their peers who strongly disagree with both statements,” according to Gallup’s recently-released The State of America’s Schools: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Maryland commissions study on students' sleep needs. Education News, Grace Smith. April 10, 2014. A study has been commissioned by the Maryland legislature to investigate the sleep needs of teens and the effects of changing school schedules to accommodate sleepy students, reports Donna St. George of the Washington Post. State health officials will conduct the study.

MO House adopts bill to study Common Core. KMBC. April 8, 2014. Republican-led House scaled back its opposition to new state education standards and endorsed legislation Tuesday to allow them to stay in place while a committee studies their effectiveness.

March 2014

Common Core under attack from legislators, parents. Joplin Globe, Eli Yokley. March 29, 2014. Activists and lawmakers had crowded into a hearing room for debate on an issue that has divided parents, teachers, school boards and others: Common Core.

Kansas, Missouri continue to debate Common Core. Education News, Rebecca Stimmler. March 24, 2014. Many states, including Kansas and Missouri, have adopted the “Common Core” system, which is designed to better prepare students for college and beyond. According to John Pepitone of Fox 4 Kansas City, proponents of Common Core system say that it will set national standards and will help children who move frequently because every public school will be at the same level. The new approach is directed towards students’ critical thinking and testing abilities. and supporters also point out that the state governors, not the federal government, have drawn up the new system.

Millions of kids to test new education assessments. St. Louis Post Dispatch/AP, Kimberly Hefling. March 22, 2014. Field testing (based on Common Core) begins this week in 36 states, including Missouri and Illinois, and the District of Columbia on assessments developed by two groups of states. Participating students will be asked to sit for hours in front of a computer or use a No. 2 pencil to answer questions.

New state plan could be a roadmap for Normandy schools. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Elisa Crouch. March 22, 2014. The Missouri Board of Education approved a plan Friday that allows the state to take deeper and quicker action in its most troubled schools, while steering clear of more incendiary ideas it had wrestled with in recent months.

State board approves plan for supporting and, if necessary, intervening in school districts in Missouri. DESE. March 21, 2014. The focus of the plan is to provide every student access to high-quality education in their local communities. The plan includes tiers of support and intervention based on district performance. If performance begins to slip, support and then intervention are implemented to prevent districts from becoming provisionally accredited or unaccredited. The tiers are not new levels of accreditation; they work within the existing Missouri School Improvement Program.

School transfer compromise in the works in Missouri Legislature. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Elisa Crouch. March 10, 2014. Missouri legislators are moving closer to addressing a political riddle that has baffled them for years: how to temper a law that has sent thousands of students in troubled districts to other schools in the St. Louis region.

Missouri schools would get a modest boost in budget plan. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Alex Stuckey. March 5, 2014. Rep. Rick Stream, the House budget committee chairman, proposed increasing K-12 public school funding at Nixon’s recommended amount of $278 million for fiscal year 2015 — but only if Nixon’s revenue estimate proves true.


February 2014

Surveys differ on teacher preparedness for Common Core. Education Week, Liana Heltin. February 27, 2014. The results from two studies that examine teachers' perceptions on the Common Core State Standards were released this week, and they come to some markedly different conclusions on how ready teachers are for implementation. And while both studies show teachers want more co-planning time, they diverge on where else teachers see significant challenges. Issues - time for collaboration, shifting standards, struggling learners.

The debate on Common Core rages even as teachers are moving ahead. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jessica Bock. February 27, 2014. Affton High School teacher Cathy Cartier wondered if any of the Missouri legislators who are debating bills that would abolish new learning goals had ever seen them in action....So she invited them to her classroom....As a staunch supporter of the controversial Common Core Standards, Cartier wanted legislators to observe one of her English classes...."The Common Core standards may be national, they don’t dictate what I do in my classroom. They’re just good goals for my kids,” said Cartier, the 2013 Missouri Teacher of the Year.

Missouri House committee approves bill to block new education standards. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Marie French. February 26, 2014. The measure to prevent the nationwide rollout of new standards for education in the state was approved by a House committee on Wednesday. Bahr, a St. Charles Republican, said the implementation of these new standards would cost millions and that the standards themselves were flawed and untested.

New E-Rate funding will take tme to reach schools. Education Week, Sean Cavanagh. February 25, 2014. Those familiar with the E-rate program predict that proposed changes to its funding—expected to pump an extra $2 billion into high-speed broadband over the next two years—are likely to produce significant benefits for the nation's schools over time, thanks in part to a new focus on supporting the use of new technologies....Yet they also say it will take time for the bulk of the new money to reach districts—probably not until calendar year 2015—where it can help cover the costs of new Wi-Fi connections and other needs.

ETS wades into market for Teacher-Performance Exams. Education Week, Stephen Sawchuk. February 25, 2014. The exam, known as the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers, or PPAT, was developed at the same time as a version tailored for Missouri, which plans to begin administering it in the 2014-15 school year. It gauges, broadly speaking, candidates' ability to plan lessons, gather information on students' grasp of material, and adapt instruction accordingly.

Forced closure possible for some Missouri school districts. Education News, Misy Bailey. February 19, 2014. Education leaders released details of a study on the possibility of a district being forced to close and merge with a neighboring district. The study was specifically focused on the possible closure of Normandy School District in St. Louis County. ...Jim Salter with the Associated Press shared that educators developed a plan named “The New Path to Excellence” that states that the state should focus on bettering performance in troubled districts instead of paying to send the students to another school.

Missouri State Board reviews performance report for educator preparation programs. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Sarah Potter. February 18, 2014. The report will allow educator preparation programs to see how well they are meeting the state's expectations for preparing teachers and school administrators and to determine areas where improvement is needed. Programs will be reviewed annually and classified as approved, provisionally approved or disapproved. The APR-EPP replaces the seven-year review cycle that was part of the Missouri Standards for Teacher Education Programs (MoSTEP).

Online Ed's Kahn sees challenges, opportunities in marketplace. Education News, Alexandria Suarez. February 18, 2014. Lauren Kepler of the Silicon Valley Business Journal writes that Khan touched on how his education technology company took off and more importantly on how education could play a large role when addressing broader economic issues. He stated how technology is shifting society away from a “pyramid structure” that has traditionally included a large base of low-skilled labor, a sizable number of white collar jobs and a small “entrepreneurial or creative class” at the top.....Khan maintained that residents of Silicon Valley and more remote locations around the world may be able to leverage new education channels to move up. He is of the position that online education is one of those channels, it has the potential to make a dent in the growing income inequality in not only Silicon Valley but elsewhere as well.

Number of Missouri students taking Advanced Placement exams doubles. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Sarah Potter. February 11, 2014. A new report from the College Board shows that more than twice as many Missouri students took Advanced Placement (AP®) exams in 2013 than in 2003. The number of low-income students taking the exams increased tenfold, jumping from 129 in 2003 to 1,575 in 2013. Several public school districts in Missouri made the AP® Honor Roll:

While Missouri doubled the number of graduates who scored 3+ on the exams over ten years, it still ranked low nationally in students who passed. The national average of 2013 graduates who scored 3+ was just over 20 percent; Missouri came in at 9.5 percent, ahead of only four other states.

Companies donate $750 million in cash, products to schools for tech boost. Education News, Misy Bailey. February 6, 2014. President Barack Obama has ambitious plans to improve internet access in schools — but he has help. He announced at a Maryland middle school that private companies will give donations totaling $750 million to improve technology in schools, stating, “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, we should definitely demand it in our schools.” He reiterated the fact that technology in the classroom increases critical thinking and creativity.

Julia Steiny: Common Core math expectations are only a baseline (Opinion). Education News, Julia Steiny. February 4, 2014. CC is by no means perfect, but it’s not Evil incarnate, either. So let’s get to know it. Finding the good parts will remind us that we don’t really want to return to zero accountability, or 50 definitions of proficient, such as we got from No Child Left Behind, or continued stagnant progress in the country’s educational achievement. Most importantly, if not, Common Core, what?

State Education Department recognizes schools. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Sarah Potter. February 3, 2014. State education officials honored fifteen Missouri schools last week as Professional Learning Communities Exemplary Schools for their outstanding performance in implementing the professional learning community process. These schools promote cultures focused on learning with collaborative teams and effectively using data to increase student achievement. The 2013-14 Exemplary Schools Award recipients are:

$100,000 grant is fueling students at Rockwood Summit High. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jessica Bock. February 3, 2014. In a chemistry lab at Rockwood Summit High School, leftover vegetable oil from the cafeteria is a sort of liquid gold....Lined up on lab tables in glass funnels and a few 2-liter plastic soda bottles, the waste vegetable oil is being converted into biodiesel, a process that so enthralled students they formed an after-school club. They’ve designed methods to test its quality, compared how it works on different vehicles and even built a computer-automated processor.


January 2014

Obama sells Race to the Top, Early-Childhood Education in State of the Union. Education Week, Alyson Klein. January 28, 2014. Obama used his speech to mount an indirect defense of the common-core standards and a more spirited, direct defense of the program that spurred states to adopt them: Race to the Top. This, too, from an administration that has been blamed for threatening the future of the Common Core State Standards by supporting them—and from a president who hasn't talked much at all about Race to the Top in recent major speeches.READ MORE at the link in the title

School districts in Missouri step up efforts to track last year's graduates. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jessica Bock. January 27, 2014. Following up with graduates is not new. Schools like to get in touch with their alumni to get feedback and find out whether they felt high school prepared them for the real world. They want to know ways they could improve.... But the follow-up has more urgency these days, given that the information is factored into scores for the Missouri School Improvement Program, an annual scorecard for school districts. Those scores as a whole are ultimately used to determine a district’s accreditation. READ MORE at the link in the title

Revised assessment plan allows for more instructional time, saves money. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. January 23, 2014. The new plan would allow more classroom instruction time by implementing 30-minute survey assessments in English language arts and mathematics rather than a full seven hours of testing for grades 3, 4, 6, and 7. Students in grades 5 and 8 – the transition grades – would continue to take the full tests in English language arts and math, as well as the current science assessment. READ MORE at the link in the title.

K-12 publishing, ed-tech markets seeing sales increases. Education News, Michele Molnar. January 22, 2013. The K-12 publishing and ed-tech industries are experiencing a jump in sales as an improving economy, schools' greater reliance on digital resources, and new materials for the Common Core State Standards translate into revenue boosts for many K-12 businesses, according to a pair of recent industry reports. READ MORE at the link in the title

Tech-dependent Seattle students rattled by "Tech Time Out". Education News, Misty Bailey. January 18, 2014. Claudia Rowe of The Seattle Times writes that Issaquah High school plans on changing that (being plugged in) for at least 3 days while their students will be participating in a Tech Timeout Academic Challenge. Out of the school’s 2,000 students, 600 will be disconnected from all social media, cell phones and iPads for three days. 250 students are beginning the event with a mass sleepover at the school. Activities on the schedule are board games and face to face conversation. READ MORE at the link in the title

Florida makes suggestion for changes to Common Core. Education News, Mirabel Shanny. January 15, 2014. Some of the recommendations by the state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart include: adding 52 new calculus standards, requiring students to master cursive writing, a skill not included in the original Common Core standards, and introducing money concepts in first grade instead of second. ... The Common Core is favored by supporters, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, because the standards stress analysis and critical thinking. However, the federal government playing a role in the education benchmarks is criticized by those on the right. They point out that even though the Common Core standards were created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, federal grant money was used to create some of the Common Core tests. ... In addition, the broader movement placing too much emphasis on testing worries liberal critics. READ MORE at the link in the title

State board hears testimony on Common Core. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. January 14, 2014. To foster open communication on the Common Core State Standards, the State Board of Education heard both sides of the debate over the standards at its meeting Tuesday. The presentation focused on Missouri’s transition to revised academic standards and perspectives on what implementation of the standards means for students, teachers and parents. READ MORE at the link in the title

School nutrition rules relaxed after criticism. Education News, Mirabel Shanny. January 8, 2014. The Obama administration, in a reversal, has announced that they would permanently relax unpopular nutrition rules for the federal school lunch program. By lowering calories and portion sizes, the rules were intended to fight childhood obesity. However, they proved wildly unpopular with students and parents throughout the country. READ MORE at the link in the title

Portland, Maine launches Community Toolkit for school Budget. Education News, Mirabel Shanny. January 7, 2014. A new “Neighbor-to-Neighbor Toolkit”, an online guide to the budget process that is meant to encourage public participation, is now available. An introductory video by Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk, who explains the many steps of the budgeting process, the time-line for budget adoption, and the department’s revenue and expenses, is included in the package. READ MORE at the link in the title

Report says zero tolerance discipline ineffective. Education News, Mirabel Shanny. January 6, 2014. A report on the effect of zero-tolerance policies released by Vera Institute of Justice, a national nonprofit group, argues that they have little effect on how students behave in the classroom. READ MORE at the link in the title

December 2013

Teacher home visits pay off in classroom. Christian Science Monitor/AP, Alan Scher Zagier. December 30, 2013. In days gone by, a knock on the door by a teacher or school official used to mean a child was in trouble. Not anymore, at least for parents and students at Clay Elementary School....The urban public school is one of more than 30 in the St. Louis area that sends teachers on home visits several times a year. Unlike home visit programs that focus on truants and troublemakers, or efforts aimed exclusively at early childhood, the newer wave seeks to narrow the teacher-parent divide while providing glimpses at the factors that shape student learning before and after the school bells ring.

