October 2, 2014
State Ed. Secretary prepared to work with districts on Priority Schools Plan
The state’s education secretary is striking a conciliatory tone with the Red Clay and Christina school districts after their school boards said they’ll offer counter terms to the state’s controversial Priority Schools initiative. Secretary Mark Murphy says his office is willing to work with school districts unhappy with the terms of the Memorandums of Understanding connected to the plan.
First State receives federal funds to address school climate
The Delaware Department of Education has received a nearly $2.3 million federal grant to improve quality of life in school buildings. The funds will be split over the next five years and are part of a larger $70 million investment in schools across the country. The grant is one of four under the Obama Administration’s Now is the Time plan which aims to make schools safer, reduce gun violence and increase mental health services.
The News Journal
Should parents be able to pull kids out of testing?
Schools are gearing up to give the Smarter Balanced test for the first time in the spring. The test is tougher the tests taken previously in schools by design, aiming to more accurately judge how deeply students understand concepts. The percentage of students scoring high enough to be considered proficient is expected to plunge, not because students or teachers are performing worse but because the bar is higher. Parents are currently not allowed to have their children “opt out” of tests, and education officials say doing so would deprive parents and teachers of valuable information about how their children are progressing, which would make it difficult to address their learning needs.
Delaware Youth Re-Entry Education Task Force continues discussion
Alternative schools are among the issues being discussed by a panel charged with helping ensure that juvenile delinquents in Delaware have adequate educational opportunities when returning to their communities. The Youth Re-Entry Education Task Force will hold a roundtable discussion on district-run alternative schools at Friday’s meeting in Wilmington.
New York Times
New federal guidelines aim to rid schools of racial inequality
With racial minorities still less likely than white students to have access to rigorous academic classes or experienced and qualified teachers, the Obama administration will announce guidelines on Wednesday to ensure that strong teachers, high-level math and science courses, quality extracurricular programs, and equivalent technology and school facilities are available for all public school students. In a 37-page document issued by the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education, the administration urges state officials, superintendents and principals to monitor policies and facilities and to make sure they are equitably distributed among students of all races.
Common-Core testing contracts favor big vendors
Most of the biggest contracts being awarded by the two main consortia creating online common-core assessments—perhaps the most ambitious and complex testing projects in U.S. history—are flowing to some of the education industry’s most familiar and entrenched players.
Benefits of ‘deeper learning’ schools highlighted in studies
Three sweeping reports have taken the temperature of the so-called “deeper learning” movement and given the approach a fairly clean bill of health. On average, students at deeper learning schools had better test results and people skills, the studies found. They were also more likely to graduate from high school on time and enroll in four-year colleges.
Review of Missouri education standards divisive
Parents and teachers creating education guidelines for Missouri schoolchildren are hoping for the best but bracing for what could be a yearlong fight over the role that Common Core standards should have in classrooms. A new Missouri law created several task forces charged with creating goals for students that prepare them for college and careers, but members responsible for evaluating those standards were divided within hours of their first meetings last week.
Growth of online reading fuels new achievement gap, researchers say
University of Connecticut researchers say a new study points to significant income-based gaps in how students read and comprehend material on the Internet.
Los Angeles Times
L.A. school board authorizes talk on departure agreement with Deasy
The Los Angeles Board of Education has authorized its attorneys to discuss terms of a possible departure agreement with schools Supt. John Deasy. The move was made in a specially called closed session Tuesday, but it was not disclosed publicly. No decision was reached on whether an offer would include a buyout, according to several people close to the situation. They declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the matter. Members of the board agreed to keep the issue confidential.