Archive for September, 2012

Homecoming for Whitney Kropp: Even the opposing team came out in support

Whitney Kropp at homecoming last night. (Facebook)

Whitney Kropp at homecoming last night. (Facebook)

Bullied Michigan teen Whitney Kropp triumphed at homecoming Friday night  where even fans of the other team supported her — showing up at the football game in her favorite color orange.

Her case — which we discussed earlier this week – has attracted supporters worldwide. Whitney was elected to the homecoming court at her Michigan high school as a joke by some mean classmates, but she turned the tables on them and emerged a national heroine after her hometown rallied behind her and a Facebook campaign was launched.

From the Detroit Free Press

Cheers erupted and cameras flashed Friday as Whitney Kropp stepped onto her high school football field as a star. “I’m overwhelmed,” she said later, with flowers in her hair and the straps on her red, ruffled dress sparkling under the stadium lights.

Kropp, a 16-year-old sophomore, made headlines this month when she decided to join Ogemaw Heights High School’s homecoming court, despite …

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Why don’t we follow lead of countries well in front of us?

I have heard researcher Marc Tucker speak on several panels on international education and always found him compelling. He is president of the National Center on Education and the Economy and author of  “Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading System.”

In this blog, he makes a point that seems lost in the current push for expanded school choice: “A growing number of countries are surpassing the United States in student performance and are spending less per student than the United States.  Not one has used choice and market incentives to do it…Wherever these theories have been turned into policy in the field of education, they have not produced the advertised results.  They have neither raised student performance nor lowered costs at the scale of a state, province or nation.  The record actually shows that they can even make things worse.”

We keep fretting about all the countries outpacing us academically without …

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Should public schools hold father-daughter dances, mother-son games? Is this an issue worth fighting?

Illegality aside, are father-daughter dances or mother-son baseball games at public schools a good idea? Why not just have family dances or games?

An elementary school in Rhode Island held a father-daughter dance last spring that led a single mom to complain to the ACLU, which protested to the Cranston school district. While the dance in question was held — and the mom escorted her daughter — the debate has been reignited by a candidate running for the state Legislature in Rhode Island. Inflamed by politics, the matter has entered a national stage, where most people are saying let schools hold father-daughter dances or mom-son games.

This is one of those education sideshows — the dance was done after school hours under the auspices of a parent organization — that attracts a lot of attention but has nothing to do with the core mission of schools. My husband and daughters have attended father-daughter dances, but never ones held at a public school. Do public schools in Georgia …

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Concerns over funding lead state ed board in New Hampshire to impose a moratorium on charter schools

Interesting Education Week story on the decision by  New Hampshire’s state board of education to impose a moratorium on state-approved charter schools because of concerns over a lack of adequate funding for the schools from the state Legislature.

Last week’s state school board vote jolted the state’s charter school community. It may even have jolted the N.H. Legislature into action.

State Rep. Kenneth Weyler told Ed Week this week that legislators would somehow find $5 million to cover the costs of recently approved schools.

According to the original Ed Week piece:

Board members voted this week deny all applications it receives to open new charters in the state until more funding is provided for those schools.

In a letter explaining the decision, board Chairman Tom Raffio said the panel “continues to be supportive of charter schools.” But he noted that the board has approved eight new charter schools over the past two years, increasing the state’s costs by $5 million. …

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Does Clayton mess reveal a larger truth: School boards don’t work any more?

Haven’t we been here before with Clayton County? (And other counties as well, including several in rural Georgia.)

Did we learn anything from Clayton’s earlier woes or does the latest friction point to the larger problem of having citizens run school systems?

The AJC has a news story about the Clayton County school board chair suggesting that the governor intervene and remove some school board members to save the school system from losing accreditation again.

“We’ve had troubles on the board. We’ve had troubles for a long time,” Chairwoman Pamela Adamson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday.

Jacob Vigdor, a Duke public policy and economics professor whose writings I have run on the blog, issued a statement yesterday on the antics of the Wake County, N.C., school board, which fired its superintendent.