U.S. Department of Education announces awards to seven states to continue their efforts to turn around their lowest-performing schools. US ED, Press Office. December 23, 2013. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that seven states will receive over $43.4 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. Two of the states -- Arkansas and Kentucky – will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools; and five states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model. These states are Missouri, North Carolina; Rhode Island; Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Virginia schools using threat assessment for fairer discipline. Education News, M. Nadeem. December 21, 2013. A new report shows that black male students in Virginia schools are suspended at twice the rate of white male students. The report also finds that schools suspend most black students for relatively minor misbehavior, such as being loud or disruptive in class, leading to fresh questions about how to create safe, disciplined schools while ensuring fairness....The report was jointly released by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center. The report also demonstrates the results of a new study showing that use of the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines is associated with lower rates of school suspensions, including a smaller racial discipline gap.

Study: Giving rewards boosts fruit, vegetable consumption in schools. Education News, M. Nadeem. December 19, 2013. U.S. researchers have found that paying schools kids small amounts of money or giving prizes increases the number who eat fruit and vegetables at lunch. The federal government introduced a new rule that requires national schools to serve an extra $5.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables each day at lunch, but most of it is thrown away — a situation begging for a solution...The study, by Joe Price, an economics professor at Brigham Young University, and David Just of Cornell University, first examined whether kids are eating fruits and vegetables or not. The researchers observed three schools and found that students discard 70% of the extra fruits, according to a statement by Brigham Young University.

Missouri proposal to change early childhood teacher certification faces criticism. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Nancy Cambria. December 9, 2013. ...At issue is an October decision by the Missouri Board of Education to pursue two new certification standards for teaching up through the sixth grade. One certification — early childhood — would be required for new teachers working with students from birth through pre-kindergarten. The other would cover kindergarten through grade six.

Six city school districts partner to lobby for environmentally-friendly food practices. Education News, M. Nadeem. December 3, 2013. In the United States, six large city school districts are working together to persuade suppliers to sell healthier and more environmentally-friendly products like compostable food trays. The Urban School Food Alliance is a pioneering attempt by a coalition of school systems to create new markets for sustainable food and lunchroom supplies....The alliance members — the public school systems in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Orlando — believe that by combining their purchasing power, they can persuade suppliers to create and sell healthier and more environment-friendly products at prices no system could negotiate alone, writes Michael Wines of The New York Times.

Local teacher trips can help students learn. Education News, Joe Nathan. December 1, 2013. Local field trips for students are common, but not so much for teachers. A Minnesota school recently took its teachers around neighborhoods they serve to help them understand more about their students and families. ... In her award-winning book, “The Dreamkeepers,” Ladson-Billings described several things that most of the teachers did. One of the several strategies that most of these teachers used was to include references to local events, activities and community groups in their teaching. Then, as Ladson-Billings explains, these teachers “help students make connections between their community, national and global identities.”

November 2013

Missouri University of Science and Technology to offer STEM-focused elementary ed program. MST, Linda Fulps. November 22, 2013. In an effort to help the United States regain its competitive edge in math and science, Missouri University of Science and Technology will offer a new elementary education program to emphasize these subjects, beginning fall 2014. Graduates of the program will be prepared to share their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with kindergarten through 6th grade students.

Study shows larger classes with effective teachers improves student achievement. Education News, M. Nadeem. November 21, 2013. ...The study, Right-sizing the Classroom: Making the Most of Great Teachers, concludes that schools can achieve significant student achievement gains if they place more students in the classrooms of highly effective teachers and fewer students in classrooms of less effective teachers.

Toys 'R' Us uses kids to push their products. Education News, Julia Steiny. November 13, 2013. At this point, everyone over age 5 is onto advertising’s lies. So clever corporate America has created a new technique called “reality prank,” which sets up a situation that captures real people having genuine, heartfelt reactions. The non-actor responses are hugely compelling. ... (Steiny describes the ad and goes on)...Educators, ecologists and some parents would argue passionately that teaching children about protecting the environment is critical to our survival. I would add that Nature has a spirit that could become a real friend to urban kids, if they only had more access and exposure to it. Like any friend, kids need to become familiar with nature’s spirit, over time. Without bells and whistles, it’s not obvious what entertainment can be gotten out of it. Nature only “works” as a toy when you’ve explored it and know its treasures, like European kids who attend forest kindergartens. They whoop and scream too, but over mud, imagination, twigs and tools — much more accessible to a low-income kid.

Study finds number of kids lagging in cognitive skills by 3rd grade. Education News, M. Nadeem. November 12, 2013. The study of 13,000 young children tracked from kindergarten entry through middle school reveals that only about a third of them were on track with cognitive skills by 3rd grade. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which publishes an annual ranking of child well-being called the Kids Count Data Book, released its findings in a policy report called The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, writes Christina Samuels of Education Week.

Research points to 9th grade as the most important high school year. Education News, M. Nadeem. November 12, 2013. The research, published in the journal Education, revealed that ninth graders have the lowest grade point average, the most missed classes, the majority of failing grades, and more misbehavior referrals than any other high-school grade level, writes Michele Willens of The Atlantic.

NAEP 2013. U.S. students make slight progresson academic acheivement. Education News. M. Nadeem. November 8, 2013. According to the report card, 42% of fourth graders and 35% of eighth graders scored at or above the proficient level in math. In reading, 35% of fourth graders and 36% of eighth graders scored at or above the proficient level, writes Kimberly Hefling of the Associated Press.

Missouri schools implementing Common Core. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. November 7, 2013. Most of Missouri’s school districts have started the process of implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a recent survey conducted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows....The survey, which was completed by approximately 6,000 teachers and administrators from across the state, reveals 70 percent of respondents have or are currently in the process of implementing the CCSS.

The "Nation's Report Card", a first look. National Center for Education Statistics. November 7, 2013. The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests a random sample of students in each state for their proficiency in math and reading every two years and, less frequently in science and writing. The percentage of Missouri students who performed at or above the basic level was 70 in 2013, which is not significantly dfferent from that in 2011 (67%) or 1992 (67%). The average score for Missouri 4th and 8th graders in math was 240/500 and 283/500 respectivley and for reading was222/500 and 267/500. Nationally the numbers were241 and 284 for math and 221 and 266 for reading.

October 2013

Study: Most students use digital devices for non-class purposes. Education News, Muhammed Nadeem. October 29, 2013. A study conducted by Barney McCoy, associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, reveals that more than 90% of college students use digital devices for non-education activities during class, writes Karen Farkas of The Plain Dealer.

YMCA expands learning readiness program to help close early ed gap. Education News, Muhammed Nadeem. October 28, 2013. YMCA of the USA is spending more time and money on education with an initiative promoting early learning readiness across the United States. The organization offers Early Learning Readiness Program for Informal Family, Friend and Neighbor Caregivers that helps adults enhance their role in a children’s cognitive and emotional development. YMCA’s goal is to provide preschool education to all children living in low-income communities across the country, and this program constitutes a small step toward that goal.

Military families embracing homeschooling flexibility. Education News, Muhammed Nadeem. October 28, 2013. In the United States, military bases are increasingly addressing the needs of its families by providing support and resources for home schooling cooperatives and other events. Military families, who can move frequently and face uneven education systems, are embracing home schooling to end the age-old tradition of switching schools for their kids.

Could a focus on "dispositions" in education improve teaching? Education News, Muhammed Nadeem. October 22, 2013. ....the survey reveals that crafting and commanding authority in the classroom — and cultivating a classroom culture of trust in one’s teaching — seems to come from one’s mastery of subject matter and communication skills.

Early analysis shows MOOCs struggle with engagement. Education News, Mirabel Shanny. October 21, 2013. Although Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are fast becoming a popular option for students worldwide, the medium faces several challenges along the way to realizing its full potential. According to completion statistics, more than 90 percent of students who enroll in a MOOC drop out, as many feel isolated, disengaged or just lose interest.

In literacy, math, computers, U.S. adults trail most countries. Education News, Muhammed Nadeem. October 9, 2013. The Americans are “decidedly weaker in numeracy and problem-solving skills than in literacy, and average U.S. scores for all three are below the international average and far behind the scores of top performers like Japan or Finland,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the data collection arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Missouri Education Department chooses vendor for assessments. MO DESE, staff. October 8, 2013. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has chosen CTB/McGraw-Hill for a new statewide assessment contract beginning with the 2014-15 school year. The Department’s current contracts with CTB/McGraw-Hill for the administration of the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) expire with the spring 2014 test administrations. The new contract includes all required assessments in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The scope of the work addresses item development, test administration, scoring, security and reporting.

New Missouri learning standards website launched. MO DESE, Staff. October 3, 2013.In an effort to better communicate about education standards in Missouri, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Missouri Department of Higher Education have launched a new website focused on the Missouri Learning Standards at www.MissouriLearningStandards.com. The site launched this week and features new resources, videos and information on the standards directed at parents, teachers, community members and school administrators.

After drop in SAT scores, College Board calls for action. Education News, Julia Lawrence. October 1, 2013. According to the annual report published by the College Board, fewer than half the members of the 2013 high school class who took the SATs had the academic skills necessary to succeed in college. More troubling still, this percentage has not varied much over the past five years, breaking the trend of small but notable gains in the decade before.

September 2013

Digital search filtering makes educational content more accessible. Education News, Muhammad Nadeem. September 30, 2013.To make the search for instructional materials more effective, the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons have developed a new tool that cuts through clutter of search results that plague teachers looking to augment their curricula.

States struggle with how to fund online schools. Education News, Muhammad Nadeem. September 30, 2013. Online learning is growing quickly and more and more schools are embracing online education system, but in the US, states are running into operational problems. The main issue for all states seems to be how much money from the state education budget should be spent on online courses.

Lawsuit filed in Kansas to block science standards. AP via Education Week. September 27, 2013.An anti-evolution group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block Kansas from using new, multistate science standards in its public schools, arguing the guidelines promote atheism and violate students' and parents' religious freedom. ...... The group, Citizens for Objective Public Education, had criticized the standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council for treating both evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Kansas State Board of Education adopted them in June to replace evolution-friendly standards that had been in place since 2007.

