May 15, 2013
The Cape Gazette
Parents, teachers protest Milton school split
Superintendent Robert Fulton presented a proposal at the April board meeting to reconfigure the Milton elementary schools by placing kindergarten to second-grade students in H.O. Brittingham Elementary School and third- to fifth-grade students in Milton Elementary School after board members had expressed interest in resolving inequities at the two schools that lie less than a mile apart. Board members appeared open to the idea of a grade split for the Milton schools until a contingent of parents and teachers from Milton Elementary came out against the plan. “I heard from my constituents, and I’ve heard them loud and clear,” said board member Sandi Minard.
School board election results
Seven unofficial winners in Tuesday’s school board elections in the New Castle County districts. Kelly Wright won Appoquinimink’s at-large seat over three other candidates, while in Brandywine, Joseph Brumskill, Cara Stanard and Ralph Ackerman were all victorious. In Christina, Harrie-Ellen Minnehan is a winner, and the winners in Red Clay include Adriana Leela Bohm and Kenneth Woods.
Bill streamlining Delaware’s school choice program poised to become law
A bill streamlining the state’s school choice program met little resistance in its quick trip through the General Assembly. Senators wasted little time in unanimously passing the measure Tuesday, only asking for a few clarifications.
Florida teacher lawsuit could spread to other states
The lawsuit filed by seven Florida teachers last month, challenging the constitutionality of the state’s new teacher evaluation system, was touted as the first of its kind, but it’s unlikely to be the last. The teachers’ complaint, backed by the state’s largest teacher union–the Florida Education Association–and the National Education Association (NEA), centered on one fact: the new system, which required student performance to make up a certain percentage of a teacher’s annual performance review, led to teachers being evaluated based on the test scores of students they had never taught. Sometimes, they were judged by the test scores of students from another school altogether. The lawsuit alleges that this method of assessment infringes on the teachers’ due process and equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution, because the Florida law allows evaluations to be used in personnel decisions, including raises and terminations.
The Seattle Times
Seattle high schools can omit MAP exams
Teachers protesting the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests in Seattle won a big victory Monday, as Superintendent José Banda announced that high schools don’t have to give the tests after this spring. The decision will be up to each high school’s leadership team, Banda said in a letter to staff. All other schools in the district must continue to give MAP reading and math exams at least twice a year, despite the call from hundreds of teachers and parents to scrap the test altogether. But high schools, where the MAP boycott has been strongest, can be free of the exams if they choose, although they will be required to come up with some other way to track the progress of students who are behind.
New attack on Common Core from Pennsylvania Democrats
Upset about what they see as the “sham” the Common Core State Standards will become without adequate funding to support it, a group of Pennsylvania Democratic state senators are claiming that the new standards will only bring misery, in the form of greatly damaged graduation rates, if major changes aren’t made.
Kansas Common Core critics voice concerns
Critics of the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to adopt national standards for math and reading urged the board to reconsider its decision to join the education program. Opponents of the Common Core standards, which were developed by a national consortium, spent nearly two hours criticizing the standards during a hearing Tuesday.
The Washington Post
U-Va. MOOC finds high attrition, high satisfaction
Ordinarily, a professor would worry if only one out of every 10 students passed a class. But University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow seems enormously pleased with such results from the course he just finished teaching on the history of the modern world. About 10 percent passed his class. That works out to nearly 5,000 of roughly 47,000 who registered. Much is made of the gargantuan number of students who sign up for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. After all, that is why they are called massive. Coursera, the Web platform that hosted Zelikow’s MOOC and many others, has drawn more than 3.5 million registered users. EdX, another MOOC platform, has more than 890,000.