December 5, 2012
Head of education defers using STAAR in students’ grades
Texas high school students are getting a reprieve for a second consecutive year on a requirement that would have made the state’s new and more difficult standardized tests count toward 15% of their final grades in key courses. Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced he is continuing the suspension of the rule at least until the 2013-14 school year.
Arne Duncan sketches out ‘long haul’ agenda
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who says he plans to serve in the Obama Cabinet for the “long haul,” has begun sketching out his priorities for the next four years. They include using competitive levers to improve teacher and principal quality and holding the line on initiatives he started during the president’s first term. The secretary is also making clear what he won’t do: devote a lot of energy to a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act if Congress doesn’t get serious about rewriting the current version, the No Child Left Behind Act.
Study: More churn at the top in large districts
Running one of the nation’s largest school districts typically comes with prestige and pay that draw would-be educational superstars, but also pressure and political complexity that cause them to burn out far faster than leaders of the majority of districts. A study published in the December issue of the American Educational Research Journal finds in 90 percent of 100 California districts studied, 43 percent of superintendents left within three years—but 71 percent of superintendents left the largest 10 percent of districts, which include those of 29,000 or more students, during that time.
New York Times
Grants back public-charter cooperation
In an effort to encourage collaboration between charter schools and traditional neighborhood schools, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $25 million in grants to seven cities. The grants will support a variety of projects in the seven cities, which are among 16 that have signed district-charter collaboration compacts with the Gates Foundation over the last two years.
Inside Higher Ed
A $10,000 platform
Governors in Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin appear to be at the forefront of what could be an emerging approach to higher education policy, built largely around cost-cutting. The governors are pursuing strategies that include mandating low-cost options like the $10,000 degree, holding down tuition prices, tying funding to degree completion, and paying faculty on the basis of performance.