Hot Topic

Standards-Based Grading and the Structure of Standards

Discussion continues to take place regarding the integration of standards into teaching in ways beyond outlining the curriculum to be taught. One idea that has arisen recently has been the concept of standards-based grading, in which students are given ratings based on their level of mastery of individual concepts within a larger course. Proponents of this system state that it has advantages ranging from enabling better-targeted teaching to reducing test anxiety.

What's New in Sex Ed?

In the series "Educating the 21st Century Child" Erik Hawkins address the changing needs in Sex Education for today's teenagers. An unprecedented level of access to technology and near constant interaction with social media mean that students are often far ahead of sex education curriculum.

Incorporating Competency-Based Learning

Competency-based learning has become increasingly popular in higher learning and K-12 environments. This model requires students to demonstrate mastery of a subject rather than relying on hours spent to determine readiness to advance. This method demands more from educators in terms of time and planning, but benefits students of all types. High achievers are able to move ahead when ready and struggling students are given the time needed to fully grasp concepts before progressing.

ESSA Update

An interesting article in Education Week took a look at what was happening around the country with the status of the implementation of ESSA now that a year has gone by since the new law was passed.

Can Schools with No Grades Really Work?

At M.S. 442 in Brooklyn, students are encouraged to focus on mastering a set of grade-level skills and moving on to the next set of skills only after demonstrating that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as an A and there is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material. The system has already significantly increased competency in the middle school's students. In the 2013-14 school year, only 7% of students read at grade level, and 5% met the state's math standards. Two years later, 29% were proficient in English, and 26% proficient in math.

Computer Science Education Expands to Prepare Students for Jobs of the Future, including AI jobs

According to a 2016 presidential report, almost half of the jobs in the U.S. in the next 10-20 years will be related to Artificial Intelligence in which computers make decisions, recognize speech and perform other human tasks. Will students be prepared with the computer science backgrounds they need to really understand AI?  Computer science education varies widely across the U.S.

California Pre-K funding

In recent years, states have increased funding efforts and therefore have been able to improve standards for their early education programs. According to US News, states with successful early education programs have seen significant improvement in K-12 and beyond.

CTE Funding

The federal government funds CTE programs in the United States through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. Funds are distributed to states (2017 allocations by states can be found in the table at the end of  this document ),  who then provide it to school districts by methods that vary from state to state. Private funding also exists, but the foundations that provide it tend to focus on higher education, but are worth exploring, e.g.

Texas Science Standards in the News

When Texas heats up discussions in the education arena, publishers tune in to see where in their content they will need to adapt next. Since the 1980's, factions have debated what should and should not be included in science standards...and this is still continuing today.

Artificial Intelligence

The phrase artificial intelligence was coined in 1955 by computer scientist John McCarthy who used it to identify machines designed to mimic human behavior. Thanks to great advances over the last half century, the use of AI is growing in many industries.