December 4, 2012
Elementary pupils immersed in foreign language
This school year, the Caesar Rodney school district introduced a more novel and potentially more effective foreign-language initiative to talk up: a new Chinese-immersion program for 101 kindergartners, which the district plans to offer those children and successive kindergartners through 8th grade. The immersion program, which provides instruction in math, science, and literacy in Chinese for half a day and in English for the remainder, is one of three such programs funded though Gov. Jack Markell’s recently created World Language Expansion Initiative.
Kitzhaber, consolidating power over all things education, proposes new Department of Post-Secondary Education
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber proposed creating the Department of Post-Secondary Education, which would control state funding for the state’s public universities, community colleges, need-based college scholarships, and Oregon Health & Science University. If his plan flies, he will have selected all the key executives and board members running the main segments of Oregon public education.
AFT calls for teacher ‘bar exam’; national board to oversee
The American Federation of Teachers has unveiled an ambitious new initiative to raise entry standards for teacher-preparation programs—and to create a “universal assessment,” analogous to the bar exam in law, that teachers should have to pass to show they are ready to take on their own classrooms. The product of months of discussion by an AFT task force, the report released this weekend recommends that teacher-preparation programs raise their entry standards to attract academically capable students.
More principals learn the job in real schools
A growing number of principal-preparation initiatives are forsaking university classrooms in favor of much more familiar training grounds: the schools and districts where those aspiring leaders will end up working. Through coaching and mentorship initiatives, residencies and internships, and other new programs, both districts and university education schools are turning their focus to building practical readiness, in context, and offering continued learning and support for principals already on the job.
Will competition cure Head Start?
The Administration for Children and Families, the federal agency that runs Head Start, is cracking down on programs as part of a new rules intended to improve the quality of early childhood education. The agency has estimated that every year about one third of Head Start programs being evaluated will fail to meet a set of quality markers. Those falling short must compete for grants that used to be reissued automatically.