November 17, 2014
The News Journal
It is time to act for Wilmington’s schools
An op-ed by Paul Herdman, President and CEO, Rodel Foundation of Delaware
In the swirl of controversy over the state’s six priority schools, there’s a lot of discussion about why on most reasonable measures of performance less than half of the children in these schools are on track for a meaningful career after high school. Often this discussion becomes a search for someone to blame. Instead of pointing fingers, we need to understand why we are where we are and how, by working together, we can move forward.
Teachers must deal with more than studies
An op-ed by Mike Matthews, President, Red Clay Education Association
At the outset, teachers at the six priority schools are working with challenges that inherently make their playing field unequal when compared to the “high-performing” schools, most of which are outside the Wilmington city lines. However, we treat our priority schools almost exactly the same as our “high-performing” schools, save several relatively small funding streams like federal Title I monies. The resources our city schools have are far outstripped by the level of need our students require – far outside the types of “services” many teachers thought they’d be required to provide upon entering the profession.
Just changing the system can improve performance
An op-ed by Ronald Russo, Senior Education Fellow, Caesar Rodney Institute
The obstacles to a good Delaware public school education have been many, varied and usually school specific but not so with the attempted solutions. The obstacles have included such things as poverty, student and parent indifference, community turmoil, varying teaching and administrative abilities, etc. Proposed resolutions to overcome the obstacles are often preceded by, “One size doesn’t fit all,” followed by a new law, regulation or procedure that applies across the board usually with a new person or office to oversee it.
All schools need priority ratings
A letter to the editor by Ralph P. Ferretti, Director, School of Education, University of Delaware; and Allison Karpyn, Associate Director, Center for Research in Education & Social Policy, University of Delaware
The results of Howard High School and Kuumba Academy Charter School show that a trajectory to excellence is possible. Dramatic shifts in school operations can help to raise test scores, especially in the lowest-performing schools, improve financial and administrative management of schools and increase accountability. Leadership clearly matters.
Schools trying to put college within reach
Over the past few weeks, every high school in the state has participated in College Application Month, in which students use their English and advisory periods to go to computer labs and fill out applications, write essays, and do the other necessary work. “It used to be that there were sort of two different tracks: the students who were going to college and the ones who weren’t,” said Brandywine High Principal James Simmons. “We’re finding that jobs without a degree are quickly disappearing. So we need to be making sure every student has college or some kind of other extra education in mind.”
We must provide children with the skills they need
An editorial by Bill Porter, Head of School, Freire Charter School in Wilmington
The educational system that has fallen short on its promise to Wilmington also serves the surrounding suburban communities which, as The News Journal recently chronicled in a four-part series on diversity, are beginning to look more like Wilmington in their economic, racial, and ethnic compositions. If the education system struggles to serve Wilmington, are suburban struggles in the near future?
Delaware State News
State implementing new system to measure school performance
The state government is building a new system to measure and report schools’ performance, and officials are looking for your input. State officials planned a series of town hall meetings this month to gather feedback for the new approach.
Mentoring program puts students in the workplace
Communities in Schools of Delaware plans to launch PHASE, Professionals Helping Adolescents Succeed in Education, in January. The initiative will give students a peek at what it’s like to be a grown-up. Once a month, students will visit a workplace and professionals there will act as mentors, showing them how they got where they are.
Text-review group shares first look at its process
Nearly 40 teachers and instructional leaders from across the country gathered for guidance on how to evaluate classroom mathematics materials that claim to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards. One group of reviewers, which has been scrutinizing instructional materials for EdReports.org in small teams since August, participated in “cross-team calibration,” presenting its initial ratings and offering each other feedback.
Study: Close screening process can improve teacher hires
Districts could boost their ability to hire teachers who help students learn more and who stay on the job longer by improving their screening techniques, a newly released working paper concludes.
Kansas picks Randy Watson, local Superintendent, as next K-12 Chief
The Kansas Board of Education has selected Randy Watson, the superintendent of the McPherson Unified School District 418 in Kansas, to be the next state education commissioner. Watson has been superintendent of the McPherson district since 1993, after working as a teacher and principal at several schools in the state. He was also picked as a finalist for Kansas Superintendent of the Year for 2015 by the Kansas School Superintendents Association. McPherson has an enrollment of about 2,400 students.
New York Times
Public charter schools that failed to meet Texas standards are still operating
Honors Academy is among the first Texas operators to have its contract revoked under a law that broadens the state’s authority to shutter poor-performing charter schools. Honors Academy officials decided to open their doors anyway. They have argued that the provision forcing closure is unconstitutional and that their campuses received poor academic ratings based on technicalities.
U.S. News and World Report
Raising the bar
An op-ed by Judy Barton, President, Alliance College-Ready Charter School, and Dacia Toll, co-CEO, Achievement First Public Charter Schools
Nearly 25 years ago, two education movements started independently of one another – the introduction of charter schools and the push toward rigorous standards for all students. Both grew from the mix of frustration over the quality of American schools and the analysis of what was lacking. Both movements have matured. And each has often come under attack for undermining the status quo.