October 7, 2013
The News Journal
Focus on improving
An opinion by Ted Kaufman
Hard to believe where a minority of house members are taking the country. A few years ago, I spent a couple of weeks traveling around Delaware asking professional educators what we could do to improve our K-12 schools. I learned a lot from a number of people, but what I was told by the principal of a middle school in suburban New Castle County really struck home and stayed with me.
Early hiring benefits Delaware’s schools
Thursday, after years of deteriorating hiring statistics, Delaware’s 19 public school districts reported a second consecutive year of improvement in early teacher hiring in 2012. The dreaded yearly “Sept. 30” student count once was used to determine the release of per pupil funding resources for schools. Unfortunately, that’s when principals learned of possible overcrowded classrooms. Much worse, the late date prevented Delaware from being able to choose from the cream of the crop in job applicants.
Governor Markell: “Our students deserve great teachers”
Governor Markell says identifying top educators is the key to strengthening Delaware schools. “This week, I visited with 200 education students at the University of Delaware to discuss how we can help them be at their best in the classroom. Our education students need to know that while we’ve raised the standard to qualify to be a teacher in Delaware, we’ll ensure they have the resources and opportunities they need to be successful,” says Markell.
DE Department of Education
State seeking 40 teachers for ‘Dream Team’
The state is looking for 40 top teachers from across the state to join the Delaware Dream Team, helping to develop high-quality Common Core formative assessment items that will be shared with teachers throughout the state. Members will collaborate in small groups with fellow teachers and Common Core coaches from across the country to create resources, receive feedback and learn together. They will share their professional development experience with colleagues to further broaden their impact. “Our teachers are one of Delaware’s greatest resources,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “This is an opportunity for some of our best educators to support the learning of not just their own students but children across the state and country.”
The Dover Post
Delaware State University hosts Boys & Girls Club STEM program
Science, technology, engineering, and math are have become a major focus for many educational programs, both inside and outside Delaware schools. The Boys & Girls Club on Delaware State University’s campus is no exception. Every Monday and Wednesday, elementary- and middle-school students from the DSU and Simon Circle Boys & Girls Clubs explore topics such as math, computer science, forensic biology, chemistry and optic engineering through hands-on experiments in a program called The Explorers Club.
The Newark Post
Business leaders encouraged to join Principal for a Day program
Gov. Jack Markell visited Newark High School last week to welcome back the annual Principal for a Day program. The program, which began in 1993, is sponsored by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce along with several other partners and provides Delaware business leaders the opportunity to engage with students by handling the daily responsibilities of the school principal, such as getting students on the bus, greeting them in the morning and even taking part in school budget discussions.
Appoquinimink must allow school choice students from other districts next year
For about 20 years, the Appoquinimink School District has declined nearly all enrollment requests from students who live in other districts. That will change in the 2014-2015 school year when a new law passed by the Delaware General Assembly in June will take effect, requiring all public school districts to accept out-of-district enrollments in any school with available capacity. “The state pays up 75 percent of the funding, so if that’s what they want, that’s what we’ll do,” said Richard Forsten, the vice president of the Appoquinimink school board.
The Washington Post
Delaware governor takes part in national education summit in New York
Gov. Jack Markell is taking part in national education summit in New York. Markell was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on teacher training Monday afternoon during the 2013 NBC News Education Nation Summit at the New York Public Library. Markell also was to be interviewed earlier in the day about increasing early learning opportunities in advance of a panel discussion including Harriet Dichter, executive director of the Delaware Office of Early Learning. Officials say the fourth annual summit is bringing together more than 300 leaders in education, government, business, philanthropy and media.
Ed. Sec. Duncan’s policy leverage may be put to test
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan faces an increasingly rocky education policy landscape and wavering support for his aggressive K-12 agenda—at a time when his stack of bargaining chips is dwindling. Compared to his assets in President Barack Obama’s first term, Mr. Duncan has few sweeteners left to use as leverage. That’s likely to leave him even more dependent on sanctions and persuasion in the administration’s final three years.
Challenges envisioned for next-generation science tests
Amidst growing fights over common state standards and tests for mathematics and English/language arts, the separate set of common K-12 science standards have been quietly gaining steam, but some experts predict that measuring student progress under these standards may require even more testing innovation than the common core. Less than six months after the final Next-Generation Science Standards were released by a consortium of 26 states and several national groups, seven states have adopted and started to implement them: California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Researchers and education officials from those and other states met in Washington last week at a summit sponsored by the Education Testing Service, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the College Board to discuss new ways to measure what students learn from them.
Haslam sets goal for TN to become fastest-improving in teacher pay
Gov. Bill Haslam wants Tennessee’s teacher salaries to become the fastest improving in the nation, a long-term and still-unfunded goal that complements a new pay plan that rewards educators who perform the best. The objective would be to bump teacher salaries in Tennessee, which currently sit in the bottom 10 nationwide, to the very top in growth. The average current salary is slightly less than $50,000.
The New York Times
Deciding who sees students’ data
WHEN Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent of Jefferson County, Colo., public schools, heard about a data repository called inBloom, she thought it sounded like a technological fix for one of her bigger headaches. Over the years, the Jeffco school system, as it is known, which lies west of Denver, had invested in a couple of dozen student data systems, many of which were incompatible. There must be a more effective way, Dr. Stevenson felt. InBloom, a nonprofit corporation based in Atlanta, seemed to offer a solution: it could collect information from the district’s many databases and store it in the cloud, making access easier, and protect it with high-level encryption.