Top Stories From Around The Country

Florida Public School Budget
State of the States (Floriday) – Facing a tough re-election campaign, Gov. Scott told state lawmakers in his annual address that he plans to budget $18.8 billion for the state’s public schools in fiscal year 2015. He also touted Florida students’ performance on international assessments from 2012.

Educators, Entrepreneurs Connect at South by Southwest
AUSTIN, Tx – About 6,000 educators, entrepreneurs, and other innovation-minded people gathered in Austin, Texas, last week for the South by Southwest education conference to talk about how technological advances are fueling improvements in education, better ways for businesses and schools to work together, and what it will take to establish a more customized approach to teaching and learning.

State superintendent: education cuts ‘devastating’
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The head of the Illinois State Board of Education says proposed cuts in education funding could be “devastating” to school districts. State superintendent Christopher Koch’s comments were reported (http://bit.ly/1cQRWFX ) by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers. He says if the proposed cuts are approved, some districts might “not make it through the school year.”

Phila. Superintendent Plans to Open Unconventional Schools
Six months after investing millions of dollars in expanding three of Philadelphia’s most innovative educational programs, Superintendent William R. Hite is doubling down on his bet to improve the troubled district by putting new models of teaching and learning in place.

Teach For America Targets Retention, Longer Preparation
TFA – Teach For America has unveiled plans to provide a year of upfront training for a subset of its teacher recruits and to promote the idea of corps members staying in the classroom beyond their two-year commitments. Those pilot programs, outlined in an address last week by Matthew Kramer, TFA’s co-chief executive officer, mark what appears to be the biggest shift in internal philosophy since the teacher-training and -placement organization’s founding in 1990.

Education Equity, Pre-K Get Nod in Obama Budget
Districts and states would get federal incentive grants to help bridge the achievement gap between poor and minority students and their more advantaged peers under a new iteration of the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top competition, rolled out as part of a budget proposal that faces an uphill climb on Capitol Hill. The program is one of just a couple of K-12 initiatives in the president’s $3.9 trillion fiscal year 2015 budget, released March 4.

Expanding Definitions of Career Readiness
The academic community has responded with vigor and good intentions to ensure our students will be college- and career-ready. In fact, 70 percent of our students enroll in colleges within two years of high school graduation, according to the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Pathways to Prosperity” research. In addition, many public school systems set district goals aimed at increasing college-enrollment figures. But does the mind-set of college for all necessarily secure our students’ successful entry into a career?

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