May 17, 2013
The News Journal
Christina pulls out of fight with Delaware
Christina School District has withdrawn its request for a hearing in its feud with the state over $2.3 million in federal Race to the Top money, which means the district will likely lose those funds. The money has been tied up for months in a battle between the district and the state Department of Education over a plan to attract top-flight teachers to low-performing schools. The state wanted Christina to give $20,000 over two years to only the most elite teachers, while administrators proposed giving much smaller bonuses to more teachers or boosting technology in struggling schools.
Toughened teacher preparation standards in Delaware win final approval
Delaware lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a measure that aims to strengthen teacher preparation standards at the state’s colleges and universities, a proposal that was central to Gov. Jack Markell’s legislative agenda. The changes, proposed in Markell’s State of the State address in January, passed 37-2 in the House. It passed the Senate earlier this month and now heads to Markell’s desk for his signature. “We want to attract the best candidates into the teaching profession because our state’s success in the future is dependent on how well we educate our children today,” Markell said in a statement after the House action.
Do new exams produce better teachers? States act while educators debate
Mario Martinez has until the fall to hone his skills before he will be sent into a classroom to practice as a student teacher. And he has at least a year before he will have to prove that he can not only teach math, but also create tests and analyze student results. It is a skill that many educators say is a sign of a good teacher, and one so important it was included in a lengthy exit exam that all aspiring teachers must take before they receive a teaching credential from the state.
The Washington Post
Microsoft donates $1 million to help expand ‘blended learning’ in D.C. schools
Microsoft has donated $1 million to help D.C. teachers redesign their classrooms using a “blended learning” approach that combines online learning with face-to-face instruction. Blended learning has drawn both excitement and skepticism as it has exploded in popularity in recent years. Boosters believe that technology could transform schools and give students a more personalized learning experience, while critics fear that when executed poorly, blended approaches reduce learning to clicks on a computer.
Measure what matters in education
A hallmark of leading business management and public policy design today is an increased reliance on measuring results. If you don’t track your performance, you can’t tell if you’re improving, and you have no reliable way to know whether your improvement strategies are having the desired effects. Resistance to measurement can often reflect a reluctance to face up to the need for sometimes unpleasant but vitally important change. Yet measuring outcomes badly or incompletely brings risks and pitfalls of its own. Getting measurement wrong, whether because it is too narrow or too loosely connected to the outcome you really care about, can lead to disappointment or worse. This problem is exacerbated when rewards or punishments are connected to performance on the measures you are using.
Deal signs order addressing Common Core standards
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order putting in place restrictions on the Common Core State Standards. Under the order, the state will be prohibited from collecting certain information on students and their families. The order also requires any proposed changes to state educational standards shall be posted for public review and comment for at least 60 days.
House revises reading plan for Ohio schools
In response to concerns over Ohio’s new early reading guarantee, the House approved S.B. 21 to expand the pool of teachers who can provide reading instruction and tutoring for students. The bill also says that districts or charters that score a D or F on the K-3 literacy-progress test for two consecutive years and have fewer than 60% of 3rd-graders proficient on the English test must submit reading-improvement plans. See ECS’ summary of reading policies.
Related Topics: assessments, blended learning, college & career readiness, Darryl Scott, Data Systems, DDOE, Delaware legislature, Delaware State University, Georgia, Governor Markell, high-need schools, high-need students, Higher Education, Linda Darling-Hammond, Microsoft, NewSchools Venture Fund, Ohio, Online Learning, philanthropy, STEM, Teacher Effectiveness, teacher incentives, teacher training, University of Delaware, Wesley College, Wilmington University