Bill would require third graders to meet reading benchmarks – By Kim Chandler, AP News

Alabama could become the next state to require third graders to pass a reading benchmark before moving to fourth grade, under a bill advanced by a legislative committee Wednesday.

The House Education Policy Committee approved the bill by Republican Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur that seeks to strengthen reading education in the early grades. The bill now moves to the House floor.

The bill mandates a number of initiatives to try to boost reading scores and beginning in 2021-22 would implement a high-stakes requirement for students to meet a reading benchmarks before moving to the fourth grade.

Collins described the proposal as taking the existing Alabama Reading Initiative and putting it “on steroids.”

“I believe if we promote a child who is not reading on grade level out of the third grade then we are failing that child,” Collins said.


Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year, on creating "equitable culture" in classrooms – CBS This Morning

"CBS This Morning" is proud to reveal the 2019 National Teacher of the Year: Rodney Robinson. 

Robinson teaches social studies and history at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. His lessons focus on helping his students become socially conscious citizens who make the most out of their second chance. Robinson stressed his students are just like any other teenagers. 

"There's no difference," Robinson said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." "They like cheesy, teenage stuff like 'Teen Wolf' and 'Hanna,' their favorite shows. But they just made mistakes and they're paying for mistakes."

"But America is a country of second chances and in order for them to achieve and get that second chance, they deserve a quality education like everybody else," he said.     

Robinson said he was always taught to "pay it forward and bring it down to the next generation." He held lessons from his mother, who had five children and ran an in-home daycare, close to his heart.


Pull-out programs focused on academics may accelerate learning for gifted students – By Lauren Barack, Education Dive

While some believe a gifted education is meant to help higher-performing students gain access to advanced material, a new study from the National Center for Research on Gifted Education has found that many of these pupils are not getting this exposure, wrote The Hechinger Report.

The survey took a look at three states in the South and Midwest, with three-quarters of the schools surveyed noting that they don’t design a separate curriculum for gifted students. Additionally, what students learn differs dramatically depending on the class, as individual educators are able to actually choose what they want to teach.

Ultimately, there appears to be a lack of agreement on what constitutes a gifted education — and what doesn’t — in districts that offer these programs. In some cases, offering advanced courses for students is not apparently the main goal.


Alabama Leaders in Ed Tech Offer a Model for Professional Development – By Glen Granberry, EdTech Magazine

Education is moving toward a student-centered, collaborative, creative learning environment, but without professional development in place — and the understanding of what the end results should look like — it’s difficult to ensure technology investments will succeed

Many districts (unintentionally, of course) put hardware in place with the expectation that it will solve a particular problem, without understanding the proper way to implement and support the technology. That’s what we’re trying to focus on here in Alabama: meeting and supporting classroom needs. That’s what Alabama Leaders in Educational Technology is all about. 

For nearly two decades, our organization has served 137 school districts in our state. Nearly all of these districts count on ALET as a key resource for professional development and education for IT staff, instructional technology coaches and network administrators, among others. We’re probably best known for our conferences: We hold three per year, where members can attend educational sessions, meet with technology vendors and network. However, that’s only a small part of what we do.