June 16, 2014
Governor Markell targets access to college in weekly message
Gov. Jack Markell’s (D-Delaware) weekly message focused on easing the pathway to college for First State students. He noted that 60 percent of jobs in today’s economy require additional education beyond high school. Markell says hundreds of students in Delaware demonstrate they can succeed in college but don’t enroll — something his administration has worked to change.
The News Journal
Bill seeks choice in special needs assessments
Parents of students with severe learning disabilities could choose to have them assessed at the end of the year without taking a test, if a proposal in the legislature becomes law. Department of Education officials say the state needs to be careful not to run afoul of federal rules such as those in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. They have worked with Poore to amend the bill, and say some more tweaks may be necessary.
La Academia Antonia Alonso charter on track to open
La Academia Antonia Alonso charter school will face tighter scrutiny from the state but is back on track to open this fall after allaying concerns it hadn’t enrolled enough students. “We’re moving forward at 100 miles an hour,” said Maria Matos, president of the school’s board and president of the Latin American Community Center.
Lawmakers throttle campus records bill
House Democratic leadership on Thursday gutted legislation that would make the state’s land-grant universities more transparent under the state’s open-records laws. Rep. John Kowalko’s legislation would have forced the University of Delaware and Delaware State University to fully comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Act. But top Democrats introduced an amendment gutting the bill, requiring the universities only to open up documents related to contracts funded with taxpayer dollars.
Food Bank works to fill hunger gap as school ends
The Food Bank of Delaware is preparing for some of its highest demand as school lets out for the summer. The charity has a summer food service program starting Monday to help fill the loss of meals that children receive at school. It serves day care centers, churches, camps and other sites where children need food.
U.S. Department of Education
Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan regarding the decision in Vergara v. California
A press release
For students in California and every other state, equal opportunities for learning must include the equal opportunity to be taught by a great teacher. The students who brought this lawsuit are, unfortunately, just nine out of millions of young people in America who are disadvantaged by laws, practices and systems that fail to identify and support our best teachers and match them with our neediest students.
Common Core raises questions on future of ed-tech spending
One of the major challenges ahead for educational technology companies centers around this question: Once schools buy the hardware and install the broadband, will the money districts and states are investing in ed tech to prepare for the common core simply fade away, or will it shift to new priorities? Several market analysts, ed-tech company officials, and education leaders say they do not expect to see the money disappear, but they instead expect a shift in the use of that money that places an emphasis on the impact of different products.
California school taps community to engage students
For students living in poverty, high school graduation and a college diploma are often pitched as a ticket out of neighborhoods without resources. Yet empowering students to find the strengths within their communities and work to improve them also can be a powerful motivator. After-school programs like YouthBuild have long blended public service with work skills for students, but experts say the efforts to teach students through community-engagement initiatives here at San Ysidro High School are more holistic and more localized.
Teacher, school accountability systems shaken up
Many states are moving to delay or alter test-based accountability for schools and teachers, as tests associated with the Common Core State Standards head for their debut nationwide in the coming school year. The changes—some proposed and some already in effect—are also taking place as states consider the status of their waivers from certain portions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Those waivers, in turn, have their own accountability requirements.
The New York Times
Taking on teacher tenure backfires
An op-ed by Jesse Rothstein, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics, University of California, Berkeley
In his decision on Tuesday to strike down California’s teacher-tenure system, Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that laws protecting teachers from dismissal violated the state’s constitutional commitment to provide “a basically equal opportunity to achieve a quality education” and drew parallels with prior cases concerning school desegregation and funding levels. But there is a difference between recognizing students’ rights to integrated, adequately funded schools and Judge Treu’s conclusion that teacher employment protections are unconstitutional.