African American Education

President Barack Obama Announces 

President Obama is creating a new office to bolster education of African American students.

The White House says the office will coordinate the work of communities and federal agencies to ensure that African American youth are better prepared for high school, college and career. The president announced his initiative, the first-ever White House initiative on educational excellence for African Americans, in conjunction with the 2012 convention of the National Urban League.


Good-Bye Bubbles

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a state-led consortium developing "next-generation assessments" aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. The idea underpinning the SBAC is to have a flexible and balanced system of assessments -- including formative, interim and summative -- that will provide schools with meaningful feedback and actionable data.

The tests, administered by computer, go beyond the old bubble-fill, multiple-choice questions and include short constructed response, extended constructed response and performance tasks, all aligned with the Common Core. Currently, Minnesota is not on board with the new standard in standardized testing.

Why not?

Smarter Balanced member states

New testing is also being developed by The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).


School Bored

A paper published by the Center of American Progress finds that students do not feel challenged at school. For example, more than half of 12th graders feel civics and history classes are often -- or always -- too easy. This finding was consistent across grades and subject matter.

The analysis, by Ulrich Boser and Lindsay Rosenthal, found a "disturbing disconnect between student engagement and test scores." Many students -- 21 percent of 12th graders and 37 percent of fourth graders -- reported that math classes were "too easy." But, only 40 percent of fourth graders and 35 percent of eighth graders were deemed proficient on the National Assessment for Educational Progress math test.

Boser and Rosenthal explain this disconnect by pointing to gaps between lessons and the test questions. "It's also possible that students do poorly on" the test "because they're not challenged in school," they wrote.

Student Perceptions:
A report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's
Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project


Mom Hacks Into School Computers

Police say Catherine Venusto, a former employee of the Northwestern Lehigh School District in New Tripoli, Pa., hacked into the school's computer system to change her children's grades, the Morning Call reports. The Associated Press says Ms. Venusto admitted to changing the grades, though she maintains her actions were simply "unethical" -- not illegal.