Study: Field trips have value, especially for disadvantaged kids. Education News, Julia Lawrence. September 26, 2013. Although all students who enjoyed a cultural outing demonstrated gains in critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance and appreciation of art, the impact was up to three times higher on students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The researchers studied the effects by comparing students who were assigned to a group taking such trip based on a lottery.

Composting provides unusual savings opportunity for New York Schools. Education News, Julia Lawrence. September 24, 2013. Students in a number of schools around Utica, New York are learning about their impact on the environment via one age-old technique for disposing of waste: composting. A growing number of schools are embracing composting for a number of reasons, but the chief one is that it simply saves money – and no school today can afford to pass up that opportunity.

Math haters love crunching numbers for business. Education News, Julia Steiny. September 12, 2013. The Northern Rhode Island Collaborative developed a two-week intensive math camp to help students who were below proficient in math. Teachers spent the first day asking students what they didn't like about their community and then had the students team up and pick one problem to solve using business model planning. They researched costs of rent, labor, utilities, equipment and crunched the numbers to come up with a feasible plan. They pitched the idea to local businesses, competing for $1000 in seed money.

New research offers answers in math and science education. Education News, Julia Lawrence. September 10, 2013. Many educators and critics acknowledge that mathematics and science education are broken in the US, but what isn’t as clearly discussed is how, exactly. Now new data from the US Department of Education might be jumpstarting the conversation. A small office in the DOE building in Washington is hoping to apply the same methodology that revolutionized medicine – a randomized clinical trial – to identify what works and what doesn’t when it comes to teaching STEM. -

Nutritionists: Longer recess, more non-academic time is healtier. Education News, Julia Lawrences. September 9, 2013. Longer recess periods could lead to healthier kids, or so goes the recommendation in the latest paper from the Center for Investigative Reporting. A longer break in the middle of the day provides benefits beyond those obvious at first glance. Yes, having a few extra minutes to run around and expend physical energy stored up during hours of sitting still in class does improve concentration in students and raises their grades. But more non-academic time offers other benefits – those that come from healthier eating.


August 2013

Public service campaign to reduce absenteeism. New York Times, Jane L. Levere. August 28, 2013. The Advertising Council and the United States Army, hoping to lower absenteeism in schools across the country, are introducing a public service campaign this week aimed at helping parents keep track of their children’s absences.

Study finds regular physical activity could boost achievement. Education News, Julia Lawrence. August 23, 2013. The new study from Institute of the National Academies might have schools rethinking their cuts to physical education programs. The report, titled Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School, finds that increasing the students’ level of physical activity during the day not only makes for happier students but also improves their grades.

MO releases annual performance reports for districts and schools. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. August 23, 2013. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released the first set of annual performance reports (APRs) for Missouri schools based on the state's newly revised accountability system.

Education poll finds common core standards remain a mystery to most Americans. Huffington Post, Joy Resmovits. August 21, 2013. Almost two-thirds of Americans don't know what the Common Core State Standards are -- a statistic that is sure to vex educators and policymakers as the standards begin to hit the classroom. Among those who have heard of the standards, 64 percent indicated wrongly that the federal government "insists" they be implemented.

ACT report shows college readiness needs improvement. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. August 21, 2013. Three out of four (76 percent) Missouri ACT-tested high school graduates in 2013 met at least one college readiness benchmark, according to ACT's The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013 annual report released today. Only 28 percent of Missouri test-takers met all four benchmarks, which was above the national average of 26 percent and an increase of 1 percent over 2012. An achievement gap still persists in Missouri with 5 percent of African Americans and 18 percent of Hispanic/Latinos meeting all four benchmarks on the ACT.

Student assessment scores hold steady in Communication Arts, increase in Science. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. August 20, 2013. State-level results from the 2012-2013 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) testing were reviewed by the State Board of Education, meeting Monday in Jefferson City. Overall, students continue to maintain most of the gains they have made on the assessments during the past five years.

Parents back high stakes testing. Associated Press, Philip Elliott and Jennifer Agiesta. August 17, 2013. Often criticized as too prescriptive and all-consuming, standardized tests have support among parents, who view them as a useful way to measure both students' and schools' performances, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

Poll: Teacher engagement starts low, worsens with time. Education Week, Liana Heltin. August 1, 2013. K-12 teachers in the U.S. tend to become less engaged at work after their first year, according to a just-released Gallup poll. For educators with between six months and a year of teaching, professional engagement is at 35.1 percent. But that figure goes down to 30.9 percent for teachers who have been on the job for one to three years, and it continues to drop for teachers in their third to fifth year. At more than 10 years, there's a slight bump back upwards, bringing engagement to 31.8 percent.

July 2013

In Missouri, race complicates a transfer to better schools. New York Times, John Eligon. July 31, 2013. When the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a law in June allowing students from failing school districts to transfer to good ones, Harriett Gladney saw a path to a better education for her 9-year-old daughter....But then she watched television news clips from a town hall meeting for the Francis Howell School District, the predominantly white district here that her daughter’s mostly black district, Normandy, had chosen as a transfer site. Normandy, in neighboring St. Louis County, has one of the worst disciplinary rates in the state, and Francis Howell parents angrily protested the transfer of Normandy students across the county line, some yelling that their children could be stabbed and that the district’s academic standards would slip.

U.S. DoE invites districts to apply for $120 million in Race to the Top funds to support classroom-level reform efforts. U.S. Department of Education. July 30, 2013. The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it has finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness. Intent to apply August 23, 2013, applications due October 31, 2013, awards announced December 31, 2013.

House passes first comprehensive Ed bill since NCLB. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 22, 2013. The bill rolls back almost all federal oversight provisions of No Child Left Behind. SSA would leave it to the states to set their own student progress goals and would prohibit the US Department of Education from mandating the adoption of Common Core Standards.

Poll: Parents don't support many education pollicy changes. Washington Post, Lyndsey Layton. July 21, 2013. The poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates [for the American Federation of Teachers], surveyed 1,000 parents this month and found that most would rather see their neighborhood schools strengthened and given more resources than have options to enroll their children elsewhere.

After NAEP, tougher standards could lead to better student performance. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 11, 2013. The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that only 35% of American 8th graders are proficient in mathematics, Paul E. Peterson and Peter Kaplan write in the latest edition of EducationNext. This puts the US in 32nd place in math compared to other industrialized nations. Tougher standards of CC could lead to improvements in global comparisons.

Study: Race plays role in political response to falling grad rates. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 9, 2013. Analysis by Dr. Patrick Flavin of Baylor University and Michael Hartney of the University of Notre Dame concludes that state education authorities and policymakers tend to be more responsive to falling graduation rates among white students and less so to falling African-American graduation rates.

Missouri House committee to consider education issues. Kansas City Star, Chris Blank (AP). July 6, 2013. The House Interim Committee on Education has scheduled its first meeting for next Thursday at the state Capitol. Among the new committee’s first tasks will be deciding what education topics to examine during the summer and fall before lawmakers return to the Capitol in January for the next legislative session.

New York City teens use hip-hop to learn about Darwin and Big Bang theory. Take Part, Jenny Inglee. July 1, 2013. The pilot program called Science Genius is set up at 10 public schools and about 300 students are participating. This year it culminated in a hip-hop competition. The winner received a pass to the Museum of Natural History and a day in the recording studio with rapper GZA, of Wu-Tang Clan, who has been actively involved in the Science Genius program.

June 2013

USDA bans "unhealthy" foods from school cafeterias. Education News, Julia Lawrence. June 28, 2013. US Department of Agriculture has announced new rules that will remove high calorie food and drink items from cafeterias and campuses of schools around the country. Mary Clare Jalonick reports that starting next year, items like full-calorie sodas, sports drinks and candy bars will no longer be made available either in lunch rooms or school vending machines. Instead, schools will sell diet drinks, granola bars and fruit.

New Science Standards designed for wide range of learners. Education Week, Lesli A. Maxwell. June 28, 2013. When the writers of the Next Generation Science Standards began sketching out a new vision for K-12 science education, they gave themselves a mandate: Develop standards with all students in mind, not just the high achievers already expected to excel in the subject.
Now, three years later, their notion—that every student should get a deep, rigorous science education that would prepare them for demanding coursework, a college degree in the sciences, and a career that could follow—has helped produce a set of standards meant for the most-advanced science students, as well as students who previously may have been steered away from taking a science class, writers of the standards said.

First virtual school in Massachusetts approved for expansion. Education News, Julia Lawrence. June 27, 2013. The Massachusetts Virtual School has received final approval for expansion from the state education board via a 9-1 vote, Chris Shores of The Recorder reports. The school will be based on Greenfield and will enroll up to 750 students who will attend classes over the internet.....The school will accept enrollment of students from all over the state and cover grades K through 12. Two-hundred fifty of the school’s 750 projected enrollment is anticipated to be from grades 9-12.

OECD 2013 Education at a Glance US Country Notes (pdf). Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. June 25, 2013. US ranks 5tth in tertiary attainment among 25 to 64 year olds but 12th for 25 to 34 year olds. Investment in public education fell by 1% between 2008 and 2010, only 4 other countries cut back: Estonia, Hungary, Iceland and Italy. However, the US spent 7.3% of GDP on all levels of education combined, well above the OECD average of 6.3% and more than all other OECD countries except Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Korea and Norway. Across all levels of education, per student spending by educational institutions in the US is higher than in any other country. The greatest difference is for Higher Education, where the US spends 2.8% of GDP. A larger than average proportion of the spending comes from private sources, 31% compared to 16% from other countries. Only 50% of US children are enrolled in early childhood at 3 years, comparted to 68% in OECD countries. Teacher salaries have risen modestly, but teacher salaries are only 66% of the average tertiary-educate workers in another field.

Justices step up scrutiny of race in college entry. New York Times, Adam Liptak. June 24, 2013. Courts must take a skeptical look at affirmative-action programs at public colleges and universities, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, in a decision that is likely to set off a wave of challenges to race-conscious admissions policies nationwide.

Among conservatives, concerns grow over new school standards. NPR, Cory Turner. June 24, 2013. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the Common Core. But with those states now beginning to implement them, the core standards have become a rallying cry for some conservatives. Opponents have levied several arguments against the common standards. Three arguments: 1. "Washington should stay out of the classroom"; 2. "Don't tell us how to teach our kids"; 3. "This will cost money".

Charter schools are improving, a study says. New York Times, Motoko Rich. June 24, 2013. The original study, conducted four years ago, showed that only 17 percent of charter schools managed to raise student math test scores above those of local public schools. The new report said that 29 percent of charter schools performed better in math than local public schools....And while the 2009 study showed 37 percent of charter schools were actually providing a worse education than local public schools, that figure declined to 31 percent in the new report.

Out of concrete and drudgery come canoes that float. New York Times, Henry Fountain. June 23, 2013. It’s not easy making the unsinkable out of the unthinkable....But at the National Concrete Canoe Competition, civil engineering students use a material that is normally the stuff of dams and parking garages to build a 20-foot-long craft that will float even if completely swamped.

Lax education in Humanities, Social Sciences sparks outcry. NPR, Cory Turner. June 20. A new report argues that humanities and social sciences are as essential to the country's economic and civic future as science and technology. The study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was commissioned in 2010 by a bipartisan group of members of Congress. It comes at a time when the value of the liberal arts is being challenged by economic and political forces.

Teacher prep programs get failing marks. NPR, Claudio Sanchez. June 18, 2013. The U.S. spends more than $7 billion a year preparing classroom teachers, but teachers are not coming out of the nation's colleges of education ready, according to a study released Tuesday by U.S.News & World Report and the National Council on Teacher Quality..[National Council on Teacher Quality] study of more than 1,100 colleges of education found that 7 out of 10 programs did not adequately teach candidates how to teach reading. Nine out of 10 did a poor job preparing them to teach basic subjects like English, math, science or history. Training in classroom management and the use of student data was lacking. The damage to K-12 education, says Walsh, is enormous, and she is on a mission to expose what she calls "widespread malpractice" in the field of teacher education.

