August 29, 2012

August 29th, 2012

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Local News

Sussex County Post
Outside the box? School financing needs an equitable overhaul
An opinion by Rep. Dan Short
For too many years, public policymakers in Delaware have debated how to make school financing fair for all students. Yet, to date, the answers continue to be inadequate and school funding remains unequal across the districts. It’s time we start thinking innovatively on how to improve our school finance system if we care at all about the future of our state. I am willing to make that commitment to explore other, outside-the-box school finance options for our students’ sake.

Delaware Technical to offer new programs
Another new associate degree program was created to align with Governor Markell’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiative, which includes providing highly-qualifi ed teachers in those areas. The new associate degree program in Science Education Chemistry Physics prepares students to transfer to a four-year institution to obtain a bachelor’s degree and become a high school chemistry or physics teacher. The Department of Education consistently lists all science disciplines as a critical need for Delaware schools.

Anticipation, expectations usher in new school year
The Delaware New Tech Academy, launched last year at Seaford High, begins its second year, expanding to grades 9-11. The International Baccalaureate program is another option at Seaford. Indian River High School will offer a new pre-engineering pathway – a four year sequence of courses that is part of the district’s renewed emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) instruction. Selbyville Middle School will offer a new series of STEM classes, and John M. Clayton Elementary School will implement a Spanish immersion program. Sussex Central High School is also in the process of seeking final authorization for its new International Baccalaureate program.

The Journal
Students benefit from big progress grant
Students and staff at Lake Forest South Elementary School earned a big reward for academic achievement. The honor came in the form of a $50,000 grant and designation by the state Department of Education as a state Title I Reward School for “high progress school.” Much of the grant will go toward two laptop carts, each loaded with 30 laptop computers. In addition, South is launching a new reading program called Accelerated Reader, a switch from the Reading Counts program.

Bethany Beach Wave
Denn highlights education focus
After kicking off his campaign for re-election, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn made an appearance at the Georgetown-Millsboro Rotary Club to speak about the state’s public schools. He said there has recently been a focus on attracting the best teachers the state. “We are trying to do a lot of things in terms of standards and test scores and objective measurements, all of which are very important,” he said.

National News

Education Week
Study examines charters’ drain on private schools  
Most of the students who enter charter schools have migrated from traditional public schools. But private school students are going the charter school route in pretty large numbers, which potentially has big educational and financial implications, according to a new study. At elementary schools, for instance, about 32% of students entering charters in “highly urban” areas come from private schools.

National PTA revises policy on charter schools
The National Parent Teacher Association has revamped its policy to make it clear that it supports giving entities other than local school boards the right to approve charter schools, a new position the group argues will increase its ability to shape policy within the diverse and growing sector of independent public schools. Leaders of the National PTA, an advocacy organization with 5 million members, say their goal is to remain relevant in discussions about charter schools by recognizing those schools’ role in today’s education system and by focusing more intently on improving their quality and oversight.

Austin American-Statesman
Michael Williams named Texas education commissioner  
Governor Rick Perry announced that Michael Williams, a former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, will become to the state’s education commissioner. Williams will have to contend with school finance litigation that goes to trial this fall, battles over a new standardized testing system, a continuing budget crunch, and a review of the Texas Education Agency by the legislature.

Harvard Business Review Blog
It’s time to re-think the U.S. education system
An opinion by Tammy Erickson
Children today, those born after 1995, are seeing a world that looks substantively different to them than the world did to members of Generation Y during their formative years. Several major challenges include a disconnect between the way school works and how they function outside school; boredom with the teacher-centered learning process; shifting sources of authority; growing interest in pragmatic, job-oriented skills; and unease regarding global standing.

The Seattle Times
Labor group gives $50K to defeat charter schools initiative
Opponents of an initiative to allow charter schools in Washington reported their first cash donation this week—$50,000 from the SEIU Washington State Council, a labor organization. Together, the group of opponents said in its weekly report, it has raised $68,593 for the campaign. That compares to about $3.5 million raised by Initiative 1240 supporters, who began fundraising in early June. Supporters already have spent some $3 million, mostly on gathering signatures to put the issue onto the November ballot.




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