Recent Education News Makers:

  1. A 2008 report’s warning that our schools were falling behind their international peers set the stage for the Common Core pushed at great expense by the Obama administration and adopted by most states. Now comes a Brookings Institution study finding that “the standards appear to have led to modest declines in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math scores.

Says Brookings’ Tom Loveless, “One thing standards advocates need to think about is this doesn’t appear to work very well.”

  1. A National Education Association analysis estimates that the national average teacher salary for the current school year is $61,730—a 2.1% increase over last year, with additional demonstrations scheduled this spring. But it’s not all good news.

As a consequence, districts will lay off teacher and central office staff, increase class sizes, eliminate after-school programs, along with other drastic measures

  1. Nationally, school district debt has risen dramatically going from nearly $323 billion in 2006 to $443 billion in 2016, according to U.S. census data.
  2. Eighth grade girls outperformed boys on the 2018 Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment given to 15,400 8th graders from some 600 public and private schools. Says Peggy Carr of the National Center for Education Statistics, “Girls continue to perform better than boys…It’s a really strong finding here. The boys did not show improvement in any areas.”
  3. Ed tech spending keeps rising and is predicted to hit $4.5 billion by 2012. One result: print-only college textbooks accounted for 45% of the market—down from 50% in 2014—with digital-only textbooks accounting for 29%, while digital-and-print bundles accounted for 26%

But don’t assume that print textbooks will soon be a thing of the past as predicted by Microsoft’s Bill Gates. A 2018 survey of college students by the Library Journal found that 75% say that reading print books is easier than e-books. Yay!

  1. Motivated by sexism, Harvard University has been sued for its 2016 policy “intended to end longstanding practices of exclusion.” That means, writes Nate Raymond, “Students who join single-sex clubs [such as sororities and fraternities] may not serve as captains of sports team or leaders of officially recognized student clubs and cannot receive endorsement letters from college dean for postgraduate fellowships.”

According to the federal complaint, “Harvard’s sanctions policy seeks to dictate the sex of people with whom men and women may associate and the gender norms to which men and women must conform.:

  1. A recent Johns Hopkins University study called Singing for Science, showed how the arts can help students retain information—that their long-term retention improved dramatically when they sang songs about science.