I thought Vigdor’s comment applied here:

When contemplating the ongoing soap opera that is the Wake County School Board, it is important to bear in mind that …

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Cherokee County SAT scores: Highest in state followed by Fulton, Oconee, Decatur and Forsyth

cherokee

Cherokee County sent out a release on its 2012 SAT scores, which, for all three testing areas, are the state’s highest.

The Cherokee County School District has posted the highest SAT district average score in the state of Georgia for 2012, based on an analysis of statewide data released on Monday by the state Department of Education and the College Board.

While internal analysis had shown the CCSD score, a 28-point increase from the 2011 average total, was the highest in the District’s history, a review of the scores across the state reveals CCSD to have the highest district-wide average as well, with a total score of 1587.  The next closest district average for 2012 is 1580 (Fulton County).

“Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers and administrators on making Cherokee County School District No. 1 in the State of Georgia,” said Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools.  “What is important about this distinction is that it shows our …

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Another great Georgia teacher: Angela Dean of Gwinnett

University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky has been writing a Great Georgia Teacher series for the blog. Here is another installment.

(His earlier profiles include David Ragsdale of Clarke Central High School in Athens and Travis Ellington of Toombs County)

By Peter Smagorinsky

Angela Dean teaches in Gwinnett County. (Special to the AJC)

Angela Dean teaches in Gwinnett County. (Special to the AJC)

In sports, a well-rounded athlete is often described by having multiple “tools” with which to play the game. The more tools, the more contributions the player is likely to make. In baseball or softball, for instance, a five-tool player excels in hitting for a high batting average, hitting for power, running the bases skillfully and with speed, throwing the ball with authority, and fielding his or her position with range and efficiency. Five-tool players can often be found in All Star Games and eventually in the Hall of Fame.

Although teachers these days are evaluated according to how high their students’ test scores are, the …

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Henry County reports rise in SAT scores this year

henry

Henry County sent out this release on its performance on the 2012 SAT:

The SAT scores for Henry County Schools’ 2012 high school graduates have been released by the College Board. Several schools saw improvements in subject areas and composite scores. While scores nationally either fell or remained the same in scoring areas, the district followed the same trend as the state and increased its scores in all measured areas and the composite score.

Henry County Schools’ scores are slightly behind the state averages; however, the district’s composite score rose by 12 points, or 5 points more than the state’s composite score.

Scores for the test are measured in the areas of critical reading, math, and writing. Those three scores are combined to give each student a composite score. The highest composite score a student can receive is 2400, or 800 per subject area.

Six of the district’s high school senior classes increased their composite scores with five …

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“The more time spent by teachers on measuring their own effectiveness, the less effective the teachers become.”

I have been hearing about the new Student Learning Objectives from teachers statewide, including this note from a teacher in central Georgia:

I was wondering what you might be able to tell me about Student Learning Objectives or SLO’s (called “Slows” by the teachers).  I teach kindergarten and have never seen anything in my life that seems to be such a waste of time.  I understand why they are “needed,” but they take up to 10 days to administer at the beginning of the year, and then up to 10 days at the end of the year.  This is a total of 20 days basically wasted administering these tests.  And it’s not just in kindergarten, but all elementary grades (Pre-K through 5) for the Teacher Keys Evaluation System (TKES).

My kids come into kindergarten hardly knowing anything, and now I have to waste up to 20 days of valuable instruction time administering these tests so that there are “valid and reliable” tests to use with TKES to be sure I’m at least a “proficient’ educator. ” …

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Congrats to DeKalb schools for impressive rise in SAT scores. Outpaces state.

Many folks here contend that middle-class families are fleeing DeKalb schools. If so, then the district’s leap in SAT scores — which are closely aligned with socioeconomics — is even more impressive.

DeKalb’s jump in scores outpaces the state’s increase.

From the district today:

The DeKalb County School District posted a nine-point gain in SAT scores in 2012, with broad gains across the school district and a strong performance among African American and Hispanic students in mathematics and writing.

DCSD seniors earned an average combined score of 1343 for critical reading, writing and mathematics on the College Board’s annual SAT report issued this week. DeKalb’s nine-point gain, almost double the statewide average, came with nearly the same number of students — 4,099 versus 4,144 — taking the test.

“These gains are impressive and shows how we can accomplish more if keep our focus on educating children and implementing a new curriculum,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl …

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