April 2, 2013
The News Journal
School board recording bill gets critical feedback
As legislators try to make school boards more transparent by requiring them to post recordings of their meetings online, some district officials are concerned a measure to do just that would pass an unfunded mandate onto them. “It’s part of a movement toward more open government,” said Rep. Deborah Hudson, R-Faircloth, the bill’s sponsor. “We want the public to be able to go back and see what these boards are doing.”
The Rodel Blog
Help wanted: personalized learning, early learning
Knoxville News Sentinel
Bill tying student performance to welfare benefits advancing in Legislature
Legislation to cut welfare benefits of parents with children performing poorly in school has cleared committees of both the House and Senate after being revised to give the parents several ways to avoid the reductions. The state Department of Human Services, which worked with Republican sponsors to draft the changes, withdrew its previous opposition to SB132. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school.
The New York Times
Curious grade for teachers: nearly all pass
Across the country, education reformers and their allies in both parties have revamped the way teachers are graded, abandoning methods under which nearly everyone was deemed satisfactory, even when students were falling behind. More than half the states now require new teacher evaluation systems and, thanks to a deal announced last week in Albany, New York City will soon have one, too. The changes, already under way in some cities and states, are intended to provide meaningful feedback and, critically, to weed out weak performers. Advocates of education reform concede that such rosy numbers, after many millions of dollars developing the new systems and thousands of hours of training, are worrisome.
The Washington Post
D.C. schools use spring break to teach students through travel
As spring break begins Monday for public schools across the District, students are fanning out across the globe on trips designed to impart lessons that can’t be learned from a book. More than a dozen students from Washington Metropolitan High, a D.C. alternative school, and the selective School Without Walls are journeying to West Africa. They will practice French in Dakar, see the shocking pink waters of Senegal’s salty Lake Retba and witness a slice of rural life in the Casamance region.
Inside Higher Ed
Attracting the missing students
In December, a study revealed that most low-income, high-achieving high school students aren’t applying to a single competitive college. Now a follow-up project has found that relatively inexpensive methods exist that could get many more of these talented, low-income student to apply to, enroll at, and succeed at the most competitive colleges.
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Jindal proposes letter grades, new accountability standards for public pre-K programs
The Jindal administration will spearhead legislation to enforce new accountability standards for Louisiana’s early childhood education programs, the governor’s office announced. Three bills would require public pre-K programs to conform to quality and readiness standards to receive state funding.