May 3, 2013
The News Journal
Delaware schools, students are making good progress
A letter to the editor by Paul Herdman and Ernie Dianastasis
In response to Dr. John Stapleford’s recent opinion, which asserts that most in the state are dissatisfied with our school system, we respectfully disagree. Enrollment is growing and many of our public schools are moving in the right direction.
Delaware State News
Teacher preparedness legislation passes Senate
A bill that looks to study and strengthen teacher preparedness in Delaware unanimously passed the state’s Senate Thursday. Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Sen. David P. Sokola, D-Newark, seeks to raise the standards of teacher preparation programs by setting competitive enrollment requirements, as well as a system of reporting to monitor program effectiveness.
The Education Gadfly Weekly
Conservatives and the Common Core
Though few Americans have ever heard of the “Common Core,” it’s causing a ruckus in education circles and turmoil in the Republican Party. Prompted by tea-party activists, a couple of talk-radio hosts and bloggers, a handful of disgruntled academics, and several conservative think tanks, the Republican National Committee recently adopted a resolution blasting the Common Core as “an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children.” Several red states that previously adopted it for their schools are on the verge of backing out. Indiana is struggling over exit strategies.
The New York Times
Figuring out how to give teachers useful feedback
When Texas lawmakers rolled out a framework for evaluating public schoolteachers more than 15 years ago, they intended to identify ways to strengthen the state’s teaching corps. But the regular result of the largely subjective evaluations since then has been: no improvement needed. Less than 3 percent of educators receive scores below the “proficient” level, and the variation in scores from year to year has been so small that state officials stopped collecting the data from school districts after the 2010-11 academic year.
The Washington Post
Some Coursera to offer MOOCs for teachers
The online education platform Coursera this week announced a new series of free courses to help elementary and secondary teachers improve their technique, with offerings from teaching experts at premier museums and universities. The U-Va. MOOC aims to help teachers “see and identify interactions that can be effective for kids’ learning,” such as feedback in early childhood settings. Yet another, from an organization called the New Teacher Center, is geared to helping teachers navigate new national standards for what students should learn, known as the “Common Core,” which have become somewhat controversial.
Los Angeles Times
Using technology to fight cheating in online education
Finding ways to thwart the ingenuity of computer-savvy students is crucial to proving Internet courses and diplomas are valid. Webcams and keystroke monitoring are among tools in use. While Jennifer Clay was at home taking an online exam for her business law class, a proctor a few hundred miles away was watching her every move. Using a webcam mounted in Clay’s Los Angeles apartment, the monitor in Phoenix tracked how frequently her eyes shifted from the computer screen and listened for the telltale sounds of a possible helper in the room. Her computer browser was locked — remotely — to prevent Internet searches, and her typing pattern was analyzed to make sure she was who she said she was: Did she enter her password with the same rhythm as she had in the past? Or was she slowing down? In the battle against cheating, this is the cutting edge — and a key to bolstering integrity in the booming field of online education.