March 7, 2013
Governor tips his hat to Middletown robotics team
Gov. Jack Markell recently made a visit to Appoquinimink High School to learn the ins and outs of Middletown Robotics Team 1370 “Thermogenesis.” The club is made up of students from M.O.T. and its surrounding areas, who all have an interest in science, technology and engineering.
Study aims to evaluate tech-related teacher PD
As technology is integrated into teacher professional development in new and different ways, researchers are working to answer a key question: What approaches featuring digital tools work best? A research project on professional development in the 103,000-student Memphis school system in Tennessee is working toward some answers. The initiative is evaluating two different technology-related methods of professional development to see which may have the more significant impact on student achievement.
STEM education must start in early childhood
According to a 2010 survey by Change the Equation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporate initiative to further math and science learning, nearly one-third of Americans would rather clean their bathrooms than do a math problem. In a globally competitive economy, with employers of all shapes and sizes increasingly seeking workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, and math, this is humorous and more than a little troubling. Investing to ensure a pipeline of workers skilled in STEM competencies is a workforce issue, an economic-development issue, and a business imperative. And the best way to ensure return on these investments is to start fostering these skills in young children.
New York Times
National attention and cash in Los Angeles school vote
On Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles will go to the polls for a mayoral primary. But much of the attention will also be on the three races for the school board, a battle that involves the mayor, the teachers’ union and a host of advocates from across the country — including New York City’s billionaire mayor — who have poured millions of dollars into the races. The outcome of the political fight for the school board seats will have a profound impact on the direction of the nation’s second-largest school district. But the clash has also become a sort of test case for those who want to overhaul public education, weakening the power of the teachers’ union, pushing for more charter schools and changing the way teachers are hired and fired.
Wall Street Journal
Public preschool’s test case
When President Barack Obama unveiled plans to vastly expand preschool access across the U.S., he singled out Oklahoma as a model—a state that shows the promise and the challenges of the undertaking. In 1998, Oklahoma lawmakers passed one of the nation’s first state-funded preschool programs for all 4-year-olds. Since then, the number of children enrolled in preschool programs has soared to 40,000 this year, up from 9,000 when the program first started. Many Oklahoma children now arrive in elementary school so well prepared that some districts have overhauled their kindergarten curricula.
Chronicle on Higher Education
Students and states near a 50-50 split on the cost of public higher education
Public higher education is about to cross a historic threshold, in which students pay a higher percentage than do states of the operating costs of colleges, according to a State Higher Education Executive Officers report. Net tuition revenue made up 47% of colleges’ educational costs in 2012, an increase of more than six percentage points from the previous year.
The Louisville Courier
Kentucky Senate approves charter school option
The Kentucky Senate approved a bill that would give low-achieving schools the option of becoming a charter school. Senate Bill 176 would allow parents or teachers to petition the local board of education for a charter if a school persistently underachieves. It would serve as one of five alternatives that schools have to turn around poor performance.