October 30, 2014
The News Journal
Markell: ‘Won’t hesitate’ on priority schools
Yesterday was the Conference on Education, an event hosted by the Vision Coalition of Delaware, a group of education, nonprofit and business leaders seeking to create world-class schools in Delaware. The conference’s keynote speaker, author Amanda Ripley followed foreign exchange students to countries where students outperform the U.S. and test scores and talked about some of the trends they noticed there. “We are not getting dumber. We’re actually getting smarter, but we are getting smarter more slowly than other countries,” Ripley argued. “The good news is these countries are not some kind of magical place. If Estonia can do it, Delaware can do it.”
The future of Delaware’s education system
The future of education is up for discussion at the Vision Coalition’s annual conference at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Wednesday. Some like long-time activist Bebe Coker are optimistic, saying we’ve learned from our mistakes and that reform takes time. She adds these conversations are a great starting point. “We’re going to talk until we continue to get it right. We’ve put everybody on notice that something has to change, and there is a definite awareness,” she said.
Some teachers give state’s plan to bolster compensation a poor grade
Some Delaware teachers are not happy about a state push to restructure their pay scale – despite its design to boost their paychecks. Task force members sculpting the proposal put forward by Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) are holding public workshops this week in all three counties. None of the seven teachers attending an event in Dover Tuesday night reacted positively, saying resources could be better spent elsewhere. More than 100 showed up in Lewes Monday.
Delaware Department of Education
State seeks public input on new accountability
A press release
The Delaware Department of Education is seeking public input on a new accountability system. A survey seeks feedback on what the public would like measured and reported on the state’s public school accountability report card. And the department will host three town halls in November to gather public feedback on the state’s new approach to reporting school performance and its submission of a waiver for renewed flexibility from the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The war on teacher tenure
It was the first time, in California or anywhere else, that a court had linked the quality of a teacher, as measured by student test scores, to a pupil’s right to an education. What happened next was predictable: the educational establishment hit DEFCON 1. State and national teachers’ unions decried the ruling as part of a subversive effort to destroy labor unions and pointed, truthfully, to the fact that the lawsuit was launched and underwritten by a Silicon Valley muckety-muck who lives in one of the fanciest ZIP codes in America. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former D.C. chancellor of schools Michelle Rhee praised the decision for challenging the “broken status quo.”
State initiatives widen reach of ACT, SAT tests
Nevada and Missouri next spring will join a rapidly growing number of states that are shelling out money for every 11th grader in public high school to take the ACT or SAT college-entrance exams. Nearly half of states—and individual school districts in most others—have contracted with the nation’s two biggest college-testing programs for some form of wide-scale administration in high school so that no student will have an excuse for passing up the opportunity to take one of the tests.
Personalized learning pits data innovators against privacy advocates
“Big” educational data, new technologies, and learner profiles have the potential to help personalize learning in previously unimaginable ways, Mr. Mayer-Schönberger wrote in his 2014 e-book Learning With Big Data: The Future of Education. Still, he wrote that they also threaten to “shackle us to our past, denying us due credit for our ability to evolve, grow, and change.”
Kansas students try to ‘break’ testing system
Many Kansas students participated in a statewide effort to “break” the state’s online mathematics and reading testing system to find its technical limits and uncover any problems.
The Daily Comet
Pilot program may unify early childhood education
Louisiana School Superintendent John White outlined a program he says will unify early childhood education in the state.
Inside Higher Ed
Massachusetts higher education officials want to spend about as much per student as California, which has perhaps the nation’s top public higher education system.