March 19, 2014

March 19th, 2014

Category: News

Local News

Delaware Department of Education
USED Year 3 report spotlights RTTT successes, Murphy points to district work
A press release
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised the work of educators in Delaware, citing double-digit growth in student reading and math proficiency during the grant period and reviewing the important initiatives that have impacted Delaware students and teachers over the past year. For example, the state’s “Common Ground for the Common Core” initiative, which launched in 2013, has brought together teams of educators from 99 schools working across content areas on school planning and implementation.

The News Journal
Teacher union members voice discontent
Members of the state’s largest teachers’ union are calling for its leadership to push back with more energy and urgency against changes made to Delaware’s school system under Gov. Jack Markell. At its annual meeting, the Delaware State Education Association’s Representative Assembly called for a moratorium on the segment of the state’s evaluation system that ties teacher performance to their students’ test scores, voiced “no confidence” in how the state is implementing the Common Core State Standards, and pushed to allow parents to “opt out” of state standardized tests.

Speakers call for a new mindset in media, schools, public life
The theme of last night’s New Castle County Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner was “Think Different,” a nod to an advertising slogan used by Apple. Leaders in journalism, education and innovation gave TED talk-style presentations. One of the three speakers was Rebecca Sibilia, the COO and vice president of fiscal strategy for Students First, a nonprofit education advocacy group founded by former Washington D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Love of reading comes after knowing how to read
An op-ed by Vickie Innes, Executive Director of the Reading ASSIST Institute
Reading ASSIST Institute applauds the Delaware Board of Education’s Literacy Campaign and its focus on grade level reading proficiency for third-graders. Getting kids excited about reading encourages a lifelong love of reading. However, before kids can be excited about reading they need to know how to read.

Gov. Markell receives national award for use of education data
The non-profit Data Quality Campaign has named Governor Jack Markell its 2014 State Policymaker Award for his work in supporting effective data use in Delaware education. “We are pleased to honor Governor Markell’s leadership as Delaware creates a culture in which education data are used as a tool to improve student achievement,” said DQC Executive Director Aimee Rogstad Guidera. Delaware recently became one of the first states to achieve all of DQC’s 10 data use benchmarks, an accomplishment the organization credits to Markell’s leadership. –

Feds offer evaluation of Delaware’s Race to the Top progress
The fourth year may not be the end for RTT implementation in Delaware. In fact, federal officials said 11 of the 12 RTT states have applied for “no-cost” extensions to a fifth year. No decision has been made on Delaware’s application, but reviews are completed on a rolling basis, so the decision could be made at any time. “What’s most important is that we have a set of goals for our children that our schools and districts are working on right now and we would commit to continuing that work,” Murphy said. “We really see ourselves in the middle of implementation.”

Bill seeks to extend program that facilitates early teacher hiring
A new bill championed by heads of both General Assembly Education committees aims to keep Delaware schools hiring teachers sooner rather than later. Launched as a pilot program in 2011, the state Department of Education now calculates future enrollment in May and guarantee schools most of the money needed to hire new educators. The goal is to allow First State schools to hire earlier and compete for the best candidates available.

Year three Race to the Top progress report for Delaware
The report also shows a significant increase in proficiency on National Assessment of Educational Progress assessments. NAEP is often referred to as America’s report card. “Between 2009 and 2013, Race to the Top states made up the majority of states in the top quartile in terms of NAEP reading improvement,” Duncan said. Delaware also saw a significant increase in proficiency on the Grade 4 NAEP math assessments, the report points out.

Data Quality Campaign
The Data Quality Campaign Awards Education Leaders for Their Work Improving Student Achievement
A press release
The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) awarded state and local leaders today who have demonstrated a focus on using education data (which include student attendance, demographics, and college-readiness scores) at all levels to support families and educators in their efforts to improve student achievement. Delaware Governor Jack Markell received DQC’s 2014 State Policymaker Award for establishing the statewide vision and collaborative work needed to use data to improve outcomes for Delaware students.

National News

Education Week
State chiefs spar with AFT and NEA presidents over Common Core
The CCSSO, along with the National Governors Association, oversaw the creation of the common core. But over the last several months, the AFT and the NEA as well as state union leaders have expressed increasing concern— or even, in a few cases, outright opposition—to the manner of common-core implementation.

Sec. Duncan proposes teacher-leadership initiative
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is pledging to begin an initiative with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to promote teacher leadership throughout the United States. The announcement about “Teach to Lead” came at the inaugural Teaching & Learning conference, hosted here by the National Board.

Washington Post
Maryland House approves expanding Pre-K classes
Maryland already offers free pre-kindergarten classes to economically disadvantaged or homeless 4-year-olds, but state leaders proposed a new bill that would slowly expand those classes to all 4-year-olds.

Sweeping special-education proposals coming to D.C.
A Washington, D.C., councilmember plans to introduce three bills meant to overhaul special education by speeding up the delivery of services to students. (

TN Senate approves bills to block federal intrusion into curriculum
The Tennessee Senate overwhelmingly approved three key bills that will block federal intrusion into Tennessee’s curriculum, reform the state’s textbook commission and prevent data-mining of student information in the state’s public schools.

Rodel Foundation of Delaware



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