Morning Announcements: October 3, 2011
Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the department’s proposed reforms to improve teacher preparation programs and better prepare educators for classroom success, according to Ed.gov. “America’s teachers and America’s children deserve world-class preparation programs that prepare teachers for today’s classrooms and students for today’s information age,” he said.
According to US News & World Report, most high school districts offer some sort of dropout prevention program. A new report released last week by the National Center for Education Statistics shows a majority of high schools (approximately 8 in 10) offer services such as tutoring and remediation classes for students who have fallen behind, but less than half of school districts offer an after-school program for high school students at risk of not graduating.
The New York Times report if no deal is reached by Friday, 716 of New York City’s lowest-paid workers — school aides, parent coordinators and other members of school support staffs — will lose their jobs, the latest victims of budget cuts to the public schools. Nearly 350 schools will be affected, in a scattered pattern, according to a list of layoffs by school, which was obtained and analyzed by The New York Times. The newspaper found the poorest and most struggling schools will be hit the hardest.
The New York Times reports on incentives given to students and teachers who do Advanced Placement courses. The newspaper profiled Joe Nystrom, who teaches math at a low-income high school in Massachucettes. He used to think that only the “smart kids” could handle advanced coursework, but two years ago, spurred by a national program that offered cash incentives and other support for students and teachers adopted a come one, come all policy for Advanced Placement courses. With help from the National Math and Science Initiative, it provided laboratory equipment, special training for teachers, organized tutoring, and paid $100 each to students who scored a 3 or above on the A.P. exam.
The Obama administration announced a new $185 million competition Friday that would reward colleges for producing teachers whose students perform well on standardized tests, according to the Wall Street Journal. The competition would require states to provide data linking collegiate teaching programs inside their borders to the test scores of their graduates' students. Under the proposal, to be eligible for the money, states would have to ratchet up teacher-licensing exams and close persistently low-performing teacher-training programs.
The New York Times reports on North Carolina’s Teaching Fellows Program, in which the state pays top academic students to attend a public college, and in return they spend at least four years teaching in a public school. In the 20 years since the first fellows began teaching, the program has flourished. High school seniors selected for the program average about 1,200 on the SATs compared with a state average of 1,000. Of the 500 fellows chosen each year, about a quarter are black or Hispanic.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports thousands of low-income students in underperforming schools statewide will soon receive letters saying they are eligible to transfer to different schools and receive private tutoring paid for by their school districts. If history is an indicator, however, few will take advantage of those opportunities.
Momentum appears to be gathering behind a U.S. Department of Education plan to hold teacher education programs accountable for the achievement of students taught by their graduates, according to Education Week. At an event hosted here Friday by the think tank Education Sector, a diverse group of stakeholders, including Dennis Van Roekel, the president of the National Education Association, and Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America, spoke in favor of the initiative, which was first outlined in the Obama administration’s fiscal 2012 budget request.
According to the Associated Press, starting this school year, Mississippi's eighth-grade students will be asked what they want to do when they grow up — and to start planning their courses to fit. The Mississippi Department of Education's new Pathways to Success program asks eight-graders to choose one of 16 career clusters such as public safety, business management and human services.. Officials say that will help school counselors help the students decide what electives or career courses to choose.
Massachusetts education officials are developing plans to test students as soon as they enter kindergarten to determine how prepared they are to start school, the Associated Press reports. Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville says they would not be used to determine who could enter kindergarten, and should not be mistaken for an early version of the standardized Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests.
The U.S. Department of Education says Yale University will receive $1.1 million to help students prepare for college, according to the Associated Press. The grant is intended to help at-risk students receive support to be successful in college. Nationwide, the new grants are expected to help about 275,000 students receive extra support. The grants are competitive six- or seven-year matching grant programs that target entire grades of students, partner with local organizations and businesses and include matching local contributions and in-kind services.