Thursday, February 28, 2013

Only 10% Need it But Jobs Demand it

Great video on the huge need for coders yet we only teach coding in about 10% of the schools in the country. We cannot find programmers yet we don't have great programs in schools.

As Steve Jobs said - "Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer....because it teaches you to think"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The College Loan Bubble - you have to complete

Great line in the New York Times today from Catherine Rampell in her article "Only Half of First-Time College Students Graduate in 6 Years" that says there is clear evidence that going to college is worth the investment "but that's only true if you to college and then graduate".

The data show that less than half are doing that in six years - if you were one of the 1.9 million students that started a four year school in the fall of 2006, just over half (54.1%)graduated in six years and 16% were still enrolled!!

The problem is that higher ed costs much much more meaning that a lot of those 872,000 students have some student debt and no degree to help them pay that off! THAT'S THE BUBBLE!  It's not just that some of those that did graduate are going to struggle because starting pay has not kept pace with the amount of debt - it's that you have college debt and just a high school degree!

Not rocket science on the solution:

  1. Make sure students are truly college ready
  2. Make sure universities are there to educate students and help them succeed
If not - the bubble will burst soon.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Common Core Assessments - Reality

Two states are leading the charge to reality - first Kentucky used common core assessment and now Georgia has provided a look at common core student performance.

The not so shocking news - only 40% of our students are actually proficient. The first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem and this initial assessments will help these states start moving students towards proficiency faster.

Unless education leaders lose their collective will and water down the cut scores - then we will go back to hiding the truth.

Common core gives us the unique opportunity to really understand what is working and not working, to give teachers the resources that have a real impact on student learning and finally improve education. A lot to ask of one sweeping change which is being attacked by the New Defenders of the Status Quo - the right wing.  Crazy that they use to rail against unions and educrats as defenders of maintaining the current broken system. Yet here they are taking up the mantle!

So congratulations to Georgia and Kentucky - I know Tennessee is next with a big modification to their assessments that will be taken the end of this year.  Incredible pockets of change that will ultimately help students.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dual Credit VS AP

Interesting article out of Killeen, Texas where they saw a decline dual credit participation and an increase in AP participation.  Dual credit wen down from 610 last year to 410 students this year - a 32.7% decrease.  The only reason according to an article Fewer KISD Students in Dual Credit CTC Classes was the increase in AP due to NMSI's Military Family AP Program.

There is a huge difference in the AP and dual credit and it is pointed out in the final line of the article - the pass rate for dual credit went rom 94% to 95%.  I am sure Central Texas College is a fine school - but I question the rigor of a supposedly college level course that is taken by high school students where the pass rate is 95%.

If you pass an AP exam - it means the same thing in Kileen as it does in Boston.  For military families - that means a lot.  They may not be going to a Texas school and having AP credits means that they can apply to almost any college and have those credits count. That is why so many students shifted to the AP classes - I am sure the $100 helped - but it is really about doing what is best for their college applications.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Ticket to the Middle Class

I speak at a lot of events each year but the point I made today to the Education Writers Association seemed to hit home more than most things I have said.

Ronald Saba, my father, grew up in Lawrence Massachusetts and was not from a wealthy family. He was second generation from Lebanon and his family knew one thing - he had to get a ticket to the middle class

Back then, just as it is today, there were two guaranteed tickets to the middle class - engineering and the military.

  • Engineering jobs paid well, had benefits and prestige and provided an opportunity for those with the knowledge form a degree to get into the profession.  
  • The military provided a way to earn a college degree through the GI Bill and provided work and experience while you were getting there. 
The ticket to the middle class is becoming scarce for many students of color who  - 
During the 90's and early 00's business school was the ticket out - people were becoming rich in sales and business. But their is a glut of business majors.  

If we are ever going to fix the achievement gap we have to give more students a ticket to the middle class and that starts with STEM.