Here are several stories in today’s news about Delaware education and from across the nation:
The News Journal
Hearing set over Race to the Top funding feud between Christina School District, Delaware
The Christina School District will get a hearing in front of a mediator on May 22 regarding its feud with the state over $2.3 million in federal Race to the Top money. The state wants Christina to give $20,000 over two years to a few of its highest-performing teachers. District officials say that program will be ineffective, and would prefer to give smaller bonuses to more teachers or use the money to boost technology in low-income schools.
Making school choices simpler
When Tiana Hodges was about to move up to middle school, her parents had a choice. If they didn’t take any action, Tiana would go to her feeder school, Fifer Middle. But her mom, Terri, did some research and found that Postlethwait Middle School, also in Caesar Rodney School District, had programs that could help Tiana improve her math skills. “We just thought that Postlethwait would be a better fit,” Terri Hodges said. Delaware has school choice, so Hodges applied to go to Postlethwait. But the family ran into roadblocks.
Inside Higher Ed
Season of the crunch
Two new papers suggest that summer counseling for low-income college-bound high school graduates can have a major impact on their freshman year of college. One possible reason that legislative efforts to increase enrollment by low-income students have not always succeeded, one paper says, is that the government has “overlooked the summer after high school as an important time period in students’ transition to college.”
The New York Times
Seeking teachers’ support, mayoral candidates pledge education reform
They cooed about the importance of paying teachers fairly. They took turns skewering charter schools. One candidate went out of his way to say the president of the teachers’ union would go down in history as a “great leader.” With an eye toward winning the endorsement of the United Federation of Teachers, one of New York City’s most powerful unions, candidates for mayor on Saturday said they would depart radically from the approach of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in leading the public school system. At a forum sponsored by the union in Midtown Manhattan, several candidates pledged to scrap signature policies of Mr. Bloomberg, including his A-through-F grading system for schools and his support for housing charter schools inside existing school buildings.
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Jindal pre-K education overhaul approved by Louisiana House panel
The Louisiana House Education Committee passed legislation backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal to enforce new accountability standards for early childhood education programs. Senate Bill 130 would create the network authorized by Act 3, a law passed last year to consolidate all pre-kindergarten and day-care programs into one network and give them letter grades.
Diversity at issue as states weigh teacher entry
Slowly but surely, a growing number of states are eyeing policies to select academically stronger individuals for their teaching programs as one avenue to improve the quality of new teachers. Underneath the attention such plans are attracting, though, run deep-seated fears about their potential consequences—particularly whether they will result in a K-12 workforce with fewer black and Latino teachers. On nearly all the measures states are considering, from GPAs to licensure-test scores, minority candidates tend to have weaker scores than their white counterparts.
Common Core test is on track, State Board told
Four states have encountered serious glitches and system meltdowns over the past several weeks as they have moved their own state assessments online. But the head of the state-led consortium creating the Common Core tests for California and two dozen other states expressed confidence Wednesday that his organization is working closely with states and taking precautions to avoid significant problems. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is one of two state consortiums – the other is PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) – that is committed, under a federal contract, to introduce the much-anticipated computer-based assessment in the spring of 2015. Students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 will be tested in English language arts and math. “We are on schedule and ready to roll,” Smarter Balanced Executive Director Joe Willhoft said in an interview after testimony before the State Board of Education.