At Socrato we care a lot about education. We”re starting a new blog series where we will be picking a couple of interesting articles from education on a regular basis and featuring them on our blog. Please feel free to submit articles you find interesting or let us know what you thin in the comments. Thanks.

1. Mass. Board Approves Education Curriculum Change

Author: WBUR News & Wire Services
Spotlight: Common Core Standards

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education agreed to adopt the Common Core Standards for state standardized testing. In a 9-0 vote, Massachusetts became the 28th state in the U.S. to approve the new national standard and another 12 should follow suite by the Fall. In a couple of years the MCAS exam will be history.

Takeaway: A national standard for testing seems to be a great idea. At the same time states with superior records want to ensure they are not lowering the quality of their education standards.

2. School Chief Dismisses 241 Teachers in Washington

Spotlight: Policy
Author: Tamar Lewin of the New York Times

Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools fired 241 teachers (5 percent) of the district’s total last week. All but a few of those dismissed had received the lowest rating under a new system that that holds teachers accountable for their students’ standardized test scores. The Obama administration’s focus on teacher effectiveness has pushed states to develop evaluation and pay models that link teacher ratings to their students’ test scores.

Takeaway: While there are merits to holding teachers accountable for student”s performance, a sole emphasis on test scores is a very shallow evaluation of teacher”s contribution to a students learning and success.

3. SAT or ACT: Which Test Should You Take?

Spotlight: Test Prep
Author: Lynn O’Shaughnessy of TheCollegeSolutionBlog

The SAT and ACT online casino require different kinds of skills and students can significantly increase their scores just by picking the right standardized test. Here is a helpful, how-to article for students who want to understand which test is better form them and how to go about evaluating which one suits them better.

Takeaway: Students should be able to map test formats to their strengths and weaknesses so they know where they can derive a better opportunity through higher scores.

4. Once a Leader, U.S. Lags in College Degrees

Spotlight: US Higher Ed
Author: Tamar Lewin of the New York Times

The CollegeBoard published a report last week that the United States used to lead the world in the number of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees now ranks 12th among 36 developed nations. College completion is a major concern and the growing gap between the United States and other countries threatens to undermine American economic competitiveness.

Takeaway: Decreasing the gap between the United States and other countries should be a strong emphasis while ensuring qualified, educated people in the workforce are able compete in the global economy.

5. India unveils prototype for $35 computer

Spotlight: Education Technology
Author: BBC News

Last week the Indian government unveiled a prototype of an iPad-like touch-screen laptop costing $35. Aimed at students, the tablet runs of Linux and supports web browsing, video conferencing and word processing. This device is India”s answer to MIT”s $100 laptop per child and will eventually cost $10.

Takeaway: Everyone agrees that it is critical to get cheap, internet based mobile devices into the hands of children in developing nations to improve education.

Photo credit: Aaron Schmidt


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