Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where the Girls Aren’t

By Leonard Sax

What the media missed in the AAUW's report on gender equity.

In May, the American Association of University Women announced the good news that the much-ballyhooed “boys crisis” is a myth. In its study, entitled "Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education," the AAUW reports that both girls and boys are doing better in American schools compared with 30 years ago. Gender gaps in academic achievement are generally small and getting smaller, according to the association. The report has received prominent coverage in all major American media, including Education Week, and the coverage has been almost universally positive. ("AAUW Sees No Educational Crisis for Boys," June 4, 2008.)

But there are substantial holes in the picture the AAUW is trying to paint. Over the past seven years, I have personally visited more than 200 schools around the United States, usually as a provider of professional development related to gender issues. I believe the AAUW report missed the point. There is a real gender gap, and it’s growing rapidly, but that gap has little to do with graduation rates or college-entrance rates, parameters that are given great emphasis in the report. The real gender gap is not in ability but in motivation—not in what girls and boys can do, but in what girls and boys want to do: specifically, in what they want to learn, and how they want to learn it.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Districts and Partners Coordinate on Arts Education

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

With an array of classes in such novel genres as ballroom dancing and slam poetry, as well as those geared to more traditional visual art and music lessons, arts education in Chicago appears to be holding its own, and in some cases thriving, amid budgetary and curricular constraints. Keeping those programs going in the 409,000-student district, however, has long depended on partnerships with local organizations and support from private funders.

More than 250 local arts organizations and 200 foundations in Chicago ally themselves with schools to provide professional development, teaching materials, visiting artists, and after-school programs. Now, some of those outside groups are working more closely with the school system to bring greater coordination between school- and community-managed programs and ensure their sustainability over time.

“It’s incumbent on us to all be speaking the same language” and striving toward similar goals, said David Roche, the director of arts education for the district’s 600 schools.

Mr. Roche’s position was created nearly two years ago, primarily with funding from more than a dozen foundations, to help organize arts education throughout the city. His office is mapping out a detailed K-12 curriculum to help guide core arts classes and supplementary programs.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Virtual Access Levels AP Classes

I would be happy to just get it system-wide :)

Montgomery, Ala.

All Alabama high schools will soon be outfitted with technology that enables a student in one end of the state to take classes being taught in the other end.

Beginning in the 2009-10 school year it won't matter as much whether a high school is in a rural Alabama district struggling to employ enough teachers or if it's in a bustling metropolis — the playing field will be a bit more level all around.

State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton and Gov. Bob Riley announced the updated expansion plan for the ACCESS Distance Learning program on Tuesday, noting that the move comes a year ahead of schedule.

The speedup was made possible by $11 million the state education department received from last year's $1 billion bond issue.

The program, which allows students to take classes online and through video conferencing, removes boundaries of economics and distance by providing the chance to take classes beyond students' physical schools — classes like Advanced Placement Macroeconomics and Mandarin Chinese II that can be taught on the Web.

"You can go to the smallest high school in Alabama, the most rural part in Alabama and you can take the highest level courses offered in any high school in Alabama," Morton said.

About half of the state's high schools have advanced placement courses now but once ACCESS is fully implemented, each high school will be able to offer eight AP classes, Riley said.

Along with providing students with classes that aren't offered at their schools, distance learning has also helped fill the gap for schools that couldn't find teachers for basic courses, technology initiative director Melinda Maddox said.

Read more HERE

Monday, July 28, 2008

Better-Qualified Teachers

Published: June 23, 2008

The United States has a long and dishonorable history of dumping the least-qualified teachers into schools that serve poor and minority students. This shameful practice has persisted nationally, despite the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which required the states to place “highly qualified” teachers in every classroom.

The picture has improved significantly, however, in New York City, where state law has abolished temporary licenses for uncertified teachers, raised standards in teacher preparation programs and spawned innovative strategies for recruiting better teachers.

A new study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the teacher qualification gap between poor and well-to-do schools in New York City narrowed considerably between 2000 and 2005. The qualification index took into account several factors, including certification, experience, the teacher’s SAT scores and the rank of the undergraduate college the teacher attended.

In the poorest schools, the better-qualified teachers have driven modest improvements in student achievement. It may be that right now the city is doing as well as it can with the current applicant pool. And there is certainly more to teaching than SAT scores and other credentials. Still, the study shows that the city could substantially improve performance in fourth and fifth grade math by hiring more people with strong credentials.

