Throughout the month we scour the headlines from around the nation and prepare brief executive summaries of the top education stories.
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Education News December 2nd - 13th
Schools Closer to Relief from Budget Cuts (Education Week, December 12, 2013) A plan, known as 332-94, was approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday in an effort to roll back the majority of budget cuts that will begin to affect school districts and early-education programs in the 2014-2015 school year. The agreement, which is backed by the Obama administration, will now proceed to the US Senate. If passed, it has the potential to restore 87% of total spending on domestic discretionary programs, the category that includes K-12 education. The plan, however, does not completely get rid of sequestration, but does roll back budget cuts for another two years.
Colleges Rethink MOOCs (The New York Times, December 10, 2013) A study on the effectiveness of massive open online courses (MOOCs) was recently released by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Of the million users that were accounted for, on average, only about half of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture and only about 4% completed the courses. In addition to these findings, San Jose State University and Udacity, a Silicon Valley company, had formed a partnership to offer three low-cost online introductory courses for college credit, as well as provide online mentors to help students stay on track. The university also hoped to show its leadership in online learning and reach more students. However, the program was suspended in July after seeing poor results.
Common Core Settlement Costs Pearson $7.7 Million (The Washington Post, December 13, 2013) New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has determined that the Pearson Charitable Foundation had created Common Core products to generate "tens of millions of dollars" for Pearson Inc., forcing them to pay a settlement of $7.7 million. Schneiderman stated Thursday, "The law on this is clear: non-profit foundations cannot misuse charitable assets to benefit their affiliated for-profit corporations". The creation of Common Core has created a great opportunity for publishing companies, as schools and states stock up on products aligned with the new standards. Pearson also agreed to contribute $7.5 million to a fund managed by the New York attorney general which will support the work of 100Kin10, an organization committed to placing 100,000 science and math teachers in US schools in the next 10 years.