School Performance – Wyoming

40 percent of Wyoming schools not meeting expectations, By Leah Todd, October 26, 2013, Casper Star-Tribune: “The Wyoming Department of Education released its pilot report on school performance Friday, announcing that about 54 percent of Wyoming schools were meeting or exceeding expectations in the 2012-13 school year. The report is a first for the department, which was directed by the Wyoming Legislature in 2011 to create its own system of school accountability. The new system is in trial mode this year, according to a WDE media release. The school ratings will not carry consequences for underperforming schools until the 2014-15 school year, when the system will be fully implemented…”

Early Childhood Education

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K, By Motoko Rich, October 21, 2013, New York Times: “Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs. Now a follow-up study has found a language gap as early as 18 months, heightening the policy debate…”

American Youth Not Employed or in School

New report finds 6M American youth neither working nor in school, Associated Press, October 21, 2013, Newsday: “Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday. That’s almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report. Other studies have shown that idle young adults are missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life or use the knowledge they acquired in college. Without those experiences, they are less likely to command higher salaries and more likely to be an economic drain on their communities…”

Low-Income Students in Public Schools

  • Almost half of Michigan public school students living in low-income households, study shows, By Brian Smith, October 20, 2013, MLive: “A new study shows that 46 percent of Michigan’s public school children live in low-income households, part of an increasing trend nationwide.The study, published by the Southern Education Foundation, found that a majority of public school students across the Southeast and West live in low-income households, defined in the study as households eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program.Mississippi had the highest percentage, at 71 percent of all public school children, followed closely by New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas…”
  • Study sounds alarm over percentage of low-income students in public schools, By Karen McVeigh, October 17, 2013, The Guardian: “For the first time since the 1960s, a majority of the children in public schools in the South and West of the United States come from families living below, at or not far above the poverty line, according to a new study. The study’s findings are part of a trend that is set to continue across the nation. While the percentage of low-income students in public schools has grown across the nation over the last 20 years, there are now 17 states in which they represent the majority. Thirteen of those states are in the South; four are in the West…”

Low-Income Students in Public Schools

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West, By Lyndsey Layton, October 16, 2013, Washington Post: “A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country. The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year…”

High School Dropout Age – Massachusetts

Massachusetts debates raising school dropout age to 18, By Adrienne Lu, October 11, 2013, Stateline: “Massachusetts is the latest state to consider raising the dropout age for students to 18 in an effort to improve graduation rates. A bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, would also standardize use of an early warning system that would alert school administrators when a student might be at risk for dropping out. The state would also provide funding for schools to establish graduation coaches, following in Georgia’s footsteps…”

Students in Foster Care and Academic Achievement

Students in foster care face ‘invisible achievement gap,’ study says, By Teresa Watanabe, October 13, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “Thousands of California students in foster care are suffering from an ‘invisible achievement gap,’ with worse academic performance, a higher dropout rate and placement in more failing schools than their statewide peers, according to a study set for release Monday. The study, which provides the first detailed statewide look at foster youths and their academic challenges, was made possible by a new data-sharing agreement between the state education and social services agencies. It comes as school districts across California prepare to launch the nation’s first effort to systematically address the yawning academic deficiencies among foster youths, using additional money provided by the state’s new school financing law…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

Report: Intervention needed to break cycle of intergenerational poverty in Utah, By Marjorie Cortez, October 4, 2013, Deseret News: “Utahns considered to be intergenerational welfare recipients receive on average nearly 12 years of public assistance, a figure that will likely increase unless something alters the course, according to a new state report. ‘It is reasonable to expect that without intervention, the average will increase as time passes,’ according to Utah’s second-annual Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance report, which was released Thursday…”

First Generation College Students

Colleges try to meet needs of first-generation students, By Marcella Bombardieri, September 30, 2013, Boston Globe: “To the legions of students who have been tutored and molded and prodded toward a top college most of their young lives, it would be an absurd question: How many of you had to explain to your parents what MIT is?…These students are ‘first generation,’ the first in their families to go to college. And they are the third class to whom MIT has reached out during orientation, not only to offer support but to instill pride in young people who have shown extraordinary drive yet often feel alone and inadequate amid affluent classmates who have already published papers or traveled the world…”

School Food Nutrition

School cafeterias, vending machines trading sugar, fat for more healthful fare, By Lenny Bernstein, September 27, 2013, Washington Post: “Any parent who has fixed a nutritious school lunch only to find it untouched in a backpack the next morning will be heartened by new federal rules that will take effect in schools nationwide in the fall of 2014. That’s when laws will require school vending machines, stores and ‘a la carte’ lunch menus to provide only healthful foods. So if a child hits the cafeteria line for pizza, the cheese on that slice will be relatively low in fat and sodium and the crust probably will be made from whole grains. And snackers will find nuts, granola bars and water in vending machines instead of candy bars, potato chips and sugary sodas…”

Top Colleges and Low-Income Students

For low-income students considering college, a nudge to aim high, By David Leonhardt, September 25, 2013, New York Times: “The group that administers the SAT has begun a nationwide outreach program to try to persuade more low-income high school seniors who scored high on standardized tests to apply to select colleges. The group, the College Board, is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors…”

Early Childhood Literacy

Imagination Library aims to spark a love of reading in KC area children, By Mara Rose Williams, September 2, 2013, Kansas City Star: “The choo-choo train story made 3-year-old Katelyn Sims giggle and wiggle and squeal. She was having a great time in her mother Elisha Sims’ lap as Mom read Watty Piper’s “The Little Engine That Could” to the toddler. “I think I can. I think I can,” Sims read. Two weeks ago, the book had arrived by mail, wrapped in plastic, at the Simses’ home in Kansas City’s Marlborough neighborhood…”

