Michigan’s education plan closer to approval by feds

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Michigan’s proposed state education plan moved a step closer Wednesday to implementation after a phone call between the Michigan Department of Education and officials from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability and special help for struggling schools. Michigan submitted its plan in April and it is under review by the feds.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston said Michigan’s education plan will have less student testing; focus on student academic growth; institute a partnership model for improving low-performing schools and have a school accountability system tied to the Top 10 in 10 strategies. It also gives schools more flexibility on how they choose to improve and greater ownership in how they follow their own plans.

Based on the Wednesday phone call, Whiston said the federal education department will finalize its feedback letter, outlining parts of the Michigan plan that need more detail. Whiston was told by federal officials that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will make her determination based on the state’s compliance with federal requirements.

“We were told that the secretary’s determination will be based on compliance with the letter of the law only, and no subjective judgments on what is in the plan,” Whiston said. “This is in line with what Secretary DeVos promised about giving more flexibility and control back to the states on what they think is best for their state.”

Whiston said in addition to the technical amendments to the plan, more work will be required by state education officials to show how the state’s Transparency Dashboard will be designed and used to identify the state’s most struggling schools.

“We will get that done and back to (the U.S. Department of Education) so we can get the secretary’s determination by the end of August,” Whiston said.

In April, both Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley criticized aspects of the plan. Calley asked federal officials to return the plan to Michigan to refine metrics for special education students. Snyder said he did not support one of the three accountability system proposed because it did not include letter grades for schools.

In May, state education officials were required to submit additional information on the plan to the U.S. Department of Education, which deemed eight parts to be incomplete.

In June, an independent peer review of Michigan’s education plan found it lacks the clarity and detail necessary to give the state the opportunity to improve outcomes in the classroom.

The review was a joint project between Bellwether Education Partners, an educational consultant in Washington, D.C., and the Collaborative for Student Success, a nonprofit.

Michigan’s K-12 plan lacked fundamental information in all of the nine categories evaluated, said Jim Cowen, executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success.

The state received its highest score — 3 out of 5 — in the standards and assessments category. The review says in this category, Michigan’s plan is based on strong standards as adopted by the state, “though it does not provide much information” about the alignment of its new assessments with the state’s standards and college and career readiness.

The project used the expertise of more than 30 bipartisan state and national experts to capture the strengths and weaknesses of each state’s plan. The review said Michigan can improve in other areas including goals, academic progress, supporting schools and selecting an accountability system.

According to reviewers, Michigan’s plan has proposed three accountability systems: An A-F rating system that combines measures into one overall rating for each school, an A-F rating system that reports component grades of each of six measures but does not compile those into one overall grade; or a “dashboard” that reports raw data but does not attempt to rate schools on any of the components or overall.

“Michigan states that all three of these options would include subgroup data, but only the first option would meet ESSA’s requirements that states identify schools with low subgroup performance as in need of additional support,” the review said.


Microsoft Seeks EU Approval for $26 Billion LinkedIn Acquisition

Microsoft Seeks EU Approval for $26 Billion LinkedIn AcquisitionMicrosoft sought EU antitrust approval on Friday for its $26 billion bid for social network LinkedIn, a spokesman said on Friday, kicking off a month-long review by regulators of its largest deal.

“We filed today,” company spokesman Robin Koch said.

He said the European Commission has set a November 22 deadline to examine the case. The EUcompetition authority can either clear the deal with or without concessions or it can open a lengthy investigation if it has serious concerns.

(Also see:  Microsoft Dives Into Social With LinkedIn Deal)

US software company Salesforce has criticised the takeover, saying it threatens innovation and competition.

Microsoft is expected to say that there is more than enough competition from Facebook and social networks on smartphones.Antitrust regulators in the United States, Canada and Brazil have already cleared the deal.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Microsoft, EU, LinkedIn, Microsoft LinkedIn Deal

CSC-HP Merger Deal Gets Approval From Competition Commission of India

CSC-HP Merger Deal Gets Approval From Competition Commission of India

Competition Commission has approved the proposed merger of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) with Hewlett Packard’s enterprise services segment, a deal that would create one of the world’s leading pure play IT services companies.

Both entities have presence in India. Under the deal,announced in May, CSC would merge with Everett Spinco – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) that holds the enterprise service business.

In a tweet, Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it has approved the “demerger of Enterprise Service Business of HPE into Everett Spinco; the latter to become subsidiary of CSC”.

Post the transaction, CSC and Hewlett Packard shareholders would have around 50 per cent stake each in the new entity. While announcing the deal, CSC had said the “strategic combination of the two complementary businesses will create one of the world’s largest pure-play IT services companies, uniquely positioned to lead clients on their digital transformations”.

Separately, CCI has given its nod to Gerdau SA, Sumitomo Corporation and The Japan Steel Works (JSW) to form a joint venture for manufacturing parts made from special steels for the wind power industry.


In another tweet, the regulator said it has cleared the “formation of joint venture between Gerdau SA, Sumitomo Corporation and The Japan Steel Works Ltd”. Earlier in January, Gerdau SA said it plans to form the joint venture to serve Brazil’s growing wind power industry.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Tags: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, PC, Laptop


China Regulator Says Didi, Uber Deal Will Need Mofcom Approval

China Regulator Says Didi, Uber Deal Will Need Mofcom Approval

A merger between Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and the China unit of US rival Uber could face its first hiccup after China’s commerce ministry (Mofcom) said on Tuesday it had not received a necessary application to allow the deal to go ahead.

Didi’s acquisition of Uber’s China operations, announced on Monday, will create a roughly $35 billion (roughly Rs. 2,33,551 crores) ride-hailing giant and could raise monopoly concerns as Didi claims an 87 percent market share in China. Uber China is the second largest player.

Mofcom, one of China’s antitrust regulators, said at a news briefing that the two firms need to seek approval for the deal to go ahead. It had been unclear previously whether such a filing would be required as both firms are loss-making in China.

“Mofcom has not currently received a merger filing related to the deal between Didi and Uber,” ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said. “All transactors must apply to the ministry in advance. Those that haven’t applied won’t be able to carry out a merger” if they fall under applicable antitrust and merger rules, he said.

Didi Chuxing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Uber did not respond to requests for comment.


Didi and Uber have been in a fierce battle in China, spending billions of dollars to subsidise rides and win users.

Other players, however, could step up competition.

Jia Yueting, head of LeEco, the parent of smaller ride-hailing rival Yidao, said in a social media post the firm would offer steep rebates to attract passengers to help avoid there being a monopoly in the market.

“Yidao will soon kick off an even more aggressive cashback campaign,” according to a translation of Jia’s posting provided by a LeEco spokeswoman.

Regulations released last week that take effect on November 1 legitimize ride-hailing, but prohibit services from offering rides below cost.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Apps, Didi Chuxing, Didi Kuaidi, Uber China