K-12 and Higher Education departments plan for future of MIssouri. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. June 18, 2013. Members of the State Board of Education (SBE) and Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) attended a joint meeting Monday to discuss collaborative efforts and the future of Missouri education. The work study session included discussion around the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments.

New assessments focus on preparing future teachers for the classroom. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. June 18, 2013. The new assessments for the state's educator preparation programs are being phased in over the next two years for prospective teachers, as well as guidance counselors, librarians and school administrators...."These assessments are designed to help new teachers and school leaders become effective educators," said Chris L. Nicastro, commissioner of education. "Quality educators are the most important factor in providing students with the knowledge and skills they need for college, other postsecondary training and a career."

Millennials see online Ed as future, but prefer traditional classroom. Educaiton News, Julia Lawrence. June 13, 2013. Students have growing curiosity about online education and the role that technology can play in improving schooling. But when it comes to their day-to-day experience, they still prefer the traditional classroom model. A recent survey from the Generation Y consulting firm and the online marketplace Internships.com found that younger people still believe that the classical classroom environment is better for learning than being taught by a teacher over the internet.

Schools test-drive Common Core. Education Week, Leslie Harris O'Hanion. June 11, 2013. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium launched a pilot of its computer assessments to glean information about the performance of different test questions and the test-delivery system under real-world conditions. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, another consortium developing online tests for the common core, also has piloted some of its prototype online-assessment questions to support educators as they transition to the new standards and to PARCC assessments.

K-12 Districts, groups turn to mobile 'Crowdsourcing' to solve problems. Education Week, Michelle R. Davis. June 11, 2013. Using a sophisticated online platform, open to all of Poway's 4,000 employees and accessible via cellphones, tablets, PCs, and other digital devices, the district challenged staff members to contribute, discuss, and evaluate new ideas for keeping staff members and students safe and secure. The site generated more than 10,000 page views, about 500 comments, and nearly 1,000 votes on 97 new ideas proposed. At the end of the project, the district had a top-10 list of winning ideas to pursue, that came from employees as varied as a school counselor, an afterschool program supervisor, and a bus driver.

Duncan announces ambitious High School redesign program. Education News, Jordan E. Wassell. June 11, 2013. Positive changes may be on the horizon for public schools. As the 2012-13 school year winds down, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are delivering news about changes to schools around the United States. Take Part writer Vanessa Romo reports that President Obama recently kicked off the start ConnectED, a program that gives all US public schools access to high-speed Internet. Now Duncan has announced a $300 million competitive grant program called High School Redesign that would invest in programs to advance career and technical education. Info at Department of Ed - http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-redesigning-americas-high-schools

By adding arts, STEM blossoms into STEAM. Education News, Jordan E. Wassell. June 7, 2013. From Ohio’s 2012 ACT data, 6,000 graduating seniors intended to pursue a degree in the arts, while 6,500 seniors planning on studying engineering. Students pursuing the arts outnumbered students intending to major in engineering in 2010 and 2011.....Advocates of STEAM believe integrating arts into science education can increase students’ understanding of the material....Teachers are attempting to integrate art into science lessons and is proving to be a powerful tool in teaching traditional STEM curriculum.

May 2013

For the firts time, public school funding falls in the United States. Education News, Julia Lawrence. May 31, 2013. American spending on public schools is down for the first time in the three decades since the Census Bureau has been tracking spending data, CNBC reports. Experts explain the drop as the belated fallout from the the ‘Great Recession,’ even though officially the economic downturn came to an end in June 2009.

A ‘Forest Kindergarten’ grows great kids. Education News, Julia Steiny (opinion). May 30, 2013. “Outdoor” or “forest” kindergartens are a growing movement in Japan and many European countries. Formal schooling in these countries doesn’t start age 7, largely because pushing academics too early turns kids off from school. So these countries group 4-7 year olds into true children’s gardens where teachers civilize kids’ wonderful animal instincts with stories, songs, socializing activities, and self-directed play. See 6 minute trailer here: http://vimeo.com/32463946

Practice tests provide preview of new statewide student assessments. MO Department of Elementary and Secondard Education. May 30, 2013. Schools across Missouri can now participate in practice tests to help them prepare for new statewide assessment testing set to begin during the 2014-2015 school year....The practice tests will allow teachers, parents and students to try out the new online Smarter Balanced assessment system. Sample test questions were made available to the public Wednesday at smarterbalanced.org/practice-test/.

Should schools reconsider the benefits of recess and play? Education News, Jordan E. Wassell. May 28, 2013Olga Jarrett, an associate professor of early childhood education at Georgia State University, asserts that recess is a crucial part of the day for children. It serves as a time for kids to have fun and stay active, but more importantly recess can improve students’ behavior, help them develop social skills and allow them to reenter the classroom refreshed and ready to learn, reports Molly Walsh from the Burlington Free Press....Recess has proven to be particularly helpful to children who suffer from ADD and ADHD. Jarett and others say it’s a shame these students can sometimes have this much-needed time taken away from them if they are disruptive in class since they are the students who can benefit most from it.

Trenton High School receives National Breakthrough Schools Award. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. May 17, 2013. Trenton High School has been recognized for its work to improve student achievement by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)....The high school is one of 10 schools nationwide to receive a MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools award for 2013....The award recognizes middle schools and high schools that serve large numbers of low-income students and are high achieving or are dramatically improving student achievement.

State to expand Pathways to Prosperity Project. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. May 14, 2013. The Pathways to Prosperity initiative links high schools, higher education institutions and businesses with the needs of the labor market and provides information to students and their families so they can make informed decisions about education, training and career options. The project also partners with local employers to provide students with learning opportunities and hands-on experience as they transition into the work force.

State Board approves Missouri's Model Educator Evaluation System. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. May 14, 2013. The State Board of Education gave final approval Tuesday to a model evaluation system for educators in Missouri. More than 100 school districts across the state have been pilot testing the system during the 2012-2013 school year....School districts can adopt the model system or implement a system of their own that aligns with seven Essential Principles of Effective Evaluation set by the state....1) use research-based and proven practices to measure educator performance, 2) establish performance indicators for educators based on their level of performance, 3) align the evaluation process with probationary period to provide time to accumulate performance data, 4) use student learning based on a variety of measures, 5) assess on a regular basis and provide feedback, 6) ensure evaluators are highly trained, 7) use the process to guide district policies that impact development of educators and student learning.

AFT: 3 in 4 teachers unprepared for Common Core Standards. Education News, Julia Sweeny. May 7, 2013. One of the largest teachers unions in the country published a poll of 800 teachers last week which showed that many are not getting the training they need to be able to teach math and reading with the new standards demanded by the Common Core....Teachers expressed concerns despite the fact that an overwhelming majority – 3 in 4 – support their adoption.

April 2013

Are we wrong about the advantages of advanced placement classes? Education News, Julia Lawrence. April 30, 2013. A new paper from Stanford University is casting doubt on common assumptions made about Advanced Placement courses offered in high school. Specifically, it appears that the benefits derived by students who take the classes are greatly overstated....The report demolishes four specific benefits often cited by AP course providers: that they provide a leg up in college, they aid in narrowing achievement gaps, they enrich students’ high school experience and that schools that offer AP classes are, on the whole, superior to the ones that do not....

Study: Laptops in the classroom can distract, hinder learning. Education News, Julia Lawrence. April 30, 2013. Contrary to the belief that laptops must serve as useful tools in class, they may actually serve as a distraction not only to the people who use them but even to students around them, a new study suggests. Although the use of laptops has shown to produce positive outcomes in some cases, students have been self-reporting in great numbers to using laptops for non-academic purposes and making it harder for instructors to retain student attention during class....

Standards for mathematical practice. Education News, Barry Garelick. April 22, 2013. This is Part One of a three part article which provides the description of each of the Standards for Mathematical Practice as written in the Common Core math standards. It discusses aspects of each SMP that can be interpreted along conventional or traditional approaches to math teaching and contrasts this with how each one may be implemented under the math reform interpretation. Part Two, Part Three

Greenest U.S. Colleges recognized in 2013 Princeton Review. Environmental News Service, Editor. April 17, 2013. The Princeton Review, in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Tuesday released the fourth annual edition of its free guidebook saluting the most environmentally responsible green colleges.....There were three Missouri Institutions listed: Drury University on page 59, University of Missouri-Columbia on page 150 and Washington University on page 174. The complete 200+ page document can be downloaded at http://www.princetonreview.com/green.aspx

Colleges recover 90 million pounds of materials during RecycleMania. Environmental News Network from Editor Just Means. April 15, 2013. Recycling rivalries added another level of "madness" to March this year, as 523 schools competed in the RecycleMania Tournament, which harnesses the competitive spirit around sports rivalries and uses them to increase campus recycling and waste reduction.....

MIssouri lawmakers debate Common Core funding. Joplin Globe, Eli Yokley. April 6, 2013. Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly have proposed legislation that could limit or bar the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from implementing Common Core State Standards in the state....In addition to his budget amendment, Bahr has also filed legislation that would put a complete ban on implementing Common Core Standards. That legislation has passed out of the Downsizing State Government Committee, and is currently in the House Rules Committee. His bill has been sponsored by House Speaker Tim Jones, State Rep. Bill Lant, R-Neosho, and a dozen other lawmakers....In the Senate, Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis, filed legislation that would require the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to conduct public hearings in all eight of the state’s congressional districts before implementing the program.

Weingarten blames testing culture for Atlanta cheating scandal. Education News, Julia Lawrence. April 4, 2013. President of the American Federation of Teacher Randi Weingarten has weighed in on the massive cheating scandal in Atlanta by blaming it on the atmosphere of excessive testing. She was responding to the 65-count indictment made public by prosecutors late last week that covers more than 35 teachers accused of inflating students test scores by dishonest means — including formerly-lauded Superintendent Beverly Hall.

SLU student Jeremey Goss' "Food Desert" project featured at Clinton Global Initiative Conference in St. Louis. KSDK News, Brandie Piper. April 4, 2013. Jeremy Goss, a second-year medical student at Saint Louis University's project will be one of five featured at this weekend's conference. It focuses on eliminating so-called "food deserts" which are neighborhoods that don't have a grocery store within a one mile radius.....Goss targeted 15 food deserts across the metro area, and he's now working to bring fresh produce to those neighborhoods with his mobile food market.

Early results from teacher evaluation data prove puzzling. Education News, Julia Lawrence. April 1, 2013. Based on the early results, it appears either that the new evaluation systems are too lenient or that teachers are performing much better than everyone had believed. In Florida, for example, a full 97% of teachers were found to be either effective or highly effective, while in Michigan, 98% of teachers were rated effective or better.

Missouri schools testing new assessments for Common Core State Standards. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Schools. April 1, 2013. More than 360 schools in Missouri are participating in a pilot program this spring to test a new assessment system based on the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math......The Smarter Balanced assessments, for students in grades 3-11, are currently being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a group of 24 states that includes Missouri. More than one million students across the country will take part in the pilot during April and May.

March 2013

The homeschool family is a rapidly changing demographic. Education News, Julia Lawrence. March 29, 2013. The demographics of homeschooling parents are changing, writes Kathleen Berchelmann for ChildrensMD. No more is teaching children at home something only done by the religious or those whose homes are too rural to make going to a high-quality school practical. Professionals like lawyers, doctors, and even public school teachers are increasingly turning their back on the traditional in favor of teaching their children themselves.

