March 6, 2013
The Sussex Countian
Clayton Elementary to offer Spanish immersion class
The John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford will launch a Spanish immersion program for kindergarten students during the 2013-2014 school year. Kindergarten students selected for the program will spend half of each school day learning in English and the other half of the day learning in Spanish.
Districts tying principal reviews to test scores
A growing number of school districts—including large ones like those in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Hawaii—have become recent converts to new principal-evaluation systems that tie school leaders’ appraisals to student test scores. As of this school year, student achievement accounts for 40 percent to 50 percent of principals’ evaluations in each of those school systems, while district leaders in a number of other places are preparing to make similar changes in coming school years.
The New York Times
News Corp. has a tablet for schools
For nearly two years, Joel I. Klein helped Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation weather a phone-hacking scandal at the company’s British tabloids with the promise that he would eventually be able to return to the role the company hired him for: to spearhead News Corporation’s new venture into the public school market. That day has finally come. Amplify will not sell just its curriculum on existing tablets, but will also offer the Amplify Tablet, its own 10-inch Android tablet for K-12 schoolchildren. In addition to tablets and curriculum, Amplify will also provide schools with infrastructure to store students’ data.
East Valley Tribune
Brewer’s plan for education performance funding advancing
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s performance-based education funding model for districts and charter holders is advancing through the legislature. Under S.B 1444, the maximum amount of performance funding per student would be $500 for achievement and $500 for improvement. In the first year, the amount would be capped at a maximum of $180 per student.
Families zoned for ‘failing’ schools would get $3,500 tax credit
Alabama families zoned for “failing” schools—even if their child goes to a private school now—would receive up to a $3,553 income tax credit to offset private or alternate public school tuition costs, under a bill approved by the legislature. The tax credits for school choice provision was added to the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, which deals with waivers from school policies.
Big money starts seeping into school board elections
A record amount of money was spent on the Los Angeles school board’s primary elections this week: more than $4 million, according to Education Week, much of which came from outsiders trying to push various reform agendas. It’s a reminder that there is a lot of political money in education. Charter schools and school construction are profitable enterprises. Even if contributors’ intentions are noble, they still have a lot of dough to throw around, as Governing reported in October 2011 in its cover story on billionaires in the classroom. So, as the Los Angeles election crystallizes the issue, some are starting to wonder if things are going too far, if we’re marching toward an ‘arms race’ in which local elections and school board seats go to the highest bidder. That sounds too much like regular politics, they say. But others counter that this is the way of the world now, and more money means more attention paid to education issues.