Archive for December, 2010

Undereducated applicants could hurt U.S. military

U.S. map shows percentage of failed aptitude tests in each state by applicants between the ages of 17 and 20 between 2004 and 2009, and percent of failed tests nationally by race during same period.

U.S. map shows percentage of failed aptitude tests in each state by applicants between the ages of 17 and 20 between 2004 and 2009, and percent of failed tests nationally by race during same period.

A new report by the Education Trust says almost 25 percent of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam.

In response to the report, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the Associated Press, “Too many of our high school students are not graduating ready to begin college or a career — and many are not eligible to serve in our armed forces. I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America’s underperforming education system.”

And retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett told the news service, “If you can’t get the people that you need, there’s a potential for a decline in your readiness.”

According to a story in the AJC:

The report by The Education Trust found that 23 percent of recent high school graduates don’t get the minimum score …

Continue reading Undereducated applicants could hurt U.S. military »

Are mid-year principal retirements routine?

Are mid-year retirements by principals a routine occurrence?

According to the AJC, four Atlanta school principals have retired from the city school system. I wonder if the principals were worn down by the ongoing CRCT cheating probe on top of the normal pressures on them.

I was with several teachers this weekend and all of them agreed that they would never take a principal’s post, citing all the pressures from the district and from parents.

The AJC story on the APS retirements states:

Two of the four principals — Gideons Elementary School’s Armstead Salters and Venetian Hills Elementary School’s Clarietta Davis — were reassigned to other jobs in August after a local investigating panel said wholesale changes were needed at their schools and 10 others. Salters, who was named Principal of the Year in 2008 by the National Alliance of Black School Educators, retired as of Nov. 30.

Reached at home Tuesday night, Salters, who turned 71 on Dec. 10, said he had been considering …

Continue reading Are mid-year principal retirements routine? »

Colorado suggests Georgia skiers stick to North Carolina

In the broader view of education that I sometimes apply to this blog, what lesson was this Decatur dad teaching his 4-year-old when he went after an adolescent who accidentally ran into the little boy on a Colorado ski slope?

The 14-year-old girl had been skiing on a beginner run with a ski school class when she swerved to avoid a skier who had fallen in front of her and she bumped into the boy. If this father did believe that the skier had seriously injured his son, why was he wasting time punching the young girl in the face?  Who pauses for a slugfest when their child is hurt?

It turned out the child was not hurt, but the dad had to be pulled off the young girl by a ski instructor.

Now, I know why I never took up skiing. Too many lunatics. If any of the teachers on this blog end up with the child of this man in their class, prepare to duck if you ever give the kid an “F.”

This AJC story depressed me on what had been an otherwise lovely day. According to the story:

After the …

Continue reading Colorado suggests Georgia skiers stick to North Carolina »

Next best thing to out-and-out geniuses. “Gifted” children

There is no topic that brings out the fire-breathing dragon in parents as gifted education. One of my most brilliant colleagues, Michael Skube, once wrote a column about gifted children that sparked an overwhelming outcry.

At the time, I was not writing about education but sat near Michael in the features newsroom and listened in amazement as he talked unhappy caller after caller down off the ledge. The fact that I can still recall a 1996 column speaks to his talents as a both a writer and a provocateur.

Michael was an intellectual in the world of journalism. As a young writer, he won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He was a noted book reviewer and now is also an academic. He is a professor at Elon.

I have had several conversations in the last few weeks about gifted education. Those talks led me to dig up Michael’s column, which I am sharing here. (He also wrote a followup piece about the parents of gifted children in his north Fulton neighborhood that almost provoked his …

Continue reading Next best thing to out-and-out geniuses. “Gifted” children »

DOE creates a deputy chief for turnaround schools

New jobs and faces at the state Department of Education today:

 New Georgia school chief John Barge is round out his leadership team with new appointments.

New Georgia school chief John Barge is rounding out his leadership team with new appointments.

The State Board of Education today approved Sylvia Hooker as the Deputy Superintendent for Turnaround Schools, a position that is directly aligned under the Race to the Top grant. Ms. Hooker is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning with Troup County Schools, where she has served since 2008.

”Ms. Hooker has a vast array of experience and training with lower performing schools,” said State School Superintendent Brad Bryant. “She is a dedicated and versatile educator who has all the necessary experience to =
take on this challenging position.”