Why I flip-flopped on the Flipped Classroom. EdTech Blog by Shelly Wright. March 28, 2013. ....Less than a year and a half later of flipping, the flip was no longer part of my classroom. Although I didn't ­disagree with anything I'd written in the earlier post, I had found that the flip didn't produce the ­transformative learning experience I knew I wanted for my students.

A hot topic: Climate change coming to classrooms. NPR, Jennifer Ludden. March 27, 2013. By the time today's K-12 students grow up, the challenges posed by climate change are expected to be severe and sweeping. Now, for the first time, new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about the climatic shift taking place....Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education says the lessons will fill a big gap...."Only 1 in 5 [students] feel like they've got a good handle on climate change from what they've learned in school," he says, adding that surveys show two-thirds of students say they're not learning much at all about it. "So the state of climate change education in the U.S. is abysmal."

Could earlier kindergarten be the achievement gap solution? Education News, Julia Lawrence. March 22, 2013. One of the approaches strongly considered for closing the achievement gap between low-income students and their more economically advantaged peers is moving up the time when kids begin kindergarten, the Economist reports. The current kindergarten start time for American students is between ages 5 and 6, and among the developed countries that is considered rather late. Now some programs – aimed specifically at those from poorer families – are springing up to teach kids the rudiments of English and mathematics as early as 3 and 4.

2013 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? Brookings Institute, Tom Loveless. March 18, 2013. The U.S. did relatively well, posting gains in reading, math, and science. Finland made headlines by registering declines from the last time it took the TIMSS math tests. At both fourth and eighth grades, the scores of Finland and the U.S. are now statistically indistinguishable in math. Part I also looks at the so-called “A+ countries,” named that because they were the top nations on the first TIMSS, given in 1995. Part I offers “A Progress Report on the A+ Countries,” and finds that, surprisingly, three of the six have registered statistically significant declines since 1995. Despite that, most of the A+ countries still score among the world’s leaders. The exception is the Czech Republic, which scored at approximately the international average the last time it took TIMSS in 2007.

Common Core State Standards garner more than 400 endorsements. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. March 18, 2013. The Common Core State Standards have been endorsed by more than 200 Missouri school districts, 90 individuals, 50 educational organizations, 40 businesses and business organizations, and 35 institutions of higher education. A complete list of endorsements is available at dese.mo.gov/documents/CCSS-Support-lists.pdf

Shift from traditional texts to E-textbooks continues. Education News, Julia Lawrence. March 13, 2013. The shift from traditional textbooks to e-books and tablets continues to pick up speed in American schools, Yahoo News reports. Districts are becoming increasingly enamored with the new medium which they say not only allow quick updates and more interactive learning, but also brings down the costs of academic materials per-student.

Research: sorting students by ability increases achievement. Education News, Julia Lawrence. March 11, 2013. Sorting students by ability substantially helps their achievement in mathematics and reading, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors looked at student performance in schools that sort their classrooms by skills and those that do not and compared the outcomes.

Texting and Facebooking in the Classroom lead to lower GPA. Education News, Julia Lawrence. March 11, 2013. Teachers who demand that smartphones play no part in their classroom might be on to something if the findings of a recent study are to be believed. According to a 2012 study from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, students who used social medial like Facebook or Twitter and texted in class reported lower GPAs than their peers who did not.

Ed opponents agree: we should trust teachers more. Education News, Joe Nathan. March 8, 2013. Why did a variety of people recommend the book? First, because the authors ask, “What if trusting teachers, and not controlling them, is the key to school success?” The authors believe that teachers should have the option to organize as doctors and attorneys sometimes do. This puts teachers truly in charge. The book offers 11 examples from seven states, from Connecticut to California along with Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Value-added scores serve as good preditor of teacher quality. Education News, Julia Lawrence. March 7, 2013. Previous research has already established that teacher effectiveness improves substantially in the first five years on the job. Now, in “Do First Impressions Matter? Improvement in Early Career Teacher Effectiveness” authors are arguing that early value-added scores could serve as predictors of teacher quality down the road.

Missouri principal one of "20 to Watch" for improving education through technology. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. March 5, 2013. Dr. Robert Dillon, principal at the Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, was selected by the National School Boards Association as one of "20 to Watch" for the 2012-2013 school year....."Technology use at our school has truly unleashed new ways of learning," Dillon said. "It is essential for school leaders to build and develop their professional learning network and culture so that all members of the community are learning on a continuous basis."

Mo House endorses school report card legislation. The Rolla Daily News, Chris Blank (AP). March 2, 2013. Missouri schools would start receiving letter grades based upon how well they perform on state standards under legislation approved Thursday in the House.....The measure calls for education officials to produce a simplified report card for public schools and for charter schools that have classes beyond second grade. The report cards are to indicate the state standards that apply to the school, how the school scored and the corresponding letter grade for each standard. For state performance standards with multiple components, the report card also would list the score and letter grade for each piece.

February 2013

Online learning may not help those who need help most. Education News, Julia Lawrence. February 26, 2013. A study by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University finds that students perform worse in online courses than they do in traditional ones. This is one of the first comprehensive research efforts aimed at figuring out how such courses compare to the ones taught in the traditional classroom environment and the results could serve as a check on the growing popularity of online schooling at the college level.....The authors looked at the results of more than 40,000 students and their results in nearly 500,000 courses and found that those enrolled in online courses were more likely to drop out or fail compared to their peers taking classes face-to-face with the instructor. What is most worrying is the fact that likelihood of failure wasn’t consistent across all groups. Males, Black students, younger kids and those who already had lower grade-point-average had the widest gap between their performance in online courses and those taught in a typical classroom.

New report highlights U.S. graduation gains, decline in 'dropout factories'. PBS, Mike Fritz. February 25, 2013. High schools across the U.S. have made a 6.5% increase in graduation rates in the last decade. Gains were mainly in Hispanic and African American students, with Hispanic rates up 10 points and African American rates up 6.9 points. This still leaves a large disparity among races and there are a number of schools that rate as "dropout factories".

Duncan: "Dumb" Sequestration could cost 40,000 teachers jobs. Education News, Julia Lawrence. February 25, 2013. Speaking last week, Duncan said that unless sequestration is avoided, as many as 40,000 teachers around the country could be out of a job, and educational resources like the federally-funded Head Start program would have to shut down for lack of money......Also impacted will be efforts like those aimed at helping students whose parents are in the military. He said schools around the country were already notifying instructors that they could be out of a job as early as next week.

Interface Speaker talks about Levers to get kids interested in education. MO DESE Interface. February 24, 2013. Keynote speaker for Missouri's 2013 Interface B was David Dockterman, Chief Architect, Learning Sciences, Scholastic Educaiton; Adjunct Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Dockterman's title was Motivating students for Math and Science Success in School and Beyond: Guidance from Research. Dockterman began by describing education's historical tendency to think tech is going to get kids interested in learning, most recently the idea that video games will do the trick. But video games were preceded by computers, which were preceded by television, preceded by radio, movies and, in the early 1900's magic lanterns. While kids may or may not love these technologies, they have not shown significant impact in engaging interest in learning.

Instead Dockterman described four motivators that are key to engaging students' interest

  1. A sense of competence, a belief in their ability to achieve mastery of the topic.
  2. Control, agency or autonomy in their learning, a sense of choice in what they learn.
  3. Interest or value. In the short-term students need to be interested in a topic for its own sake, but long term they need to answer the question "I need this for..."
  4. Relatedness. This happens when learning confers social status in the students' social group. The challenge here is to foster social status for pursuing, persevering and succeeding in learning.

Dockterman didn't say it would be easy, but he clearly thought shifting efforts to establishing a sense of competence, control, interest and relatedness in and for students is going to yield better educational results than chasing the next tech innovation. http://dailyedventures.com/index.php/2012/11/21/david/

Teacher satisfaction falling fast, survey finds. Topeka Capital Journal, Celia Llopis-Jepson. February 21, 2013. On Thursday, MetLife released its 29th annual "Survey of the American Teacher," based on interviews with 1,000 teachers and 500 principals. The survey found declining teacher satisfaction, declining principal satisfaction, there was high knowledge of, use of and confidence in the ability to raise student achievement with respect to Common Core, concern about shrinking resources, and high confidence in the quality of principals by teachers and of teachers by principals.

What happens when a MOOC Prof leaves Mid-Course? Education News, Julia Lawrence. February 19, 2013. Richard A. McKenzie, instructor for " Microeconomics for Managers" offered on the Coursera platform at University of California Irvine as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC), resigned from teaching the course 5 weeks into the course. According to the article, a possible reason was the different attitude required to oversee a regular university course and a typical MOOC. Even among those who choose to participate fully, only 2% of the 37,000 who enroll, fewer will apply themselves as well as a typical college student enrolled in a traditional university class. The professor apparently had faced criticism for assigning a textbook that was not availalble for free and complaints for the amount of assigned work.

Is the call for universal pre-K warranted? NPR. Linda Wertheimer and Shankar Vedantam. Feburary 18, 2013. Vedantam "Those numbers come from a couple of studies and called the Perry Preschool program and the Abecedarian program, Linda, that targeted very high quality and fairly expensive interventions at very disadvantaged children. And what those programs found - they followed these children out, not just for years, but for decades - is that the programs didn't have just cognitive benefits - in other words, improvements in performance in academic scores - but they had life benefits. They had reduced the teen pregnancy rate. They reduce the crime rate. They had huge benefits later on.

So the president is on very solid footing when he talks about the return investment when it comes to those narrowly targeted programs.

But what he rhetorically links those programs with larger programs, such as the experience in states, such as Oklahoma and in Georgia, in some ways he's venturing off the ledge of science. There have been studies looking at the experience of those states. And I have not seen any data that suggests the return on investment in those states is anywhere close to seven times our investment."

Carrot juice instead of coke? USDA proposes new school snack rules. NPR, Allison Aubrey. Feburary 1, 2013.The Department of Agriculture has proposed a new "Smart Snacks in School" rule that aims to promote more healthful options in school vending machines, snack bars and cafeterias across the country.....The USDA's updated regulations, which are open to public comment for 60 days, will set nutrition standards and calorie limits for snack foods that are sold in schools.

January 2013

As ed tech blooms, do we need more research on its use? Education News, R. A. Johnston. January 31, 2013. ...how can we tell if new technology is really improving teaching? That’s one of the questions being asked at the Florida Education Technology Conference this week in Orlando. ....NPR’s State Impact reports that two conference participants have created a website, EduStar, that will create a database of information much like consumer reports. The difference is that teachers will be the only ones giving ratings and reports, and they will tell what other teachers want to know.

Dan Brown, Missouri State Senator, wants gun education in 1st grade. Huffington Post, John Celock. January 30, 2013. State Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) told a Senate committee Tuesday that the course would teach first-graders what to do if they found a weapon, to prevent them from shooting themselves or someone else, the Associated Press reported. Brown's legislation specifies a curriculum -- which includes cartoons -- designed by the National Rifle Association...PoliticMO.com noted that Brown said guns would not be brought into first-grade classrooms in order to demonstrate gun safety....The legislation also includes training for teachers on handling a shooter who enters a school building.

Seattle teachers boycott standardized testing. Education News, R. A. Johnston. January 30, 2013. In a rare open defiance of state law, Seattle teachers are refusing to give their students the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test at Garfield High School. The test, which would be used as part of their annual evaluations, covers math, reading and other skills. Now, as reported by The Washington Times’ Ben Wolfgang, the Chicago Teachers Union has spoken up in defense of the embattled Garfield faculty.

Florida schools must trade paper textbooks for digital. Education News, R. A. Johnston. January 30, 2013. ...Florida educators face a challenge to change all textbooks to digital books in only two years; state legislators mandate that by 2015, all textbooks will be on digital devices. At the Florida Education Technology Conference this week, they’re talking about how to make this happen.