Read more HERE

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Career Programs Stress College, Too, and Give Students a Leg Up, Study Says

Published: June 26, 2008

Forget the old-fashioned “vocational ed” classes that sent students on a decidedly noncollege track. Over the last quarter-century, a new kind of high school program known as a career academy has proliferated, especially in low-income districts, that combines job placement, college preparation and classes beyond the vocational trades, from accounting to health care.

Now, a long-term and rigorous evaluation of nine career academies across the country, to be released in Washington on Friday, has found that eight years after graduation, participants had significantly higher employment and earnings than similar students in a control group.

Poverty experts called the findings encouraging because few interventions with low-income teenagers, especially blacks and Hispanics, have shown significant and lasting effects, and they come at a time when young minority men, especially, are losing ground disastrously in the job market.

Career academies offer students experience in the workplace, and help them get paying jobs while they pursue standard academic coursework. When the study, by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, began 15 years ago, there were fewer than 500 career academies in the United States. Today there are more than 2,500, and the new findings are likely to spur more growth, several experts said.

The participants were mainly Hispanic and black, and the schools had emphases including business, tourism, health care and electronics, with students enrolled for three or four years.

Read more HERE

Friday, July 25, 2008

Holding Back Young Students: Is Program a Gift or a Stigma?

In New York...

Published: June 25, 2008

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — With the increasing emphasis on standardized testing over the past decade, large urban school systems have famously declared an end to so-called social promotion among youngsters lacking basic skills. Last year, New York flunked 6 percent of its first graders, and Chicago 7.7 percent.

Now the 8,400-student East Ramapo school district in this verdant stretch west of the Palisades is going further, having revived a controversial retention practice widely denounced in the 1980s to not only hold back nearly 12 percent of its first graders this spring but to segregate them in a separate classroom come fall.

The special classes, which are limited to 15 students and follow a pared-down curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic, are called the Gift of Time and come with extras like tutoring and field trips to a local farm.

School officials say that adding resources — about $2,000 per child, in a district whose average general-education spending per pupil is about $13,000 — and tailoring the lessons for low-performers works. Nearly 80 percent of the 54 first graders and 47 second graders in Gift of Time classes this past school year now read at grade level (although they are, of course, a year behind their age group); at least 30 percent of the younger group and 11 percent of the older group are above grade level, according to district evaluations performed last month.

Iraida Hada, the principal of Hempstead Elementary here, said that merely holding

Read more HERE

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Testing and Learning

New York Times
Published: June 19, 2008

To get the well-educated, highly skilled workers that the country needs, states must strengthen public school curriculums, especially in math and science. States also need to adopt high-quality tests that show how students are performing from year to year.

Still there is a danger when schools focus too much attention on test preparation at the expense of high-quality classroom instruction. A disturbing new study from an influential research institute at the University of Chicago shows that that is happening far too often in Chicago schools — and likely in many others across the country.

The study, conducted by the Consortium on Chicago School Research, looked at how Chicago high schools dealt with the ACT, the well-known college-entry examination that Illinois students are required to take as a part of the state’s testing regime.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test that measures what students learn at school and how well they are prepared for the first year of college. This is not a test that is easy to game. Performance depends on what students have been taught and the strength of their skills.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two Million Minutes

What can you do in two million minutes? "Two Million Minutes" is how long a student has in his/her high school career, what did you do? What will your child do? How do we Americans, compare to other countries? How do we CCPS students compare?

Regardless of nationality, as soon as a student completes the 8th grade, the clock starts ticking. From that very moment the child has approximately -

…Two Million Minutes until high school graduation…Two Million Minutes to build their intellectual foundation…Two Million Minutes to prepare for college and ultimately career…Two Million Minutes to go from a teenager to an adult

How a student spends their Two Million Minutes - in class, at home studying, playing sports, working, sleeping, socializing or just goofing off -- will affect their economic prospects for the rest of their lives.

How do most American high school students spend this time? What about students in the rest of the world? How do family, friends and society influence a student's choices for time allocation? What implications do their choices have on their future and on a country's economic future?

This film takes a deeper look at how the three superpowers of the 21st Century - China, India and the United States - are preparing their students for the future. As we follow two students - a boy and a girl - from each of these countries, we compose a global snapshot of education, from the viewpoint of kids preparing for their future.