The Turnaround Schools position is a newly created position under the Race to the Top grant. In collaboration with the Race to the Top Implementation Director,  Ms. Hooker will be accountable for turning around the lowest …

Continue reading DOE creates a deputy chief for turnaround schools »

Young people don’t know the financial score

I ran this op-ed today from a recent UGA graduate on the Monday education page as I thought it was a good topic.

Katie McCabe recently graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in international affairs and economics. She is originally from Sylvania, but now lives in Atlanta. She is the founder and CEO of Your Score Matters, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading awareness about financial literacy among young people.

Read her blog and follow her Twitter account at Urscorematters@twitter.com. If you know of a group in the Atlanta area that would benefit from free seminar on a basic financial topic, please contact her at yourscorematters@yahoo.com

Enjoy

By Katie McCabe

Having attended the University of Georgia, I feel like I acquired some smart friends — pre-med, business, mathematics, philosophy. I knew kids who were taking some of the hardest classes offered at UGA.
And many of these students came from some of the best high schools and most well-to-do areas of the …

Continue reading Young people don’t know the financial score »

UGA or Duke? Do elite schools reap greater returns?

Studies suggest graduates of elite schools like Duke earn more over their lifetimes.

Studies suggest graduates of elite schools like Duke earn more over their lifetimes.

Many Georgia parents of high school seniors are debating whether to push their child to attend UGA or Tech or go broke sending them to Duke or Emory.

Are those select colleges worth the thousands more that they charge in tuition?

That’s a question that you will hear discussed at almost every high school PTA meeting these days. With elite colleges costing $50,000 a year for tuition, room and board, many parents reason that their children should go the HOPE route and attend UGA , GSU or Valdosta for undergraduate and save their money for a top tier graduate school.

But will that $50,000 a year at a Princeton or Yale lead to higher salaries and more opportunities down the road?

A New York Times story explores that issue — one that we have discussed here at length in the past –  in a news story this week.

According to the Times:

Among the most cited research on the subject — a paper by economists …

Continue reading UGA or Duke? Do elite schools reap greater returns? »

Teacher grades. Should they be made public?

Teachers in LA protested publication of effectiveness ratings based on student performance.

Teachers in LA protested publication of effectiveness ratings based on student performance.

Should parents know how well their children’s teachers score on effectiveness scales?

Using its federal Race to the Top grant, Georgia will start grading teachers in part on how much “value” they have added to a student’s learning, based on progress reflected in test scores.

“For teacher effectiveness measure, 50 percent will be based on the academic growth of students,” said Erin Hames, chief of staff at the Georgia Department of Education and the coordinator of the state’s Race to the Top efforts.

But while parents will be able get the average teacher effectiveness scores for a school, they will not be privy to individual job ratings, says Hames.

At a meeting with Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporters and editors last week, Hames; Brad Bryant, state school superintendent; Martha Reichrath, deputy state superintendent for standards, instruction and assessment; and Bob …

Continue reading Teacher grades. Should they be made public? »

Did APS officials suppress probe into CRCT cheating?

In the latest installment of stories on the Atlanta Public Schools CRCT cheating probe, the AJC reports that school officials played down the scandal that now has escalated to GBI agents and special prosecutors investigating potential cheaters.

In reading the lengthy story — which I hope you all do before commenting — I am most concerned with the failure to release the University of Pennsylvania report that supported the suspicions of possible score tampering first raised by an AJC investigation. I am not as concerned about the omission from the blue-ribbon panel report of a single anonymous charge lodged against Hall. I don’t give much credence to a single anonymous complaint.

Take a look at the story and let me know what you think.

Here is a excerpt from the AJC story:

Atlanta Public Schools officials, including Superintendent Beverly Hall, carried out a broad campaign over two years to suppress mounting allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests, an …

Continue reading Did APS officials suppress probe into CRCT cheating? »

And end to the DREAM for now. Senate nixes bill.

The DREAM is over. The vote today in the U.S. Senate on the controversial bill was close but it failed 55-41.

In his conference call yesterday with the press to urge passage, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the Obama White House would try again but this was the best chance to gain passage of the DREAM Act given the Republican dominance of  the Congress come January.

The bill created a legal path to citizenship for young people brought to America illegally by their parents. It applies to illegal immigrants who entered the United States before their 16th birthday. To qualify, they  must graduate from high school, enter college or into the military and stay out of trouble.

Duncan argued that the children of illegal immigrants should not be punished for the sins of their parents, and their ability to attend college was important to the economic viability of the nation.

The GOP senators weren’t buying. Opponents countered the bill amounts to amnesty for lawbreakers.

Sen. …

Continue reading And end to the DREAM for now. Senate nixes bill. »