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2-3-17 Education in the News

NY Times--Will You Graduate? Ask Big Data

At Georgia State’s nursing school, the faculty used to believe that students who got a poor grade in “Conceptual Foundations of Nursing” probably wouldn’t go on to graduation. So they were surprised, after an analysis of student records stretching back a decade, to discover what really made a difference for nursing students: their performance in introductory math.

“You could get a C or an A in that first nursing class and still be successful,” said Timothy M. Renick, the vice provost. “But if you got a low grade in your math courses, by the time you were in your junior and senior years, you were doing very poorly.”

The analysis showed that fewer than 10 percent of nursing students with a C in math graduated, compared with about 80 percent of students with at least a B+. Algebra and statistics, it seems, were providing an essential foundation for later classes in biology, microbiology, physiology and pharmacology.

Georgia State is one of a growing number of colleges and universities using what is known as predictive analytics to spot students in danger of dropping out. Crunching hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of student academic and personal records, past and present, they are coming up with courses that signal a need for intervention.




Washington Post--Why it’s a big deal that billionaire activist Eli Broad is opposing billionaire activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary

He did it on the same day that two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — announced they would vote against DeVos on the floor, meaning that DeVos opponents need only one more Republican senator to break ranks and vote against her to tank the nomination.

This is more than just one billionaire school activist who believes in school choice going against another billionaire school activist who believes in school choice. It reveals a deep split in the movement to improve public education with corporate-style changes that seek to run schools like businesses and want to greatly expand alternatives to traditional public schools.

Broad is a big donor to Democrats, but corporate-based school restructuring has attracted Republicans and Democrats alike, and the Obama administration pushed states to expand charter schools. Some organizations that support school choice have come out against DeVos, including Democrats for Education Reform, but Broad is one of the most recognizable prominent people to become part of the opposition.

His opposition underscores what has been obvious for some time: that the opposition to DeVos goes far beyond the teachers unions, which have funded some of the campaign against her. Teachers, parents, students and other DeVos critics have staged protests, signed petitions and besieged the offices of U.S. senators with visits, phone calls and messages urging them to oppose her.

DeVos has been the most controversial education secretary nominee in the department’s nearly 40-year-history. Her supporters praise her as being devoted to helping children in need and a champion of school choice. Her opponents, like Broad, say she doesn’t believe in public education — having once called it a “dead end” — and wants to privatize it. She says she will not turn her back on traditional public schools; her opponents don’t believe her.


By Valerie Strauss February 1


Education Week-- House Republicans Move to Scrap Rules on ESSA, Teacher Preparation

Republican lawmakers in Congress are moving to do away with regulations from the Obama administration regarding accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act and teacher preparation.

The resolutions of disapproval for those two sets of rules were announced Thursday in the House. They were filed under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn regulations set out by executive branch. Senate versions of these resolutions are expected some time next week. 

If these regulations are overturned, President Donald Trump's administration would be prohibited from issuing "substantially similar" regulations on these two issues if there isn't a new law signed. Just what that would mean in practice, however, is unclear. 

"We are sending a signal that we are unhappy with these regs," said Tyler Hernandez, a spokesman for the House education committee. 

If both sets of regulations are overturned, it could have far-reaching consequences. States have been crafting their ESSA accountability plans for several months, and were doing so even before Trump won the election, with the Obama ESSA accountability rules in mind. The Trump administration has already paused the final implementation of the accountability rules from Obama's Education Department, but without any regulations at all, states will be in limbo and uncertain how exactly to craft state plans that pass muster with a Trump Education Department.


By Andrew Ujifusa| February 2, 2017 12:33 PM


Garden State Coalition of Schools
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