Our goal is to tell the broader story of the universal importance of education today, and address what many are calling a crisis for U.S. schools regarding chronically low scores in math and science indicators.

Read more HERE

View a trailer

Technology reshapes America's classrooms

By Jason Szep
Monday, July 7, 2008; 10:42 AM

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) - From online courses to kid-friendly laptops and virtual teachers, technology is spreading in America's classrooms, reducing the need for textbooks, notepads, paper and in some cases even the schools themselves.

Just ask 11-year-old Jemella Chambers.

She is one of 650 students who receive an Apple Inc laptop each day at a state-funded school in Boston. From the second row of her classroom, she taps out math assignments on animated education software that she likens to a video game.

"It's comfortable," she said of Scholastic Corp's (SCHL.O) FASTT Math software in which she and other students compete for high scores by completing mathematical equations. "This makes me learn better. It's like playing a game," she said.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top Students Said to Stagnate Under NCLB

By Debra Viadero

While the nation’s poorest-performing students have made academic progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the brightest students appear to be languishing for lack of attention, according to a report released today by a Washington think tank.

“People have been complaining ever since NCLB passed that focusing resources on the bottom students would come at the expense of high-achieving students,” said Tom Loveless, one of the authors of the report. “There hasn’t been any Robin Hood effect, but the high achievers haven’t been gaining, either.”

Titled “High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB,” the report from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation draws on national test-score data and results from a nationwide survey of 900 public school teachers in grades 3-12 to paint a portrait of a generation of high achievers left to fend for themselves as schools and teachers shift their time and resources toward educational strategies aimed more at bringing the bottom up than on raising achievement for all children.

The data show, for instance, that from 2000 to 2007, the scores of the top 10 percent of students essentially held steady on National Assessment of Educational Progress tests in reading and math. The scores for the bottom 10 percent of students, meanwhile, rose by 18 points on the 4th grade reading test and 13 points in 8th grade math—the equivalent of about a year’s worth of learning by Mr. Loveless’ calculations. (One exception to that pattern was in 8th grade reading, where low-achieving students' scores declined and the achievement gap widened slightly.)

Read more HERE

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reading First program could be on its last legs

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Is the federal government getting out of the reading business?
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week to eliminate funding for Reading First, the groundbreaking but controversial Bush administration program that has given states $1 billion a year since 2002 to teach low-income elementary schoolers to read. A House committee also had voted to eliminate funding; if money is not restored before the federal budget is approved in the fall, the program could end.

Democrats in Congress say the program was an unproven magnet for corruption. House hearings last year focused on financial ties between its top advisers and major textbook publishers, who account for a large share of materials schools use. A U.S. Justice Department investigation, begun last year, is still pending.

But many educators say the money — about $17.7 million per state in 2007 — was a godsend, allowing them to train teachers in scientifically based reading methods, buy quality supplies and help an estimated 1.8 million children learn to read.

"It has been really good for many of our teachers, many of our schools and many of our children," says Michele Goady, Maryland's Reading First director.

Read more HERE

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

School rules eased for Md.

U.S. won't force big changes if most pass tests

By Liz Bowie Sun reporter
7:00 PM EDT, July 1, 2008

Maryland schools with only a small group of students who can't pass state tests will no longer be labeled as failing and be forced to make draconian changes under a plan approved Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Maryland was one of six states given permission to use a new way of classifying their schools when they don't meet No Child Left Behind standards.

The highly technical changes are likely to have sweeping ramifications for schools in the state that don't meet standards, particularly as the standards rise in the coming years until the school year 2013-2014, when all children in the nation will be expected to pass the tests.

"There is no question that the bar is being raised all the time and that more schools are going to be in these categories," said Maryland schools chief Nancy S. Grasmick, who sought the change from the federal government.

Last year, 233 of the state's schools were labeled as not making adequate progress, and 40 percent of those just barely failed.

Increasingly, schools were penalized when a high percentage of the student body could meet standards, but when the pass rate wasn't also high enough among one or two groups, such as special education students.

"The very best schools can have some challenges with a subgroup," said Grasmick.

