Strong Re-Engagement Programs Help High School Dropouts: The Center for Promise at America’s Promise Alliance publishes a report identifying strategies to re-engage young people who have left high school before graduating. The report found that more than 2.5 million young people ages 16 to 24 were not in school and did not have a high school diploma. Re-engagement programs intend to provide support for young people who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of doing so. Recommendations given for improving and strengthening re-engagement programs include providing flexible class schedules, work-based learning experiences, supportive connections with peers and program staff, and additional supportive services such as child care or housing assistance. The report also recommends conducting additional research on designing, implementing and evaluating re-engagement programs.
Performance Assessments Promote College Prep: The National Association of State Boards of Education posts a white paper on how performance assessments can increase students’ college and career readiness. The paper recommends focusing performance assessments on building students’ critical thinking skills and improving the quality of instruction. Additionally, the paper recommends ensuring that assessment goals and criteria are aligned with other state and local assessments. A self-assessment questionnaire is included to help policymakers support the implementation of statewide performance assessments.
More Than 70% of Postsecondary Schools Offer Online Classes: The Online Learning Consortium releases an annual report analyzing trends in online learning in postsecondary schools. The report found that more than 70 % of academic institutions identified online learning as a critical component of their outreach strategy, up from just under 50% in 2002. Additionally, the report found an increase in the number of students taking at least one online distance-learning course, up nearly 4% from 2013 to 2014, though that rate was lower than in the past. The report also found that the proportion of postsecondary institutions offering massive open online courses, online classes that aim to reach as a wide an audience as possible, increased to 8% in 2014 from 2.6% in 2012.
Framework Guides States on Developing K-12 Accountability: The Council of Chief State School Officers has developed a decision framework providing information on designing accountability systems for grades K-12 that measure how well schools prepare students for college and careers. The framework includes critical questions for state leaders related to building a comprehensive accountability system and provides sample options and state examples. Additionally, the framework includes questions on how states should define expectations of student learning and how to ensure assessments are valid and reliable.
School: What Is It Good For? Filmmaker and author Cevin Soling publishes a new book in which he argues how civil rights, as well as a true education on how government works, is nonexistent in the K-12 classroom. Soling directed “The War on Kids,” a documentary film which contends that American public schools are modeled on the prison system. The film contends that compulsory public education cannot be reformed because the problems are systemic. His new The Student Resistance Handbook is a call-to-action for students to fight against the oppression of their schools and reclaim their most basic civil liberties.