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States with World-Class STEM

raised hands in classroomFor years, America’s leaders have decried the poor showing of American students on international comparisons of math and science skills. But a new Department of Education report finds that many states outperform their global peers, including top STEM achiever Massachusetts.

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States Offered NCLB Opt-Out Waivers

Arne Duncan with StudentStates will soon be able to opt out of No Child Left Behind though qualifying for special waivers offered by the Obama Administration. Citing a failure by Congress to make any progress on reforming the controversial legislation before the upcoming school year, the Department of Education will offer waivers to all 50 states, which will be expected to meet certain criteria in order to qualify.

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Is ESEA D.O.A. in House?

Arne Duncan in ClassroomThe Republican chairman of the House education committee outlined publicly for the first time a timetable for rewriting the sprawling No Child Left Behind school accountability law. Minnesota Rep. John Kline said he would move five bills to the House floor by year’s end. Experts say that profound partisan disagreement with the Democrat-led Senate could doom the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s reauthorization this year.

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Educational Technology Plan Unveiled

ED Secretary Arne Duncan Visits a SchoolA new U.S. Department of Education plan calls for “revolutionary transformation” in how educators use technology to improve and measure student learning. The department plans to fund studies of online professional-collaboration communities for educators.

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Tennessee’s Race to the Top Strategy

Stratford High SchoolHow is Tennessee, one of two first round winners of the Race to the Top competition, spending its $501 million? $37 million is earmarked for creating innovative new ways of teaching STEM subjects. The state will use at least five test schools, including troubled Stratford High School in Nashville, to test the programs before other districts adopt them.

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Opinions Differ on Teacher Evaluations

Empty DesksUse of value-added modeling systems to assess teacher performance is rapidly increasing. But do they provide a fair and accurate account of teacher competency?

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10 Winners in Race to the Top

President Obama and DoE Secretary Arne Duncan Visit a ClassroomThe District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island have emerged as winners of the U.S. Department of Education’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant competition. The ten will divvy up $3.4 billion in education grants. Not surprisingly, the results were met with a wave of criticisms and finger-pointing.

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Schools Embrace Digital Tech

Computer LabDigital technology’s reach into the classroom is complete. A new Department of Education report found that every single public school in the United States is in someway using computers for instruction. The mean number of students per computer is 3.1 and 76 percent of the computers are desktops. Only 2 percent of public schools are not connected to the Internet.

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No Boost for Poor Teaching

LearningCan intensive teacher-training courses help turn inadequate math teachers into classroom stars? Apparently not — at least not immediately. That’s the conclusion of a new Department of Education report, which found that intensive, state-of-the-art efforts to boost teachers’ skills don’t seem to lead to significant improvements in student achievement.

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