The National Assessment of Education Progress scores are out, iNACOL says teacher prep needs more pep, and Cincinnatians always have to be first.  All this in today’s Harlow Report.

NAEP shapes debate: test scores released show proficiency increasing in 8th grade reading and math, with 4th grade math improving but 4th grade reading stuck.  Plus achievement gaps.

iNACOL releases new report: teacher prep needs more pep to prep teachers“Too few educator and leadership preparation programs are up to the task of modernized teacher training for the 21st century,” wrote iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick in the foreword to the report. “A bright spot, however, has been the growing number of innovative teacher preparation programs that have formed partnerships with blended and online schools around the country.”

Vander Ark: why we need 4.0 schools in every city.  They have an impressive track record and their success makes this column well worth the read.  Money quote: “They are the one organization that a superintendent, charter executive, chamber executive, and foundation executive could all get behind.” 

From American Progress: profiles of students in competency-based programs.  It “catalogues (sic) stories of average Americans—some who went to college directly after high school, some who are returning to postsecondary education after many years in the workforce, and others who are pursuing graduate studies… (and) have one thing in common: They are participating in a competency-based education program that tracks their progress by measuring the knowledge and skills they have acquired.”

In Cincinnati, a 13-day line forms for magnet school spots.  It’s better to see parents in line to help educate their children, rather than for an xBox but 13 days is a bit excessive.  On the plus side, the parents will be really engaged in their children’s school and will hit the ground running knowing each other pretty well next year.  

Bonus Link: mall memories from the 80s.  A new book chronicles the Pepsi Generation in its natural habitat. Note the lack of digital devices (and the fashion).  For me, the big takeaway here is that these mall photos could have been taken anywhere in the United States or Canada.  Once inside a mall, place didn’t matter.  A mall in Cleveland is indistinguishable from a mall in Toronto, Dallas, Atlanta, or Fresno.  The only tell-tale sign of locality in these photos is a sign by the payphone with area code 206 (Seattle). These photos were taken long before most of us heard of Nirvana, Microsoft or Starbucks and Seattle was best known for having crappy sports teams (which also made it indistinguishable from Cleveland). 

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