Headlines 2/28/2013

Out-of-School Suspensions, Expulsions Denounced by Pediatricians

Schools are too quick to suspend students out of school or expel them and need to take a hard look at these “drastic” and “superficial” policies, the American Academy of Pediatrics said this week, building on a previous position published six years ago questioning zero-tolerance school discipline policies.

Online Learning May Not Help Those Who Need Help Most

A study by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University finds that students perform worse in online courses than they do in traditional ones. This is one of the first comprehensive research efforts aimed at figuring out how such courses compare to the ones taught in the traditional classroom environment and the results could serve as a check on the growing popularity of online schooling at the college level.

Keeping the Conversation on Testing Going

During our first round of posts, Ali Crowley posed the above question. The question both encourages us to synthesize our recommendations and to proactively put them forth. To end the cyclical pattern of standardized testing, it’s time to insert our voices, share our experiences, and advocate for change.

What’s worth learning?

What’s worth learning?  Veteran educator Marion Brady tries to answer the question below. Brady was a classroom teacher for years, has written history and world culture textbooks (Prentice-Hall),  professional books, numerous  nationally distributed columns (many are available here), and courses of study.

Biggest study ever says KIPP gains substantial

KIPP, previously known as the Knowledge Is Power Program, has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students, both nationally and in the District. But many good educators, burned by similarly hopeful stories in the past, have wondered whether KIPP were for real.

Students Show Progress Under Teacher-Bonus System

A performance-bonus system that made use of “student learning objectives”—academic growth goals set by teachers in consultation with their principals—helped improve student achievement in schools using the measure, concludes a new study issued today.

States Size Up Obama Pre-K Proposal

Well before President Barack Obama vaulted early-childhood learning to the top of the education agenda in his recent State of the Union address, states were taking steps to bolster their own preschool programs.

Study finds KIPP students outperform others

A seven-year, $4 million study of the KIPP charter school system shows that students make an average of 11 months more academic progress by the end of middle school than their peers at traditional middle schools.

Poverty’s Prominent Role in Absenteeism

“Half of life is just showing up.” I once loved repeating that to my students who were regularly absent from school. Like all good quotes, it owns a perfect blend of simplicity, adaptation, and sublimity. I used to love saying it, that is, until a young child curtly responded, “Sometimes I can’t find a way to show up.” I wasn’t sure if he meant that, or if he was attempting to create his own unique axiom, but it certainly struck me. After all, if he cannot find a way to show up to school, how can we expect him to succeed?

Grant Contest to Aid High Schools Still Work in Progress

Proponents of better aligning high school improvement, postsecondary education, and the workforce have high hopes for President Barack Obama’s recent proposal to create a Race to the Top-style competitive-grant program specifically for secondary education.

How Satisfied Are Teachers With Their Jobs?

This year’s edition of the annual survey conducted by Metlife Survey of the American Teacher found that 82% of American teachers were either somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with their career choice. The media, however, chose to concentrate on the downside – pointing out that teacher dissatisfaction numbers which came in at 17% were the highest they have been in 25 years.

Findings on Low Teacher Job Satisfaction Questioned

In a piece for Real Clear Politics, Andrew Rotherham, a.k.a. Eduwonk, questions the much-publicized finding in the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher showing that teacher job satisfaction is in a precipitous state of decline.

Graduation Rates on Track to Hit 90% by 2020, Study Claims

Building a Grad Nation, a new report from the America’s Promise Alliance, Alliance of Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises and Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University finds some good news in its analysis of high school graduation rates across the country. According to the paper, this is the first time that the country is on track to meet its goal of 90% high school graduation rate by the year 2020 thanks to the progress made to help Hispanic and African-American students earn their diploma without dropping out of school.

Jeb, George P. Bush push charter schools in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas —         Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his rising-political-star son, George P. Bush, urged Texas on Tuesday to dismantle the “monopoly of public education” by dramatically expanding access to charter schools, embracing online learning and overhauling how teachers are evaluated.

GOP leaders of Texas House, Senate underscore divide in school-voucher debate

AUSTIN — House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst painted a clear contrast in their stances on school choice Tuesday, with Straus warning that a school voucher bill is unlikely to pass the House.

TEXAS VIEW:  Bill could improve charter schools

Let’s make this clear at the outset: There’s no magic formula for raising the achievement levels of Texas’ 5 million students, but state legislators and school districts can take various steps to give young Texans greater opportunities for a better education. One way is providing enough high-performing charter schools.

Guest post: A response to Sen. Patrick on school choice

In an editorial published last Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle, State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) again argued for what he sees as education reform. In the article, he proposed increasing the use of online learning, course credit testing, and vocational training programs. He also pushed for removing the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. Glaringly absent was any mention of the voucher initiatives he has introduced in the State Legislature.

Perry Backs Changes to Student Testing Requirements

Gov. Rick Perry has added his voice to the growing chorus of state leaders who support revamping the state’s newly implemented student assessment system.

John Kuhn’s Rally Speech

Are there any teachers in this crowd?

Testimony of Dr. David Anthony CEO, Raise Your Hand Texas State Assessment System

Good morning, Chairman Patrick and committee members. I am David Anthony, CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas. Raise Your Hand Texas is a non-profit education advocacy organization united behind a single goal: to create the opportunity for every student to achieve success in our Texas public schools.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush touted the success of school choice in reforming education in his state and called the public school system a “heavily unionized monopoly” during a speech at the Texas Business Leadership Council’s inaugural Education Policy Summit Tuesday evening.
The father has been talked about, and will continue to be talked about, as a potential future president of the United States. And it seems almost inevitable that the son will be as well, though he has yet to be elected to anything.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Texas senators “to go big or go home” when it comes to pushing changes to public education policy on Wednesday.
Here in the policy world –as we prepare legislative testimony, author white papers, commission research studies, draft blog posts, prepare for meetings, and do additional, far more mundane work—we often say to ourselves, “Didn’t I just do this the other day?”

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