So you’re a school district leader with a limited budget but looming deadlines to upgrade classroom technology — what’s going to provide the best bang for the buck? A researcher at North Carolina State University recommends avoiding “canned content,” such as educational software and big-ticket interactive whiteboards. Instead, invest in wireless while deciding whether to make short- or long-term tech investments. And try more flexible tools, such as netbooks coupled with document cameras.
The Florida Department of Education released individual teacher evaluation scores Monday, after the Florida Times-Union won its lawsuit seeking the data. Union leaders said the scores are “flawed” and “meaningless” because most teachers are rated based on subjects or students they don’t teach.
In Defuniak Springs in Florida’s panhandle, the third graders at West Defuniak Elementary are learning division.
Specifically, 72 divided by six. Their teacher, Casi Adkinson drew circles onto the board.
“I share my 72 into my six circles,” Adkinson said. “Are we ready to do that together? Ready? 1,2,3,4,5…”
With the class counting along, Adkinson drew 72 marks, grouped into six separate circles.
“Ok, I shared my 72,” she said. “What do I do next? Alaya?
“Oh! You count how many there are in the six circles,” Alaya said.
By the time the lesson is over, the class finished only four problems.
“I know to some people, they might think ‘that’s not many problems, I’d want to cover 20,’” Adkinson said. “It doesn’t matter if you cover 20 problems if they don’t understand why they’re doing it.”
The idea of ‘less is more’ has permeated West Defuniak Elementary since 2011. That’s when the school began to phase in the new Common Core standards with its youngest students.
This weekend, a Duval County high school will be hosting a conversation about volunteerism, bridging disparities and the community roll of a historic African-American school.
William M. Raines High School opened in segregated Jacksonville in 1965. Its first principal famously hired the best teachers he could find—recruiting educators with degrees from Columbia. For decades, it was a community pillar.
But in recent years, Raines has struggled with poverty, neighborhood violence and low test scores. At one point, the state threatened to close Raines and several other failing Duval schools.
But for many Raines grads—including filmmaker Emanuel Washington—the school was too important to dissolve.
Washington made a documentary about the school’s history, We Remember Raines, which will be screened at the school on Saturday.
Florida’s legislative session is almost here and there are a lot of education bills filed. The News Service of Florida reports one bill would lower the cost of Florida prepaid tuition: “a family enrolling a newborn during the 2012-13 year in a four-year university plan under the prepaid program is currently paying $332 a month. If SB 732 passes, that price would drop to an estimated $255 a month.”
The head of the nation’s largest teacher’s union says school districts are botching the implementation of shared math and language arts standards known as Common Core.
National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel said he still supports the standards in an open letter posted on the union’s website,
“Seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools. Worse yet, teachers report that there has been little to no attempt to allow educators to share what’s needed to get CCSS implementation right. In fact, two-thirds of all teachers report that they have not even been asked how to implement these new standards in their classrooms,” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel writes in the Feb. 19 letter. “Consequently, NEA members have a right to feel frustrated, upset, and angry about the poor commitment to implementing the standards correctly.”
In all, the letter is more evidence of a phenomenon my colleague Andrew Ujifusa of State EdWatch fame and I wrote about in this week’s edition of Education Week: Unions are in a tricky situation on the common core. They’ve been among its greatest champions, and are now faced with rank-and-file members’ gripes as it’s implemented, especially in New York.
The NEA won’t oppose the standards, Van Roekel writes in the letter. “[S]cuttling these standards will simply return us to the failed days of No Child Left Behind, where rote memorization and bubble tests drove teaching and learning,” he says.
Florida is one of 45 states which have fully adopted the standards. Common Core outlines what students should know at the end of each grade. The standards are expected to be more difficult in order to better prepare students for college or a job.
A proposal to exempt firefighters and police officers from changes to the state pension system may not have won over reluctant lawmakers, the News Service of Florida reports. The state’s largest teacher’s union is also opposing the bill, which seeks to close the traditional pension to new hires.
At yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting, Orlando mom Andrea Rediske scolded members for state and federal rules requiring standardized testing.
Tuesday, she sought support for the Ethan Rediske Act, or HB 895, which would exempt students from state standardized tests if parents, special educators and school superintendents could prove a medical need to skip the test.
“This incident caused anguish to my family,” Rediske told the board, “and shows a stunning lack of compassion and even common sense on the part of the Department of Education.
“You may ask yourselves: ‘If this is such a problem why isn’t there more public outcry from the parents of disabled children?’ I am here to tell you why. Parents of severely disabled children are exhausted. We spend our lives keeping these children alive.”
Click the link to listen to Rediske.
You can read the full bill after the jump:
Every October, high-school students across the country take the PSAT, or Practice SAT, a standardized test developed by College Board that provides high school students a chance to enter scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
But, it wasn’t the algebraic equations that terrified the kids. It was the cursive.
As the kids filled in their identifying information, they came to a section that asked them to copy a pledge promising not to cheat – in cursive – and then to sign their names.
“Miss, what do they mean by ‘sign your name’?” one student asked.
“You know, the way that you write your name on important documents, like contracts or checks.”
Questioning stare. “Like, in cursive?”
I have never seen so many stunned teenagers, paralyzed, gripping their pencils, gulping. It took one child a full five minutes to copy the roughly 25 words and sign his name. Continue Reading
The State Board of Education approved changes to the state’s K-12 standards that keeps calculus and cursive writing, and clarifies and adjusts when some standards are taught.
The board approved the changes despite dozens of parents and activists asking the board to rescind the standards. The vote marks another –possibly final — transformation for Florida’s K-12 math, English and language arts standards known as Common Core. Florida is one of 45 states which have fully adopted Common Core.
The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said debate over the content of the standards is over.
“I think that the vote that the board took today certainly does lay to rest where we’re headed,” she said, “the direction we’re going with our standards. This is the right move.”