Here are several stories in today’s news about Delaware education and from across the nation:
The News Journal
State rejects Christina’s teacher bonus proposal
The state Department of Education rejected the Christina School District’s proposed alternative to the state teacher bonus program, according to a letter sent Tuesday to district officials. This volleys the issue back into Christina’s court, with millions in grant money at stake. The district stands to lose more than $2.3 million in Race to the Top funds and has two weeks to respond before action on the money would be taken by the state. The Department of Education says in 2011 the district agreed in writing to be a part of the state’s bonus program, and that if it does not do so – or create an acceptable local alternative to it – the district will lose its grant money. “This is about making good on promises made to parents and students,” said Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy.
The diploma gap between rich and poor
An opinion by Peter Orszag, vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group at Citigroup Inc. and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration
Gaps in high school graduation by income, the researchers find, account for about half of the gap in college entry rates. After all, college entry isn’t an option for people without a high school degree. Among those who do finish high school, though, the percentage who go on to enter college has risen to about 70 percent among those born around 1980 — up from about half of those born around 1960. So raising high school graduation rates among low-income students could make a difference.
The Dover Post
Military charter school could come to Smyrna-Clayton area
Community leaders and parents in Kent County are hoping to bring a military charter school to the area, possibly even to Smyrna or Clayton, in time for the 2014-2015 school year. The founding board of the First State Military Academy has been working on the application process for a few years, hoping to bring an academy to Kent County that will give students an education that resembles that of Red Clay School District’s Delaware Military Academy, said Board Chairman C. Scott Kidner. “The intent is to look at education differently and to educate kids in a manner that the real world is starting to do and has been doing,” Kidner said. “We think the combination of those two components of education really brings together something neat and quite different from traditional schools in Delaware.”
Survey suggests hurdles for math, science teaching
A rich new set of survey data on math and science teachers highlights some big challenges the nation faces if it hopes to significantly increase student achievement in those disciplines. It also drives home, experts say, the huge need to support teachers as districts begin implementing the common-core math standards, and as an effort to develop common standards for science nears completion.
Digital learning priorities influence school building design
As school districts plan and design new buildings, a philosophical shift in how learning environments look is happening, fueled largely by technological advancements and a belief that classrooms should be more interactive and mirror the workplaces of today and the future. That new look puts a high priority on small-group work, use of mobile devices, and project-based digital learning.
Details trickling out on latest NCLB waiver bids
With the addition of three longtime holdouts of states seeking NCLB flexibility, nearly every state has sought to design its own accountability system to replace the outdated law. But the waiver applications from Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming are by no means a sure thing. Texas’ application, for example, omits some key elements that federal officials require as a condition of receiving waivers.
Race to Top grants not worth costs, officials say
About 80 Ohio districts and charter schools have backed out of the state’s Race to the Top grant program, including an initial flurry of withdrawals because school officials realized that grants weren’t enough to cover the requirements. But some districts that have received money for years are reconsidering now, partly in response to costs but also because of new teacher evaluations tied to the grant.
Research: Sorting students by ability increases achievement
Sorting students by ability substantially helps their achievement in mathematics and reading, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors looked at student performance in schools that sort their classrooms by skills and those that do not and compared the outcomes. Sorting students has long been controversial because of the interplay of two social forces in effect in classrooms. One is the “tracking effect” which allows teachers to focus more narrowly on a group of students with particular set of needs. The other is the “peer effect” where students could be influenced to perform better by the higher achieving classmates around them.