April 14, 2014
Why Race to the Top worked
An opinion by Governor Jack Markell
In spring 2010, Delaware was one of two states to win the first of Race to the Top’s four-year grants, making this month’s anniversary an appropriate time to ask whether the multi-billion dollar project has been worth the taxpayers’ money. The results show that four years after the Obama administration rolled out its signature education initiative, Race to the Top is working, and policymakers in Washington should replicate its approach of improving opportunities for our students. When you put aside politics, this model should resonate across the ideological spectrum.
The News Journal
Race to the Top is improving Delaware schools
An op-ed by Robyn Howton, an AVID coordinator/LFS trainer and an English teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in the Brandywine School District
I believe the future of education in Delaware holds great promise. Race to the Top enabled educators to infuse innovative educational practices into our classrooms. We must now sustain this great work, assuring every Delaware student is equipped with 21st-century skills to be ready for college and career.
Will there be jobs for our children?
Parents should think beyond Delaware. That is where the jobs are going. “Parents here don’t see the jobs postings in India, Poland and Germany. If they did, they would ask where are the jobs posting for our children here.” Too many parents are not worried about the quality of our education system because they do not see tomorrow’s jobs slipping away. When they realize that there will be too few good-paying jobs for Delaware’s kids, it will be too late.
Needs of children are served well with early childhood programs
An op-ed by Melissa Browne, vice president of Life Long Learning at the Latin American Community Center, and Kathleen A. Gill, director of Children’s Services at The Salvation Army
As directors of early childhood programs, we find the comments made by Connie Merlet in a recent opinion column (“Where has the money for child care gone?”) misleading and inaccurate. Our main goal for children from newborn to 5 years of age is to expand the number of high-needs children in quality early learning programs. Currently, 62 percent of children with high-needs (including children with the purchase of care tuition subsidy) are participating in a Delaware Stars quality-rated program.
Let parents use tax credits to pick schools
An op-ed by Stacie Beck and Eleanor Craig, associate professors of economics at the University of Delaware
We’ve been to teacher conferences, we’ve attended PTA and school board meetings, we’ve heard about No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core and Delaware Comprehensive Assessment Scoring, but nothing seems to change. It is not our imagination either. Delaware students’ SAT scores rank among the lowest even after adjusting for student participation, eighth-grade students underperform national averages on both reading and math (according to National Assessment of Educational Progress), and graduation rates are lower than in most states. Many of these outcomes have declined over time, rather than improved.
Don’t fight, join the charter school focus on success
A letter to the editor by Brooke Balan
Some of our local political leaders and the Red School District superintendent have voiced concerns over charter schools. Our school districts have had years to fix and/or incorporate innovative ways to engage and educate our children in the public school system. To date there has been minimal innovation in our secondary schools, especially middle schools; yet these are the very institutions where our students struggle the most. Our adolescents need and deserve better from us, and Pike Creek Charter Middle School intends to give them that very experience.
Capital School District institutes free lunch program
The old saying goes that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but maybe there is in Capital schools. Through the Community Eligibility Provision, a policy enacted by the United States Department of Agriculture, schools in the Capital School District will be able to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students from pre-K through 12th grade. This is a departure from the district’s current lunch program. The Capital School District currently provides universal breakfast, ensuring that every student has access to the most important meal of the day; however, students either receive lunch for free, can purchase lunch at a reduced price or pay full price for lunch, according to Dr. Michael Thomas, superintendent for the Capital School District.
More than half of students ‘engaged’ in school, poll says
School leaders should not neglect the social and emotional factors that help students thrive, and they should empower teachers so that they are more engaged and effective in the classroom, says the “State of America’s Schools” report, a synthesis of polling data and research from the international Gallup organization.
Many states left key NCLB flexibility on the table
Amid a nationwide backlash against testing, states were expected to jump at the chance to design accountability systems that judge schools on measures other than test scores alone. But while 42 states plus the District of Columbia have these waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act, only 18 took advantage of the opportunity. The vast majority of states’ new accountability systems just slice and dice test scores to rate their schools.
$200M prekindergarten plan unveiled in Connecticut
The state would spend $200 million over 10 years to expand statewide prekindergarten programs under an ambitious plan that leaders of the Connecticut legislature announced Wednesday.
South Carolina lawmakers approve kindergarten expansion, ‘Read to Succeed’ bill
A compromise bill approved Wednesday combined Democrats’ push to make 4-year-old kindergarten available to all at-risk students and Republicans’ proposal to ensure students can read by fourth grade.
The Hartford Courant
Hartford, Conn., school board asks state education commissioner to impose turnaround
Despite objections from the teachers’ union, the Hartford city board of education on Tuesday night asked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor to use his statutory power to impose a “turnaround” plan for a struggling school that would include management by an outside group.
Chalkbeat New York
New York schools chief says he’s not backing down from standards implementation
Stung by months of criticism and a condemnation by the state teachers union last weekend, New York State Education Commissioner John King hit back in a lengthy speech on Thursday, declaring that the reforms he ushered in aren’t going away.
The Hechinger Report
Community colleges across nation increasingly adding bachelor’s degrees
An increasing number of community colleges around the country have started offering four-year bachelor’s degrees in fields for which there is high job demand. Community colleges in 21 states now have the authority to offer bachelor’s degrees.