July 21, 2017 | POLITICO
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— The Southern Regional Education Board, a nonprofit, details how 15 states aligned classroom instructional materials to state academic standards aimed at preparing students for college and career.
— Education First, an organization that focuses on improvement in education, looks at science, technology, engineering and math innovations in state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
July 19, 2017 | Education Week
Science education advocates are among those cheering the new federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act: It’s an opportunity to get science on the radar screen in a way they couldn’t under ESSA’s predecessor.
The former law didn’t count science tests towards anything, thereby relegating the subject, in many advocates’ eyes, to second-tier status. But under ESSA, states have a lot more flexibility to emphasize science in particular, and more generally, content in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
I know you’re probably thinking: Groan, do I have to read all those hundreds of pages of ESSA plans?
But fortunately for you (and your grateful blogger), there are plenty of folks who’ve been combing these and pulling out the good stuff. Both Achieve, a key partner helping states improve the rigor of their courses, and Education First, a consulting group, released briefs recently that outline what states plan to do—and where the opportunities lie for them to improve their plans.
July 17, 2017 | Philanthropy New York
Today Education First, NoVo Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors announced the winners of the Social Emotional Learning Innovation Awards. Nearly 500 teachers and over 300 districts across the country applied for an award, and 67 teachers and 30 districts were selected. The list of awardees is available here.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process of developing fundamental skills for life success within supportive, participatory learning environments. SEL skills include recognizing and managing emotions, developing caring and concern for others, establishing positive relationships and making responsible decisions. These crucial capacities can be taught by classroom teachers to students of every background.
June 26, 2017 | Las Vegas Review-Journal
. . . But one expert said the main pieces of the state’s plan fared relatively well in the review.
“Unlike other states, Nevada did not get called out for its goals not being ambitious enough or not clear,” said Anand Vaishnav, a principal at Education First, a national education policy consulting firm. “That’s an interesting sort of piece of guidance for other states. For the department to have sort of blessed that part must make Nevada feel they got that right.”
June 20, 2017 | Education Week
“There’s a lot of reliance on that needs assessment being the vehicle through which you’ll identify the appropriate interventions,” said Terra Wallin, who worked as a career staffer at the federal Education Department on school turnaround issues and is now a consultant with Education First. The organization is working with states on ESSA implementation. “You’re not seeing a ton of detail on what [the school improvement] process is going to look like.”
That’s partly because states aren’t required to put their school improvement plans into practice until the 2019-20 school year, since some will likely use 2018-19 as a planning year, Wallin explained.
“What you’re seeing is totally logical. States have fewer details about school improvement because they are still figuring it out,” she said.