October 16, 2012
The News Journal
Initiatives put state on right education track
An op-ed by State Sen. Liane Sorenson and State Rep. Melanie George Smith
Great outcomes start with a strong foundation in the form of robust early learning programs. With Election Day quickly approaching, we encourage voters to learn where candidates stand on the issues, how they have supported early childhood education so far and what their plans are for the future. Elections are less than a month away, and we urge community members to learn about each candidate’s commitment to early childhood education.
Red Clay wins national ‘champions’ award
The Red Clay Consolidated School District was one of 31 schools nationwide to earn a Together for Tomorrow Champions award for the 2012-13 school year, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday. The district won the award based on its work with its Partnership Zone schools, a state effort to help turn around low-performing schools being paid for with part of the state’s $119 million Race to the Top grant.
Lawrence Journal World
Classroom spending hard to define
A task force appointed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is studying ways to make schools more efficient so more of the state’s education budget will be spent in the classroom. The panel will need to determine what exactly qualifies as “classroom” spending. Districts are struggling to meet a state goal of spending at least 65% of their state funds in the classroom or for instruction due to the lack of a standard definition.
States punch reset button with NCLB waivers
Given the flexibility to revise their academic goals under No Child Left Behind, a vast majority of the states that received waivers are setting different expectations for different subgroups of students, an Education Week analysis shows. The leeway to set the new academic goals means, however, that many students in the subgroups will fail to master college- and career-readiness standards at greater rates.
New York Times
Seeking aid, school districts change teacher evaluations
Fueled in part by efforts to qualify for the Obama administration’s Race to the Top federal grant program or waivers from the toughest conditions of No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era education law, 36 states and the District of Columbia have introduced new teacher evaluation policies in the past three years, according to the National Center on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. An increasing number of states are directing districts to use these evaluations in decisions about how teachers are granted tenure, promoted or fired.
El Paso schools confront scandal of students who ‘disappeared’ at test time
A former schools superintendent, Lorenzo Garcia, was sentenced to prison for his role in orchestrating the testing scandal. But for students and parents, the case did not end there. A federal investigation continues, with the likelihood of more arrests of administrators who helped Mr. Garcia. Federal prosecutors charged Mr. Garcia, 57, with devising an elaborate program to inflate test scores to improve the performance of struggling schools under the federal No Child Left Behind Act and to allow him to collect annual bonuses for meeting district goals.
Related Topics: ESEA waiver, funding equity, Funding Flexibility, NCLB, teacher evaluations