December 19, 2013
Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times
Smyrna Board of Education sets property tax referendum for Feb. 22
The Smyrna School District Board of Education voted 4-0 Monday night to hold a referendum on Saturday, Feb. 22 for a proposed property tax increase. District residents ages 18 and up will be eligible to vote on the plan which would raise funds for building upgrades and for day-to-day expenses like salaries, utilities, and classroom supplies.
Milford school board prepares for pending referendum
The Milford School District’s Board of Education is looking ahead to a future referendum regarding a new middle school by setting a voting date, ballot questions and establishing a facilities advisory committee. As the district awaits Gov. Jack Markell’s decision on whether he will include the request for funds to support the demolition and rebuilding of the middle school in the next state budget, the board has established a Facilities Advisory Committee that will guide the process.
The News Journal
Murphy joins Jeb Bush’s school reform group
Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy has joined a national group of “school-reform,” anti-establishment state education leaders. The group, which includes seven state superintendents or secretaries of education, supports a laundry list of education reform policies, such as tougher teacher evaluations, the Common Core State Standards, and school choice.
Red Clay approves class size waiver
Faced with an outcry from parents and teachers, the Red Clay School Board hastily shelved an inclusion plan for special needs students Wednesday night. Almost lost in the hubbub was a decision to approve a modified class size waiver. More than 30 parents and teachers spoke at the meeting for more than 90 minutes. Almost all of them urged the board to reject the inclusion plan, which would move special-needs students out of the district’s specialized schools into regular feeder schools.
Police, businesses, students join to create downtown murals
Students from Bancroft, Stubbs Elementary School and Kuumba Academy Charter School spent the last month painting murals on 9-by-5-foot sections of canvas. Each school got to paint its own mural to show off its spirit. The artwork, now being displayed on vacant storefronts on this block of Market Street, was the idea of Master Cpl. Malcolm Stoddard, a 13-year member of the Wilmington force.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Bill would allow charter schools to expand free of districts, unions
Wisconsin could see a dramatic rise in the number of charter schools operating outside of districts and without teachers unions, under A.B. 549. The proposed legislation would eliminate district-staffed charters and empower a new slate of authorizers to approve independent charters: all University of Wisconsin System institutions, regional educational service agencies, and technical college district boards.
Inside Higher Ed
Report documents college completion rates
Fifty-six percent of all first-time college students who enrolled in fall 2007 earned a degree or certificate within six years, and that figure rose to 78% for those who were enrolled exclusively full time, according to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse. The report includes for the first time data on dual-enrollment students—those who were enrolled in college-level courses while still in high school.
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Gov. Bryant says Mississippi has right to define academic standards
As Mississippi prepares to implement the Common Core standards, Gov. Phil Bryant has issued an executive order that says the state, not the federal government, has control over its school standards and curricula. Bryant’s order wouldn’t stop Common Core implementation but responds to concerns that the program would cede control of what’s taught in the classroom to the federal government.
Raleigh News and Observer
N.C. schools deal with fewer dollars for textbooks
North Carolina’s funding for textbooks has been cut by nearly 80% in the past four years, just as the state has been switching to a new curriculum with new textbooks. At the same time, districts are expected to make the switch to digital textbooks by 2017 even though no money is set aside for computers or other digital devices for every student.
Protecting student privacy in the data age
Over the past year, the Common Core standards have sparked discussions about student data, although the standards do not call for the federal government to collect data. One state leading the conversation on student data privacy is Oklahoma, which enacted H.B. 1989 to establish rules for the collection and transfer of student data by the state. Other states also have taken action on student data privacy.
Teaching isn’t rocket science. It’s harder
In 2007, when I was 22, I took a position as an aerospace engineer working on the design of NASA’s next-generation spacecraft. It was my dream job. But no one can fully understand how difficult teaching in America’s highest-need communities is until he or she personally experiences it. Now as a teacher, I must prioritize the problems of getting the distracted students refocused and stabilizing the cross-classroom conflict before it escalates into a shouting match or worse, all the while making sure the learning of the other 25 students in the room doesn’t come to a complete halt.