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Top 10 Education Stories from 2013 to Watch for in 2014

I just got an email from a friend the other day asking for my mailing address to send me a holiday card. When my kids were toddlers, our holiday cards went out about a month late too. Here at NewSchools, we have lots of toddler-aged ventures that keep us too busy to post our New Year’s reflection right at the beginning of January. So, better late than never, here are my reflections from 2013, many of which are stories to watch in 2014. Read more

GREAT Act: More Reality Needed in Teaching… and Op-Eds

We have a serious problem in the United States: when it comes to training teachers, we are somewhere between mediocre to terrible. And we do a particularly bad job of training effective teachers to serve in our highest-need areas (particularly areas of poverty) and our hardest to staff subjects. At NewSchools Venture Fund, we’ve made no secret of our strong support for proposed federal legislation, the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act (S. 1052 and H.R. 2196), that’s designed to address this problem. The GREAT Act is an entirely voluntary, state-based program that – if enacted – is designed to create new teacher and principal training academies that will embrace three core principles. Read more

Mowing Down the Mistakes of Confused Common Core Opponents

On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online portal SFGate.com ran an anti-Common Core op-ed authored by George Ball, the “past president of the American Horticultural Society.” While reasonable minds may disagree about the merits of the Common Core, this particular editorial was so riddled with factual errors I couldn’t stop myself from going through this piece line-by-line to rebut the most egregious misstatements. It’s one thing for the far-right fringe to indulge in Common Corespiracy theories, but surely the Chronicle can do better than this? Read more

Why are the Common Core standards worth fighting for?

Before answering that question, let’s first do a little homework. Please turn to page 22 of this booklet, released only this morning, which contains sample assessment items from the New York state Common Core-aligned math assessment for third graders. Although you might be afraid of math even at this grade level, page 22 contains a relatively easy question about finding the areas for two equivalent rectangles. This question aligns with the Common Core standard 3.MD.C.7a, which in plain English means 3rd grade math, measurement and data, covering the concept of geometric measurement of area and related to multiplication and addition. Read more

Refuting Peter Buffett’s ‘New Code’

So, what should we make of Peter Buffett’s op-ed against “The Charitable-Industrial Complex”? I’ll confess I’m confused by his argument. Buffett begins by railing against something he calls “Philanthropic Colonialism,” which he describes as the hobby of philanthropists who want to improve the world by meddling with farming methods, education practices, or job training. There’s a legitimate argument to be made about how misguided philanthropic endeavors in local communities can go awry (and Buffet is hardly the first to make it). Read more

GREAT Act Introduced Before House and Senate

Imagine your favorite teacher. Most likely this was someone who challenged the class and made learning fun. We all know well the arguments that teacher preparation organizations are simply not producing enough teachers of this ilk. Through our Learning to Teach Fund, we’re deeply engaged in fostering innovation that will lead to a new norm for teacher preparation, one in which teachers are well prepared for the demands of the classroom from day one. To build this market, we need to change the policies that exist today. That’s why we, along with over 90 leaders from across the education field, support the Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals (GREAT) Act, introduced in the Senate and the House today. Notably, in an era of hyper partisanship, GREAT has bipartisan support. Read more

Building a Digital Depository

These are exciting times for education entrepreneurship, technology, and the policy ecosystem that surrounds them both. Whether gauged by new school “startup weekends,” venture capital interest, or simply taking note of educators embracing digital tools, there is no question we are in a special moment. We may be on the verge of transformation that will radically redefine our instructional practices and improve learning outcomes – and make the education field one that […] Read more

Summit 2013 Session Videos

We are happy to make recordings of all the Summit 2013 sessions available to you. We will be adding content through out the week so be sure to check back soon for additional sessions. You can also check Our Vimeo Page where the sessions live. Read more

Live from Summit 2013– Hour of Power One

Welcome to Summit 2013′s first Hour of Power networking session. As conference participants power network over a cup of coffee sharing business cards and discussing the ideas of “frustrated optimist” Thomas Friedman, we were privileged to visit with some of the innovative individuals, organizations and companies helping to usher in the next generation of education technology.Combining gaming with instruction, Sifteo provides a portable platform – the Sifteo cube – and new hands-on […] Read more