February 19, 2013
The News Journal
Children who walk, bike to school do better on tests, studies find
Fewer than 11 percent of Delaware kids walk to school and just over half a percent ride a bike, a 2010 University of Delaware survey of 1,300 Delaware families across the state showed. A study of nearly 20,000 Danish children, published late last year, showed those kids who walked, biked or got to school in some other physically active way performed better on tests of focus than their peers.
Vote to keep Pencader Charter school open
A year after escaping a state-ordered shutdown due to financial mismanagement, Pencader Charter Business and Finance High School remains in dire need of critical budgetary and administrative oversight. Eight months ago, that was this paper’s opening paragraph to an editorial. A few months later we called for new leadership and training of the school’s board members and staff with regard to their fiduciary responsibility in managing state revenues.
The Sussex Countian
Mentor Q&A: John Hollis, M.E.R.I.T. founder
Sussex County icon John Hollis was a teacher in the Seaford School District in 1976, when he founded the Minority Engineering Regional Incentive Training Program, or M.E.R.I.T. Since then his work mentoring children has earned him dozens of prestigious honors, including Connecting Generations’ Robert A. Kasey Lifetime Achievement Award and the MLK Community Recognition Award, both of which he received last month.
Overhaul of teacher-prep standards targets recruitment, performance
A set of proposed standards for teacher-preparation programs unveiled today by the Washington-based Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation are leaner, more specific, and more outcomes-focused than any prior set in the 60-year history of national teacher-college accreditation. Put together by a CAEP-commissioned panel of some 40 members, including teacher educators from both traditional and alternative programs, representatives from advocacy organizations, states, and districts, the standards would for the first time require accredited programs to adhere to a prescribed minimum-admissions standard.
Federal grant prospect reignites kindergarten-assessment debate
A federal grant program in the works to help states jump-start kindergarten-entry assessments is renewing debate among early-childhood educators about the benefits and pitfalls of evaluating young children.
Los Angeles Times
Deasy wants 30% of teacher evaluations based on test scores
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy announced Friday that as much as 30% of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on student test scores, setting off more contention in the nation’s second-largest school system in the weeks before a critical Board of Education election. Leaders of the teachers union have insisted that there should be no fixed percentage or expectation for how much standardized tests should count — and that test results should serve almost entirely as just one measure to improve instruction. Deasy, in contrast, has insisted that test scores should play a significant role in a teacher’s evaluation and that poor scores could contribute directly to dismissal.
The New York Times
In China, families bet it all on college for their children
Many families in the West sacrifice to put their children through school, saving for college educations that they hope will lead to a better life. Few efforts can compare with the heavy financial burden that millions of lower-income Chinese parents now endure as they push their children to obtain as much education as possible. Yet a college degree no longer ensures a well-paying job, because the number of graduates in China has quadrupled in the last decade.
The New York Times
The trouble with online college
Stanford University ratcheted up interest in online education when a pair of celebrity professors attracted more than 150,000 students from around the world to a noncredit, open enrollment course on artificial intelligence. This development, though, says very little about what role online courses could have as part of standard college instruction. College administrators who dream of emulating this strategy for classes like freshman English would be irresponsible not to consider two serious issues. First, student attrition rates — around 90 percent for some huge online courses — appear to be a problem even in small-scale online courses when compared with traditional face-to-face classes. Second, courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed.