September 11, 2013
The News Journal
Rodel Foundation creates Teachers Council
The Rodel Foundation has created a group of teachers it hopes will give state education leaders a “boots on the ground” perspective. The influential Delaware education advocacy group announced Tuesday the 16 members of its inaugural Rodel Teachers Council. The group will act as advisers to Rodel, state officials and other education leaders. “Given all of the state-level policy shifts happening in Delaware, we want to hear from classroom teachers to inform our thinking,” said Paul Herdman, Rodel’s CEO.
Give all schools the flexibility needed to perform
An opinion by James L. Wilson
One of the most significant pieces of educational legislation introduced this year was House Bill 90, which was passed overwhelmingly by both the House and Senate. It requires a standard application form be developed and used by all schools, and it creates a task force “to consider the current landscape of all school enrollment preferences to include magnet, vocational, technical and charter schools, and to develop recommendations as necessary.” For years, many have said the current school choice and lottery systems are not truly functioning as required or intended by the original choice and charter school legislation. Several committees, some official and some not, have addressed the problem but have had little success.
Red Clay breaks ground on new elementary school in Hockessin
Hockessin will be home for a new Red Clay school that will teach 600 kids. There’s no Red Clay school within a 26-square mile area of Hockessin. That’s why the district chose land they owned at 2025 Graves Road to be home to a new school for kindergarten through fifth grades. Merv Daugherty is district superintendent. “We are growing rapidly in our district. For example, we’re up 350 kids this year so the need for the space is evident, and we think the location is great, and it will be well utilized,” says Daugherty.
New report finds teachers need more effective professional development to meet higher standards
“Effective professional development is a key factor in improving student achievement and better preparing our students for the challenges of the 21st century economy,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We already see that public schools are facing greater accountability for their students’ learning, and now teachers in the states that implement the Common Core State Standards will be under intense pressure to teach their students critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
New study finds Teach for America recruits boost student achievement in math
A rigorous new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education finds that Teach for America recruits lead students in impoverished middle and high schools to higher achievement in math than teachers who have come through traditional training programs. The gains weren’t miraculous; students of TFA teachers moved up, on average, from the 27th to the 30th percentile on standardized math tests. And the researchers acknowledge they have no way of knowing whether the students made a full year’s progress in math during their year with a TFA teacher, or just advanced more than other kids in their generally low-performing schools. Still, the researchers found statistically significant gains, which they calculated as the equivalent of about two and a half extra months of learning for students of TFA recruits.
The Washington Post
Jesús Aguirre to be D.C.’s new state superintendent for education
Jesús Aguirre, director of the District’s parks department, will become the city’s new state superintendent of education, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Tuesday. Aguirre has spent most of his career in education and came to the District in 2007 as a member of the transition team leading up to Michelle Rhee’s tenure as chancellor. He served as the school system’s director of operations until Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) tapped him to head the Department of Parks and Recreation in 2009.
New statewide plan aims to boost early literacy
A statewide push to increase early literacy has the goal of helping all Iowa students read at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Educators will receive training in Response to Intervention—an instruction and assessment method that will make it easier for teachers to identify and help struggling students. State and federal funds have been used to buy tests and develop a database for the program.
California in testing showdown with U.S. Department of Education
California’s proposal to suspend most of its accountability testing for one year has drawn a sharp rebuke and a threat from the U.S. Department of Education, illustrating the complications some states could face next spring when they juggle their own assessments with field tests of new common-core tests. In an unusually stern statement late Monday night, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that California’s plan “is not something we could approve in good conscience.” If the state proceeds with the plan anyway, “the department will be forced to take action, which could include withholding funds from the state,” he said.
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