September 23, 2013
The News Journal
State now a national model for graduation, jobs success
An opinion by Jack Markell, Pete du Pont, and Tom Carper
Only about 26 percent of the most at-risk youth across our nation are working, and many of the other 74 percent struggle with predictable barriers. Their stories are like a young Delawarean, Marquis, who grew up in a low-income neighborhood and entered high school with academic skill levels well below most of his peers. He had excessive absences from school and lacked skills for any particular job path. A few years later, though, Marquis has graduated with his high school class, works full time at a Wal-Mart Photo Center and is excited about plans to join the U.S. Army. He is one of more than 30,000 Delawareans who have benefited over the last three and a half decades from Jobs for Delaware Graduates, a program that offers counseling, guidance, skills development and experiential learning opportunities to the youth who need it most. By 2020, more than half of all jobs in Delaware will require education and training beyond high school. JDG is part of the solution for helping more kids secure that education.
Markell talks school tech on NYT panel
Gov. Jack Markell talked about some of his administration’s efforts to put more technology in schools as a panelist at the New York Times’ annual “Schools for Tomorrow” conference. Markell was the only elected official on the panel, moderated by PBS Newshour education correspondent John Merrow and featuring a former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and corporate, non-profit and think tank experts. Markell got a lot of airtime. He bragged about Delaware’s “professional learning communities,” where teachers get time to go over test data to see where their students are struggling and work with other teachers to find ways help. “The buzzword is ‘teacher-driven instruction,’ but I’m telling you, it’s more than a buzzword,” Markell said.
Q&A with Janice Haney, Brick Mill Elementary library specialist
Brick Mill Elementary School Library Specialist Janice Haney was one of 15 finalists for the Rodel Foundation’s 2013 iEducate Delaware awards, which recognize public school educators who take risks and make innovative, positive changes.
Haney was nominated for developing WISE Women, an annual after-school night in which girls and young women get a chance to meet female leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
State Board of Education approves program for advanced students
Delaware’s Board of Education is helping Delaware’s gifted students get chances to better use their potential. The board gave final approval Thursday to a new state program that will make new funds available to programs for academically advanced students. The program allows school districts to apply for start-up grants to create programs for students who are at least half a grade level above average. Each district can vary their programs as long as there is a strong focus on reading, writing, math, or science
Schools get new rating system
Pennsylvania education officials unveiled a new grading system for schools that they described as a tool to monitor and improve student achievement. School Performance Profiles will offer academic ratings for each building based on a 100-point scale. Schools are now judged on data including attendance, participation in standardized testing, graduation rates and closing the achievement gap.
GAO: Race to Top states have mixed record on teacher evaluation
Race to the Top states are having differing degrees of success with crafting new teacher evaluations that take student performance into account, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Sustaining the new evaluation systems is going to be a tall order, nearly all the states reported. But overall, most of the states are happy with the level of support they’re getting from the Education Department.
Education companies invest time, money in startups
This fourth-floor office space bears all the signs of a startup company’s habitat—young professionals clustered around tables or sprawled out on the floor, typing on laptops, sketching on whiteboards—except for the name of the organization overseeing it all. The activity underway here is being hosted by Kaplan Inc., one of the most widely recognized company names in education, as part of a program designed by the test-preparation and college-course provider to give fledging education technology startups the tools to make it in the complex K-12 market, one that for many entrepreneurs often seems impenetrable.
What every child can learn from Kentucky
American education has always been run at the state and local level. Even as Washington has pushed states to try out this or that policy in exchange for federal funding, states have always chosen their own tests and learning goals. But this fall, for the first time, a majority of American public school children are working to master the same set of more rigorous skills in math and English. These new targets, known as the Common Core State Standards, have been adopted by 45 states in an almost inexplicably speedy wave of reform, representing the biggest shift in the content of the American education in a century.
Why $17 million went to Payton Prep
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s announcement last week of a $17 million addition at Walter Payton College Prep High School stirred some resentment from parents and teachers, coming so soon after Chicago closed dozens of schools and reduced spending at scores more of them. We get that. Those parents and teachers raise an honest question: How can Chicago Public Schools find money to expand an elite high school, when it just cited a $1 billion budget deficit as reason to shutter schools and lay off teachers and other staffers? If CPS doesn’t have the money for neighborhood schools, how can it have money for elite programs and schools?