GOP players in congress step forward on K-12. Education Week, Alyson Klein. January 29, 2013. Two Republicans have ascended to key education roles in a Congress with a lot on its plate when it comes K-12 policy and spending: U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who has a long record on school issues, and Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana, a relative newcomer to Washington....Sen. Alexander was selected this month as the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, where he could play a pivotal part in bringing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic Senate and White House together on a bipartisan reauthorization of the long-stalled Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Both members seen as more conservative on federal involvement in education than committee members they replaced.

SimCityEDU to make global problems accessible to students. Education News, Julia Lawrence. January 23, 2013. The creators of the popular SimCity video game franchise are leveraging its popularity to help teachers bring cutting edge digital tools to the classroom. Working with GlassLab, Electronic Arts Inc. has announced the launch of SimCityEDU, a digital platform aimed at encouraging students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics...Instructors will be able to use the platform to create lesson plans based in the SimCity environment that bring to life real world problems facing the world today. Students will be able to experience what impact their problem-solving skills could have outside the classroom.

State Board of Education approves updated resource and process standards. MO DESE. January 22, 2012. The standards will still require districts to offer the following high school courses: English language arts, mathematics, science, career education (such as agricultural education), social studies, world languages, fine arts (art and music), physical education, health, practical arts and personal finance as appropriate for their students and communities.

State launches leadership development program for educators. MO DESE. January 22, 2013. Missouri is offering a new professional development program for school leaders aimed at raising student achievement. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is partnering with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) to offer their Executive Development Program via the Missouri Leadership for Excellence, Achievement and Development (MoLEAD) project.

Missouri earns slightly higher grade in "Quality Counts" Report. MO DESE. January 10, 2013.The "Quality Counts 2013" report, released Thursday, shows Missouri's score sitting slightly below the national average score of C+. For the second consecutive year, the state ranks 41st nationwide.

Interactive State Education Report Cards. Education Week.. January 10. 2013. MO earned an overall score of 72.8, a C. We earned an A (100) in Standards, B+ (87.5) in Economy and Workforce, Bs in School Finance Equity and Early Foundations and a B- (80) in Early Childhood. The lowest scores were for School Finance Spending, an F, K-12 Achievement Status, School Accountability and Teaching Incentives and Allocation, all earned a D-. Neighboring states, except NE, all did better. Follow link above to see complete grade card.

December 2012

Special needs student? No, just born in the summer. Education News, Matthew Tabor, December 28, 2012. Identifying which students have learning disabilities and which are just a bit behind can be difficult — especially when children are very young. Oftentimes there are explanations for a lagging student that have nothing to do with their inherent abilities and everything to do with an issue unrelated to education.....Research in the United Kingdom shows that one of these factors — the age of the student — appears to sway diagnoses of having Special Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). Children born in the summer months, which results in their being the youngest of their cohorts, are diagnosed with learning impairments twice as often as students born between September and December.

Research: For students, kindness to others boosts popularity. Education News. Matthew Tabor, December 28, 2012. In the wake of the Newtown shootings, social interactions between students is gaining more attention, with some experts saying that the way students treat each other can be a determining factor in a school’s overall well-being. And now research from Kristin Layous, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside may show that students who are kind to their peers experience an individual benefit — a boost in popularity.

State rankings of high school and college graduation rates. The Business Journals, G. Scott Thomas. December 27, 2012. Which state has the highest percentage of educated adults? It depends on the measurement you use....The two most common comparisons involve the graduation rates for high schools and colleges, encompassing all adults who are currently 25 or older.
Wyoming leads the high school list, according to new figures from U.S. Census Bureau, while the District of Columbia is No. 1 on the college chart. (D.C. is considered a state for statistical purposes.)... MIssouri is #29 in HS graduation rates (86.8%) just behind NJ, DE, DC and just ahead of IL, IN, VA. Missouri is #34 in BS/BA or higher(25.4%), just behind WI, FL, SD and just ahead of NM, MI, IA. See Missouri metropolitan records here

US Education Department offere tools for evaluating Education Technology. Education Week, Sean Cavanagh. December 28, 2012. The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology has released a draft report, "Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World," designed to offer the education community some guidance for navigating the crowded tech landscape.

Digital textbook experiment hits $2 million snag. Education News, Julia Lawrence. December 14, 2012. Fairfax County, Virginia schools will be purchasing traditional textbooks for their students after a short trial with web-based mathematics texts hit a snag....The district chose to proceed with the web-based books for math after an abbreviated pilot program that employed the digital texts for social studies proved to be a success. However, shortly after deploying math e-textbooks, parents complained that some students lacked access to a computer outside of school — something required for the use of digital texts...Parents also raised concerns with the books necessitating the purchase of an expensive broadband internet package. In addition, students were having issues with usability of the new texts, saying they were difficult to understand and confusing....Compatibility issues also plagued the texts; sometimes they wouldn’t work with some of the most popular digital gadgets like Apple’s iPhone and iPad tablet.

Eight Missouri schools in the running for "Blue Ribbon" recognition. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. December 20, 2012. Missouri's nominees are:

  1. Bolivar High School, Bolivar R-1 School District - Dr. David Geurin, principal
  2. Brentwood High School, Brentwood School District - Dr. Donald Rugraff, principal
  3. Lee's Summit West High School, Lee's Summit R-7 School District - Dr. David Sharp, principal
  4. Nixa High School, Nixa R-2 School District - Mark McGehee, principal
  5. Sappington Elementary School, Lindbergh Schools, St. Louis - Craig Hamby, principal
  6. Spokane High School, Spokane R-7 School District, Highlandville - Jim Millsap, principal
  7. Willow Springs High School, Willow Springs R-4 School District - Jimalee James, principal
  8. W.W. Keysor Elementary School, Kirkwood R-7 School District - Dr. Bryan Painter, principal

TMSS results show US 8th graders lag behind international peers. Education News, Julia Lawrence. December 12, 2012. American fourth-graders are performing much better compared to students in other countries than they did four years ago, according to data released as part of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The same didn’t seem to hold true for older students, who lagged substantially when compared to their international peers, especially in mathematics and science.

US math, science achievement exceeds world average. Education Week, Erik W. Robelen. December 11, 2012. The math and science achievement of U.S. students continues to surpass the global average for nations taking part in a prominent assessment, results issued Tuesday show, but several East Asian countries and jurisdictions far outpace the United States, especially in mathematics.

Green Schools: Long on promise, short on delivery. USA Today, Thomas Frank. December 11, 2012. The Houston Independent School District took a big step in 2007 toward becoming environmentally friendly by designing two new schools to meet a coveted "green" standard set by a private-builders' group....The nation's seventh-largest school district added features such as automated light sensors and a heat-reflecting roof, in hopes of minimizing energy use.....But the schools are not operating as promised.....Thompson Elementary ranked 205th out of 239 Houston schools in a report last year for the district that showed each school's energy cost per student. Walnut Bend Elementary ranked 155th. A third "green" school, built in 2010, ranked 46th in the report, which a local utility did for the district to find ways of cutting energy costs.

Missouri students rank in middle on vocabulary test. St. Louis Post Dispatch, from AP. December 11, 2012. Missouri elementary and junior high students are ranked near the national norm in terms of their vocabulary.....A report by the National Assessment of Education Progress looked at scores on a standardized test designed to measure vocabulary skills on reading comprehension. Missouri ranked 24th on the fourth-grade vocabulary test and 27th on the eighth-grade test.

USDA to allow more meat, grains in school lunches. St. Louis Post Dispatch, from AP. December8, 2012. The Agriculture Department is responding to criticism over new school lunch rules by allowing more grains and meat in kids' meals.....Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of Congress in a letter Friday that the department will do away with daily and weekly limits of meats and grains. Several lawmakers wrote the department after the new rules went into effect in September saying kids aren't getting enough to eat....School administrators also complained, saying set maximums on grains and meats are too limiting as they try to plan daily meals.

Mehlville schools go solar. KSDK, Kevin Held. December 5, 2012. Five schools in the Mehlville School District have gone solar. The district celebrated the installation of solar electric panels in a handful of schools Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony....One hundred four electric solar panels were installed on the roofs of Beasley Elementary, Hagemann Elementary, Bernard Middle School, Oakville High Schools, and Witzel Alternative Academy, according to StraightUp Solar spokesperson Erin Noble, with the hope of providing clean and efficient energy.

November 2012

Show me your badge: digital badges used to document on-line performance. New York Times, Kevin Carey. November 2, 2012." Badges are gaining currency at the same time that a growing number of elite universities have begun offering free or low-cost, noncredit courses to anyone with access to the Internet and a desire to learn. Millions of students have already signed up for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. By developing information-age credentials backed by a wide array of organizations outside the education system, creators of badge programs may be mounting the first serious competition to traditional degrees since college-going became the norm."

MOOCs, Massive open online courses. New York Times, Laura Pappano. November 2, 2012. MOOCs have been around for a few years as collaborative techie learning events, but this is the year everyone wants in. Elite universities are partnering with Coursera at a furious pace. It now offers courses from 33 of the biggest names in postsecondary education, including Princeton, Brown, Columbia and Duke. In September, Google unleashed a MOOC-building online tool, and Stanford unveiled Class2Go with two courses.

Testing group scales back performance items. Education Week, Catherine Gewertz. November 29, 2012. "A group that is developing tests for half the states in the nation has dramatically reduced the length of its assessment in a bid to balance the desire for a more meaningful and useful exam with concerns about the amount of time spent on testing....From an original design that included multiple, lengthy performance tasks, the test has been revised to include only one performance task in each subject—mathematics and English/language arts—and has been tightened in other ways, reducing its length by several hours.... The final blueprint of the assessment, approved by the consortium last week now estimates it will take seven hours in grades 3-5, 7½ hours in grades 6-8, and 8½ hours in grade 11.

Standardized testing costs states $1.7 billion a year study says. Education Week. Andrew Ujifusa. November 29, 2012. The report released Nov. 29 by the Washington-based Brown Center on Education Policy, at the Brookings Institution, calculates that the test spending by 44 states and the District of Columbia amounted to $65 per student on average in grades 3-9 based on the most recent test-cost data the researchers could gather. (The Brown Center report was not able to gather that data from Connecticut, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.)

State Board of Education elects new president, vice president. DESE Press Release. November 28, 2012. The State Board of Education elected the Rev. Stan Archie, Kansas City, as its new president at a meeting yesterday in St. Louis. Current board president, Peter F. Herschend, was elected vice president.

Vendors selected to create new state educator certification assessment system. DESE Press Release. November 28, 2012. The state Office of Administration announced the vendors who will assist in the development of a Missouri educator certification assessment system. Educational Testing Service and Evaluation Systems (NCS Pearson) were selected after thorough evaluation from a pool of proposals submitted in response to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s request for proposals (RFPs).

October 2012

Attention shifts to blended learning at Virtual Ed Conference. Education Week, Ian Quillen. October 30, 2012. From beginning to end, blended learning—briefly defined as any of a variety of approaches that combine features of both face-to-face and online instruction—took headline status in keynote speeches, panel discussions, and report releases throughout the three-day conference hosted here by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL.

MO Project WET Coordinator Eric Cox Featured in National WET Blog. Project WET. October 25, 2012. "I love Erica because of her total ‘Midwestern-ness'," says Jo Adang of Georgia Project WET. "If we are in a tough situation, or lost or having trouble, instead of panicking or losing control she laughs and says, ‘We are just making new memories'." .... Erica was also part of the team that aligned WET teaching objectives with the new science standards.

National Environmental Education Foundation announces winners of annual Bartlett EE Award. NEEF, Ivan Chan. October 22, 2012. After a nationwide search, NEEF selected Deborah Wasylik, a high school science teacher in Orlando, Fla., as the winner of this year’s Richard C. Bartlett Environmental Education Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement by teachers in advancing environmental education at their schools.