Read more HERE

Friday, July 18, 2008

Experts Urge Longer Day to Raise Scores

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 25, 2008; Page B06

To improve middle schools, a Maryland education panel proposed yesterday giving students more class time, ensuring they are ready to complete algebra by eighth grade and enrolling them in a foreign language course by sixth grade.

The Maryland Middle School Steering Committee, a 55-member panel of experts that was launched in 2006, delivered 16 recommendations to the state Board of Education to solve long-standing academic challenges reflected in local initiatives and test scores.

In Maryland, about 81 percent of third-graders show proficiency or better on state-sponsored reading tests and 79 percent in math. Among eighth-graders, 68 percent score at least proficient in reading and 57 percent in math. Educators said they think that students who have trouble in middle school are also at greater risk of dropping out when they reach high school.

Other committee proposals to raise academic performance include providing all students with instruction in fine arts; giving students more practical experience with science, technology, engineering and math; and giving teachers more time for collaboration and planning.

The report's suggestions were broad and included no cost estimates.

Read more HERE

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Educators get together for green summit

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Staff writer

Educators from around the state got a jump start on the next school year last week at a forum on environmental education that had them discussing the theory and practice of increasing youngsters’ ecological awareness.

The Schoolyard Habitat and Green School Summit, held June 18 at Kings Landing Park in Huntingtown, brought teachers and others together to share strategies for making nature come alive to students.

At one ‘‘roundtable discussion” representatives from schools and environmental education groups traded tips while enjoying the shade of a couple of cedar trees on the park’s front lawn.

The moderator, Steve Heacock of the Carroll County Outdoor School, gave participants advice on keeping their programs open during a time of budget cuts and the ‘‘institutional anxiety — maybe institutional psychosis, institutional insanity” about standardized tests and other new graduation requirements.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Conversion Plan Would Meet Demand for Specialty Schools

Now this is interesting! Too bad we (CCPS) don't have any "under-enrolled" schools that we could turn into academies.

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 3, 2008; Page PG03

The Prince George's County Board of Education endorsed a plan last week to convert five underenrolled schools into specialized academies to create more space for its popular language immersion and Montessori programs.

The move is an attempt to relieve pressure on the long waiting lists that have formed for admission to academically successful programs such as the Robert Goddard and John Hanson French immersion and Montessori programs. In a presentation Thursday night, Superintendent John E. Deasy said the school system was able to meet 25 percent of the demand for language immersion programs and 10 percent of the demand for studio, visual and performing arts programs.

In May, the specialty schools were the focus of a debate over the "tag along" policy, under which siblings are automatically admitted to a school once a family wins the admissions lottery. Proponents say the policy helps keep siblings together; opponents say it unfairly restricts admission to the programs to a few lucky families. The school board sidestepped a decision by asking Deasy to come back with options that would make more seats available for the programs.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Schools continue improvement on Maryland School Assessment



CCPS Press release

Charles County Public Schools' reading and mathematics scores on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) continue to improve, according to results released this week by the Maryland State Department of Education. Not included in the data is information about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which is expected to be completed sometime during the summer. High school data will be released later this summer.

Scores are reported for a total of 12 tests, six reading and six math, taken in April by students in grades three through eight. Scores are expressed as the percentage of CCPS students who scored at or above the proficiency levels set when the exams started in 2003.

Systemwide, the most significant gains were in reading, where increases ranged from two to 14 points across the grades. Math scores also increased at every level with the exception of fifth-grade, which dropped two-tenths of a percentage point. As a county, all grades continued to score above the yearly benchmark, or the annual measurable objective (AMO), established by the state for school systems to meet their goals by 2014.

Additionally, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) continues to make progress on closing the achievement gap between races and socioeconomic subgroups. Since 2003, CCPS has narrowed the gap between African-American and White students' scores at each level and in each subject. The achievement gap in elementary reading has narrowed from 25.7 points in 2003 to 10.4 points in 2008; the difference in elementary math scores has narrowed from 27 points to 13.9 points; middle school reading score gaps have closed from 24.9 to 15.2 points and math score differences have lowered from 28.2 to 22.2 points. "Eliminating the achievement gap between students of different races, ethnicities and socioeconomic status is part of our mission. It is essential for all groups of students to improve for us to continue our path to becoming a top-rated school system. I am pleased that our students are improving and that the achievement gap continues to narrow. We are not where we need to be, but we are seeing progress," said Superintendent James E. Richmond.

