April 3, 2013
The Cape Gazette
Jennifer Ranji sworn in as cabinet secretary for Department of Services for Children, Youth and their families
The state agency responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of children throughout Delaware has a new leader. Jennifer Ranji was sworn in as the seventh cabinet secretary for the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families March 25. Ranji was joined by members of her family, Gov. Jack Markell, DSCYF staff, representatives from the Judiciary, General Assembly, Department of Justice, child advocacy organizations and special guests. The Oath of Office was administered by Thomas P. McGonigle, former chief of staff for Markell and Ranji’s supervisor when she served as the governor’s education policy advisor. “I am honored and excited for the opportunity to lead the department that works to address some of the most fundamental needs of our kids – the need to be safe, to be supported, to be healthy, and to make good choices for themselves and their communities,” said Ranji. “I look forward to using my background in child advocacy and policy so we can continue to improve positive outcomes for the youth and families that we serve.”
The News Journal
Opinion: School boards should adapt to the digital age
Sometimes government proposals are wrongly framed. For example, a General Assembly bill would require the state’s school boards to record their meetings and then post the recordings on their websites. It has been presented as, at best, a burden of open government, or, at worst, another unfunded mandate imposed by the state on the school districts. Either view, of course, is nonsense.
Test groups weigh unified accommodations policies
A patchwork of testing accommodations is used in the nation’s public schools to help students with disabilities and those still learning English show their command of academic content, just as their general education peers do. The list of accommodations—providing extra time, allowing the use of dictionaries, and reading test directions aloud, to name a few—has ballooned in the No Child Left Behind Act era. Schools have been under pressure to demonstrate how well they are educating all students, including those with special needs. Some researchers estimate as many as 100 different accommodations are used for students with disabilities and English-language learners in states and local districts.
With GOP advocate, Ed. issues could gain steam in Congress
Education issues—which haven’t gotten a lot of attention from Congress over the past four years—may have picked up an unlikely but powerful advocate: U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor. As the majority leader in the House of Representatives, the Virginia Republican has a major role in setting the agenda for the chamber. Mr. Cantor found plenty of agreement on the need to shrink the federal footprint on education policy. But the local education leaders made it clear that they weren’t too happy with sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal funding, including aid for K-12, that have begun to take effect.
Indiana links college performance, aid
Indiana has developed an evolving performance-based funding formula in an effort to increase the number of college graduates. The formula rewards schools for growth in number of overall degrees, on-time graduation rates, retention, and number of degrees in STEM and for students receiving Pell grants. Lawmakers want to raise the performance-based calculation from 5% to 7% of each school’s state funding.
The New York Times
Opinion: By Thomas Freidman
My little (global) school
There was a time when middle-class parents in America could be — and were — content to know that their kids’ public schools were better than those in the next neighborhood over. As the world has shrunk, though, the next neighborhood over is now Shanghai or Helsinki. So, last August, I wrote a column quoting Andreas Schleicher — who runs the global exam that compares how 15-year-olds in public schools around the world do in applied reading, math and science skills — as saying imagine, in a few years, that you could sign on to a Web site and see how your school compares with a similar school anywhere in the world. And then you could take this information to your superintendent and ask: “Why are we not doing as well as schools in China or Finland?”
Opening a gateway for girls to enter the computer field
Girls Who Code is among the recent crop of programs intended to close the gender gap in tech by intervening early, when young women are deciding what they want to study. With names like Hackbright Academy, Girl Develop It, Black Girls Code and Girls Teaching Girls to Code, these groups try to present a more exciting image of computer science. The paucity of women in the tech industry has been well documented. Even though women represent more than half the overall work force, they hold less than a quarter of computing and technical jobs, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology based at the University of Colorado, Boulder. At the executive and founder levels, women are even scarcer.