January 21, 2014
Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times
Gov. Markell encourages youth involvement
Gov. Jack Markell believes it’s important for the youth of Delaware to be involved with their communities. That was the message when Markell hosted a conference call Jan. 6 at Dover High School where he talked about engaging high school students in civic service and volunteerism. Markell sat down with eight Dover High students while journalism students from other Delaware schools were on the phone. He scheduled the call due to an article he read in “The Atlantic.”
State businesses, organizations move forward with student success plans remodel
A collaborative statewide effort between businesses, educators and community service organizations is gearing up to launch a new initiative to prepare students for their dream careers. The Success Plans and Roads to Careers initiative is working to expand on the existing Department of Education Student Success Plans platform by recruiting local and statewide businesses to participate − offering internships, summer jobs and e-mentoring. Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge presented the new initiative to local businesses, chambers and educators Friday morning at First State Manufacturing, hoping to recruit more community partnerships.
The News Journal
Blue Collar Task Force suggests gas tax, more borrowing to fund infrastructure projects
Jack Markell is expected to use his State of the State speech on Thursday to call for additional infrastructure spending and propose ways to fund new projects. Monday’s report from the Blue Collar Task Force – co-chaired by Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, and Rep. Michael Mulrooney, D-Pennwood – did not offer specific plans to fund new projects, but provided an outline that Markell could build on later this week.
State should focus on competitiveness
The “Blue Collar Task Force” report is in, and Delawareans should take a close look at it. The report, stretching up to 100 pages, is the result of a six-month exploration of the options open to the state and its workers. it should be noted that in manufacturing in the future – and manufacturing does have a future in Delaware – the workforce will need strong skills in science, technology, engineering and math. STEM classes are not just for the college-bound.
We need to stop wasting young talent
One thing Delaware cannot afford is to waste talent. Unfortunately, we are doing just that. Every year talented sons and daughters of working-class and low-income parents miss the chance to go to college. Last week President Obama called on the country to do something about it. Gov. Markell was the only governor on hand and he announced four initiatives for Delaware: for every high school in the state to make time for students to fill out applications and to write college applications essays; expand a pilot program to help families fill out financial aid forms; recognize college acceptances for students the way schools recognize acceptance days for student athletes; and follow up throughout the summer with phone calls and mailings to encourage at-risk students to keep on track.
Commission looks at early education
Gov. Jack Markell and about 20 prominent business leaders are launching the Delaware Commission on Early Education and the Economy. The commission will be business’ voice for improving early learning programs through the state, especially for the state’s most at-risk and youngest students.
Jeanine Moore, a math teacher in the Indian River School District, and Tim Dalby, a science teacher at the Wilmington Friends School, have been named the winners of the 2012 Presidential Award, the Department of Education announced this week. Two students will head to Washington, D.C. in March to represent Delaware in the 52nd annual United States Senate Youth Program. The Red Clay School District is hosting meetings for parents and teachers on its “inclusion” plan to move special needs students away from specialized schools and into their feeder schools.
STEM program debuts at two Cape Henlopen schools
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. 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. “When you look at the job market in the real world, students today really need to have that science, technology, engineering and math background,” said Lori Roe, instructional technology specialist at Cape Henlopen.
Group of educators, employers hopes to create one-stop career portal for students
Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge leads “Success Plans and Roads to Careers,” which aims to make a one-stop-shop for career help for kids. Still in its early stages, the project is supported by a large and growing coalition of agencies, like the United Way, Junior Achievement, the Business Roundtable, and the state Departments of Education, Labor and Economic Development.
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
State of the State: Technical education initiatives draw praise
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s State of the State speech included $5 million in grants from the state’s economic development fund to go to career and technical education (CTE) programs in high schools. That plan, announced last year, already has seen 26 districts ask for more than $20 million. Daugaard also said he would help high school students pay for dual-credit courses that come with college credit.
White House report puts spotlight on expanding college opportunities
As part of a White House College Opportunity Summit, the Obama administration issued a report outlining promising models to improve college enrollment and completion by low-income students. Participants attending the summit made commitments in four areas: connecting low-income students to the right college; increasing the pool of college-ready students; expanding college advising and test preparation; and reforming remedial education.
Hawaii poised to add pre-K to state’s offerings
A new Hawaii initiative, announced by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, will include 32 classrooms on 30 elementary school campuses, with seats for a total of 640 children. He requested $4.5 million for the program and enrollment will be based on income and age. Hawaii is one of only 10 states currently without some form of state-funded pre-kindergarten. Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering H.B. 1487, which would require mandatory kindergarten.
Wisconsin task force considers rural educator retention plan
Wisconsin lawmakers are paying close attention to rural schools, and that includes a proposal to retain new teachers and a task force that’s considering more sweeping changes. Lawmakers are talking about a plan that would give rural teachers up to $10,000 to retire college loans if they stay in those districts for five years. Forty-four percent of Wisconsin students attend a rural school and their poverty rates have increased.
Why make reform so complicated?
A commentary by Mike Schmoker
In the realm of organizational improvement, complexity kills. It demoralizes employees and distorts the critical connection between effort and outcomes. It is the enemy of the most indispensable elements of improvement: clarity, priority, and focus. That is the message of multiple prominent studies, from Jim Collins’ 2001 best-seller Good to Great to more recent books likeThe Laws of Simplicity, by John Maeda, and Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn. Education clearly doesn’t get this.
More than a quarter of state-funded preschool seats went unfilled this year
Across Virginia, about $23 million designated for preschool was left on the table because localities — citing limited resources, lack of classroom space and politics — did not contribute the required matching funds to take full advantage of the program. As a result, more than 6,000 disadvantaged children missed the opportunity to go to school before kindergarten.
New battle looms over Indiana teaching requirements
Educators are again fighting watered-down requirements for Indiana teachers that were pushed through by officials after opponent Glenda Ritz was elected superintendent of public instruction. The state Board of Education approved some of the changes following the 2012 election despite Ritz’s urgings to put off a vote, but Ritz hasn’t implemented them and the state attorney general’s office questioned some of the proposal’s wording last year. A new version is being discussed in public forums across Indiana, where they’re drawing heated criticism from teachers, who could face losing their licenses if they don’t consistently meet performance requirements.