April 29, 2013
The News Journal
Let’s start treating teachers as true professionals
An opinion by Dick Gephardt, Dean Emeritus of the College of Fine and Performing Arts at Rowan University
More money is a motivating force, but it is not at all certain that all of the teachers who did not receive a bonus would be motivated – or even know how – to improve their performance for the next evaluative cycle. Therefore, the goal – which is to improve student learning – might not be achieved through these means. Gov. Jack Markell states, “We have a serious problem retaining our new teachers … Close to two in five new teachers leave teaching in our state within four years.” This is a serious problem. Under the current system, teachers feel they have little control over what goes on in the schools – yet they are the first blamed when things are not at the quality level that is expected.
Legislature looks at revamping Delaware’ s school choice program
A former school board member turned state lawmaker is looking to streamline Delaware’s school choice program this session. Rep. Kimberly Williams (D-Stanton) is sponsoring a bill that would standardize application forms and deadlines at every school and establish anti-discrimination processes. Parents can use the program to apply to send their child to a school outside of their home district or charter and vocational/technical schools. Williams says she saw confusion among families using the program during her time as a Red Clay School District board member. “Basically, [you] need a law degree to figure out Choice in the State of Delaware,” said Williams. “So we are trying to make it much easier for parents to access on the [Department of Education’s] website, dates to be consistent and the criteria to be somewhat the same.”
Video: First Person: Dorothy Linn
The Superintendent of the Colonial School District, Dr. Dorothy Linn talks about that district’s push for a tax increase scheduled for a June vote. She outlines why it is needed and what could happen if it is defeated.
Charter School research largely positive, says new summary
A new research summary from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools found that the research on charter school performance over the past four years has been largely positive. The report examined 14 different studies from 2010-13 and found that all but one showed charter students outperforming their regular public school peers.
Michigan House approves budget stripping Common Core Funds
The Michigan House has approved a budget that would prohibit any general funds from being spent to implement the Common Core State Standards or the Smarter Balanced assessments. The push against the Common Core this year began with H.B. 4276, which would prohibit the Common Core from being implemented in the state.
The Washington Post
State funding for preschool drops as Obama calls for expansion
State funding for preschool across the country dropped last school year after a decade of growth, tapping the brakes on the quality and reach of programs as President Obama has called for a massive expansion of early childhood education, according to a national survey scheduled for release Monday. Twenty-seven of the 40 states that fund preschool, including Maryland and Virginia, reported declines in spending per child. The District, the only city included in the report, bucked the trend with significant gains in spending and access for what is already one of the largest preschool programs in the country.
The Wall Street Journal
The diploma’s vanishing value
May 1 is fast approaching, and with it the deadline for high-school seniors to commit to a college. At kitchen tables across the country, anxious students and their parents are asking: Does it really matter where I go to school? When it comes to lifetime earnings, we’ve been told, a bachelor’s degree pays off six times more than a high-school diploma. The credential is all that matters, not where it’s from—a view now widely accepted. That’s one reason why college enrollment jumped by a third last decade and why for-profit schools that make getting a diploma ultra-convenient now enroll 1 in 10 college students.
The New York Times
No rich child left behind
An opinion by Sean F. Reardon, Professor of education and sociology at Stanford
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion. Whether you think it deeply unjust, lamentable but inevitable, or obvious and unproblematic, this is hardly news. It is true in most societies and has been true in the United States for at least as long as we have thought to ask the question and had sufficient data to verify the answer. What is news is that in the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially.