January 16, 2014
New parent resource centers open in the Christina School District
Parents in the Christina School District have two new centers where they can use computers and school resources. Spokeswoman Wendy Lapham says one is in the district’s office on Lombard Street in Wilmington.
Delaware Department of Education
Addendum to DPAS-II report outlines administrator evaluation results
A press release
Delaware’s Department of Education today released results from the administrator evaluation addendum to its “Continuous Improvement” report. The November report covered the results from “Year One” of the state’s revised evaluation system, the Delaware Performance Assessment System (DPAS-II). The report shows progress in the overall implementation of administrator evaluation with an increased focus on student achievement. In 2012-2013, student improvement was weighted more heavily in administrators’ overall ratings than in previous years. This revision highlighted the meaningful variation between various components of the system and reinforced that better implementation by school leaders is needed in the years ahead.
Cape Henlopen moving full STEAM ahead
The Delaware Department of Education awarded a $57,623 grant to the Cape Henlopen School District this November that will kickstart a science, technology, engineering, arts and math program for 60 fifth-graders. Through Cape’s “Full STEAM Ahead” program, the students will take on a semester-long challenge that will integrate those subjects from their curriculum. Next fall, educators will introduce the program to the entire district.
Virginia lawmakers call for fewer SOL tests
Two Virginia lawmakers are leading the charge to reduce the number of standardized tests and to move to next-generation assessments that reflect more advanced skills. The legislators introduced two bills, H.B. 930 and H.B. 498, that would cut the number of tests by as many as eight—from 34 to 26 during a student’s K-12th-grade career—and direct school boards and the state board to develop alternative assessments.
Politics alive and well with Common Core opposition
An opinion by George Will
The Common Core represents the ideas of several national organizations (of governors and school officials) about what and how children should learn. It is the thin end of an enormous wedge. It is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity.
Boosts for Head Start, Title 1, special education in federal spending bill
Federal funding for most schools largely would be restored after the biggest cuts to K-12 spending in history under a proposed Congressional spending bill. Head Start would see a $1 billion boost. But two Obama administration initiatives—a Race to the Top for higher education and grants for state preschool programs—won’t receive funding. The federal school turnaround program would undergo a major makeover.
Cities seize momentum on pre-K expansion
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to create a universal preschool program is the latest example of city leaders taking early-childhood education into their own hands. In 2012, San Antonio residents approved a sales tax to pay for expanded preschool, and the Seattle City Council voted last year in support of a pre-kindergarten program. Those efforts join older programs in Boston, Denver, and San Francisco.
Dream Act clears Washington House on first day; Senate fate uncertain
The Washington House moved quickly to reiterate its support for expanding college aid to qualifying students who aren’t legal residents, passing the DREAM Act less than an hour after this year’s session started. House Bill 1817 allows any graduate of a Washington high school who is eligible for state-sponsored college aid to receive it, regardless of whether he or she is a legal resident. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it could face resistance.
U.S. News & World Report
Report: Despite some gains, most states don’t pass education policy evaluation
StudentsFirst released its second annual State Policy Report Card evaluation, with no states receiving an A grade and the vast majority receiving D’s and F’s. The evaluation is based on how well states elevate the teaching profession, empower parents, and spend wisely and govern well. Louisiana and Florida topped the list with a B-minus, followed by Indiana with a C-plus. Seven states received a grade of F.