At the middle school level, students in grades six through eight increased reading scores over last year. Sixth-graders' scores increased from 76.6 percent to 82.4 percent; seventh-grade students' scores jumped from 69 percent to 83.5 percent; and eighth-grade scores went from 70.9 percent to 74 percent. Math scores in grades six through eight also increased. Sixth-grade scores went from 73.9 to 75.4 percent; seventh-grade scores increased from 60.8 percent to 68.3 percent; and eighth-grade scores went from 57.4 percent to 60.5 percent. Reading scores increased across all elementary grades. Third graders increased scores from 78.1 percent to 81.1 percent. Fourth-grade student scores increased from 85.2 percent to 87.3 percent and fifth-grade scores jumped from 74.5 percent to 85 percent with 46.2 percent, nearly half of the fifth grade, scoring at the advanced reading level. Third and fourth graders also increased math scores. Third-grade scores rose from 74.4 percent to 79.8 percent and fourth-grade scores went from 83.6 percent to 87.7 percent. Fifth-grade scores remained about the same, dipping from 75.3 percent to 75.1 percent.

Richmond said he continues to be pleased with student progress, increases in scores and the marked improvement in the performance of students since 2003. "The continued progress of our students is a direct result of the hard work of our students and teachers in the classroom and consistent instructional programs and support. I commend all of our employees for working with all students to help them succeed."

Statewide, system, and local school data are now available on the Maryland State Department of Education's report card,

The MSA exams are given to third- through eighth-grade students in reading and mathematics, as well as to high school students in English and algebra courses. This initial round of data is used to meet federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. Under NCLB goals, all students must score at proficient levels on state tests by 2014.

In the coming months, the Maryland State Department of Education will release algebra and English II data, High School Assessment scores, AYP and attendance and graduation numbers.

NCLB charts the progress of the overall student population in the grades tested, as well as for students receiving three categories of special services: Free and/or Reduced Price Meals (FARMS), Special Education and Limited English Proficient. It also follows the success of students in five racial subgroups: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, African-American, White, and Hispanic.

See all results HERE.

Md. Scores In Reading, Math Show Big Strides

By Daniel de Vise and Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 15, 2008; Page A01

Maryland's march toward the goal of having all students reach grade level in reading and math gained momentum today with the release of test scores that show surprisingly strong gains in those subjects, especially among disadvantaged students.

The results, educators said, inspire fresh hope of closing achievement gaps, a primary focus of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

From 2007 to 2008, the share of students statewide who were judged proficient or better rose six percentage points in reading and four points in math, to 82 percent and 76 percent, respectively, on the Maryland School Assessments. The results in grades 3 through 8 show some of the strongest improvements since the first years of testing under the 2002 federal law and ease doubts across the education community about progress on the exams, which had slowed in recent years.

Read more HERE

Stephen Wallis: Schools should not tolerate violent, disruptive students

Mr. Wallis is also the Principal at Harper's Choice Middle School in Howard County(MD) Public School System. He is a forwad thinking individual that has demonstrated and proven time and again that his nurturingly aggressive, No-Excuses approach works to bring out the best in a school system's students, staff, parents, and community. One very lucky school system will be snatching him up for Superintendent in the very near future. Keep your eyes on him!

by Stephen Wallis, The Examiner
Jun 19, 2008 3:00 AM

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Recent reports in The Examiner on the disruptive and violent culture of Baltimore and surrounding schools are not unlike those outlined daily in national periodicals on the disgraceful conditions of too many of this country’s schools.

It is mind-numbing that those responsible for our schools still fail to understand a fundamental fact: Any schoolhouse — urban, suburban, rural — devoid of civility, self-discipline and character simply cannot exercise its primary, essential duty of providing to the citizenry a professional learning community — one that values its teaching staff and furnishes its youngsters with a meaningful education.

Educators, parents and business community representatives openly comment that officials responsible for disruptive schools don’t even pretend learning is at the heart of their mission; should we continue to tolerate such nonsense, we will do so at our own peril.

The answer to this mayhem lies in a comprehensive, multipronged approach. The education of youngsters requires the shared partnership of school and family. However, where the supportive parent/guardian component is absent, school leaders must have the intestinal fortitude to rid the schoolhouse of disruptive, violent behavior. Many benighted school officials and board of education members pay lip service to the idea of having safe schools, but they regularly fail to exercise their fiduciary responsibility of operating in loco parentis, initiating an assertive plan to make a school safe and inviting for its staff and students, as well as providing an alternative for the disruptive youngster’s education.

