August 14, 2013
The News Journal
Grade marks ‘erosion’ as teachers lose confidence in state evaluation process
Growing numbers of Delaware teachers are dissatisfied with the state assessment used to judge their performance, results from a statewide survey show. “There is an erosion in the confidence teachers have,” said Delaware Education Association President Frederika Jenner. Christopher Ruszkowsi, head of teacher and leader effectiveness for the Department of Education, says state officials are listening and working to allay teachers’ concerns.
New leaders at two Brandywine high schools
Brandywine and Mount Pleasant high schools have new principals, Superintendent Mark Holodick said. Wally Waite will take over as acting principal at Brandywine High, and Heather Austin will have the same role at Mount Pleasant. Both had been assistant principals at their schools.
College board enters expanding common-test market
The College Board is redesigning four of its testing programs so they reflect the Common Core State Standards and can be used for accountability, a project that adds yet another player to the list of companies seeking to take on new roles in a shifting nationwide assessment landscape. The New York City-based nonprofit announced last year that it would align its college-entrance exam, the SAT, to the common standards.
A look at ELL performance so far on Common-Core-aligned tests
Student performance on New York’s new Common Core aligned tests was weak across the board, but the results were particularly low for English-language learners. Only 3.2% of ELL students were proficient in English/language arts, while 9.8% were so in math. Last year, when the state tests were different, 11.7% of ELLs in grades 3-8 reached proficiency or higher in ELA, while 34.4% were proficient in math.
The New York Times
In testing, a principal leans on her experience
Since 2000, Anna Allanbrook has been the principal of Public School 146 in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, one of the highest achieving elementary schools in the city. It is so popular that each year she holds an admissions lottery — last spring, 1,538 children applied for 175 slots. As principal, it is her job to make sure children learn (94.9 percent of the fourth graders were proficient on the 2012 state math test); hire talented teachers (Antoinette Byam, for one, has been awarded grants to study in Ghana, Peru and Mexico and used the research to develop a fifth-grade curriculum on Mayan culture); create an environment where good teachers thrive (the turnover rate is 4 percent ); and encourage families to be involved (she holds weekly breakfasts with parents.) She also believes it is her job is to shield students, teachers and parents from the state’s ever-expanding standardized testing system and to question its reliability publicly.
NCTQ doesn’t know what works
An opinion by Jay P. Greene
“We know what works” has been the traditional refrain of the teachers unions. If only everyone else would just do what we think is best, they suggest, education would be much improved. With its rating of teacher prep programs, the National Council on Teacher Quality has joined the “we know what works” chorus — the only difference being that NCTQ is singing from a different hymnal. Unfortunately, NCTQ is no more able to identify the true faith of education policies and practices than are the teachers unions. Education reform would benefit from less false confidence in knowing what works and more encouragement of experimentation, choice, and competition.
Superintendent says culture will change in Santa Barbara School District
The Santa Barbara Unified School District will focus on changing its culture and teaching style in the coming year, as teachers, staff and administrators prepare for the Common Core State Standards. Superintendent Dave Cash on Tuesday briefed reporters on plans for the 2013-14 year, and emphasized that the district will be going through a transition for the next two years, with big expansions in technology use in the classroom, teacher-to-teacher collaboration, restorative-discipline programs and closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged Latino students and advantaged white students in the K-12 schools.
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