Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Hits

U.S. Supreme Court nominee's record provides clues on education: Sonia Sotomayor's 17-year federal judicial record includes high-profile rulings on several major education issues. She has questioned school strip searches, upheld tuition reimbursement for students with disabilities and rejected a reverse discrimination claim. (Education Week by way of KSBA)

Education Secretary Duncan Calls for State Standards on Restraints in Schools: Citing "disturbing" reports of schoolchildren being harmed when teachers physically restrained them, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on state school chiefs yesterday to develop plans this summer to ensure that restraints are used safely and sparingly. (Washington Post)

Some state tests could be eliminated under N.C. budget proposal: North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue has proposed eliminating state tests that aren't needed for graduation or mandated by federal law. The state Senate agrees and wants to ax tests on five high-school subjects, an eighth-grade computer-skills test and tests for high-school students who struggle with reading and math. But state education leaders say the tests ensure that schools teach to state standards. (The News & Observer)

Utah districts embrace "whole child" model: Some Utah school districts attempting to narrow the achievement gap are educating parents as a way to focus on the whole child. Bilingual messages, on-site social services, health care and parent classes may get students who are low-income or English-language learners the help they need, some educators say. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Latest generation of NYC principals have more autonomy, but struggle: A New York City principal-training program has led to more schools being run by younger leaders who are paid more and have greater responsibility for hiring and budgets, but their schools do not perform as well as those of their peers on more traditional tracks, according to a New York Times analysis. Teacher turnover is higher at schools led by graduates of the New York City Leadership Academy, according to the analysis, although some say that reflects the change younger principals bring. (N Y Times)

Duncan: California schools are at a crossroads: California's $5.3 billion in proposed cuts to its education budget place students' futures in danger and may jeopardize the state's eligibility for federal "Race to the Top" funds, according to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "California has lost its way," he said. "The long-term consequences of that are very troubling." (L A Times) (San Francisco Chronicle)

Workers trade in Wall Street to teach math: Laid-off traders will be trained to use their finance skills to teach math during a three-month New Jersey program that begins in September. Montclair State University received 146 applications for the program's 25 seats. "It's a completely new pool of individuals," said Ada Beth Cutler, dean of the College of Education. (The Boston Globe/Reuters)

Pluses and minuses for California's charter schools in report: Most students at California's charter schools outperform their peers at traditional public schools, but English-language learners do worse at charter schools, according to a University of Southern California report on charter schools. Systems to ensure charter schools' fiscal responsibility need to be better, one researcher said. (L A Times)

Expulsion policy bars students from all Baltimore schools: The 34 students expelled from Baltimore schools this year for setting fires or detonating explosives will never be allowed to return to any district facility, including alternative schools. School officials say the policy has reduced the number of arsons, but parents who can't afford private school or to home-school their children are struggling to find options. (The Baltimore Sun)

Research shows setting goals may improve middle-school grades: Teaching middle-school students why doing well in school is important to their future and helping them develop effective ways to study may do more to improve their grades than homework help, according to a Harvard University researcher's analysis of 50 studies involving more than 50,000 students. Adolescents' burgeoning planning and decision-making skills can make middle school an especially effective time to use such strategies to overcome students' decreasing interest in school, lead researcher Nancy Hill said. (ScienceDaily)

Mass. elementary-school teachers may have to pass math test: Massachusetts may become the first state to require elementary-school teachers and special educators who teach prekindergarten through eighth grade to pass a math test before obtaining a teaching license. Mitchell Chester, the state's education commissioner, will bring the proposal to the state education board this week. Most states, including Massachusetts, require an overall passing score on a test that includes all subjects. (Ed Week)

Will traditional yearbooks fade from modern high schools?: Traditional high-school yearbooks are less appealing to students raised on Facebook and iPods, students and educators say. Some schools are improving sales by adding DVDs or online components, but some students are still skeptical: "I don't think memories should cost anything," said Texas senior Paul Tee. (The Dallas Morning News)

Study: Preschool children learn some language skills from peers: Young children's language skills are shaped not only by their parents and teachers but by their classmates, according to a study of more than 1,800 preschoolers in 11 states. "Classmates are an important resource for all children. ... These results also indicate that teachers can promote children's language development by effectively managing children's behavior, which creates an environment in which children feel comfortable to converse with and learn language from one another," said lead author Andrew Mashburn, a University of Virginia senior research scientist. (ScienceDaily)

College Board delays launch of eighth-grade exam: Because so many school districts have limited funds, the College Board said it will postpone the launch of an eighth-grade test scheduled to debut this fall. Officials say the exam could be available in 2010 if economic conditions improve. (The Oregonian)

No comments: