Nine states are worried about testing students twice and are asking the federal Department of Education to loosen NCLB requirements.
States granted exemptions from the federal No Child Left Behind law are asking for more time to get ready for new teacher evaluation rules and to not have to test students twice on both new standards and outgoing standards, according to Education Week.
A dozen states have asked for more time to prepare for new teacher evaluation rules. Nine states are worried about having to test students twice — once to field test new multi-state exams tied to Common Core standards and once using existing state assessments.
Florida is not among either group of states, but the decision could be relevant. How states decide to measure school and teacher performance while making the switch to the Common Core math and English standards and accompanying testing is the next big debate over the standards:
States including Maryland, Kentucky, and North Carolina want to delay, by one year, tying teacher evaluations to teacher personnel decisions. That’s something federal officials offered back in June as states struggled to implement new common standards, new tests, and high-stakes teacher-rating systems that tie personnel decisions to student growth. Under No Child Left Behind Act waivers, states were originally supposed to implement new evaluation systems and tie them to personnel decisions, such as firings and tenure, by the 2015-16 school year. The added flexibility, dubbed “waiver-waivers,” would allow states to have until 2016-17.
The other nine states seeking the evaluation waiver-waivers are: Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington.
The double-testing waiver allows states to suspend some of their current tests and give only the field tests from the common-testing consortia—to avoid double testing students. The 15 states that are seeking this waiver, which is open to non-NCLB-waiver states, are: California, Connecticut Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.
New York Magazine takes a look at the Common Core backlash in the Empire State — particularly that directed at the state’s new standardized tests. The Department of Education said 320 New York City schools’ students opted out of the test, out of 1.1 million total.
No real anti-testing resistance movement ever gained traction until last spring, when the state introduced revamped ELA and math tests that were so much harder than what came before that a vast majority of students failed. The tests were meant to align with a new national set of standards called the Common Core, which until recently has been celebrated by both political parties as a way of bringing critical thinking and academic rigor into schools across the country. The problem was that the state changed the test without changing the curriculum first. And the results reflected that: Fewer than one third of all third- through eighth-graders across the state passed. According to the DOE, about one out of every twenty kids citywide wasn’t able to finish day two of the tests.
“There were a lot of tears,” says John O’Reilly, principal of the Academy of Arts & Letters, a K-8 school in Brooklyn. “People have already talked about how they upped the text level, and there were multiple answers to some questions. But the tests were also really long, and kids didn’t finish. And I wondered if this is what we are deciding academic rigor is.”
Maryland excludes the results of 62 percent of learning-disabled and English learners on the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading exam. The state excludes 60 percent of those same students on the eighth grade reading exam. Both are the highest rates in the country.
NAEP recommends states not exclude more than 15 percent of student results. The national average is 12 percent. The NAEP reading and math exams are given every two years to a sample of students across the country.
Maryland officials say they allow a person or computer to read text aloud to those students on their annual exams. NAEP does not allow that accommodation, so the scores are not counted.
Florida excluded 12 percent of students with disabilities and those learning English from the 2013 NAEP results. Florida does not allow the “read aloud” accommodation on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
As the Post report, the change has a significant effect on Maryland’s score — especially compared to other states:
The Florida Times Union in Jacksonville has a profile of corporal punishment in North Florida schools:
“Part of the opposition to paddling comes from long-held fears that it is being imposed unfairly on disadvantaged students.
African-American students represent 17.13 percent of enrolled students but 35.67 percent of students receiving corporal punishment. And students with disabilities were only 14 percent of the school population but 19 percent of those receiving corporal punishment, according to an ACLU and Human Rights Watch report in 2009.”
Paddling in schools has been declining for years across the country and across Florida. But in North Florida it maintains a fast foothold in 20 public school districts and in uncounted private schools.In 1988, one of the last years all Florida school districts allowed in-school spanking, 84,495 kids were physically punished in public schools.
As Common Core State Standards for English and language arts are putting a national spotlight on what kids read in class, many of those authors are thinking about the way literature is taught in school—and how that’s changing.
StateImpact Florida spoke with several authors about how the new standards and other education policies shape the way they write.
Mario Garza is an international student who would like to work in the U.S. after graduating.
Editor’s note: This post was written by Constanza Gallardo
College seniors usually start worrying about landing a job some time in the spring before graduation. But for the thousands of international students in Florida colleges and universities, that worry starts now.
Florida ranks seventh on the top ten list of states hosting international students, with 32,746 international students in both public and private institutions according to the Institute for International Education, which released an analysis of international student data earlier this month.. The University of Florida alone hosts 5,961 students with F-1 visas, making it #17 in the U.S. for international students.
It’s part of a national trend. The report shows that the 2012-13 academic year has had a seven percent increase of international students studying in the United States—constituting four percent of the total U.S higher education population.
Florida school superintendents are asking lawmakers to extend the switch to Common Core standards and rewrite school grading and teacher evaluation requirements.
Florida school superintendents are asking state leaders to revamp the state’s A through F school grading system — including eliminating the letter grades — as the state completes the switch to new math, English and literacy standards.
Florida is one of 45 states to fully adopt Common Core, which outlines what students should know at the end of each grade. Supporters say the standards are more challenging and will prepare high school graduates for college or a job. Critics are concerned Common Core is a one-size-fits-all policy, won’t improve schools and may not be appropriate for young children.
Smith said school superintendents support the standards, but need more time to prepare.
But Florida’s new standard diploma doesn’t meet the “college-and-career-ready course of study” that is embedded in Common Core, according to a new study by Achieve, an education advocacy group working on the nationwide effort to implement Common Core.
Common Core is a set of academic standards detailing what students should learn in language arts and math, kindergarten to 12th grade. Florida is one of 45 states that have adopted the standards.
Only 19 states, however, have adopted high school graduation requirements that ensure students take a full Common Core course load, Achieve’s study found. Florida is not among them.
Study of those who used MOOCs offered by University of Pennsylvania professors found most already had a college degree.
The new generation of free, large-scale college courses offered over the Internet was supposed to make higher education, particularly at elite universities, accessible to to the masses. But a new survey of massive open online course, or MOOC, users show that most people who enroll are “elite, young and male” and already have a college degree.
The courses can enroll tens of thousands of students, though providers says as few as 1 in 10 students typically complete a course.
The University of Pennsylvania surveyed 34,779 students who enrolled in courses taught by Penn professors on Coursera. Both U.S. and international students were likely to already have a college degree, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education:
The Penn researchers sent the survey to students who had registered for a MOOC and viewed at least one video lecture. More than 80 percent of the respondents had a two- or four-year degree, and 44 percent had some graduate education.
The pattern was true not only of MOOC students in the United States but also learners in other countries. In some foreign countries where MOOCs are popular, such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa, “80 percent of MOOC students come from the wealthiest and most well educated 6 percent of the population,” according to the paper.
In other developing countries, about 80 percent of the MOOC students surveyed already held college degrees—a number staggeringly out of proportion with the share of degree holders in the general population.
As insecurity in the private-sector labor market increases, the value of public-sector job protections effectively increases, meaning that candidates will be willing to accept lower pay in exchange for the guarantee that it will be nearly impossible to fire them. This is separate from the shrinking number of jobs in the private sector, which also conspires to make higher quality candidates available to school districts. Both factors together could give us a nice boost in teacher scores.
Of course, it’s also possible that a lot of college students suddenly and for no apparent reason decided they wanted to be teachers around the same time that the job market became massively more insecure. But I’m betting it’s no coincidence. Bad news for the graduating seniors, but good news for the nation’s schools.