December 3, 2013
Critical thinking hallmark of Common Core class
Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson’s fifth-grade classroom. Today’s students are being asked to think more critically. For example, what might a character say in an email to a friend? “It’s hard. But you can handle this,” Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in kindergarten through high school. In this fast-growing community in northern Delaware, it’s just another day in the classroom.
CR Superintendent recommends district’s be closed to choice next year
Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald recommended at the district’s Nov. 18 Board of Education meeting that district schools be closed to choice for the 2014-2015 school year. “The Caesar Rodney School District has to determine whether it will be open or closed to choice for the next school year,” Fitzgerald said. “The recommendation is that the board closes all schools [to choice] that are at 85 percent capacity.”
The News Journal
Some things to be thankful for in Delaware
An op-ed by Rhonda Graham
Here’s what is topping my grateful list this year: Gov. Jack Markell’s and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn’s relentless attention to the behavioral and educational needs of the state’s young people; for once, the First State is further down the totem pole of a list based on a new report by Child Care Aware of America on “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care;” and that more than a few people in Delaware have been in agreement with this paper’s editorial position about the need for the city of Wilmington to convene a “come to Jesus” meeting with reputable sources and experts in crime fighting around the state.
Hockessin Community News
Red Clay School District named to College Board’s annual Honor Roll for AP performance
The Red Clay Consolidated School District is one of only 477 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 4th Annual AP District Honor Roll, for increasing access to advanced placement course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.
New York Times
Americans 15-year-olds lag, mainly in math, on international standardized tests
Fifteen-year-olds in the United States score in the middle of the developed world in reading and science while lagging in math, according to international standardized test results being released on Tuesday. While the performance of American students who took the exams last year differed little from the performance of those tested in 2009, the last time the exams were administered, several comparable countries — including Ireland and Poland — pulled ahead this time.
Student accountability model to change again
The Mississippi state board will consider a new accountability model that will track students’ progress from one proficiency level to the next to show academic growth. A state Accountability Task Force, required under S.B. 2396, has been working on the proposed system. Districts and schools will still be identified in five performance categories—A through F—and high school graduation rates will be incorporated.
Report urges steps to revitalize civic education in U.S. schools
A new report calls for a revitalization of civic education to better prepare young people to become active and engaged citizens and ensure a vibrant democratic society. It outlines steps to improve civics learning in schools and suggests that civic education deserves greater attention in state assessment and accountability systems. The authors caution, however, that more sophisticated assessments will be required.
Colleges, students adapting to major shift in remedial education
Citing dismal success rates, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that shook up the world of developmental education, prohibiting state colleges from giving most students placement tests to determine their college readiness. Local colleges are now scrambling to serve that population. Some colleges are offering modularized, accelerated, compressed, and online courses.
Missouri prioritizes pre-K funding, but programs are ‘patchwork’
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced $10 million in funding support for the “Start Smart” pre-K programs for lower- to middle-income families and also restored $7 million in funding for the Missouri Preschool Project and Early Head Start. The idea, “Now for Later,” contends that investments in preschool programs lead to economic development down the line. The initiatives could help close gaps in access, some observers said.
For thousands of Florida teachers, evaluations aren’t making the grade
As Florida prepares to release another batch of evaluation results under the state’s new job review process, officials are still struggling to improve a system that judges as many as two-thirds of teachers on the test scores of students they’ve never met or on subjects they don’t teach. A solution to the problem lies in the development of hundreds of new exams. But skeptics say creating and issuing the assessments could cost billions.