Read more HERE

Monday, July 14, 2008

Digital Divide

This is absurd! I would be more than happy to even include the media on my emails to my ccboe account. (Barring student, personnel, and legal information). I think they would find it's rather cumbersome and benign. As for the government charging the outrageous fee...that sounds like a lot of hogwash and someone doesn't want someone else reading their emails (which by the way or public anyway.) Possibly a private citizen could request those email (instead of a media outlet). I wonder if the fee would be the same? And if it is, I wonder if that private citizen could then argue that outrageous fee and bring charges (appeals, lawsuits) against the government for not really making the emails public. Just thinking...

Friday, July 11, 2008
Staff writer

Though governments’ e-mails are public records, local policies are all over the map

Those who want to know what their government has been up to lately should prepare to put up some cash.

As e-mail and the World Wide Web have become technologies fundamental to government communications and largely replaced postal and interoffice ‘‘snail mail” as the chief means of communication between Southern Maryland’s governments and their citizens, the rules on government transparency have been slow to catch up.

There is a wall growing between the increasing number of official e-mail communications and the ability of the public and the news media to monitor those communications. But government officials say that the wall needs to be higher in order to prevent them from being swamped by information requests.

Read more HERE

Learning, In Deed (WHAT A JOKE)


By Cindy Long

NEA Today Service Learning Projects Help Students Grow

Henry E. Lackey High School sits in Prince George’s County, Maryland -- one of the lowest socio-economic areas of the country – where crime, drugs, and poverty are very much a part of life for kids growing up in this Washington, D.C. suburb. But despite the obstacles -- or maybe because of them -- students at Lackey High are making a positive difference in their communities.

Charlene Haynie, a psychology and sociology teacher, is the school’s service learning coordinator. “The students and I take a look at the community and determine what’s needed, and then they choose their own projects,” she says. “Many of them are already active in the community – some are volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians, others are active within their religious organizations.”

Read more HERE

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Teacher pay set by the results

By Liz Bowie Sun reporter
July 6, 2008

From rural Washington County to suburban Prince George's County, school systems around the state are beginning to wade into a promising but controversial topic in education: pay for performance.

School officials are starting to offer teachers and principals extra pay or bonuses when they take on challenging assignments or raise test scores.

So a Prince George's County teacher could earn a bonus of up to $10,000 a year, and a Baltimore principal might someday get an extra 10 percent for exemplary work.

The move toward pay for performance, driven by increasing pressure for schools to improve student achievement as well as by shortages of teachers, comes despite the influence of Maryland's powerful teachers union.

Read more HERE

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

State Testing Mandates Swell Summer School Ranks

Thousands in Georgia, elsewhere take classes to help gain promotion.
By Linda Jacobson

Thousands of incoming middle and high school students in Georgia will spend some of their summer vacations sitting at desks in hopes of earning a passing score when they take another crack at a challenging state math test.

The disappointing scores of 5th and 9th graders on tests they must pass before moving to the next grade are an example of the struggle some states are having as they try to meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act while raising their academic standards.

And Georgia is among a number of states where students often end up attending district-administered summer school programs because they didn’t meet academic standards set by the state.

Texas is one of several states in which summer remediation programs are specifically targeted to elementary school pupils who have not met reading targets by the end of 3rd grade.

“Our scores were pretty good this year,” said DeEtta Culbertson, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency. Results show that 93 percent of 3rd graders passed the state test. Still, that leaves more than 24,000 students who will need to retake the test to enter 4th grade this coming fall. The tests are being given next month.

In Georgia, the pressure for summer school enrollment has been especially intense this year because of the new Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT, in mathematics. Fifth graders must pass the test to move to middle school, and 8th graders must pass it to advance to the 9th grade.

Almost 38 percent of 8th graders and about 28 percent of 5th graders didn’t pass the tests for their levels. That’s about 82,000 students for the two grades.

Students have been urged to register for summer school, which will be held at different times throughout the vacation months.

The 159,000-student Gwinnett County school system, the state’s largest district, was expecting this year’s enrollment to top last summer’s figure of 3,500 middle school students and 8,000 elementary school students.

Read more HERE