Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Hits

Report - Reading and writing skills must be a priority: The findings of a five-year study of U.S. student literacy in fourth through 12th grades has education leaders calling for an overhaul of reading and writing instruction. Among the recommendations in the report, from the Carnegie Corp. of New York's Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy, is teaching literacy across all subject areas, using data to inform teachers' professional development on literacy and reorganizing schools, if necessary, to focus on literacy. (Education Week)

Florida revamps high-school assessment system: A new system for evaluating the performance of high schools has been approved by Florida's Board of Education. It will still assign letter grades, but only half of the grade will rely on the results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The other 50% will be based on school performance measures that include graduation rates and student participation in advanced classes. "The FCAT, by itself, was an incomplete picture of achievement in high schools," said a state senator. (The Tampa Tribune)

Group looks at states given flexibility on NCLB: A report looks at a pilot program allowing select states flexibility in their approach to improve schools performing poorly under No Child Left Behind standards. The Center on Education Policy looked at Georgia, Maryland, New York and Ohio and found the states were using data to determine what type of instruction to provide and that they adjusted adequate yearly progress assessments to reflect school conditions. (Education Week)

Study - Charter schools see more attrition, Fewer students are graduating: Fewer than half of the students who enrolled in Boston charter high schools as freshmen over the past five years made it through to graduation, usually departing for other schools, according to a new study that will be officially released tomorrow at a legislative hearing on charter school expansions. (Boston Globe)

Immersion classes for young students are being piloted by Calif. district: Kindergarten and first-grade students at two elementary schools in a California school district are taking part in a dual-language immersion pilot program. One school teaches Mandarin Chinese and the other offers Spanish. A teacher said her goal is to eventually teach 90% of her class in Chinese and give her students Chinese names for class. "I'm giving everything in English now, but when I use a Chinese word, I always translate for the students so they can understand," she said. (Pasadena Star-News)

Ravitch - Students need knowledge to think critically: A single-minded focus on skills without teaching knowledge is a strategy that has never worked, writes Diane Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University and co-chairwoman of Common Core. Ravitch argues that schools can't teach 21st-century skills without teaching knowledge. "Until we teach both teachers and students to value knowledge and to love learning, we cannot expect them to use their minds well," she writes. (The Boston Globe)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Diane Ravitch also buys into the idea of cultural literacy advanced by E. D. Hirsch. I think she is right on target here....