Many parents at a Jacksonville-area elementary school don’t like the district’s plan to add an extra hour to the school day for reading instruction, the Florida Times-Union reports. Some parents said their kids don’t need extra help, while others worried the school day would be too long for children.
“This idea is to learn a language you have to talk it…you have to engage in it.”
That’s how Algebra Project founder Bob Moses described the principle underlying the program. Math is a language. And like any language, teachers need to help students translate the language into terms they understand.
But like the students learning algebra, it’s difficult to understand the process Moses described without watching students in action. So we sat in last week as the Algebra Project wrapped up orientation for its third group of students at Miami Northwestern High School.
“You can break down math into how you understand,” teacher Sara Weinberg told a group of students tentatively chatting about an assignment. “Break it into your language.”
Fifty years ago Bob Moses organized volunteers to register voters in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer.
And for decades, Moses has been fighting for civil rights as an educator.
He’s won a MacArthur Genius Grant to develop a new way to teach algebra in largely low-income and minority schools.
The Algebra Project shows students how to translate mathematics into common language and back — to simplify algebra.
Miami-Dade schools don’t know how many Central American immigrant children will enroll when classes start next month. But the district expects the cost will be significant and is asking the federal government to pay the tab for additional services, Watchdog.org reports.
If you want one of the roughly 1,800 new scholarships for students with disabilities that allows parents to mix and match services for their children, you’d better get an application in soon.
More than 1,200 families applied for a Personal Learning Scholarship Account, or PLSA, in the first week of applications. The scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and are intended for students autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other significant learning challenges.
“We really didn’t expect to see this much demand this quickly,” said Patrick Gibbons, spokesman for Step Up For Students, which administers the state scholarship program.
State leaders weren’t sure how many parents would be aware of the scholarships when lawmakers approved the program this year. But word spread quickly, and more than 700 families said they were interested before enrollment opened July 18th.
Gibbons said the scholarships are more flexible than the state’s other school choice programs.
“You can mix and match public school and private school. You can pay for tutors, speech therapies and even save that money for college.”
The scholarships range in value from about $4,500 to more than $19,000 dollars depending on a student’s grade, school district and disability.
Florida is the second state to approve scholarships of this type, after Arizona. A 2013 report found two-thirds of Arizona parents used their scholarships like a traditional voucher. A third of Arizona parents used the scholarships to supplement private school tuition with tutoring, therapy or additional curricula.
National teacher’s unions have put Republican Gov. Rick Scott at the top of their wish list of politicians they want to boot from office, Stephanie Simon reports at Politico. Unions spent $69 million in 2010 and are likely to spend even more this cycle.
Florida schools are making plans for how to add a state-required extra hour of reading instruction, according to two stories out today.
In 2012, lawmakers required that the 100 schools with the lowest scores on the FCAT reading test add an extra hour of reading instruction to try and boost those scores. When the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability reviewed the results, the agency found most students at those schools improved their test scores.
So lawmakers expanded the requirement to the 300 lowest-scoring school this year (it’s actually 307 because some schools had tied scores).
In Pasco County, the Tampa Bay Times reports the school district said they are adding extra instruction time without changing the length of the school day at three schools. That’s because the district wants to avoid the $975,000 cost of rearranging bus schedules.
The tens of thousands of immigrant children crossing the U.S. border — many from Central America — could mean less federal money for education, Clare McCann at the New America Foundation warns. Federal spending rules could mean every dollar increase for immigration services is a dollar cut from education. Miami-Dade schools expect a surge in Central American children when classes start next month.
The old-fashioned way may be the best way when it comes to teaching math. A new study finds struggling students learned more with much-maligned “drill and kill” techniques to teach basic math concepts. Some parents and critics have complained that Common Core standards encourage schools to put less emphasis on drill-based math instruction.
Gov. Rick Scott spent Monday touring high-tech South Florida companies looking to hire.
He wants to make sure firms like Boca Raton’s Modernizing Medicine, which designs electronic medical record systems, have workers ready.
“If you think about – I’ve got kids and even have, hard to believe, I have grandkids – the jobs of the future are going to be science, technology, engineering and math-related,” said Scott, a Republican. “So we need to do workforce training in those areas.”