Flexibility on No Child Left Behind

Education Department offers states permission to ignore No Child Left Behind until 2016, By Phillip Elliott, August 29, 2013, Star Tribune: “States can request permission to ignore parts of the No Child Left Behind education law through the spring of 2016, the Education Department said Thursday. The long-term offer underscores the intensive work states have already undertaken on school reforms in exchange for flexibility from Washington, as well as a dour outlook that Congress will take action to replace the outdated goals of No Child Left Behind. The law expired in 2007 and included goals now seen as overly ambitious…”

Growing Number of Charter Schools

  • Charter schools a growing trend, By Gabrielle Russon, August 25, 2013, Herald Tribune: “With charter school enrollment booming across Florida, nine groups are seeking to capitalize on the trend by opening new charters in Southwest Florida. Six groups in Sarasota County and three in Manatee County have applied to start charter schools in the 2014-15 year. The statewide deadline to submit applications for next school year passed earlier this month.Throughout Florida, the number of charter schools is on the rise, jumping from 579 in 2012-13 to an estimated 625 this year, or by 8 percent, according to the state’s Department of Education…”
  •  New crop of charter schools opens doors, By Jennifer Smith Richards, August 26, 2013, The Columbus Dispatch: “About a third of the new charter schools set to open this fall in Ohio are opening in Columbus. There are 17 new schools approved to open here, including schools with single-gender classes, an online/in-person hybrid and another that teaches courses in construction. Statewide, 52 charters are allowed to open. It’s the largest number of new schools in the past three years, according to the Ohio Department of Education. For the start of the 2011 and 2012 school years, 35 and 33 new schools opened, respectively.Some of the new charters in central Ohio target neighborhoods without close-by schools. Some want to serve a particular type of student — inner city and poor, for example. And at least one is opening anew after just having been shut down for poor performance…”

School Accountability Formula – Florida

Low-income schools struggle under state’s grading system, By Michael Vasquez and David Smiley, August 10, 2013, Miami Herald: “With dozens of changes in just the past three years, the formula behind Florida’s A-to-F school grading system has been criticized as a confusing mess. But there’s been at least one constant in Miami-Dade and Broward results: The wealthiest schools never get Fs, and schools with high populations of poor students face an uphill battle to even get a C. The trend is visible through a decade-plus of school grade results, dating back to the first grades issued in 1999…”

Top Colleges and Low-Income Students

Efforts to recruit poor students lag at some elite colleges, By Richard Pérez-Peña, July 30, 2013, New York Times: “With affirmative action under attack and economic mobility feared to be stagnating, top colleges profess a growing commitment to recruiting poor students. But a comparison of low-income enrollment shows wide disparities among the most competitive private colleges. A student at Vassar, for example, is three times as likely to receive a need-based Pell Grant as one at Washington University in St. Louis…”


School Accountability Formula – Florida

School grades drop under new formula, By Michael Vasquez and David Smiley, July 26, 2013, Miami Herald: “Florida education officials released preliminary school grades for elementary and middle schools on Friday – and, as expected, the grades dropped due to changes in the state’s complicated accountability formula. In Miami-Dade, including both district schools and charters, nearly 60 schools received failing grades — 46 Ds and 13 F’s. In Broward, 33 schools got a D and 13 got F’s. Last year, Miami-Dade had 29 D schools and four F’s; Broward had 13 D’s and four F’s. With public skepticism growing about the validity of Florida’s A-to-F grading system, the dominant question has become: Are public schools really failing, or is it the state’s letter-grade system that deserves an F?…”

High School Dropout Age – Kentucky

All Kentucky schools must increase dropout age to 18 by 2017, July 10, 2013, Lexington Herald-Leader: “Kentucky will abandon a generations-old policy that allows minors as young as 16 to drop out of school, a move being heralded by Gov. Steve Beshear as an important step for a state that has strived to improve its economy and educational standing. At last count, some 5,000 Kentucky teens per year quit school early in Kentucky…”

Wealth Gap and Education

Wealth gap limits equality of educationBy Megan Woolhouse, July 5, 2013, Boston Globe: “High-income families are spending more time and money than ever on their children’s education, further widening the gulf between rich and poor students, according to a new report. High-income families have always invested more in education, but they now spend seven times more a year on average than a low-income family, up from four times in the 1970s, according to the report, coauthored by MIT economics professor Michael Greenstone. These families now spend as much as $9,000 annually on private tutoring, SAT prep courses, computers, and other activities, compared with about $1,300 for low-income families. The advantages that money can buy on tests and college applications have become so great that they threaten to undermine the American ideal of education as the great leveler that enables anyone who works hard to succeed, regardless of income level, the report said. In a knowledge-based economy that increasingly rewards education and skill, the report added, these growing educational disparities could further widen the income gap between rich and poor. . .”


National Assessment of Educational Progress

  • Academic achievement gap is narrowing, new national data show, By Lyndsey Layton, June 27, 2013, Washington Post: “The nation’s 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds are posting better scores in math and reading tests than their counterparts did 40 years ago, and the achievement gap between white students and those of color still persists but is narrowing, according to new federal government data released Thursday. The scores, collected regularly since the 1970s from federal tests administered to public and private school students age 9, 13, and 17, paint a picture of steady student achievement that contradicts the popular notion that U.S. educational progress has stalled…”
  • Achievement gap narrows on long-term NAEP, By Erik W. Robelen, June 27, 2013, Education Week: “Achievement gaps for black and Hispanic youths have declined by substantial margins in reading and math since the early 1970s, according to new federal data issued Thursday. The gaps with their white peers, while still in evidence, have narrowed across all three age levels tested as part of a national assessment of long-term trends that offers a look at test data spanning some 40 years…”