July 31, 2013
The News Journal
Conservative groups bemoan lack of local education oversight
A growing national debate over the use of Common Core State Standards in schools was on display Tuesday night during a panel discussion by conservative activists who said the standards are taking decisions about education out of the hands of parents and local school boards. “If the decisions are being made far away, not even in your own state, how do you make sure the changes are in your children’s best interests?” said Nick Loffer of Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group.
The Town Square
The school issue
An opinion by John Connolly
Ironically, the ostensible improvements in Delaware’s education system have received a plethora of attention from both the news media and the Markell administration. Delaware finished first out of about 40 states in the Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition, allowing Delaware to receive funding for its stated goals, which include, among others, “providing deep support to the state’s lowest achieving schools,” and “elevating the education profession.” This should be terrific news for much of the state; these aims are noble and worthwhile. But Delaware’s Achilles’ heel with education has long been that it spends piles of money—to minimal success.
The Los Angeles Times
$20-million Walton donation will boost Teach for America in L.A.
The Arkansas-based Walton Family Foundation announced Wednesday that it is donating $20 million to a nonprofit that recruits talented college graduates to teach in public schools for two years. The largest number of instructors, more than 700, is slated for Los Angeles. The gift is a continuation of support that has totaled more than $100 million to New York City-based Teach for America over its 24 years. Walton’s cumulative contribution to TFA in Los Angeles is more than $10 million, according to the foundation. “With this critical investment, Teach for America will be able to bring effective teachers into some of the most under-resourced classrooms in the country while simultaneously working to develop more of our talented corps members as long-term champions of educational equity and excellence,” said Matt Kramer, co-chief executive officer of Teach for America, in a statement.
What happens to Finland’s well-educated young people?
Commentary by Nancy Hoffman
What happens to these well-educated Finnish students after they complete their nine years of compulsory school. Are they all college graduates who settle nicely into careers? Last fall, I went to Finland to have a look. Some data provide a context for what I saw. After compulsory education ends at around age 15, all but 9 percent of students either enter vocational education and training, or VET, or enroll in academic upper-secondary education, with about an equal division between the two options, I was told. About 80 percent of academic education students complete their studies in the traditional three years and leave school at around age 19. Most of these academic students take the national university-matriculation exam, and about 65 percent of those who pass are admitted.
Three states get Race to Top early-learning boost
Colorado, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—winners in the Department of Education’s second round of the Race to the Top early-learning competition—are getting some additional cash, the states announced. The department is planning to hold another round of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge competition this year. And apparently, these states aren’t the only ones that might get federal help in revamping their early-childhood education programs. The department is planning to hold yet another round of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge competition this year, said Cameron French, a spokesman for the department. More details—including how much money states are competing for—are likely soon. But it seems the contest would be similar to previous ones, and would be administered jointly by the Education Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Pence withdraws Indiana from new multi-state test, commits to ISTEP+
Indiana will continue designing and managing the standardized tests administered to students after Gov. Mike Pence announced that the state intends to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which is developing assessments for the Common Core standards. Lawmakers previously approved legislation “pausing” the state’s Common Core implementation. Indiana joined PARCC in spring 2010 under Republican Tony Bennett, the former state superintendent for public instruction. The State Board of Education, whose members were appointed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, adopted Common Core as the state educational standards in August 2010.
The Washington Post
Rand Paul wants more school choice for poor, minority students
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants children — especially minority and poor children — to have more choices in education. He wants more public charter schools. He wants more vouchers, so that students can use tax money to enroll in private schools. He says students ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood and property lines. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants children — especially minority and poor children — to have more choices in education. He wants more public charter schools. He wants more vouchers, so that students can use tax money to enroll in private schools. He says students ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood and property lines.
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