Archive for March, 2010

Georgia Perimeter president is now among four finalists for Florida job

Anthony Tricoli, the president of Georgia Perimeter College, is now one of four finalists to become the new leader of Hillsborough Community College.

Read the details here. See earlier posting today here.

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Fayette parents create concise school finance primer

I have been impressed with the parental responses to budget cuts in every metro county. Here is a good school finance primer sent to me by the Fayette Citizens for Children. The county boasts some of the best schools in Georgia and a dedicated parent base that wants to keep it that way.

While this Q&A is local to Fayette in some instances, it has information relevant to all systems and parents that I felt was worth sharing:

What is QBE?

In a nutshell the Quality Basic Education Act (QBE) is an act that states that the formula by which the State of Georgia requires the provision of Basic Quality Education has NEVER been fully funded, though it’s supposed to be.  This is a complex formula that requires school systems to provide basic education, such as reading, writing, math and science, etc.  For the provision of these subjects, and based upon the number of students a system has, and weighting those students dependent upon certain criteria such as special education assistance, …

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Georgia Perimeter president finalist for Florida college job

Update Thursday at 1:30 .m: Georgia Perimeter College president Anthony Tricoli is now one of four finalists to become the new leader of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

A poster last week wondered if Georgia Perimeter College president Anthony Tricoli was leaving. So, we called the Regents, whose spokesman said that Tricoli was not on his way and suggested the rumors were an outgrowth of a neighborhood tussle over the spread of one of the Perimeter College campuses.

Nope, the rumors were a result of the news that Tricoli’s under consideration for  the presidency of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

The Tampa paper announced that Tricoli is among the 10 finalists.  (Thanks Mae.)

“It’s pretty common that at any given time we have presidents under consideration for jobs.  We usually find out only at the point at which their names become a matter of record in the process,” said University System spokesman John Millsaps when asked about Tricoli on Thursday. ”

Here …

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If Texas rewrites history, do we all need to read the book?

The national furor created by the curriculum changes approved by the social conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education shows no sign of easing.

Now, the Interfaith Alliance has sent a protest to the top publishing companies. Because Texas is such a behemoth among textbook purchasers, many people fear that its constrained world view will show up in textbooks used in other states.

In its release, the Alliance said:

“We do not take lightly the changes approved by the Texas SBOE, and at this point we are working to ensure that other children across the country are not taught an inaccurate history of our country,” said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance and author of the letter sent to the publishing companies.

A Christian conservative bloc of the board voted to incorporate the study of the right to bear arms (the Second Amendment) in the curriculum on First Amendment rights and free expression, and to remove Thomas Jefferson from the …

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Creative writing by ailing 9-year-old and even more creative selling of it

Here’s a way to inspire children to write: Let them sell their stories on eBay for a good cause.

Undergoing surgery today, Malkolm Poyer is selling a short story on ebay to defray the costs to his parents and siblings to stay in Atlanta.

Undergoing surgery today, Malkolm Poyer is selling a short story on eBay to defray the costs to his parents and two younger siblings to stay in Atlanta.

According to the AJC, Malkolm Poyer is selling an original story on eBay for $10 per autographed copy to defray his family’s expenses in Atlanta related to his open heart surgery this week at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston to insert a defibrillator.

I just checked eBay, and the 9-year-old author has sold 326 copies of “Luna.”  That sum should  make a decent dent in the family’s hotel and meal bills.

The AJC story says Malkolm was born with a condition that forced his heart to work much harder than normal to pump blood, thus limiting his physical exertion. So, he’s become an avid reader and writer.

Check out Malkolm’s eBay ad.

While his story is good, I give Malkolm even higher marks for his creativity in selling …

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Latest charter school review: Look before you leap

In a new report from the Center for Public Education, charter schools get a big picture review. The findings reflect the mixed results of other charter studies and suggest caution before any state, including Georgia, assumes that more charter schools equal more achievement.

The report concludes that it’s  imperative that more research take place as charter schools are expected to surge in numbers with the emphasis on them by the Obama White House.  The report states:

Charters are largely misunderstood – only 41 percent of voters even know that charter schools are in fact public schools. The incomplete research base behind charters means that many states may be heading into a reform strategy without a clear understanding of how charter schools work best, or how they interact with and affect traditional public schools. Charter schools need more research, oversight, and true evaluation to fulfill their purpose of being laboratories that traditional public schools can learn …

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The problem with friends in high places, including Arne

The Chicago Tribune has a good story about people in high places exerting influence on admissions to Chicago’s top public schools. The reassuring factor is that the students often did not get in, but it’s troubling that former schools chief Arne Duncan, now U.S. education secretary, had his staff intervene in any way.

A Chicago Tribune investigation raises questions about whether Arne Duncan's office intervened in admissions to top Chicago public schools

A Chicago Tribune investigation raises questions about whether Arne Duncan's office intervened in admissions to top Chicago public schools

It doesn’t matter if the Chicago admissions system was “broken,” as some officials insisted. If the average person couldn’t appeal to Duncan’s office for help, no one should have been allowed.

Take a look at the story, which begins:

While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s …

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Georgia’s reading scores: No great leaps this year.

The latest NAEP scores are the usual mixed bag for Georgia: The 2009 reading scores in fourth and eighth grades are relatively flat , but both grades gained five points in the percentage of students moving into at least the basic proficiency level between 2005 and last year.

While math scores are improving, national reading scores are remaining flat, raising issues about whether children are reading enough.

While math scores are improving, national reading scores are remaining flat, raising issues about whether children are reading enough.

Sixty-three percent of Georgia’s fourth-graders scored at basic proficiency or better, compared with 66 percent of students nationally.

Among the state’s eighth-graders, 72 percent scored at basic proficiency or better, compared with 74 percent nationally.

In explaining the nation’s sluggish scores, experts point to the fact that today’s students are spending an increasing amount of their lives in front of screens, playing video games, texting friends or surfing the Internet.

The New York Times spotlighted an interesting aspect of the new reading scores:

The new scores …

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DeKalb school closings: Long meeting, long faces and longshots

I learned one main lesson from the long meeting tonight of the Citizens Planning Task Force  on school closings in DeKalb: I never want to serve on such a panel.

There is simply no happy ending to this careful process, which depends on reams of data showing enrollments, projected growth, capacities of nearby schools, future housing development around the schools, along with intangibles such as what a school means to a community.

Clearly, from the turnout of 400 parents, the 21 schools that could have been closed mean a lot to their communities. By the end of the long session the list was whittled down to 14 schools, sending the Midvale parents in their green shirts home, relieved to be off the list. But the dozens of sign-carrying Meadowview parents left still anxious that their  plucky little school may disappear.

The task force members debated, discussed and deliberated how to determine which schools should close. I was impressed with how much information members sought from …

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Gun poll: Majority want no weapons in high schools or colleges

On the eve of a vote on Senate Bill 308, Georgians for Gun Safety released this poll. I am running the poll because it  included questions about guns in schools. (SB 308 expands where guns can legally carried in the state. although k-12 schools remain off limits.)

Here are the poll details and results:

The poll asked 450 registered voters in whether a person should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon into a high school, a house of worship, a college or university campus, or at an airport.

76% said “definitely not” in a high school;

64% said “definitely not” in a house of worship;

61% said “definitely not” at an airport;

54% said “definitely not” at a college or university campus;

In fact, more than 50% of respondents said that someone with a permit “definitely should not” be able to carry a gun in any of the locations;

Those who participated in the poll were randomly selected from all regions of Georgia. The findings are representative of Georgia voters by region, …

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