Six Rural STEM teachers reflect on experiences. Education Week, Diette Courrege. October 22, 2012. Six rural STEM teachers saw community interactions, professional development, and school structures as both benefits and challenges to teaching in their rural schools, according to a new study.Teacher attrition is a significant issue for rural schools, which experience a turnover rate of about 9 percent annually. And, for STEM areas in particular, teacher shortages create "dire consequences."Teachers' Perceptions of Rural STEM Teaching: Implications for Rural Teacher Retention" was published in a recent issue of The Rural Educator, and it explores the perspectives of six rural high school STEM teachers in Indiana.

Common Core Drives Interest in Open Education Resources. Education Week, Katie Ash. October 17, 2012. In Utah, the state department of education is pulling together textbooks aligned to Common Core State Standards made up entirely of open educational resources, or OERs. South Dakota officials have created a repository of open education materials aligned to the common core for teachers. And at the national level, the education organization Achieve has launched a set of rubrics designed to help educators evaluate both the quality of OERs and their alignment to the common standards.

Car crazy kid wins middle school science competition. Science News, Laura Sanders. October 2, 2012. Eighth grader Raymond Gilmartin won $25,000 at Second Annual Broadcom Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars, or MASTERS, competition in California. A quarter of Gilmartin’s score was based on his original research. In a project he called “Spare the Environment, Spoiler the Car: The Effect of Rear Spoilers on Drag and Lift,” Gilmartin studied how different sizes and shapes of spoilers change the amount of drag that cars experience. He built a six-foot wind tunnel in his house and tested various combinations of model cars and hand-carved wooden spoilers, tests that ultimately told him that some kinds of rear spoilers on SUVs may ease drivers’ pain at the pump.

Scientific inquiry among the preschool set. NY Times. October 1, 2012. A paper recently published in Science summarized 10 years worth of research and studies on pre-schoolers. Paradoxically, showing young children how to play with a toy limits what they will do with it on their own.

Duncan okay to stay on as Ed Secretary if Obama wins. Education News, Julia Lawrence. October 1, 2012. The fate of current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — should President Barack Obama win a second term — has been uncertain for some time. It’s no longer a mystery; in a National Journal exclusive, via Yahoo! News, revealed that Duncan is prepared to stay in his position for a second term....However, his focus during the last four years on secondary education, will shift to combating the growing problem of higher education student debt. He also plans launch initiatives to double the number of college graduates in the U.S. By 2020.

September 2012

Model curriculum units for ELA, Math and Social Studies now available. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, September 12, 2012.

MO State Board of Education gives preliminary approval to updated standards. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. September 18, 2012. The guidelines include "standard" and "desirable" recommendations for class sizes and the number of administrative and support staff, including superintendents, principals, library media center staff, and guidance counselors, based on a school's student population.The standards will be open for a 30-day public comment period once they are published by the Missouri Secretary of State.

Test reveals good, bad news about student writing skills. Education News, Julia Lawrence. September 21, 2012. According to the report released by the National Assessment Governing Board, which administers the exams, students who regularly use computers as part of their school work are more likely to have strong writing skills than their peers. That’s the good news....The bad news is that the report also shows merely a quarter of the country’s 8th and 12th graders have good writing skills....In total, 27% of essays in both levels were considered by graders to be well-developed, organized, and showing a strong grasp of proper grammar. Overall, 24% were deemed “proficient” in those categories while 3% were considered “advanced.” Unfortunately, the remainder were found to be lacking in one, two, or all three of these areas. One downside - the effect may take months or longer to show up.

Research: High teacher expectations raise student achievement. NPR > Education News, Julia Lawrence. September 21, 2012. Teachers were asked to oversee a standard IQ exam administered to their students that was disguised as a test meant to show which students were more likely to experience an intelligence “bloom.” After the exam, Rosenthal picked several kids from each class at random and told their teachers that they were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ. Then he stepped back and watched what happened...After two years the students who were expected by their teachers to increase their IQ actually increased their IQ. But how? ...Expectations affect teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers gave the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.

Slight dip in SAT scores for the class of 2012. NY Times, Tamar Lewin. September 24, 2012.For the high school class of 2012, the average score on the critical reading section of the SAT college entrance exam, 496, was down 1 point from the previous year, as was the average writing score, 488. The average math score, 514, was unchanged. Also unchanged: only 43 percent of the 1.66 million test-takers achieved the benchmark score, 1550, that indicates readiness for college. Among students whose parents have bachelor’s degrees, though, 60 percent were college ready. The College Board, which administers the test, says those with the benchmark score have a 65 percent likelihood of achieving a B- or higher grade average in their first year in college.

August 2012

U.S. Education Secretary honors Andrea Falken, Director of U.S. ED Green Ribbon Schools program, with Golden Apple Award. U.S. ED, August 29, 2012. For the first time this year, the Golden Apple Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of Department of Education employees. The award is issued to an employee whose service has been distinguished by an achievement of local, state, national, or international significance.....Falken founded and championed the new ED-GRS recognition program, which honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills and green career pathways. It is estimated that Falken saved the government about $150,000 in salaries and expenses by managing the program herself without hiring additional staff and saving contract money. (Missouri will not be participating in the 2012-2013 program).

Missouri ACT scores remain unchanged. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. August 22, 2012. For the eighth consecutive year, Missouri's average ACT composite score remains unchanged at 21.6. The national composite score held steady at 21.1 for the second year. This ranks Missouri 26th nationally, up from 27th last year....Hispanic students showed gains in meeting college readiness benchmarks for English (up 2 points to 62 percent), mathematics (up 1 point to 34 percent) and science (up 3 points to 25 percent), and remained steady at 46 percent for reading. African-Americans increased in mathematics (up 1 point to 13 percent), decreased in English (down 1 point at 38 percent) and remained steady for reading (22 percent) and science (7 percent).

Sierra Club's 6th Annual Coolest Schools List. Sierra Club, Avital Andrews. August 21, 2012. #10 Appalachian State Univeristy (NC) Appropriate Technology Program; #9 University of California Irvine (CA) a dozen extracurricular environmental groups and the "Toward a Sustainable 21st Century" conference; #8 Yale University (CT) 14 LEED buildings, spring salvage event; #7 Duke University (NC) leader in generating and buying offsets, campus farm; #6 University of New Hampshire Durham (NH) uses money from selling renewable-energy credits off its landfill-gas pipeline to fund efficiency projects; #5 University of Connecticut Storrs (CT) composting and recycling of everything from cellphones to sneakers; #4 University of Washington (WA) more than half of food from within 250 miles of campus, renewable energy commitments, bike repair stations; #3 Stanford University (CA) more thant 20 courses about domestic and global food systems, food from local gardens; #2 Georgia Inst Technology (GA) students steered towards classes in sustainability, over 260 to choose from, responsible investing, reducing dining hall waste; #1 University of California Davis (CA) purchasing policies, waste diversion, strong bike program, zero-net energy residential option. Rankings based on the Stars AASHE report. 96 schools completed responses. MO Schools: Washington University St. Louis #23, score 565/895, UMKC #50 score 497/895, Northwest MO State University #89 score 225/895

Lunch workers study how to get kids to eat healthy. AP, Kristen Wyatt. August 21, 2012. New Department of Agriculture guidelines taking effect this fall set calorie and sodium limits for school meals. Schools must offer dark green, orange or red vegetables and legumes at least once a week, and students are required to select at least one vegetable or fruit per meal. Flavored milk must be nonfat, and there's a ban on artificial, artery-clogging trans fats. Lunch room professionals were advised to think of lunch as part of academics.

State Board reviews model curriculum units for English language and math common core. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. August 21, 2012. Missouri teachers will be piloting the draft units this school year. The units include specific examples of what is expected as part of the Core Academic Standards. Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, teachers will provide feedback to the Department on the structure and content of the units in order to make necessary adjustments.

Missouri students showcontinued improvement on annual assessments. MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. August 14, 2012. Test results for 2011-2012 released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education show the overall percentages of students scoring at the "proficient" or "advanced" levels continued their steady increase in scores. Students improved from 54.6 to 55 percent proficient or advanced in Communication Arts and from 54.3 to 55 percent in Math....In addition, especially notable gains were made by English language learners and Hispanic students in Communication Arts and Math....MAP test scores and APR information are available through the Department's web-based Missouri Comprehensive Data System (MCDS) at www.mcds.dese.mo.gov.

July 2012

Democratic report blasts for-profit colleges. AP. July 30, 2012. Fifty four per cent of students enrolled in 2008-2009 in for-profit schools left without a degree or certificate by mid- 2010. Two year programs saw a 63% drop.Students from the program had unemployment rates greater than 20%. Publicly traded companies had a profit margin of 19.7% and paid $7.3 million to top excutives (public university and college presidents average $1 to $3 million). Tuition averages 20% more for similar programs at flagship public universities, and associate programs average four times the cost of similar programs at community colleges. The industry disputed the report.

Kansas City's Pembroke Hill High wins 2012 Canon Envirothon. Canon U.S.A. Inc. July 26, 2012. A five-member team of high school students from Pembroke High School in KC MO has won the 2012 Envirothon, a weeklong environmental education competition sponsored by Canon U.S.A. Inc. ....Teams from 44 states 9 Canadian provinces and one Canadian territory completed training and testing in natural resource categories such as soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry and wildlife, and an additional topic based on a current environmental issue. This year's topic was Nonpoint Source Pollution/Low Impact Development....Missouri's scores were 82 for Aquatics, 71 for Forestry, 84 for Soils, 79 for Wildlife, 86 for Low Impact Development, 196.67 for the Orals and 598.67 Total. Missouri was followed by New York - 575 Total, Ohio - 573.67 Total, North Carolina - 563.67 Total and Ontario - 563 Total. Pembroke High students will recieve $25,000 in scholarships for winning the 2012 competiion.

New model curriculum units for English Language Arts and Math for Missouri educators. DESE.. July 26, 2012. The draft model curriculum was created by educators throughout the state during late winter 2011 / early spring 2012 and is aligned with Missouri's Core Academic Standards in addition to grade- and course-level expectations. The units include instructional strategies and activities, supportive resources, and formative and summative assessments. Online access to the model curriculum units is available on the Department's website at dese.mo.gov/ccr/modelcurriculum. Only individuals connected to a Missouri public school district, and who have a user account for the Department's web applications, will be allowed to access the units.

National Center for Education Statistics provides snapshot of the 3.5 million Kindergartners who started in 2010. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 26, 2012. Higher literacy and math skills associated with older students,with being Asian, then white, then black, then Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Natives, higher income then low incomes.

University of Michigan wins solar car challenge for 7th time. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 26, 2012. The University of Michigan Solar Car Team took top honors at the 2012 American Solar Challenge. Despite being hobbled by bad weather throughout the race, their car Quantum still beat the field and came out ahead of the pack for an impressive fourth time in a row. Quantum completed the race in 44 hours, 36 minutes and 21 seconds, besting second-place finisher Iowa State University. The team from Principia College came in third. American Solar Challenge is a biennial 1,650-mile competition for individually engineered solar-powered vehicles that kicks off in Rochester New, York, and terminates in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Education Secretary outlines effects of automatic budget cuts. AP. July 25, 2012. Automatic cuts due to the 2011 budget deal mean services for 1.8 million disadvantaged students would be slashed, thousands of teachers and aides would be let go, and financial aid programs for college students would be affects.

