November 8, 2013
The News Journal
Delaware’s scores on national student tests show progress
Delaware’s scores on a major national test show big gains over the past 10 years and some modest advances in the past two. State education officials hope implementation of Race to the Top programs will fuel a bigger boost, saying there are still areas of serious concern.
Mixed grades for First State on “the nation’s report card”
Delaware’s grades on what’s known as “the nation’s report card” are a mixed bag. Secretary of Education Mark Murphy stated that the 10-year NAEP trends are positive for Delaware. That’s especially true among minority groups where reading and math proficiency rates among Black and Hispanic students, and students with disabilities, rose between 5 and 14 percent since 2003.
Inside Higher Ed
Public hearing on college ratings
A federal college ratings system has the potential to curb access to higher education for disadvantaged minority and low-income students, several college leaders and student advocates told Education Department officials. The event kicked off a series of four public forums that the department is holding to solicit feedback on how to develop a federal college ratings system.
Schools still see surges in homeless students
If added together, homeless students now would make up the largest district in the country—at nearly 1.17 million. Their numbers have grown 24% in the past three years, and 10% in the last year alone, according to a federal analysis by the National Center for Homeless Education. Forty states have seen a rise in their homeless-student populations in 2011-12, and 10 of those faced a jump of 20% or more.
25 new i3 winners to split $135 million
Twenty-five districts and their nonprofit partners are slated to share $135 million in the latest round of the federal Investing in Innovation competition, the U.S. Department of Education announced today. This marks the fourth round of one of the Obama administration’s signature initiatives—a competition designed to find and scale up some of the most innovative ideas for improving education. The largest grants go to the promising ideas that have the strongest evidence base, with smaller awards set aside for more experimental ideas.
Teacher ‘voice’ amplified by series of Gates grants
The Gates foundation has put $22 million behind several organizations that, like Teach Plus, aim to elevate teachers’ voices in policy discussions. But those groups are frequently viewed with suspicion by teachers’ unions and have been depicted as “AstroTurf” organizations set up to support Gates’ favored policies. Despite similar goals, the groups do diverge in how they operate.
D.C. Council tentatively approves bill intended to end social promotion
The D.C. Council gave tentative approval to a bill intended to end social promotion in the District’s schools. Under the measure, school officials would have latitude to decide whether elementary and middle school students are ready to advance to the next grade. Students who are retained would be required to attend summer school unless specifically excused by school officials.