March 10, 2014
Delaware Department of Education
Governor Markell outlines scholarship program to prepare students for college
A press release
Citing evidence that the opportunity to take a college-level class in high school helps students succeed in higher education, Governor Markell today outlined his proposal to ensure every senior with college potential has that chance before they graduate. The Department will work with districts to identify college-ready students who would benefit from taking a dual enrollment course through one of our state’s higher education institutions.
Students invited to enter Delaware Goes to College design contest
A press release
The Department of Education’s Higher Education Office today launched its Delaware Goes To College Backpack Design Contest. The department and the College Board have partnered to provide a string backpack for each senior accepted into a post-secondary program (college, trade or military).
The News Journal
State wants college classes in high school
The state could soon pay for public high school seniors to take college courses, something state leaders hope will coax more students into more successful higher education. “Cost shouldn’t be an obstacle for our students who are stepping up and challenging themselves to prepare for a better future,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “And we’re going to make sure it’s not.”
Keeping the SAT in perspective
The SAT was in the news last week because the College Board announced the first revision of the test since 2005. The SAT is going back to the old 1,600 top score, from the current 2,400. It is dropping the essay, a reform that did not work as well as the College Board hoped. But so too are tough words like “prevaricator” and “sagacious.” In addition, test takers will no longer be penalized for wrong answers. Feel free to argue the merits of such decisions. The important point is that the SAT, and its counterpart, the ACT, play an important role in determining a student’s future success. That may not be fair, but it is a fact.
Test scores don’t tell complete story on teacher evaluation
An op-ed by Donald L. Gephardt, Ed.D., professor and dean emeritus at Rowan University
The recent Delaware Voice by State Reps. John Kowalko and Kim Williams asks for help with a central issue in all of K-12 education (“An education rule that defies plain old common sense,” Feb. 21). The evaluation of both teachers and students is extremely important – this must be addressed and resolved if the quality of American education is to improve. We have somehow mistakenly combined the two.
Obama budget pitches Race to Top for equity, new money for ed tech
President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget includes a new iteration of Race to the Top focused on helping schools close the achievement gap. The White House also is seeking funds for a teacher professional development initiative to bolster the use of technology, including using student data systems. The proposal includes bonuses to colleges that bolster graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients and a fund to encourage states to use performance-based budgeting.
States lag in educating students about personal finance
Currently, only four states — Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia — require that high school students take a stand-alone personal finance course to graduate, according to Jump$tart Coalition. The Council of Economic Education estimates that 17 states require high school students to take courses that include personal finance instruction. States and schools can tap into various federal grant programs, but many schools also are finding help from companies with a vested interest.
Los Angeles Times
SAT exam’s essay portion will be optional in 2016
As part of a major overhaul of the SAT exam, test-takers starting in 2016 will no longer be required to write an essay and content for some sections will be revised, the College Board announced. The shifts are part of an effort to better align the exam with what students learn in high school and will need in college. The College Board is starting a partnership with the online Khan Academy to offer a free series of practice exams and videos about good test-taking practices.
Alabama gives final passage to dual enrollment program
The Alabama Senate gave final approval to a bill that sets up a scholarship program for high school students to train at two-year colleges to become welders, electricians or other types of skilled workers. Alabama two-year colleges already offer dual enrollment classes for high school students in career tech fields. But proponents of H.B. 384 say some students can’t take advantage of those because of the cost.
Des Moines Register
Iowa school districts to launch teacher leadership systems
State officials announced that 39 Iowa districts have been selected as the first to launch teacher leadership systems under a statewide education reform plan created last year under H.F. 215. New teacher leadership systems will allow teachers to work in greater collaboration with colleagues. Teacher leadership systems will be phased in over three years, with the goal of all districts participating by 2016-17, although whether to do so is a local decision.