January 23, 2014
The News Journal
Markell to set agenda
Gov. Jack Markell will deliver his sixth State of the State address as governor today in Dover, presenting his policy agenda for a year that could be dominated by debates on how to improve the state’s economy and balance the budget. Markell said in last year’s speech that the state should pay teachers more for working in high-needs schools or critical subject areas, raise starting teacher pay and reward teachers who stand out as leaders.
Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times
Smyrna librarian sees MAVEN launch through training program in Florida
Children at the Smyrna Public Library will get the chance to learn more about science and math thanks to a trip Children’s Librarian Kriss Mera took in November as part of a NASA Space Science Training program. The MAVEN mission, according to NASA’s website, is part of the Mars Scout Program and will allow NASA to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and the planet’s interaction with the Sun and solar wind.
Corbett calls Pa. public school funding unfair
Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday that Pennsylvania’s system of school funding should be changed, calling for “a true funding system” that would be fair to all schools. The governor expressed interest in a bill passed by the state House last week that would set up a commission to develop a formula to distribute money for K-12 education. The bill is pending in the Senate.
Md. schools need $100 million in technology upgrades for new testing
Maryland schools will be scrambling to make $100 million in technological and other upgrades to give new tests aligned with the Common Core standards next year, according to a report by the education department. Some districts reported that they need to buy thousands of new computers for the tests; others said they had nowhere to put the computers that they need to buy.
More states dumping the GED, choosing alternative tests
New Hampshire has dropped the GED, joining a growing list of states that have embraced competing high school equivalency tests instead of a revised, more expensive GED. At least 11 states have signed up for an exam developed by ETS but may not be using the test exclusively. Six states are offering an CTB/McGraw-Hill exam as their high school equivalency exam, whether exclusively or as an option.
Caution flags raised for six waiver states
More than a year after the U.S. Department of Education awarded the first No Child Left Behind Act waivers, some states are struggling to intervene in schools with the biggest achievement gaps and ensure that the worst schools implement the right improvement strategies. That’s according to new, intensive monitoring reports Education Department officials released last week for six states. The reports likely foreshadow implementation challenges facing the 45 states plus the District of Columbia that are remaking their school accountability systems as part of new flexibility offered by the department.
Inside Higher Ed
State higher ed budgets rebound
State spending on higher education is up, after years of cuts, but public colleges are not yet receiving as much in appropriations as they did before the recession. In the current budget year, 40 states increased funding for public colleges, according to the annual Grapevine report. Overall, state funding is up 5.7%, which is a significant turnaround from just two years ago, when funding dropped by nearly 8%.
New York Times
Philadelphia principals fired in cheating scandal
Three Philadelphia Public Schools principals were fired last week after an investigation into test cheating that has implicated about 140 teachers and administrators, a spokesman for the district said Wednesday. The action follows years of investigating the results of state standardized math and reading tests taken from 2009 to 2011. The investigation, conducted by the school district and the state department of education, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, identified 33 schools — including three public charter schools — where an analysis of test answer sheets found a suspicious number of wrong answers that were erased and made right.
Obama’s homework assignment
An op-ed by Thomas Friedman
President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, but, for my money, his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, already gave it. Just not enough people heard it. Doing something about our underperformance will mean raising your voice — and encouraging parents who aren’t as engaged as you to speak up. Parents have the power to challenge educational complacency here at home. Parents have the power to ask more of their leaders — and to ask more of their kids.