As political controversy continues to swirl around the Common Core State Standards, two new polls indicate declining support among the general public. Awareness of the Common Core has risen substantially over the past year, but so has opposition, according to the results of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. In 2013, 62% of poll respondents said they had never heard of the Common Core State Standards; in 2014 81% said they had heard at least a little about them. Six in ten respondents (60%) oppose requiring teachers in their district to use the Common Core to guide what they teach. Among those who are opposed, the greatest concern is that the standards will limit the flexibility that teachers have to teach what they think is best.  Continue reading

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Even as new surveys reveal the value of libraries in providing community access to resources, skills, and technology necessary for full participation in the 21st century global marketplace while also indicating a continuing digital divide in California, statistics indicate that about one-third of U.S. public schools do not have a full-time, state-certified librarian.  Continue reading

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Pressure to meet national education standards may be the reason states with significant populations of African-American students and those with larger class sizes often require children to learn fewer skills, according to University of Kansas researcher Argun Saatcioglu. In order to increase test scores and avoid the negative consequences of failing to meet No Child Left Behind standards, some states are reducing the skills students are expected to learn, said Saatcioglu, who presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in August.  Continue reading

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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell have announced that applications are now available for the $250 million Preschool Development Grants competition. The goal of Preschool Development Grants is to support states in building, developing and expanding voluntary, high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities for children from low- and moderate-income families. The new grant program will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.  Continue reading

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