March 13, 2014
The News Journal
Early childhood education: A proven economic tool
An op-ed by Nicholas Marsini, Jr., Delaware Regional President of The PNC Financial Services Group
Another form of economic development invests entirely in preschoolers so that as adults, they have the skills to become successful in the workplace. Some might even emerge as business owners who themselves create jobs. Early childhood education as economic development, however, does not grab the same headlines as news that a new company is coming to town with a promise of hundreds of jobs.
U.S. Department of Education approves California’s K-12 testing plan
Federal education officials approved California’s plan to roll out new computer-based standardized tests this spring, ending a months-long dispute that put the state at risk of sacrificing $1.5 billion in federal school funding. The U.S. Department of Education said the state’s plan for an experimental trial run of the new Smarter Balanced language and math tests makes sense because they more accurately mirror the lessons teachers have been giving this year.
Wisconsin bill seeks flexibility with school hours, days
In an effort to save money for cash-strapped Wisconsin districts, state lawmakers are considering ending a requirement that schools teach for 180 days a year or lose state funding. The bill, expected to win Senate approval, would allow schools to extend school days rather than force them to stay open later in the summer to make up days lost to weather closings and parent teacher conferences.
Political, policy feuds roil Indiana’s K-12 landscape
Although several states are having vigorous debates about repealing or slowing the implementation of the Common Core standards, which were adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, Indiana has gone furthest in that direction. The state is on the verge of adopting new draft standards to replace the Common Core, which covers English/language arts and math.
Testing skeptics aim to build support for opt-out strategy
Riding what they see as a wave of anti-testing sentiment among parents, opponents of high-stakes assessments believe a strategy known as opt-out — having parents refuse to let their children take state-mandated tests — could force policymakers to take note of their cause.
Senate moving bill to earmark 2/3 of new revenue for education
Republicans running the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a bill Monday evening that would require that two-thirds of new state revenues are spent on education programs. The voice vote included several Democrats who believe the state also needs to increase revenues to meet its obligations to basic education under the Supreme Court ruling known as McCleary.
Los Angeles Times
California attorney general proposes new anti-truancy laws
Warning that elementary school truancy in California has reached a crisis level, state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and lawmakers on Monday proposed a package of bills aimed at improving the tracking of absenteeism and the evaluation and use of measures to keep kids in school. Harris estimated that 1 million elementary school students are truant each year.
The Journal News
Cuomo panel: N.Y. should cut ties with inBloom
New York should end its relationship with a nonprofit group creating a statewide education database, according to a report from a panel created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Cuomo-appointed panel, which was tasked in February to come up with ways to fix the state’s implementation of the Common Core, issued a series of recommendations one day before the state Legislature is scheduled to vote on whether to retain four members of the Education Department’s Board of Regents.