April 25, 2013
Delaware State News
Panel passes gun-free school zones bill
Legislation which would establish safe, gun-free school zones, passed the House Education Committee Thursday. House Bill 67, bans the possession of firearms in schools and on school property, which includes school buses. The bill is a component of Gov. Jack A. Markell’s five-prong legislative plan to reform gun control in Delaware. “No single bill is going to solve the problem, but I think this bill is part of the solution in providing our children a safe environment,” said Rep. Darryl M. Scott, D-Dover, the bill’s sponsor.
The News Journal
Colonial readies layoffs
The Colonial School District will lay off 72 people, including 58 teachers, if voters don’t approve a tax increase, according to a plan approved by the school board Tuesday night. Colonial is asking district voters to approve a June 4 referendum that would increase taxes to 35 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That would increase the average taxpayer’s bill by $197 a year. The proposal is estimated to raise $9.6 million, money the district said it badly needs to cover increased personnel costs like health care and retirement. Voters overwhelmingly rejected a larger referendum in February that would have increased the average tax bill by $265 a year. Superintendent Dorothy Linn said her administration handed out letters Wednesday to staff members who might be affected by the cut.
IRSD to offer second Spanish immersion program
This fall, the Indian River School District will add East Millsboro Elementary School to its roster of facilities offering the Spanish immersion program. The program, which is an initiative out of Gov. Jack Markell’s office, was first instituted last year at John M. Clayton Elementary School. “Because of the success of our students at John M. Clayton, we wanted to replicate the program,” said Audrey Carey, supervisor of elementary instruction for IRSD.
The Dover Post
School safety plan software, implementation process unveiled
Delaware is looking to become the first state to implement a comprehensive school safety plan. Previously the creation and implementation of such plans was in the hands of each individual school or district; however under the Omnibus School Safety Act, which was signed into law roughly eight months ago, responsibility was turned over to the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “Though all schools have school safety plans, the quality of them has been quite mixed,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “We were committed to fixing that.” The act designates school staff as first responders and it allows emergency services personnel the tools necessary to access school safety information. Markell, Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) and Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis Schirillo made a presentation at Polytech High School in Woodside on Wednesday, announcing progress of the creation and implementation of the plans.
A nation at risk: where are we now?
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the release of A Nation at Risk, the landmark report declared that “the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people.” Here is a look at comparative data on American education over the decades since the report, highlighting academic, demographic, and other trends. Check out comments on Nation at Risk.
California educators sued over English instruction
About 20,000 students in California who need to learn English aren’t getting adequate language instruction, according to a lawsuit against the state and education workers filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Under state and federal law, schools are required to teach non-English speakers the language, but by its own records, the state isn’t offering English instruction to nearly 20,000 students. The suit alleges that lack of instruction has meant some children had to be held back a grade or live with low proficiency scores because of a language barrier.
The Washington Post
Maryland ‘on track’ on federal teacher evaluation deadline, state says
Maryland officials say they are confident the state will meet federal deadlines to develop new teacher evaluation systems requiring the use of standardized test scores.
It’s a sharp turnaround for the Maryland State Department of Education. In December, the U.S. Department of Education told Maryland officials the state was at risk of losing about $40 million in Race to the Top Funds for falling behind on developing new teacher evaluation systems. About a month later, the federal agency released a report showing Maryland was behind in implementing Race to the Top requirements.
Florida enacts sweeping education changes
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed into law a sweeping education bill that rolls back graduation standards adopted just three years ago. The far-reaching measure also sets the stage for the University of Florida to take the lead in online education in the state. The state’s most prestigious university would gain the right to offer bachelor degrees completely online. Scott predicted the measure would transform education and help high school graduates go down a pathway that would lead to a job. “This legislation will help us take a giant step forward,” Scott said. The measure was passed overwhelmingly by the Florida Legislature and included top priorities of both Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford. The new law (SB 1076) makes changes to everything from testing requirements to the addition of a financial literacy requirement for high school students to learn about credit cards, debt and identity theft. The main part of the legislation allows students to graduate from high school even if they don’t complete tough classes in both math and science.