May 8, 2013
The News Journal
Retooled Appoquinimink school tax referendum is less ambitious
Supporters of Thursday’s tax referendum in the Appoquinimink School District say they believe the district has learned its lesson and pitched a more reasonable tax increase. But critics say their taxes already are too high and argue the school board needs to make the same sacrifices many households are making. The district is asking voters to approve an increase of 15 cents for every $100 of assessed property value. The average property owner would pay about $11 more a month, or $132 more a year. The proposal is about half that of a referendum voters rejected in February.
Lobbying reform and school choice bills clear House
House lawmakers also unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday that would streamline Delaware’s school choice program. That program allows parents to apply to send their child to a school outside of their home district or charter and vocational/technical schools. The bill also seeks to eliminate discrimination. Schools would have to treat choice applicants the same way they treat their regular students.
Rewards for schools key facet of NCLB waivers
One of the chief complaints about the No Child Left Behind Act has been that districts and schools that fail to meet achievement targets face serious sanctions, while schools that do a good job of closing the gaps between traditionally overlooked groups of students and their peers essentially get little in return. To help alleviate those concerns, the U.S. Department of Education asked states to identify so-called “reward schools” in their applications for waivers easing demands of the NCLB law, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which Congress has yet to revise.
The Center for Education Reform press release
Louisiana High Court violates parent rights
In a clear violation of the civil rights of parents and children, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an opinion today in a 6-1 decision that the funding method employed in the Louisiana Scholarship Program is unconstitutional. In the majority opinion, Justice John Weimer wrote in part, “The state funds approved through the unique Minimum Foundation Program process cannot be diverted to nonpublic schools or other nonpublic course providers according to the clear, specific and unambiguous language of the constitution.”
The Washington Post
Thousands fail high school math finals in Montgomery
Thousands of students in Montgomery County failed final exams in high school math courses last semester, according to data that raise questions about how well students have learned the material and whether there is a disconnect between the test and the course work. Recently released figures show failure rates of 62 percent for high school students taking the county’s geometry final and 57 percent for those taking the Algebra 2 exam. Among students taking the same courses on the honors level, 30 percent to 36 percent failed the end-of-semester tests in January, according to data from the school system.
Inside Higher Ed
Low bar, high failure
Community colleges set a low bar for students during their first year of enrollment, with lax academic standards in literacy and math, according to a National Center on Education and the Economy study. And many students fail to meet even those minimal expectations. But there are no simple fixes because community colleges likely are reacting to the inadequate preparation of incoming students.
Lawmakers boost education spending, expand online learning
Florida teachers won raises. Districts got a boost in per-pupil funding. Charter schools nearly doubled their construction and maintenance dollars. When it came to the state budget, education was one of the session’s biggest winners. Lawmakers also tweaked the state’s high-school graduation requirements and put new emphasis on career and technical training. And online learning was expanded for K-12 and higher education.
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