It is now clear that the federal E-Rate program is going to be reformed, and it is expected the modernized program will be more focused on installing broadband Internet in schools. In addition, a reformed program could cease payments for outdated technology -- such as pagers -- and increase available funding and improve transparency in pricing, experts speculate.
Georgia and Oklahoma have decided not to use common core assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- one of two consortia developing assessments based on the Common Core State Standards. The states say the fee -- $29.50 a student for both math and reading tests -- is too costly. While the tests are more expensive for some states, they will be cheaper for others such as Maryland, which currently spends $32 a student, according to a recent study.
Many states and districts are transitioning from paper to online assessments under the Common Core State Standards. Lessons learned by schools furthest along in the process include taking advantage of features such as the ability to adapt the testing process to the regular school day and students' unique needs. Other best practices include building on available technology and resources, preparing staff, participating in pilot testing, and ensuring that even the youngest students have the technical skills to be successful with the tests.
An action committee will be formed to examine ways to improve Hall County, Ga., school district's social studies curriculum. The panel will make recommendations to the school board, which approved creating the panel on Monday at the suggestion of Superintendent Will Schofield. He said today's students do not know enough about citizenry, voting and what makes the U.S. "so unique and so special."
Two districts awarded funding under Race to the Top are working to turn around low-performing schools by using data as the basis for their decisions. In the Lindsay Unified School District in California, officials use the automated data-management system Educate to monitor students' progress electronically, sharing the information with students as well as educators. In Charleston County, S.C., officials have tied data to teachers' professional development in an effort to improve teaching and learning.