February 20, 2013
The News Journal
GED diploma about to be harder to achieve
Within five years, more than half of all Delaware job applicants will need some post-secondary education/training beyond the traditional high school diploma. It used to be that a GED diploma bridged that gap if you failed to complete high school. But not in this globally competitive moment in history. That’s why Wilmington City Councilman Darius Brown, along with state education leaders, are sounding the alarm about a coming overhaul of that once popular alternative to getting a job and beginning a career. Starting next year, candidates for GED credentials will need computer-based skills, knowledge of an expanded curriculum and be required to write more narrative answers, in addition to completing multiple-choice questions. And this more rigorous exam will be aligned with Delaware Department of Education’s Common Core State Standards, adopted to ensure that every public school student graduates college and career ready. “Students will be prepared to successfully plan and pursue an education and career path aligned to their personal goals, with the ability to adapt and innovate as demands change,” said Secretary of Education Mark Murphy.
Sequestration hurts Delaware education innovation
An op-ed by Patrick Harker, president of the University of Delaware
When Congress struck a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” in early January, it left much of the job undone. The last-minute compromise failed to put forth a plan to reduce the federal deficit – and that failure opens the door to sequestration, an across-the-board, draconian cut of discretionary spending. If Congress doesn’t act by March 1, $85 billion in federal spending reductions will kick in over the next seven months. Few efforts would suffer more than education, training and research – the very efforts that drive American prosperity, improve the competitive position of U.S. industry and create high-wage jobs and a skilled workforce to fill them. In Delaware, reductions in pre K–12 education spending would cut a swath through programs that provide vital services to our children. Cuts to Delaware’s Title I program, which enables improved instruction in high-poverty schools, could exceed $2 million. Special education cuts would deplete resources going to children with disabilities, and threaten the jobs of their teachers and teaching assistants. Cuts to Head Start would affect critical early education services for young children who need dedicated support to catch up to their peers. Further cuts would impede Delaware’s robust efforts to ensure a highly qualified teacher in every classroom and a highly qualified principal in every school.
“Teachers As “Persuaders”: An interview with Daniel Pink
Dan’s new best-selling book is titled To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Disclosure: Dan interviewed me — and my wife, Jan Judson — for the book, and several quotes from us appear in one of the chapters). Dan will also be leading a Webinar in April for Education Week on “How Teachers Can ‘Sell’ More to Students.” His Webinar will be the third in a series on “New Strategies to Motivate and Engage Students.” Principal Chris Wejr and I will be leading the first one on March 5th, and it will coincide with the publication of my new book, Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation. Look for an excerpt from it next week in Education Week Teacher.
Federal Commission urges bold steps to boost education equity
A federally appointed education-equity commission is proposing a five-pronged agenda for states and the federal government to help the 22 percent of children living in poverty and eliminate what the commission calls a “staggering” achievement gap. Three years in the making, the new report released today stems from a 2010 congressional directive to the U.S. Department of Education.
States struggle to keep online schools accountable
Online classes have exploded in popularity, with more than six times as many students enrolled in electronic K-12 courses now as compared to a decade ago, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Advocates say online classes offer a more flexible and personalized form of education, allowing students to progress at their own pace and on their own time. Supporters also tout online education as a way to dramatically expand course offerings, particularly at rural schools. But the rapid growth of online education is raising concerns—especially as more for-profit companies launch online programs. While unscrupulous or incompetent online educators may be rare, there are enough of them that many states are considering ratcheting up their oversight. “The long and short of it is trying to make sure that as we grow this kind of education in the future, there is accountability for them like any other school,” says Kelli Gauthier, a spokeswoman for Tennessee’s education department.