Lisa Gibes is 50CAN’s vice president of strategy and external relations. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

News & analysis:
College And Career Prep To Start In The Third Grade

Education from the third grade on could change dramatically when ACT, Inc., launches its newest project. Informally dubbed a “next generation assessment system,” ACT’s new program will use standardized testing and other tools to align skills students learn in school with what they need to succeed in college and careers. The digital, 3rd-12th grade system will be the first of its kind and build off the nonprofit organization’s well-knownACT test often taken by high school juniors instead of the SAT. ACT President of Education Jon Erickson calls the system a “logical next step.” But since he wants to eventually make it part of education nationwide, scaled to the “millions and millions,” it seems more like an ambitious leap. (Forbes) 

Florida Gives Wrong Grades To Hundreds Of Public Schools, Challenge Accountability
The Florida Department of Education has announced that it miscalculated grades for hundreds of schools across the state, further fueling public distrust in the state’s accountability system. State officials say that 40 of the 60 districts were affected, mis-grading 8 percent, or 213, of the initially graded 2,586 schools as a result of omitting one piece of a complex, newly revised grading formula, according to the Associated Press. Grades for affected schools have since been revised to reflect gains in student learning, as the new formula sought to give schools extra credit if low-performing students made large improvements on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. As a result, 116 schools saw their grades rise from a B to an A, 55 schools’ grades rose from a C to a B, 35 jumped from a D to a C and seven schools went from failing to a D grade, according to state officials. (Huffington Post) 

Maryland education board gives preliminary approval to student-discipline reforms

Maryland education leaders voted to overhaul student-discipline practices Tuesday, approving regulations that they hope will cut back on suspensions, keep students in class and create a less-punitive culture in the state’s public schools. The changes place Maryland among states and school systems at the forefront of a national movement to rethink how students in trouble are punished and whether too many are suspended and expelled for offenses that could be handled in other ways. But the action by the Maryland State Board of Education goes a step further than most, requiring that its 24 school systems trackracial disparities in discipline and come up with plans to resolve them. Problems must be reduced within a year and eliminated in three years under the changes. (Washington Post) 

New York:
Judge Backs Union in Turnaround Ruling

State Supreme Court Judge Joan B. Lobis ruled Tuesday in support of an arbitrator who found that the city improperly removed staff members in an effort to turn around 24 struggling schools, essentially backing the unions’ position and allowing the affected schools to complete their staffing for the new school year. Still, the dispute isn’t technically over. The city’s lead lawyer, Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, vowed to appeal. “The mayor and chancellor will not allow failing schools to deprive our students of the high-quality education they deserve,” he said. “Although we will of course comply with the judge’s ruling, we strongly disagree with it — and we will be appealing.” (New York Times – School Book) 

Patrick Brennan: How to Make Merit Pay Work

Conservatives have a wide range of solid suggestions for education reform (to which liberals are increasingly warming), including school choice, merit pay, and tenure reform, which are undeniably appealing on principle, and usually have some good empirical support, too. But it’s especially encouraging when there’s gold-standard evidence of how a particular reform can succeed, and a new study provides just that for merit pay, for which the existing empirical support had been somewhat weak. Roland Fryer of Harvard, Steven Levitt and John List of Chicago, and Sally Sadoff of UC San Diego have released a paper in which a randomized-control trial finds very strong support for incentivizing teachers based on their students’ test scores, in a particular way, by exploiting the behavioral economic effect of “loss aversion”: Rather than just offering extra merit pay, they would claw back some of the extra compensation if performances were unimpressive. (National Review)



Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts