October 1, 2013
Starting a colony – thinking economically
This in-class education program was developed by the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation in conjunction with the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) as part of the 5th grade economics curriculum. Our “Starting a Colony” lesson teaches economic literacy and decision-making skills based on Kalmar Nyckel’s first voyage to North America in 1638, the one that founded the colony of New Sweden in what would become Delaware. It can also be used to teach or reinforce basic economic concepts for any grade level.
Districts developing more intelligent data use
California’s Sanger Unified School District was collecting vast amounts of data on students for years, from absences to test scores and grades. But that information was stored in a variety of systems, teachers couldn’t access it in a timely manner, and educators didn’t have the digital tools they needed to help them use the data to improve instruction. Now, the bulk of student data is housed in a consolidated student-information system that teachers can use to create assessments, score them, and get the results analyzed immediately, giving them the power to adjust their teaching based on what they’re seeing and analyzing in real time. Gone are the days of waiting weeks, or even months, to get data about student academic performance.
Florida’s small and big businesses shifting on Common Core
Although Florida Governor Rick Scott’s executive order pulling the state out of the group designing multi-state exams based on Common Core drew almost unanimous support from Republican lawmakers, the reaction of the state’s business community is much more nuanced. In the past, influential business groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable have come out in favor of the standards, saying that tougher academic benchmarks would improve the quality of America’s workforce. However, support for Common Core among small business owners – especially the supporters of the Tea Party movement – has in the last year gone from tepid to non-existent.
China mulls new education plan for primary schools
In the worldwide race to improve education, China isn’t standing by. The country is planning to make changes to its education system for primary school students, along the lines of the Finnish education system, to put less emphasis on testing and homework. In Finland, students are engaged in creative activities while teachers are given wide latitude with assignments and curricula. CCTV, China’s state television network, said in a post on the English version of its website that the Ministry of Education has proposed changes for primary school education that draws on the increasingly popularity of the Finnish.
The New York Times
Principal and teacher, a complex duet
An editorial by Brent Staples
Dedicated principals tend to work endless, exhausting hours. Along the way, they struggle with budgets, staffing problems, disengaged parents, gang violence, holes in the roof and finding clean clothing for impoverished children who arrive disheveled and unwashed. Clarice Berry, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, recently described the public school principal’s life in her city as “near impossible.” She explained: “It is impossible to come to the end of the day and say you finished that day’s work. That just doesn’t happen.” The harried principals of Chicago have even more to do since the city introduced a new teacher evaluation system that produced its first teacher ratings this month.