April 8, 2013
The News Journal
Williams, Gordon rip school system
Wilmington students are dropping out at alarming rates and spending too much time riding school buses out of the city, problems that Mayor Dennis Williams and New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon argue are contributing to the city’s troubles. “Every day I’m dealing with gun violence. I’m dealing with unemployment. I’m dealing with all these problems that I believe are rooted in kids not finishing school,” Williams said. “This can no longer continue for us as a society. Our school leaders need to be pushed into doing better.”
Opinion By: John D. Ewald
Serving our students so they might serve our world
The Laurel School District and our community made a strong commitment to our students in October 2010. To serve our students and our community, a referendum was passed to build two new state-of-the-art schools. The construction of the new Laurel Middle School High School is underway. But, you can also see the construction as it takes place as you pass through our community. At this time, our students’ new Laurel Middle School High School is scheduled to open on time and under budget in the fall of 2014. This new facility will serve our students and our community well. In the very near future, plans for our Second District construction project will begin. Community advisory meetings will soon be scheduled and conducted for our new state-of-the-art Laurel Elementary School. We are working to assure that this second new building will also stay on time and under budget and open on time in the fall of 2016. This new facility will also serve our students and our community well.
Green Ribbon winners recognized in Gov’s weekly address
Three schools who have received Green Ribbon awards for their efforts to decrease their environmental footprints were recognized in the Governor’s weekly address.
Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, filling in for Gov. Markell this week, says Conrad Schools of Science and Richardson Park Elementary as well as St. Andrews School in Middletown have set positive examples for other schools in Delaware. “All these schools have undertaken significant work to reduce their environmental footprints and promote student learning,” Murphy says.
Smyrna school, state officials discuss progress of new program
Clayton Intermediate administrators and teachers got a chance to sit down and talk March 18 with not only Smyrna School District officials but with Delaware Department of Education officials to discuss the progress of DDOE’s Education Insight system. The Education Insight system is a project including web-based dashboards that provide educators with access to information on students to help manage academic performance and anticipate issues that could arise. Representatives from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation were also part of the discussion; some of the technology used in the Education Insight project was developed by the Foundation. During the discussion, administrators and teachers were able to explain what they like about the dashboards and what they dislike.
Common-Core curricula spark teacher resistance
Not long after New York state raised eyebrows with a curriculum solicitation that was anything but business-as-usual, it is triggering uneasiness among teachers who feel that tests are being given on the new standards too soon. At issue is a new, voluntary curriculum in mathematics and English/language arts that New York purchased from private vendors and is offering for free online as each piece is completed. Also at issue are new tests that the state had designed to reflect the Common Core State Standards, and which are scheduled to be given for the first time next month.
Report: State kindergarten policies show inequities
In 11 states and the District of Columbia, full-day kindergarten is a requirement, but in five states, the decision to offer kindergarten is left up to districts, according to a new ECS report. A “full day” of kindergarten can range from four to seven hours. And in 35 states, kindergarten attendance is not mandated even if it is available. The variation in policies means that some children are not receiving strong early-learning opportunities.
Newark Star Ledger
New school report cards coming from State Ed Dept
New Jersey’s annual report cards will now include new indicators of student performance. The report cards will compare high schools based on students’ PSAT scores and Advanced Placement course participation. They’ll also show which middle schools have the worst rates of chronic absenteeism and the highest numbers of students enrolled in Algebra I courses
Bangor Daily News
Bill could waive college tuition for academically strong students living in poverty
A proposed bill in Maine would cover college tuition for high-achieving high schoolers living in poverty. Under LD 962, students living in Maine households making less than $30,000 annually could go to college in the state without paying tuition if they graduate in the top 25% of their senior classes academically.
The Washington Post
Coursera looks to 2nd year of MOOCs
The online education company known as Coursera has racked up gaudy numbers within a year of its launch: 3.1 million users from around the world have signed up for an ever-expanding menu of courses offered for free from 62 leading colleges and universities. On Friday, hundreds of educators from those schools gathered at the University of Pennsylvania to take stock of a movement that is transforming higher education. Some participants in the massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, wonder whether the phenomenon is oversold. Some said it is improving teaching on campus. And many marveled at the sudden global reach of their work.
The New York Times
Opinion: The pitfalls of evaluating teachers
America’s schools have been largely inattentive to differences in teacher effectiveness for decades. Today, most teachers remain unaccustomed to receiving anything less than above-average evaluation ratings. Most principals have never before been asked to assess teacher effectiveness so rigorously. Many education leaders continue to resist the very notion that some teachers perform better than others. So it should come as no surprise that many districts and states are struggling against rating inflation and other challenges as they begin instituting better systems.