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August 13, 2018
Pressuring schools to raise test scores got diminishing returns, new study of No Child Left Behind finds
Does tightening the screws on schools and teachers lead to benefits for students? For the past couple of decades, school reform…
change of plans
June 11, 2018
With A-F grades off the table, Tennessee gets creative about rating its schools under federal law
Days of online testing problems this spring forced officials to toss out a new A-F grading system to rate the state's 1,700-plus public schools.
May 29, 2018
Behind the scenes, New York City schools that serve students who have fallen behind are undergoing a ‘systemic’ transformation
At the center is a question New York City has been grappling with for decades: How should the school system help students at greatest risk of dropping out?
May 16, 2018
As Memphis expands its efforts to improve schools, one model is about to double in size
The Empowerment Zone, which will enter its third year in August, is a neighborhood-centric approach to improve schools.
Updated May 15, 2018
It’s official! Results from Tennessee’s ugly testing year won’t count for much of anything
Tennessee teachers and school districts can decide how to use this year’s standardized test results and won’t suffer consequences if the scores aren't good.
The Colorado Way
May 7, 2018
Feds approve Colorado’s education plan after multiple revisions, but critics see more work to do
Colorado wanted to use its state accountability system to meet federal requirements, but ultimately the two were not entirely compatible.
May 4, 2018
Does Tennessee’s emergency response to testing problems conflict with federal ed law? Stay tuned.
While legislation to address TNReady woes has eased concerns in school communities, it's raised a flurry of new questions about Tennessee’s plan under ESSA.
Updated April 26, 2018
Tennessee lawmakers take another whack at shielding teachers from TNReady test flubs
The legislature orders that "no adverse action" may be taken over this year's TNReady scores out of concern that the test results will be flawed.
April 20, 2018
Now that TNReady scores will count less for students, will they even try?
In sum, one Memphis sophomore asked, “Why are we doing this anymore when know it won’t count?”
March 1, 2018
McQueen: If Memphis school leaders won’t convert American Way to a charter, the state will
The commissioner's comments come two days after Memphis leaders voted to move American Way Middle School into its highly regarded Innovation Zone.
taking a stance
February 27, 2018
Memphis leaders urge state to stay out of their school improvement work
Shelby County Schools plans to move one school to its Innovation Zone and declines the state’s recommendation to close another.
February 26, 2018
McQueen’s plan would interrupt Hopson’s for improving one Memphis school
The state's recommendation to close Hawkins Mill Elementary comes in the school's first year of a three-year improvement plan under Shelby County Schools.
It takes a village
February 22, 2018
What does it mean to be a community school? This Colorado bill would define it – and promote it.
Community schools are an old idea enjoying a resurgence in education circles with the support of teachers unions and other advocates.
February 20, 2018
State’s most drastic school intervention plans won’t work, say Memphis board members
School board members suggest Hawkins Mill Elementary and American Way Middle instead move into the district's turnaround model, the Innovation Zone.
February 16, 2018
McQueen outlines state intervention plans for 21 Memphis schools
McQueen's letter offers the first look at how the state is pursuing school turnaround plans under its new tiered model of school improvement.
Carrots and sticks
February 8, 2018
No pizza parties, no raffle tickets: Bill would bar Colorado schools from offering rewards to test-takers
State lawmakers characterized the problem of schools dangling rewards for taking assessments as “more than one, but not widespread.”
January 19, 2018
Indiana’s federally required education plan wins approval
The U.S Department of Education announced the plan's approval on Friday.
January 19, 2018
Why one Harvard professor calls American schools’ focus on testing a ‘charade’
Harvard professor Daniel Koretz is on a mission: to convince policymakers that standardized tests have been widely misused.
Looking back and ahead
December 21, 2017
Here are six big things that happened in Tennessee in 2017 that will resonate in 2018
From TNReady snafus to pre-K investments, Tennessee faced education challenges and opportunities in 2017 that are sure to make headlines again during the new year.
ESSA Wrap up
October 11, 2017
Colorado bows to federal pressure, adopts second school quality system that penalizes schools for testing opt-out
Some state board members worried two quality systems would create additional work for teachers, create confusion among the public or misidentify schools.
October 4, 2017
New York’s graduation rate could drop under new federal education law
It’s possible the federal graduation rate will exclude New York’s “local” diploma, a less rigorous diploma earned by only about 4 percent of graduating students.
October 3, 2017
What states told Chalkbeat about how they will monitor their chronic absenteeism data
Students’ rates of chronic absenteeism are going to be used to judge schools in most states.
October 3, 2017
Student absences are about to have higher stakes in most states. Will cheating follow?
It’s unclear if most states have systems in place to accurately monitor absenteeism data at all.
September 20, 2017
Indiana has a curious plan to sidestep federal rules — give schools two A-F grades next year.
Grades based on 2017 ISTEP tests that are set to come out next month, which schools have already seen, are not part of this change.
