April 16, 2013
The News Journal
Delaware praised, pushed over preschool education
Delaware is investing considerable money and effort in revamping preschool education, but it still has a long way to go, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said during a visit to a Wilmington preschool Monday.
If ‘teaching to the test’ bugs you, don’t blame the test
Some parents have begun pulling their kids out of statewide standardized testing. They say its stresses out their kids, for no good reason. This is part of a growing rebellion against so-called high-stakes testing. Many feel these batteries of test are harmful to kids and to education, leading to evils such as cheating and teaching to the test. Well, I agree that the status quo on testing is disgraceful – but not for exactly the same reasons. I think testing kids to generate useful data a) on their progress, and b) on the performance of the adults charged with educating them is not only defensible, but in fact necessary.
Gov. Markell unveils new strategic plan for early childhood education
Gov. Jack Markell’s promised emphasis on preschool education now has a formal plan to go with it. Markell was joined by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other officials in rolling out the state’s strategic plan for early childhood education Monday in Wilmington. Developed by the Delaware Early Childhood Council, the plan outlines how the state intends to create a high-quality, comprehensive and sustainable early education system that ensures all kids head to kindergarten properly prepared. The plan also aims to make Delaware children the healthiest in the nation – physically, emotionally and behaviorally. Delaware hopes to do that with a strategic plan that builds on work already being done with the $22 million Markell and the General Assembly earmarked for early childhood education two years ago and the $50 million it received from the federal government by winning the Race to the Top early learning challenge a year ago.
San Antonio Express-News
Charter schools bill advances
Texas could have 100 more charter schools and state officials could more easily close them if they perform poorly under S.B. 2 that was adopted by the Senate. The bill slowly raises the number of charters from 209 to 305 possible schools by 2019. At the same time, the legislation sets strict grounds for closing schools that fail to meet state accountability standards.
State Board adopts standardized tests aligned with Common Core
The state board approved a resolution making Alabama the first state to adopt a new testing system aligned with the Common Core State Standards. ACT Aspire will become the annual reading and math assessment for grades three through eight. ACT Inc., reports the system is “fully aligned” with the common core standards that some lawmakers attempted to repeal earlier this year.
Lawmakers approve major changes in graduation requirements, online university
Florida lawmakers approved S.B. 1076, which would create distinct high school diplomas for college-bound students seeking an academic challenge and students headed into the workforce. The sweeping bill also would designate a “preeminent research university” based on student performance, research spending, and national rankings, among other factors. Those universities would receive additional money to create an online learning institute.
K-12 Issues in mix as State Legislatures wrap up
State lawmakers continue to grapple with high-profile K-12 issues as legislative sessions approach or cross the finish line nationwide. School choice, school safety, and education funding are prominent among them. And despite setbacks in two Southern states for efforts to force withdrawal from the Common Core State Standards, bills that would do so are alive in three states in the Midwest.
Arizona Daily Star
Gov. signs bill creating school performance plan
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1293, which sets up a pilot project that provides simulated base funding of $6,500 per student in grades one through eight and $7,500 for high school students for a handful of districts and charter schools. Half the money would be tied to students’ performance, and an additional $250 awarded for each student that gets a B or better on math and science classes.
The New York Times
Opinion: Raising standards for our teachers
Teacher effectiveness is the great enigma. Higher professional standards for classroom teachers (comparable to law and medicine), as advocated by Mr. Mehta, appear to be a good idea. But can we truly predict what makes pupils respond to teachers in the classroom? A teacher could brilliantly ace those professional licensing requirements and still fail at communicating in the classroom.
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