Beth Milne is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:
News and Analysis
Fourth-graders and eighth-graders across the United States lost ground on national mathematics tests this year, the first declines in scores since the federal government began administering the exams in 1990. (The Washington Post)
For the first time in about a decade, steady academic progress has halted for fourth- and eighth-grade students nationally and locally, according to new standardized test results released Wednesday. (Los Angeles Times)
Leaders in business, education and politics love to talk up how important Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is for America’s future. Innovations! Jobs! Progress! are all at stake, they often argue. Just last week, President Obama hosted scores of mostly young people for an evening of stargazing and fun space talk at the second-ever White House Astronomy Night. (NPR)
More than 5 million children in the U.S. have had a parent in jail. That’s roughly 7 percent of the nation’s kids 17 and under, or one out of every 14 children. (PBS)
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is stepping down sometime in December, but he had a piece of good news to announce last week on his way out the door: High school graduation rates, which most recently stood at 81 percent nationally, appear to be on track to rise for the third year in a row. (Education Week)
On Saturday, President Obama posted a high-profile video message to Facebook in which he called on schools to reduce the amount of standardized testing taking place in classrooms. Critics of overtesting generally support the proposal, which reinforces what seems to have been the U.S. education system’s gradual, uneven, and often tacit withdrawal from aggressive, assessment-based accountability. In many ways, the plan amounts to the White House’s long-anticipated, albeit anti-climactic, response to what’s become a particularly fraught era in public education. The past few years have been characterized by mass opt-outs, a patchwork of state legislation to rein in rampant testing on their home turfs, and all kinds of assessment-related technological glitches and logistical snafus (one of which is currently playing out across Florida). (The Atlantic)


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