April 9, 2013
The News Journal
Opinion: Some on Christina board take refuge in feigned fears
Two events are striking about last week’s Christina School Board meeting. First was the wasted time spent complaining about New Castle Councilman Jea Street’s letter, objecting to the board’s turning down $2.3 million of federal Race to the Top funds to help struggling high-poverty schools improve academically. He was clearly piqued at the board majority for a failure to give the public a sense of when it would be forthcoming with a response to the federal government’s ruling that it address unfair disciplinary action in the state’s second largest school district. Instead some board members stoked unimaginable fears of another possible
Opinion: Tom Gordon, Dennis Williams making some people squirm
Leave it to Tom Gordon and Dennis Williams to make some people uncomfortable. The New Castle County executive and the Wilmington mayor recently fired a broadside at the education establishment, It raised eyebrows, crossed jurisdictional boundaries and uncovered a trainload of truths not usually mentioned in polite society. They blasted the schools for the poor performance of Wilmington students, the huge dropout rate for minority children and the long hours riding buses to and from the classroom. The county executive and the mayor were not elected to fix the education system. They have no authority over the school districts.
Dollars to Delaware to help underperforming schools
Delaware is receiving $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education to help turn around its lowest performing schools. The money is from the School Improvement Grant, and Delaware is one of 13 states getting a piece. Delaware’s share is to continue a third year of helping under-performing schools reach new heights.
Cabinet Report in California
UC, CSU systems revamping A-G criteria in advance of common core
As California’s K-12 schools move to new common core curriculum, the state’s public four-year university systems are also revising their entrance course guidelines to provide clearer direction for high schools developing new standards-aligned, college-required classes. Known as “A-G” requirements, these high school courses that students must pass to be admitted to any of the state’s four-year, post-secondary institutions must meet certain specifications in order to be approved by a panel of collegiate subject-area experts. “With the common core state standards coming online, schools are creating interesting new courses that don’t necessarily fit into our old A-to-G guidelines,” said George Johnson, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley and chair of the UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools. “That’s why we’re reviewing our own guidelines and their alignment to common core – so A-to-G isn’t seen as a barrier to creating new courses.” California’s State Board of Education in 2010 adopted new curriculum standards in English language arts and math known as common core, and education officials and the state Legislature are in the midst of helping school districts through the time-consuming and expensive process of implementation.
The New York Times
Early college hopefuls
Across the country in communities like Newark, the early college high school model is being lauded as a way to provide low-income students with a road map to and through college. According to the most recent figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, 68 percent of all high school graduates make it to a two- or four-year institution, but only 52 percent of low-income students do the same. Of poor students in four-year institutions, only 47 percent graduate within six years, compared with 58 percent of the general population.
Leadership shifts at top of education associations
As groups representing local and state education players struggle to remain relevant in a policy conversation often dominated by foundations, think tanks, new advocacy groups, and political and business figures, a shift in leadership has been under way at major associations. Most of the changes have come as part of the natural churn; former directors retire or move on. But at the National School Boards Association and the National Association of State Boards of Education, the shifts have come hand in hand with changes in organizational goals. The NSBA is focusing on increasing the impact of its advocacy work, while NASBE hopes to find a leader who is more connected to state school boards to succeed one whose expertise was at the federal level.
Inside Higher Ed
One price in California
The new chancellor of California’s community colleges has indicated that he is opposed to attempts at charging “differential tuition” for certain programs or courses. Brice Harris said that such efforts, even if proposed for seemingly good reasons, go against California law and the deep commitment to affordable, open access at its community colleges
Great Falls Tribune
Montana House backs private school tax credits
The Montana House has given initial approval a measure that would provide $2.5 million in private school scholarships and public school grants. Senate Bill 81 would give tax credits to people who donate to organizations that provide scholarships to private schools and grants for new programs at public schools.
Minnesota Public Radio
State still waiting for teacher candidates two years into alternative system
More than two years after Minnesota lawmakers created easier ways for people to become teachers that doesn’t involve years of college, the state is still waiting to license a single teacher under the effort. The problem: no organizations have applied for approval to start training under the so-called alternative teacher licensure effort.
A voucher showdown during house budget debate
The Texas House sent a clear signal about their position on school vouchers with their approval of a budget bill amendment that would ban the use of public dollars for private schools. The Senate education chairman has proposed S.B. 23 that would allow businesses to receive up to a 15% state tax credit to pay for economically disadvantaged and at-risk students to attend private schools, including religious institutions.