September 13, 2017
How should Colorado respond to federal concerns about its testing opt-out policy? State board members don’t agree.
The Colorado State Board of Education will vote next month on direction for whether to change the state's ESSA plan or not, and if so how.
All-clear on ESSA
August 31, 2017
Tennessee and feds strike a balance in how to track historically underserved students
The change enables the state to intervene when any racial group of students fall far behind their peers.
August 25, 2017
Colorado tells feds it needs more time to rethink opt-out policy
Colorado’s response follows a trip by one state official to Washington, D.C., to discuss the issue in person.
try try again
August 14, 2017
Feds to Colorado: You must count students who opt out of standardized tests
The U.S. Department of Education told state officials that the policy is not acceptable. Colorado faces losing millions in federal funding if it doesn’t change course.
Detroit week in review
August 11, 2017
Week in review: A hurry-up-and-wait moment for Detroit’s landmark education lawsuit and more in this week’s school news
If the suit does move forward, it’s likely to take years to have any real effects on local schools.
August 4, 2017
As Indiana schools try to make every graduate count, educators fear struggling students will lose out
Schools will certainly try to steer more students to the Core 40; if they don’t, their graduation rates will plummet.
August 4, 2017
No Child Left Behind is dead. But have states learned from it?
Are states really changing course from No Child Left Behind? Are they learning from what many viewed as the problematic aspects of the law ESSA replaced?
ESSA and Equity
August 2, 2017
Tennessee’s plan to ensure schools help students of all races raises red flags for advocates and feds alike
Tennessee is the only state to propose lumping black, Hispanic, and Native American students together into a single “supergroup” when assessing schools.
July 27, 2017
Colorado’s education plan earns cheers, jeers from national reform groups
Official approval from Washington is still pending.
a failure of accountability
July 14, 2017
High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students
it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that.
July 11, 2017
Critics call NY state’s plans to rate schools based on racial, ethnic group performance ‘dangerous’ and ‘confusing’
New York state’s proposed rating system for reporting on how well schools serve specific “subgroups” sends the wrong message, some advocates say, by creating uneven…
June 29, 2017
Memphis suburbs are receiving federal money for more poor students than they have. Here’s why.
A quirk in rules for allocating federal funds for poor students will give most municipal districts a big budget boost. Meanwhile, Shelby County Schools will receive less.
June 27, 2017
Tennessee’s ESSA plan gets solid marks in independent review
The state's proposed plan for school accountability rates strong on measuring academic progress, but weak on counting all kids, reviewers say.
Growth plus proficiency? Why states are turning to a hybrid strategy for judging schools (and why some experts say they shouldn’t)
The idea has a high-profile supporter: The Education Trust, a civil rights and education group now headed by former U.S. Education Secretary John King.
June 16, 2017
New data will reveal which schools are winners — and losers — in the school funding fight
In many places across the country, schools that primarily serve low-income families are getting less money than schools with more affluent populations.
April 20, 2017
Tennessee reveals quicker exit plan for schools in the Achievement School District
A school will return to its local district if it improves and stays off of two consecutive “priority lists, or if it fails to improve.
April 20, 2017
Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart — or completely misleading
Joshua Starr asks the real question: What are schools doing to create good reasons for students to attend?
April 13, 2017
Vote on Colorado education plan erupts into war of words over which kids benefit
Ultimately, the board agreed to send the 145-page plan to Washington, D.C., for approval.
April 4, 2017
Tennessee overhauls approach to low-performing schools under plan sent to Secretary DeVos
The state will delay its next “priority school” list by one year, while creating a new office to oversee low-performing schools and clarifying the role of its ASD.
April 3, 2017
Does Colorado’s state education plan fall flat? Some who helped write it think so.
The department expects to file the plan after it receives feedback from the governor’s office and the state board takes a formal vote on the plan at its April meeting.
April 3, 2017
Principals matter — and Tennessee wants to do a better job of equipping them
The State Department of Education launches an initiative to cultivate aspiring leaders who want to become principals, as well as to support existing principals.
March 20, 2017
Tennessee lawmakers want to roll back A-F school grades before they’ve been given
Just a year after deciding that every school should get a single letter grade, Tennessee lawmakers are poised to take it back.
March 14, 2017
Yes, Congress scrapped Obama-era education rules. But states say little is changing
What is changing? A requirement for states to get input from community members. But that doesn't mean input is being scrapped, either.
on the record
March 6, 2017
Congressman Jared Polis is more worried about Congress than about Betsy DeVos. Here’s why.
The Boulder Democrat is nevertheless vowing to keep an eye on the secretary.
February 21, 2017
McQueen rips Tennessee’s school turnaround work as ineffectual, overdue
Calling outcomes "a little embarrassing," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen notes that the state has only moved 10 schools off its “priority” list since 2012.
February 16, 2017
Betsy DeVos’s first week at the U.S. Education Department: What you need to know
She’s having trouble getting into schools, inspired some people to jump into public service, and is still attracting attention far beyond the usual education audience.
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