September 12, 2013
School year starts with stacks of paper
The issue of sharing information – commonly referred to as data mining – was a topic raised at several school board meetings over the summer. Participants who protested the state’s adoption of Common Core curriculum for Delaware public school students also said certain technology companies would benefit from student information collected by schools. Some people said IBM would receive student information; others suggested iris screening would soon be used to gather information from students. None of this is true, Alison May, spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Education said.
Indian River School District News
Lougheed selected for Rodel Teacher Council
Jennifer Lougheed of Georgetown Middle School was one of 16 exemplary teachers selected by the Rodel Foundation of Delaware to serve as members of the Rodel Teacher Council. “To have a talented educator like Jennifer Lougheed selected for the Rodel Teacher Council is a tremendous honor for our school district,” Indian River School District Superintendent Susan Bunting said. “Jennifer’s commitment and dedication to her profession make her an ideal candidate for the council and an important voice in education reform in the State of Delaware. Gifted teachers like Jennifer have helped make the Indian River School District a Model of Excellence.”
Georgia 9th graders will have to pick career paths
Hoping to boost graduation rates and prepare students for the workforce, Georgia is requiring 9th graders to pick one of 17 broad career “clusters.” They can opt instead to take more college-prep courses, but officials hope college-bound students will voluntarily take career-specific classes as well. With the new mandatory clusters, Georgia is following a national trend to align coursework with the employers’ needs.
What should be the federal role in school research?
Research experts, including ECS vice president Kathy Christie, and congressional lawmakers seemed to agree that the Education Department’s research agency has become more rigorous under the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002. During a hearing on the law’s reauthorization, however, House Education Committee members wondered whether the research is actually being used by anyone.
‘Growth mindset’ gaining traction as school improvement strategy
It’s one thing to say all students can learn, but making them believe it—and do it—can require a 180-degree shift in students’ and teachers’ sense of themselves and of one another. While expressions like the “soft bigotry of low expectations” underscore the effects of teachers’ and students’ mindsets on academic success, it has proved difficult to pin down whether and how it’s possible to change those attitudes once established. Nonetheless, attempts to change that dynamic, from targeted interventions to restructured schools, are gaining traction as many states overhaul their curricula to match the Common Core State Standards and incorporate student-growth measures into accountability systems.
Sequester hits special education like ‘ton of bricks’
Across the country, advocates for children with disabilities are grappling with the impact of the federal sequestration, despite the lack of hard data on the impact of the budget cuts on special education. The Department of Education estimates the sequester cut about $579 million in federal funding for IDEA Part B. States are beginning to respond with a variety of approaches.
Chronicle of Higher Education
Public colleges’ quest for revenue and prestige squeezes needy students
A ProPublica analysis of Department of Education data shows that, from 1996 to 2012, public colleges and universities gave a declining portion of grants—the number and dollar amounts—to students in the lowest quartile of family income. When those institutions raise tuition and don’t offer more aid, low-income students are often forced to decide not just which college to attend but whether they can afford to attend college at all.