W/A Notes | SAT to Give Adversity Score; #ISeeMe Campaign to Fund Culturally Responsive Classroom Materials; Senate Committee Passes STEM Education Bill

From @WhitebdAdvisor


RT: @SueDHellmann: What is the value of #education after high school? Today @GatesUS with @IHEPtweets launches the Commission on the Value of Postsecondary Education which I'm co-chairing with @PresMillieG to propose a definition of value and an approach for measuring that value. #HigherEd http://bit.ly/30oUhIy


@WhitebdAdvisor: .@PhyllisLEAP: The court based its Brown decision in part on the psychological harm imposed by the stigma of segregation — but that stigma has lingered because we have failed to build the muscles of cultural competence in our classrooms @The74 https://t.co/yKvv9ogBkY


RT @TedEismeier: Great piece by @pdosal on @USouthFlorida! Compelling story of how one institution reorganized its culture to focus on student success in an era of outcomes-based policy https://bit.ly/2VFcVwZ  MT @IO_HigherLearn


@WhitebdAdvisor: This week, @IHEPTweets released a brief on #highered data and privacy explaining existing policy and how current laws and practices would pertain to any new federal postsecondary student-level data network https://bit.ly/2vYLBdZ


Congress & Administration


Senate Committee Passes STEM Education Bill: On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved by voice the Building Blocks of STEM Act

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), would instruct the National Science Foundation (NSF) to more equitably allocate funding for research with a focus on early childhood. The bill also directs NSF to support research on the factors that discourage or encourage girls to engage in STEM activities, including computer science. The legislation will be considered by the full Senate. Sen. Rosen, a computer programmer by training, also introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act, which directs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to award grants to workforce intermediaries to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. [Office of Senator Jacky Rosen]


Congress Reintroduces Anti-Bullying Legislation For College Students: On Wednesday, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) reintroduced legislation aimed at reducing bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, at colleges and universities. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019, would require institutions of higher education to officially recognize cyberbullying and establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion. The bill also establishes a competitive grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs. The legislation is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who committed suicide in 2010 after his roommate and another student harassed him over the internet. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. [Metro Weekly]


Trump Amends Budget Proposal to Restore Funding for Special Olympics: On Monday, the Trump Administration updated its budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 to restore federal funding for the Special Olympics. The Administration originally proposed eliminating $17.6 million in federal funding for the Special Olympics earlier this year in March, which the Administration had also proposed in its previous two annual budget requests. However, amidst bipartisan criticism, the President reversed his position and told reporters at the time that the Special Olympics “will be funded.” U.S Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, publicly defended the elimination of funding for the program at the outset, but subsequently said she was opposed to the cuts and fought against them after the reversal from the President. [Politico Pro, subscription required]


State Policy News


Louisiana Lawmakers Consider College and Career Readiness, Dual-Enrollment: A bill moving through the Louisiana state legislature would create a College and Career Readiness Commission focused on establishing guiding principles and programs to ensure student readiness for postsecondary education and the workforce. The legislation, SB 194, states that members of the Commission should include a student, parent, teacher, and principal alongside leadership from state associations, higher education systems, and workforce councils. In parallel, the bill tasks the Board of Regents and the State Board of Elementary Secondary Education with jointly developing a statewide framework for dual enrollment, informed by recommendations from the College and Career Readiness Commission.


Mississippi Districts Receive Funding for STEM Expansion: The Mississippi State Board of Education awarded more than $896,000 in grant funding to 15 school districts across the state to establish or expand STEM programs in their schools. The funding, which comes from the state’s K-8 STEM Initiative Enhancement Project, will support technology upgrades, professional development for educators, and STEM activities and coursework. Recipients, which were selected through an application process, include Corinth School District and Rankin County School District, among others.


Washington State Passes Law to Fund Free College via Workforce Tax: Washington State passed the Workforce Education Investment Act, which would tax companies that employ highly-skilled workers in order to fund a “free college” program for lower-income students. The bill awaits the governor’s signature, and if signed, it is expected to raise nearly $1 billion over four years. The “free college” program would cover tuition and fees for students at community colleges and public institutions whose families earn less than $50,000 per year and offer partial scholarships for students whose families earn up to $90,000. [The New York Times, subscription required]


Early Childhood and K-12


DonorsChoose Launches Campaign to Fund Culturally Responsive Classroom Materials: DonorsChoose.org launched their #ISeeMe campaign which will provide teachers with culturally responsive materials for their classrooms. Since 2016, DonorsChoose.org has seen a 117% increase in projects where teachers were requesting materials that represented their students. In addition to celebrities and high-profile philanthropists pledging to donate, Google.org also committed $5 million to match donations. [EdSurge]


Florida Allows Teachers to Bear Arms in Classrooms: A new law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) allows for public school districts to arm teachers, after they complete  required training. Teachers that want to participate must pass a psychological exam and complete 144 hours of law enforcement-approved training. [Education Dive]


Governors Want to Spend a Collective $3 Billion on Early Childhood Programs: The Center for American Progress analyzed the budget proposals of governors in 49 states and the mayor of Washington, D.C. and found that combined, governors want to spend $2.9 billion in new funding for early childhood programs. Increased support for childcare initiatives range from constructing new child care facilities to funding for full-day kindergarten. [Center for American Progress]


