April 8, 2013
The News Journal
Pencader seeks $350,000 bailout from state
Pencader Business and Finance Charter School in New Castle, which is set to close at the end of the academic year. Over the past few weeks, however, school leaders have been saying they don’t even have enough money to finish the year. That has raised anxiety among parents and students. The state Department of Education is set to give the state Board of Education an update on the situation this morning. Pencader is seeking a $350,000 bailout to finish the year or send its students back to their feeder public schools. The state revoked Pencader’s charter in February, citing financial mismanagement by previous school leaders. A spokeswoman said state officials didn’t want to comment on their possible action. But she released a statement from the agency placing blame for the crisis squarely on Pencader leaders.
Delaware’s education budget fares well comparatively
An opinion by Ann Shepard Visalli, Director of the state Office of Management and Budget, and Mark Murphy, Secretary of the state Department of Education
Sunday’s News Journal article, “Slashed Spending Strains Districts,” raised a number of important issues about education funding in Delaware. education has fared well, especially compared to other parts of government. For example, while the number of employees in Cabinet agencies has decreased by approximately 500 people since 2009, the number of people employed in school districts has grown by more than 1,200 during the same time period. That’s a 7 percent increase. We have made difficult cuts in many places, but every effort has been made to keep those cuts from impacting our classrooms. That is why the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities recently named Delaware as just one of 13 states in the country that have increased per pupil education funding over the last five years.
The New York Times
More college applicants aren’t welcome till winter
Exact numbers are not available, but according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, over the last few years more and more colleges have been sending out a new kind of acceptance letter, inviting some applicants to wait until the new year before showing up. Back in 2001, when U.S.C. started doing it, Timothy Brunold, the director of admissions, said he assumed the university was a pioneer. Now the list includes, among others, Skidmore College, Hamilton College, Brandeis University, the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Elon University in North Carolina and Middlebury College (which actually beat U.S.C. to the punch by a few decades).
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia hopes to launch online cyber school in fall
Come September, the district – pending School Reform Commission approval Thursday night – will launch the Philadelphia Virtual Academy, an online school for city sixth through 12th graders. The move could net the financially distressed district millions of dollars. This year, about 6,000 city students are enrolled in cyber charters, at a cost to the school system of about $60 million. “Here in Philadelphia, we want to begin to compete for students,” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Wednesday. It’s a big step for a slow-to-change bureaucracy. Since arriving in Philadelphia in the fall, Hite has said he wants to develop “innovative school models that will provide options for many of our students who are not as successful as we want them to be in traditional comprehensive high schools.”
The Washington Post
ACT survey finds gap on college readiness
Heads up, high schools: Your graduates may not be as ready for college as you think they are. New survey results from the ACT assessment organization, made public Wednesday, show a disconnect on the crucial question of college readiness. Eighty-nine percent of high school teachers surveyed said students who finished their classes were well or very well prepared for college work in those subjects. But 26 percent of college instructors say incoming students are well or very well prepared for first-year courses, the survey found. The results echoed previous findings in 2009, even though there has been intensive focus on college readiness in recent years.
The Wall Street Journal
Before tougher state tests, officials prepare parents
New York City’s education department launched an ad blitz to get the message out that students are being held to the new higher Common Core standards, the day before students start taking tougher state tests. State Education Commissioner John King Jr. said he wouldn’t be surprised if the number of students deemed proficient in math or English dropped by 35 percentage points.
Bowling Green Daily News
Beshear supports rants for raising dropout age
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear defended a plan to delve out $570,000 to help as many as 57 districts with the costs of raising the minimum age for quitting school to 18. The legislature passed a law specifying that after 55% of districts increase the dropout age to 18, then all remaining districts must follow suit within four years.