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The Five Best Projects from the Gates Foundation's Education Technology Competition

Here are our five favorite projects from the Gates Foundation's education technology grant competition.

On Tuesday the Gates Foundation announced 19 winners of the second phase of its Next Generation Learning Challenges grant competition. The NGLC's priority is using technology to improve college readiness among low-income students, and what makes these new grantees noteworthy is that they're working on targeting the critical seventh- through ninth-grade years—well before students can either drop out or fall too far behind in higher level math and science. Each project is also aligned with the new Common Core Standards, which are all about developing higher-order thinking skills. While all 19 grantees are noteworthy, here are five that really stand out:

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Why Teachers Need to Become Leaders

If more educators develop leadership skills, it might be the best reform solution we could hope for.

There are plenty of business books written about leadership, but not every employee (or CEO) is a great leader. Likewise, although every teacher stands in front of a classroom of students, they're not all leaders in their schools. But they should be. With their newly released Teacher Leader Model Standards, the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium wants to jump-start the conversation about "the knowledge, skills, and competencies that teachers need to assume leadership roles in their schools, districts, and the profession."

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Oregon Makes High Schoolers Apply to College to Get a Diploma

But is this actually going to help anyone (other than the politicians)?

This week the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill that will deny graduating seniors their diplomas until they “showed proof of application to college, the U.S. armed forces or into an apprenticeship program." One the bill's sponsors, Rep. Tobias Read, says the bill isn't "about telling someone what is right for them but helping them make sure they're considering the choices and taking a step towards an option that's right for them." In other words, students are required to start planning for life after graduation. That can't be so bad, right?

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New Report Confirms the Obvious: Students Drop Out Because College is Expensive

Newsflash: Students drop out of college because it's expensive, and because they find it hard to support themselves and be in school at the same...

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