Higher Education


Colleges Board Introduces ‘Adversity Scores’: As college admissions decisions have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, the College Board aims to assign ‘adversity scores’ to all students who take the SAT. The score will capture a student’s socioeconomic background with 15 factors such as neighborhood crime rate and poverty level, providing colleges the opportunity to measure the privilege and hardship in each student’s life. As of last year, 50 colleges participated in the beta test, and they have announced plans to add 100 more colleges this upcoming fall semester. [The Wall Street Journal, subscription model]


Around 450 Colleges Have Spots to Fill in Their Incoming Class: New data released earlier this week by the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) reveals that around 450 two-and four-year colleges need to fill spaces in their incoming class after the traditional May 1 decision deadline. Several of the institutions listed are offering housing and financial aid to incoming students, and are able to accept transfer students. NACAC noted that some institutions who made the list of colleges with open seats have a rolling admissions process. [Education Dive]  


New Report Explores the Value of Non-Degree Credentials: Findings from a new report examining the value of non-degree credentials (e.g., certificates) found that those who hold such credentials value their education more and make 50 percent more per year than those with no credentials. According to the report, the value of non-degree credentials varies widely by professions and for some occupations, there is little to no advantage to having earned a certificate. The report was conducted by higher education nonprofits Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation. [Inside Higher Ed]


New Skills, Talent, and Employment


Automation Is Changing The Nature of Entry-Level Jobs: Automation has eliminated many entry-level tasks, so companies are rethinking what responsibilities they are giving entry-level employees. These employees are increasingly likely to do client-facing work from the start, and the concept of “paying one’s dues” is becoming less relevant. [The Wall Street Journal, subscription required]


High School CTE Credentials Are Rarely in Demand Among Employers: A new report by ExcelInEd and Burning Glass Technologies finds that only 19% of the credentials that states offer to high school students in career and technical education courses are in demand among employers. Ten of the top 15 credentials earned are oversupplied in every state analyzed, while several undersupplied certifications are in high demand and offer relatively high starting salaries. [ExcelInEd]


The Best Teams Are Not Made Up of All the Superstars: Hiring the best talent “all but guarantees” not having the best team, according to University of Michigan professor Scott E. Page. This is because the best teams have diverse perspectives and thought processes, and using common criteria to select the best candidates tends to result in homogeneity. [Fast Company]




Jennifer Cheatham, the superintendent of the Madison (WI) School District, will leave the district after six years at the end of August for a teaching position at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


Strada Education Network announced the appointment of two new senior vice presidents. Amy Dunham, currently managing director of strategic communications for the NCAA, will join Strada as senior vice president of marketing and communications. Danny Lopez will join Strada as senior vice president and chief of staff. He has spent the last two years serving as deputy chief of staff to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.


The Postsecondary National Policy Institute has hired MacGregor Obergfell as a Research and Program Associate and Yesenia Ayala as a Program and Communications Assistant.


Chip Slaven is the new chief advocacy officer at the National School Boards Association. Before joining the NSBA team, he was counsel to the president and senior advocacy advisor at the Alliance for Excellent Education.


The National Conference of State Legislatures announced that Tim Storey will be the organization’s next executive director, effective July 15. He is currently the director of state services for NCSL.


Industry News


$3.4 M Investment to Terra Dotta: Study abroad startup, Terra Dotta, has raised $3.4 M in new capital from LNC Partners. The startup facilitates higher education travel, study abroad, and international programs through an enterprise cloud system and specializes in risk management. Terra Dotta CEO Brandon Lee plans to use the growth capital to expand its services and staff. [WRAL TechWire]


Kahoot Acquires Poio: In its second acquisition in weeks, Kahoot has purchased Poio, a Scandinavian reading app. Kahoot is famous for its mobile device-enabled digital quizzes. Both platforms offer a variety of activities to teach students in the classroom or individually. Poio is currently available in Norway and Sweden with an English launch planned for June 2019. [VentureBeat]


$11M in Series A-1 Funding for Playtime Tool: Activity organizing platform, Sawyer, has raised $11 million in series A-1 funding led by Advance Venture Partners. Notation Capital, Collaborative, and v1.vc also participated. Sawyer connects parents with a network of out-of-school activity providers and facilitates payments. The startup hopes to expand its 33-member team to 50 employees by the end of the year to keep up with the platform’s popularity. [EdSurge]


Mark Your Calendars


ATD 2019 International Conference & Exposition: The largest talent development conference of the year will be hosted in Washington, DC from May 19-22. The conference will feature speakers including Seth Godin, Eric Whitacre, and Oprah Winfrey, and will highlight the conference will discuss evolving industries and promising tools for talent development in the future of work. Click here for agenda details and to register.


Learning Impact Leadership Institute 2019: IMS Global Learning Consortium's 13th annual Learning Impact Leadership Institute will be held in San Diego, California, May 20-23. This event brings together education and technology leaders from K-12, higher education, workforce training, government, and the edtech solutions industry to work collaboratively to enable digital transformation and innovation in teaching and learning. Click here for agenda details and to register.


Education Commission of the States’ annual National Forum on Education Policy: ECS’s yearly policy forum will take place on July 10-12 in Denver, Colorado. The National Forum will bring together education leaders from across the country to discuss policy issues that range from early childhood education through higher education and workforce development. Click here for agenda details and to register.


ISTE 2019 Conference & Expo: The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) will host ISTE19 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 23-26. The conference’s theme is “Bold Educators Motivate Change” and attendees will include industry representatives, teachers, technology coordinators, library media specialists, teacher educators and policymakers. Click here for agenda details and to register.