September 4, 2012

September 4th, 2012

Category: News

Here are several stories in today’s news about Delaware education and from across the nation:

Local News

The News Journal
Go for the gold at school with Race to the Top plan
An op-ed by Mark Murphy, Delaware Secretary of Education
This is the year when we will be deepening execution of our state’s Race to the Top plan. That includes fully implementing Common Core State Standards, which provide clear goals for student learning in mathematics and English language arts at each grade level. This year also will include strengthening implementation of our educators’ professional learning communities (PLCs). Key in the coming school year will be focusing deeply on implementation of our plan – and that means paying attention to the details.

List shows more Delaware students are making the grade
The state Department of Education released Friday the list of schools that met progress goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Statewide, there were 181 schools that met the requirements, which are referred to as Adequate Yearly Progress. There were 32 schools that did not reach these targets.

Mend school or risk charter
Secretary Murphy said he no longer will tolerate what he described as continued failure by Pencader Business and Finance Charter High School officials to resolve ongoing problems, promising to force action “one way or another” next week. Murphy issued the stern statement late Friday afternoon about Pencader, the state’s harshest public criticism yet of the school’s continued struggles. “Conditions have deteriorated over the past few weeks and action is required,” Teri Quinn Gray, the state Board of Education president, also said. “We are trying to do what is best for students, families and staff both for this school year and, hopefully, for the future.”

Del. Education Secretary discusses programs, perception of teaching
Delaware’s Secretary of Education talks about results-driven initiatives and increasing the number of quality candidates for teaching positions at Thursday’s Rotary Club meeting. Department of Education Secretary Mark Murphy says today’s teachers are adapting to new systems of learning as well as the standards by which they’re evaluated.

National News

Arizona Republic
Arizona student test scores becoming part of teacher evaluations  
Arizona districts and charters must start using quantifiable proof of student improvement as part of teachers’ evaluations starting in 2013-14. Beginning in 2014-15, up to 40% of all teachers’ performance pay will be tied to the evaluations. A state board framework requires that one-third to one-half of a teacher’s evaluation be based on student data, but beyond that, districts and charters can create their own assessments.

Education Week
Virtual ed. addresses teacher-certification questions  
Now that 40 states have virtual schools or initiatives in the works to open them, more attention is going to the skills particularly required of online teachers. Several states have established or are considering requirements for professional development and licensing of virtual educators. Other states prefer endorsements that do not add any additional requirements.

Evaluating ELLs for special needs a challenge
National research done within the last decade, including a 2003 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, found that overidentification occurred more commonly in districts with small numbers of ELLs (fewer than 99 such students), and underidentification was more common in districts with larger English-language learner populations. Last year, the 132,000-student San Diego district—with a history of lopsided referrals of English-learners to special education—created a step-by-step process to make sure every explanation and intervention for a child’s lagging academic performance had been examined before assigning a placement in special education.

Washington Post
Virginia to revise student achievement goals
Virginia intends to revise its new goals for student achievement in public schools, after state and federal officials agreed that those goals did not do enough to narrow the gap between students with the worst and best scores on annual state exams. But the federal government continues to support perhaps the most controversial feature of the state plan, which calls for different achievement goals for students according to race, family income and disability.

Philadelphia Inquirer
Northeast High program with Philadelphia Futures helps students get into college
Northeast High School in the Philadelphia School District has just seven counselors who handle the more than 3,000 students. Though Northeast is one of the city’s strongest comprehensive high schools – about half of its graduates go on to college, compared with 36 percent citywide – it’s not strong enough, leaders say. This year, Philadelphia Futures launched a one-year pilot program for seniors.

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Rodel Foundation of Delaware