April 22, 2013
Delaware’s new writing standards seek to improve lagging skills in K-12 students
Common Core standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations that determine what knowledge and skills will help students succeed. Local teachers, principals, superintendents and others will decide how the standards are to be met. But the bottom line is that educators must rethink the teaching of reading and writing. John Sell, an English teacher at Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown and the 2013 Delaware State Teacher of the Year, says the new curriculum will help teachers challenge students who are savvy with information they can access day and night.
The News Journal
Christina may have hearing over funds
The Christina School District could get one last hearing before a final decision on whether the state will revoke $2.3 million in Race to the Top money, according to letters exchanged between the district and state officials. Meanwhile, the Department of Education still is processing an alternative proposal from the district’s school board.
TFA alumni aid new teachers in New Orleans
The New Teachers’ Roundtable is not the only group that is trying to understand the role and impact of the influx of new teachers that has come to the city since Hurricane Katrina. Individual schools and training programs like TFA, which grew dramatically in the city following the storm, are also examining their recruitment and professional-development models, looking to create better matches between students and teachers.
The New York Times
Moving ahead with Common Core
New York City parents are understandably nervous about tough new state tests that were rolled out last week. And some parents whose children have already taken the tests are outraged. They shouldn’t be: the tests, which measure math and English skills, are an essential part of rigorous education reforms known as Common Core that seek to improve reasoning skills and have been adopted by 45 states.
The first race to the top
An opinion by William Reese, Professor of educational policy studies and history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
It turns out that the race to the top has a lot of history behind it. Members of the Boston School Committee fired the first shots in the testing wars in the summer of 1845. Traditionally, an examination committee periodically inspected the local English grammar schools, questioned some pupils orally, then wrote brief, perfunctory reports that were filed and forgotten.
Helping teachers learn
An op-ed by Brent Staples
The school cheating scandal in Atlanta that led to criminal indictments against dozens of teachers, principals and administrators last month contains at least three lessons for states that are developing teacher evaluation systems. The first is that overemphasizing scores is a mistake. The second is that teacher evaluation systems — now under development in most states — will be of little use unless they include mechanisms for showing teachers who receive average ratings how to become great, or at least good, at what they do. And finally, the country will not build a first-rate teacher corps solely by threatening to fire people who are less than perfect early in their careers.
Republicans versus the business community
An op-ed by Brent Staples
Republican office holders played a central role in the thirty-year process that forced the country to finally focus on repairing its generally mediocre public school system. But just last week, the Republican National Committee came out strongly against the standards and is pressuring the states to renounce them, on federalist grounds. And in an unfortunate turn of events, the state legislature of Alabama is considering a bill that would back away from the standards as adopted by the state board of education.