April 30, 2013
DEDO’s CDF approves $7M bonds for Sussex charter school
A state panel has approved up to $7 million in bond financing for a Sussex County charter school. The Council on Development Finance approved the request regarding the Sussex Academy of the Arts and Sciences at its meeting Monday in Dover.
Kindergarten survey finds educational gaps
Using a new survey tool, Delaware teachers are identifying educational gaps in the preparation of the youngest students so children can be referred for remedial help in the first few weeks of school. The survey, part of a state initiative to improve early education, calls for teachers to observe 34 items – from counting to grammar to physical development – so teachers can identify weaknesses and strengths in what the students know. During visits to several elementary schools over the last few weeks, Gov. Jack Markell said it is important for the state to fund early education to improve learning, starting with the youngest students. Markell said funding for the survey and the other improvements planned for early education came through a $22 million allocation from the state, paired with a $50 million federal grant.
The News Journal
Delaware’s schools lag – and everyone knows it
An opinion by John Stapleford, an economist, is a principal of Decon First, LLC
The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores posted on the state Department of Education’s website show that two-thirds of public school eighth-graders cannot read or do math with proficiency. This swells to more than 80 percent for black eighth-graders and 80 percent for students who are eligible for the national school lunch program. To meet this challenge and break this vicious cycle requires that teachers and administrators be allowed to be innovative and flexible. Systemic changes, such as magnet and charter schools and education savings accounts, will foster competition among schools and benefit parents who are allowed to choose.
New 3rd-grade reading requirement goes into effect this fall
Next year, Arizona 3rd-graders must pass a state reading test or risk being held back. But some research indicates that retaining students may not improve a student’s reading ability, can create social stigmas, and lead students to drop out of high school anyway. According to an ECS report, 32 states and Washington, D.C., have laws that identify and retain students if they are unable to read by 3rd grade.
CBS– St. Louis
Mo. may tighten state scholarship guidelines
The Missouri Senate is considering a bill to toughen attendance requirements for students receiving state-sponsored college scholarships in an effort to encourage them to graduate on time. Under S.B. 378, students would have to be continuously enrolled for a certain number of credit hours per semester in order to continue receiving state aid.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minnesota Senate passes education bill that ends high-stakes tests
The Minnesota Senate approved its version of the $15.7 billion education funding bill that switches to a new testing system that is focused on career and college goals and on early intervention. Opponents said the loss of a strict graduation test requirement means the state is cheapening the high school diploma.
Testing, the Common Core, and consumer resistance
Some consumers, evidently, have had enough. Parents in some schools are refusing to send their children to mandated testing sessions, and we have reports of teachers refusing to proctor them. What are we to make of this? I can think of no high-performing country we have studied in which we have seen this kind of resistance to the development of tests that we are now seeing in the United States. Why here, and now and what does it mean? The answer lies in the history of testing in the United States, and, especially recently, how we have used our tests.