Maryland tops academic achievement growth on NAEP. Education News, Julia Lawrence. July 23, 2012. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, a paper by researchers from Stanford and Harvard Universities, shows that Maryland lead the nation in the achievement growth over the period of 1995 through 2009. The authors indicate that over this period, Maryland kids gained an average of two years of schooling, thanks to the improvements in the state’s education system.... In addition to Maryland, several southern states showed impressive gains in the level of student achievement. Seven states in the top ten were from the Southern US, including Florida, which came second in the ranking. The others, among them Louisiana, South Carolina Kentucky and Arkansas, joined Delaware New Jersey on the honor roll.

News Corp to launch tablet education project. AP. July 23, 2012. News Corp named its grade school education business Amplify and said it and AT & T will fund a pilot project to put tablet computers in students' hands in the coming school year. How schools will be chosen is still unknown. AT & T will provide the tablets which will work on its 4G network and Wi-Fi. News Corp aims to be a major provide and anticipates the U.S. education market exceeds $600 billion annually.

Obama administration announces STEM Master Teacher Corps. Education News. July 20, 2012. The Obama Administration has announced a plan for the creation of a new national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps made up of the nation’s finest STEM subject educators. The STEM Master Teacher Corps will launch with 50 exceptional teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded to 10,000 Master Teachers over a four year period.

Six state finalists named for Math and Science teaching award. DESE. July 12, 2012. Six Missouri educators have been selected as state-level finalists for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

School is too easy, students report. USA Today. July 9, 2012. Millions of kids simply don't find school very challenging, a new analysis of federal survey data suggests. The report could spark a debate about whether new academic stadards being piloted nationwide might make a difference....The findings, out today from the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank that champions "progressive ideas," analyze three years of questionnaires from the Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress, a national test given each year.

June 2012

Skills-based Math, Just in Time Learning and Bad Habits of Mind. Barry Garelick. Education News. June 28, 2012. -- Opinion piece on recent Department of Educaiton Report on Math Education that digs into the issue of the prior knowledge students need to solve the problems.

Region 7 awarded Comprehensive Small Grant contract from EPA. MEEA News. June 27, 2012. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Region 7 Environmental Education Leadership Team (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) a grant to distribute small environmental education grants in the four state region.

Let Kids Outside for Long-Lasting Learning. Julia Steiny. Education News. June 27, 2012. -- Interview with Outdoor Education proponent David Sobel: "...if you want healthier, smarter, more socially-adept, resilient kids, work with your community to make a cool, accessible place where kids can mess around with nature. The adults’ job is to be around, but always at a little distance. At that remove, adults’ can figure out how to feed kids’ natural hunger to know more about how to master whatever they’re doing."

U.S. Sutents Strong on Science Facts, Weak on Comprehension. Julia Lawrence. Education News. June 27, 2012. --For example: " On the portion of the exam that required a student to select the correct answer from multiple options, but then subsequently explain their reasoning, over 70% of students were able to choose the correct answer, but less than a third were then able to justify their selection. The discrepancy was particularly stark among 4th graders, were 71% identified the correct answer, but only 15% were able to explain their reasoning in obtaining it."

Registration Open for the Siemens STEM Competition. Julia Lawrence. Education News. June 3, 2012. -- This week, the registration opens for the nation’s premier science competition, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. High school students interested in competing can submit their original research and be eligible to win college scholarships that range from $1000 to $100,000 for first place. The competition, sponsored by the Siemens Foundation and administered by the College Board will accept submissions until October 1, 2012 at 5PM Est. Other relevant deadlines, submission guidelines and additional information are available on the competition’s College Board website.

Missouri State Board of Education Affirms the Healthy Missouri Initiative Petition. MO DESE Website. June 21, 2012. -- The State Board of Education voiced its approval Tuesday for the Healthy Missouri Initiative Petition measure aimed at raising new funds for education in Missouri. The measure, also known as the Missouri Tobacco Tax Initiative, may appear on the November ballot and calls for an additional 73 cent tax on each package of cigarettes and an increase in tax for other tobacco products.

State Education Board Approves Pilot of New Educator Evaluation System. MO DESE Website. June 20, 2012. -- The State Board of Education approved a one-year pilot project of Missouri's new Educator Evaluation System for the 2012-2013 school year. The new system focuses on the improvement of effective educational practices and the professional development of teachers, principals and school superintendents. The Educator Evaluation System fulfills a portion of Goal 3 of the Department's Top 10 by 20 initiative, which states that Missouri will prepare, develop and support effective educators. The Top 10 by 20 initiative is the state plan to launch Missouri into the top 10 states by the year 2020.

A World With No Math. Save the Children. June 20, 2012. Fundraiser for math programs in the developing worlds uses a YouTube video featuring Simon Helberg (Big Bang), John Oliver (Daily Show), Julie Bowman (Modern Family) and Michael Boatman (Anger Management) who have to live in a World With No Math. spoiler alert: no timing, no bets....

Missouri State Board of Education Supports MSIP 5 Scoring Guide. MO DESE Website. June 19, 2012. -- After more than two years of working with parents, educators, associations, education experts and school district leaders, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education presented its new scoring guide, which outlines its methods of creating each school district's Annual Performance Report (APR) — the tool used by the state to determine a school district's accreditation. State Board members discussed the impact of the new scoring guide and the advantages of the new system.

Missouri Teachers Recognized for Excellence in Math and Science. MO DESE Website. June 14, 2012. Two Missouri teachers were selected this week as recipients of the 2011 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Missouri's mathematics recipient is Jennifer Baker, Hazelwood West High School, Hazelwood School District; and science recipient is Robert Becker, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood School District. CONGRATS!

Missouri's Graduation Rates on the Rise. MO DESE Website. June 7, 2012. -- Missouri's graduation rate increased for the third year in a row, according to Education Week's seventh annual "Diplomas Count 2012" report released today. Well above the national average, Missouri's public high schools graduated 79.3 percent of its students in 2009, an increase of 2.4 percent over the previous year....All five primary demographic areas (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Black and White) saw gains in graduation rates over the past year in Missouri and all were above the national averages.

May 2012

8 states get waiver from No Child Left Behind By DORIE TURNER AP Education Writer May 29, 2012 The Education Department has approved waivers for Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. The states that won waivers earlier this year are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Eighteen other states have applied, including Missouri, and could recieve waivers in the next few weeks.

Report: More students taking science, math By CHRISTINE ARMARIO AP Education WriterMay 24, 2012. The annual "Condition of Education" report (issued by the Department of Education) said there has been a marked increase over the last two decades in the percent of high school graduates who had taken calculus, from 7 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2009. Overall, the percentage enrolling in math and science courses increased in all subjects except algebra I, a class many students now take in middle school.....Yet while more are enrolling, the report also states that scores have largely stagnated: Seventeen-year-old students performed neither significantly better nor worse on a national math and reading assessment than they did in the early 1970s.

National conference in Ohio focuses on teachers.DAN SEWELL Associated Press May 22, 2012. "The AFT, National Education Association, National School Boards Association and other participating groups are setting out the plan for improving the teaching profession, noting that schools can take different approaches to reach its targets. They are: more shared decision-making in schools; recruiting from a high-performing and diverse talent pool; providing for career-long learning; evaluating teachers and principals on student academic growth and their other contributions; offering career paths with competitive pay and advancement; having schools with the right environment for teachers and for helping high-needs students, and reaching out for more engagement between schools and their communities."

Administration sets criteria for new school grants By CHRISTINE ARMARIO AP Education Writer May 22, 2012. Following a wave of state education reforms spurred by its Race to the Top competition, the Education Department said Tuesday that individual school districts will be able to compete for $400 million in grants to bring the initiative to the classroom level......School districts with at least 2,500 students and 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch - a key indicator of poverty - will be eligible to receive up to $25 million to create plans targeting specific groups of students with the aim of closing the achievement gap.

In Joplin, a senior year to remember after tornado By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER Associated Press May 21, 2012. "Monday night's graduation, which featured commencement speeches by President Barack Obama and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, capped a senior year for the 428 members of the Class of 2012 marked by tragedy, turmoil and perseverance."..."The (2011) twister arrived hours after last year's high school graduation, forever defining the Joplin High Class of 2011 and their younger classmates as well. The tornado's victims included two Joplin High students, sophomore Lantz Hare and senior Will Norton, a school system secretary and several younger students."

Number of homeschoolers growing nationwide JULIA LAWRENCE Education News May 21, 2012. "As the dissatisfaction with the U.S. education system among parents grows, so does the appeal of homeschooling. Since 1999, the number of children who are being homeschooled has increased by 75%. Although currently only 4% of all school children nationwide are educated at home, the number of primary school kids whose parents choose to forgo traditional education is growing seven times faster than the number of kids enrolling in K-12 every year."

EPA Grant of $150,000 Awarded to Region 7 (IA, KS, MO, NE) for EE grants EPA Website. EPA awarded a $150,000 Environmental Education Grant to the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education, of Manhattan, Kan. ...This grant will provide funding for approximately 19 small sub awards, up to $5,000 each, to organizations for the development and implementation of projects, programs and solutions to meet a variety of educational and environmental priorities. The sub awards will be based on priorities established through state environmental literacy and strategic plans from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. These projects will bring together diverse organizations working on a number of environmental issues that will meet the needs of their community. Mini-grant applicants will have the flexibility to support the strategic initiatives identified at the state level or through one or more EPA educational priorities such as community projects, human health and the environment.

Next Generation Science Standards released for public comment. Next Gen Science Standards website. The review period closed June 1, but the next draft will be available in the fall

Interface 2013 Deadline for Submission: JULY 1, 2012 MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education May 11, 2012. The 2013 Interface Professional Development Event will highlight teaching practices and assessments that focus on important concepts and skills. Sessions will focus on ways to increase teacher content knowledge, pedagogy, and the use of technology in preparing college- and career- ready students. JULY 1, 2012 DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION

April 2012

Missouri Science Olympiad Winners: Pembroke Hill (KC) and Ladue (St. Louis). MO Science Olympiad 2012.04.26.Congratulations to Ladue and Pembroke Hill for securing a trip to Orlando, FL for the National Science Olympiad tournament. For Division B, Ladue took 1st place while Pembroke Hill took 2nd place. In Division C the roles were reversed and Pembroke Hill took 1st and Ladue secured 2nd place.

Two schools honored for environmental education. St. Louis Today 2012.04.25. TwoSt. Louis private schools — Crossroads College Preparatory School and The College School — are recipients of the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award, given for the first time this year to 78 schools across the country for their environmental education. Missouri is among 29 states and Washington, D.C., with schools receiving the awards.

Computer scoring of essays shows promise. USA Today 2012.04.23. The new findings, unveiled last week at the National Council on Measurement in Education meeting in Vancouver, Canada, analyzed 17,500 essays that had already been graded by humans. Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the analysis was part of an ongoing competition, an X-Prize of sorts, that Hewlett is sponsoring to push the field forward.

March 2012

History and Geography to get the Common Core treatment. Education News 2012.03.29. The Social Studies fields covered by the Common Core Curriculum will be getting a second look as teachers and other education experts protest that not enough attention is being paid to subjects outside the STEM fields. The body responsible for drafting the standards has announced that it will be developing curriculum maps in history and geography, drawing for their inspiration from the best social studies standards in the nation.

Study reveals young not as green-minded as baby-boomers. AP 2012.03.15. A generation ago about 1/3 of baby boomers said it was important to take action to protect the environment. Only 1/4 of GenX'ers(1962-1981 and 21% of Millenials(after 1982) thought it was important. study available at http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-ofp-twenge.pdf

Can green games save the world? Triple Pundit 2012.03.14.The UVA Bay game is a massive, multiplayer simulation of impacts of various stakeholders on the health of Chesapeake Bay. the simulation runs for 20 years with players making moves every two years. At Southby Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Associate VP of Resarch at UVA reported that stakeholders (farmers, regulators, fisherman, etc.) using the UVA Bay Game quickly started to exchange information and collaborate with the goal of optimizing relationhships among players.