November 18, 2013
State questions teacher evaluation results
Only 1 percent of Delaware teachers received an unsatisfactory rating under a new teacher evaluation system. State officials are questioning those ratings when four of five students who graduate are not ready for college or jobs. “We have made important progress, but we clearly have more work to do,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said in a press release. “Going forward, we need to ensure that school leaders implement the system well, so that our overall results reflect the reality of what’s happening in our classrooms.”
Delaware and the Common Core
Going by numbers alone, Delaware public school students are not “college and career ready.” “Right now only about one out of five of our children are graduating from high school really ready to move on and be successful,” Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. With only 30 percent of high school freshmen making it to their second year in college, and with fewer jobs available without a college degree, Delaware Governor Jack Markell says the state’s public schools needed to evolve.
The News Journal
Delaware schools exposing younger students to physics concepts
For teachers at Mount Pleasant and Maple Lane elementary schools, the answer is simple: Build stuff and just let the concepts play out in real life. Students from those schools spent Friday in the auditorium at Mount Pleasant building “sail cars” out of K’Nex building toys and everyday office supplies. Once complete, students placed the sail cars in front of box fans, attempting to build a vehicle that could cross the finish line the fastest.
Many applaud Red Clay vote, but keeping classroom sizes small is no easy task
In the past few years, most Delaware districts have asked their school boards to approve waivers – and boards have always agreed. That changed last week when the Red Clay School Board rejected its district’s request, deadlocking in a 3-3 vote. Many parents and teachers are cheering the decision, saying they’re tired of watching boards vote to allow bigger class sizes.
Activist skewers Common Core in talk to Kent GOP
Kent County Republicans heard a scathing critique of the Common Core State Standards from a conservative political activist at a meeting Thursday night. “This is something that snuck up on us parents over the past few years,” said Anastasia Przybylski,a Pennsylvania-based field organizer for FreedomWorks, a conservative grass-roots advocacy group. “You need to start paying attention, because this is a real problem.” Delaware teachers are among the furthest along in overhauling what they teach to meet the standards, and virtually every state education policymaker, from Gov. Jack Markell to the Department of Education, supports the standards.
New York Times
At forums, New York State Education Commissioner faces a barrage of complaints
In a series of public forums across the state, John B. King Jr., the state education commissioner, has become the sounding board for crowds of parents, educators and others who equate his name with all they consider to be broken in schooling today. Some blame him for too quickly imposing more rigorous academic standards tied to what is known as the Common Core. Parents call him deaf to the misery of pupils taking standardized tests and too open to commercial involvement in the system; teachers blame him for sapping what joy they had left in their craft.
Making N.J. college tuition affordable: Radical idea gains traction
New Jersey’s higher education committee approved S.B. 2965, which would create a commission to study whether to enact a pilot program on what’s called “Pay Forward, Pay Back.” Under the program, students at the state’s public colleges and universities would not pay tuition while attending school in exchange for a percentage of their future incomes for a set number of years.
New Jersey Newsroom
N.J. looks into implementing full-day kindergarten statewide
The New Jersey Senate education committee approved legislation, S.B. 2763, which would create a task force to study issues related to full-day kindergarten, including the feasibility of implementing full-day programs in schools statewide. Currently, students in the state’s 31 highest poverty districts attend full-day kindergarten.
Some states move to save cursive in the classroom
When the new Common Core educational standards were crafted, penmanship classes were dropped. But at least seven of the 45 states that adopted the standards are fighting to restore the cursive instruction. Legislation passed in North Carolina and elsewhere couples cursive with memorization of multiplication tables as twin “back to basics” mandates.
Education department to scale back key waiver-renewal mandates
The Department of Education is planning to back away from their recent announcement that states must do a better job to ensure poor and minority students have equal access to effective teachers if they want to continue their No Child Left Behind flexibility. The department also will relax the requirement for states to improve the use of Title II funds for professional development.