November 20, 2013
Turning young women into W.I.S.E. Women
Appoquinimink School District’s W.I.S.E. Women program introduces young girls to women currently working in science-related careers. “A lot of girls get interested in science at a young age, but as they get older they decide it’s not cool or it’s too hard,” explained W.I.S.E. Women founder and Brick Mill Elementary librarian Janice Haney. “Our goal here is to emphasize that science is fun, interesting and something they can pursue, just like our presenters.”
The News Journal
Many applaud Red Clay vote, but keeping class 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.
The costs involved with class size reductions
Here’s what substantive research has to say about the value of shrinking class sizes. It’s a good thing. And as a result, it is ultimately costly, and therefore usually not possible, throughout most school districts. However, because of the variety of credible studies and their differing methodologies, such conclusions are tentative, an Education Week report maintained two years ago. So what may appear a no-brainer when it comes to the cause and effect of smaller class sizes – as the Red Clay School Board recently voted to support – deserves more consideration when it comes to the ultimate public cost and eventual taxpayer support.
Delaware officials say additional education funds unlikely
If the Department of Education gets any extra money next school year, officials want to spend it on helping kids go to college, better supporting teachers and funneling more money to districts. But state budget officials say such an increase seems unlikely given a gloomy fiscal picture and the fact that education budgets are already going to swell because of things like increased enrollment and teacher raises.
What we can learn from Reach Academy’s closing
An opinion by Rhonda Graham
To allow a school so bedeviled by lapses in academic leadership to continue when just a quarter of students finished the past school-year proficient in math, while 42 percent were proficient in English, would have been uncharitable at best. To approve another year would have signaled a selfish willingness to ignore reality – a predominately minority student population of girls, some of whom are low-income, is capable of academic success, just not with the current well-intentioned players involved.
High schools to compete for $100 million in new Race to the Top-style contest
Today, the Obama administration will announce details of a $100 million competition for high schools that better prepare students for college and high-tech careers, U.S. Department of Education officials confirmed this morning. First reported in the Wall Street Journal, the competition is shaping up to be a mix between the federal Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation programs, and will be funded and run through the Department of Labor. Between 25 and 40 grants will be awarded next year for high schools that team up with colleges and employers. The grants will range in size from $2 million to $7 million. Just as with the i3 competition, winners will have to secure private matching funds of at least 25 percent to get their grant.
Rethinking teacher roles in a new networked world
Author-educators Marc Prensky and Will Richardson opened up this weekend’s conference on “Engaging 21st Century Minds” with some big ideas on how technology is changing learning and the many ways schools need to adapt and catch up. In an hour-long keynote, Prensky asserted that students today, as a result of advances in networked technology, are “figuring out how to live in a brand new context.” He described the educators in the room as “the last pre-Internet generation,” and said “we tend to judge the new generation based on our old ideas and beliefs.”
Los Angeles Times
iPad software licenses to expire in three years, L.A. Unified says
Contradicting earlier claims, Los Angeles school district officials said Tuesday that their right to use English and math curriculum installed on district iPads expires after three years. At market rates, buying a new license for the curriculum would cost $50 to $100 each year per iPad, an additional cost that could surpass $60 million annually. The expense would add to the price tag of the $1-billion effort to provide a tablet to every teacher and student in the nation’s second-largest school system.
Inside Higher Ed
Pearson’s pursuit of efficacy
Pearson will spend the next five years developing a framework to measure and publicly report its products’ efficacy and impact on learning outcomes, the company announced. Pearson says its push for efficacy will in a few years permeate every way in which the company does business. The education company is in the middle of a $225 million reorganization to target digital learning and emerging markets.
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Tweak to school evaluations
Only two years into a new formula, the South Dakota education department wants to overhaul the way it evaluates the quality of schools. The 100-point performance index was due for full implementation next year. But now state officials want to scrap two categories: school climate and effectiveness of teachers and principals. A common thread between both categories is subjectivity.