November 5, 2014
The Chronicle of Higher Education
U. of Texas System spearheads ‘mobile-first’ competency-based courses
The University of Texas system announced it is creating a competency-based education program that will offer courses students can take on mobile devices, for fields that most need graduates statewide, such as medical sciences.
The Sacramento Bee
Torlakson declares victory over Tuck for California schools chief
Incumbent Tom Torlakson declared victory early Wednesday over challenger Marshall Tuck in the closely contested race for state superintendent of public instruction. The contest drew more than $20 million in outside spending, more than for any other elected office in California this fall. Billionaire philanthropists looking to overhaul California’s low-ranking public schools squared off against powerful teacher unions defending their job protections, with both sides spending heavily on television attack ads and nasty mailers.
High-achieving teacher sues state over evaluation labeling her ‘ineffective’
A Long Island teacher has filed a lawsuit against the state Education Department charging the teacher evaluation system is statistically flawed.
Hawaii may delay test-based teacher rating system
Hawaii’s Department of Education may delay using standardized test scores to make high-stakes personnel decisions after concerns were raised about fairness. Officials say it could be two more years before public teachers see their pay tied to student achievement, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.
Smarter Balanced field tests didn’t mirror classroom learning, study says
High school students who took the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field test last spring found it far more difficult than younger students did, especially in mathematics, according to a new report. The report released by the consortium last week includes some interesting “lessons learned” from the field test of 4 million students. It includes responses from only 13 of SBAC’s 22 member states, and each state created its own survey, so the collected responses can’t be seen as representative of the consortium population. But they do provide valuable snapshots of the field-test experience from many corners of the country.
Tensions surface as states queue up for early-ed. grants
Although a majority of states put in for a share of the $250 million the U.S. Department of Education has allotted for a grant competition to expand preschool, even so popular a program could not escape some partisanship. Some high-profile GOP governors—in Indiana, Louisiana, and Wisconsin—either didn’t apply for the federal money or threatened not to do so. And Democratic politicians who support the Preschool Development Grant program have, in some cases, used that as a way to criticize political opponents.
New York Times
De Blasio unveils new plans for troubled schools in New York
In the packed auditorium of an East Harlem high school, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new approach to fixing New York City’s most troubled public schools on Monday, offering them more money and staffing, extending the length of their day, and arranging for social services to be delivered to students and families on site.