Focus On Results: Sign Up Now For The 2014 Summer Institute

 

Focus On Results' Summer Institute 2014 will be held at The Westin Long Beach on July 16th, 17th and 18th for school and district leaders who seek concrete strategies to strengthen leadership, improve instruction and drive student achievement results, including strategies to lead the Common Core. [More]

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ED Releases Framework for Family-School Partnerships

 

On April 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released The Dual Capacity Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Framework). The Framework explores challenges and opportunities for local education agencies (LEA) to partner with students’ parents/families to develop shared responsibility for student outcomes. [More]

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PISA 2012 Assesses Students’ Problem-Solving Skills

 

On April 1, 2014, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the results of its 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) focused on the creative problem-solving skills of 15-year-old students around the world. The PISA 2012 assessment was administered by computer to approximately 85,000 students in 44 countries and economies. U.S. students performed slightly above average with a score of 508. Students in the seven participating Asian countries or economies scored higher than all other participants, with Singapore students earning the highest score of 562. [More]

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New York Withdraws Plan to Share Student Data with a Third-Party Vendor

 

An April 3, 2014 Education Week article reports that the New York State Education Department (SED) has withdrawn its plan to share student data with inBloom, a third-party vendor under contract with SED. SED planned to store student data, such as grades, attendance, and disciplinary actions, in the inBloom system and use the inBloom technology as a tool to personalize instruction and monitor students’ academic progress. A lawsuit filed by parents and other privacy advocates alleged that SED’s contract with inBloom violated State privacy laws; the judge found no such violations and dismissed the case in February. [More]

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White House Releases Report on RTT Progress

 

On March 25, 2014, the White House released its report on the progress of the President’s competitive Race to the Top (RTT) initiative, now in its fourth year. In 2010, 11 states and the District of Columbia were awarded RTT grants and 7 additional states were awarded grants in 2011. [More]

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OCR Data Collection Reveals Education Inequities

 

On March 21, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released the results of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) for the 2011-12 school year. According to a USDE press statement, the data was compiled from surveys of all 97,000 U.S. public schools. Secretary Arne Duncan said the data collection “shines a clear, unbiased light on places that are delivering on the promise of an equal education for every child and where the largest gaps remain.” Based on the data, OCR issued a series of four data snapshots that highlight significant gaps in school discipline, early childhood education, college and career readiness, and teacher equity. [More]

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Judge Denies Class Action Status for Plaintiffs in Student Data Mining Lawsuit

 

A March 19, 2014 Associated Press article reported that a U.S. District Court judge in California has denied class action status for plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that Google’s use of students’ email content without consent violates the students’ privacy. In denying class action status, the judge ruled that determining which plaintiffs did or did not consent to Google’s use of his/her email content is impossible; individual lawsuits will have to be filed. Google’s software, Apps for Education, includes free email (Google’s Gmail) and is used by thousands of education agencies across the country. A March 13 Education Week article stated that Google has acknowledged that it scans and indexes the content of Gmail messages sent and received by students (called “data mining”). [More]

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USDE Awards New School Improvement Grants

 

On March 13, 2014, U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Secretary Arne Duncan announced that 10 states have been awarded School Improvement Grants (SIG) to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-performing schools. Sharing in the total $95 million funding are Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. [More]

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The President’s Budget Proposal Would Increase USDE Funding

 

President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal, released on March 4, 2015, includes a request for $68.6 billion in discretionary funds for the U.S. Department of Education (USDE); nearly two percent more than last year’s funding. Nearly 90 percent of the funds would be for formula grant programs that address the needs of disadvantaged and minority students, students receiving special education, and English language learners. USDE would receive additional funding for Preschool Development Grants, the ConnectEDucators initiative, and Promise Neighborhoods. [More]

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USDE Provides New Guidance for Protecting Student Privacy

 

On February 25, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published new guidance for protecting student privacy while using online educational services. The guidance addresses the privacy and security of computer software, mobile applications (apps), and web-based tools provided by a third-party vendor to a local education agency (LEA) through which students and/or parents have access to online educational services. The guidance does not apply to electronic tools/services to which students and parents do not have access, e.g., an online student information system used exclusively by school officials for administrative purposes. [More]

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