Archive for the ‘Arne Duncan/US DOE’ Category

US DOE: Lowest performing schools are improving

From US DOE on its School Improvement Grants:

The U.S. Department of Education today released an early snapshot of student performance data at schools that have received federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program funds, a key component of the Department’s blueprint for helping states and districts turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools.

Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1300 of the country’s lowest-performing schools. The data released today provides the first overview of performance for the first cohort of schools after one year of implementing SIG. The data begins in the 2009-2010 school year and ends in the 2010-2011 school year, the first year schools received SIG funds.

In three main areas, these early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools;

•Schools receiving SIG grants are improving. The first year of data show that two thirds of schools showed gains in math. …

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Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett schools among Blue Ribbon winners honored this week in Washington

Congratulations to these schools and their staffs:

From DOE:

Seven Georgia public schools and one private school were honored Tuesday in Washington, D.C.. at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Ceremony held by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“I congratulate these schools for being recognized as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “The students, teachers and staff of these schools should be proud of their success. These schools are shining examples of what happens when everyone is focused on student learning.”

Blue Ribbon Schools are chosen in two categories. See criteria here.

HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS: Schools that scored in the top 10 percent in student achievement.

DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED SCHOOLS: Schools with …

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New Morehouse president has a fan in the White House

John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., a 1979 graduate of Morehouse College, wass only named the 11th president of the men's college Monday.

John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., a 1979 graduate of Morehouse College, was named the 11th president of the Atlanta men's college Monday.

Morehouse College has a new president, John Silvanus Wilson Jr., who was the executive director of  President Obama’s White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

According to the AJC:

Wilson will be the 11th president in the Atlanta school’s 145-year history. He will follow Robert Franklin and be tasked with maintaining the college’s reputation while making advances in fundraising, graduation rates and retention.

A 1979 graduate, Wilson is no stranger to Morehouse. In 2007, he and Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, were finalists for the presidency, which went to Franklin.

At the White House Initiative, Wilson tried to strengthen the capacity of the nation’s 105 recognized black colleges by working with the White House, federal agencies and private corporations to secure …

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Kentucky test results offer glimpse into how Common Core assessments will affect Georgia and other states

Noteworthy scores out of Kentucky, the first state to introduce tests explicitly tied to the Common Core State Standards.

Kentucky is part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium of 23 states including Georgia that is developing a common set of k-12 assessments in English and math grounded in what it takes to be ready for college and careers.  Those assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year

While the new Kentucky tests are not the PARCC tests, they are closely aligned and thus seen as a harbinger of things to come.

And what’s coming will initially be disappointing,  although expected. Testing experts say that a conversion to a new test usually brings a drop in scores.

Education Week reports that the  share of Kentucky students scoring “proficient” or better in reading and math dropped by roughly a third or more in both elementary and middle school the first year the tests were given.

According …

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The President wins. Does education win, too?

President Obama won re-election Tuesday. What does it mean for education?

President Obama won re-election Tuesday. What does it mean for education?

One of the least discussed issues in this presidential campaign was education.

Beyond sharing their respect for teachers, the two candidates gave few details about their education vision or plans.  Education was never discussed with much depth at any of the debates.

With the re-election of President Obama,  we can presume a continuation of Race to the Top type strategies where reform is incentivized.

Not all educators are happy with that model, as reflected in the anxiety over the direction that Race to the Top is taking states, including Georgia. Race to the Top requires extensive testing and ties teacher evaluations to test results.

But the re-election of President Obama is prompting positive statements from education organizations, including the National Education Association.

Here is a press statement from the NEA:

Students and children scored major victories throughout the United States today, as …

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Check out schools that made DOE’s reward school list today for strong performance by low-income students

The state Department of Education has released its long-awaited list of reward schools. There are 45 schools from metro counties on the list. And the AJC has a story up with the local schools listed.

“Reward” schools represents a new category created by the waiver that Georgia won from No Child Left Behind. The list recognizes schools with large numbers of low-income students who are performing well or showing significant progress in their academic achievement.

From DOE:

The Georgia Department of Education today released the list of Reward Schools as part of the state’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act  flexibility waiver. The category is reserved for schools with the highest performance or the biggest academic gains by students in the last three years.

“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I want to take what’s working at our Reward Schools and replicate that …

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Another great Georgia teacher: Justin Sealy of Pelham City Schools

Justin Sealy of Pelham City Schools

Justin Sealy of Pelham City Schools

University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky has been writing a Great Georgia Teacher series for the blog. Here is another installment, Justin Sealy of Pelham City Schools.

(His earlier profiles include David Ragsdale of Clarke Central High School in AthensTravis Ellington of Toombs County and Angela Dean of Gwinnett.)

(I am out of state at a funeral of a high school classmate and without computer access.  If you are stuck in the filter, I won’t be able to free you until Saturday when I get back to the land of the wired.)

By Peter Smagorinsky

Georgia, like many states, has a large rural population where farming remains a central part of community life. The family farm has lost a lot of ground to Mega-Ag, Inc. over the years, but providing a sound and fundamental hands-on experience with the earth and the food that people produce from its soil is a noble and important contribution to the quality of life in areas far removed …

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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. ” I …

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Georgia’s schizophrenic politics of education

Lee Raudonis is a former teacher and former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. He is a communications consultant and writer for an education publication. He coordinates the STAR program for the PAGE Foundation. (The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program honors Georgia’s outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.)

This is his first essay for the blog. Welcome.

By Lee Raudonis

I admit it. I am confused. I do not understand the method behind what certainly appears to be the madness of Georgia education policies. O.K., maybe “madness” is too strong of a term to use, but there is no doubt that many educators—and parents— consider our state’s approach to education policy over the past decade to be both confusing and maddening. There is not much doubt that it has been schizophrenic.

Think about it. Early in the new century Georgia was one of the first states to embrace …

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Using Race to the Top to pay for doctorates in DeKalb. Good idea or are there better uses for federal money?

Several of you have already commented on DeKalb’s plan to use about $345,00 of its taxpayer-funded federal Race to the Top grant to put eight administrators, including four high school principals and two assistant principals, through a three-year doctorate program at the DeKalb campus of Mercer University. So, I figured we ought to put the story out there for general discussion.

The state Department of Education has to sign off on the school system’s proposal to use the RTT funds to underwrite the doctorates and is expected to do so, possibly today.

According to the AJC:

Twenty-five other Georgia school districts also receive Race to the Top grants. But DeKalb is the only one using some grant money earmarked for teacher and school leader training to add to the 130 Ph.D. holders the system already has in leadership roles.

The idea doesn’t sit well with some in DeKalb.  “Why as taxpayers should we pay for their Ph.D.s?” asked Robert Richardson, a retired real estate agent. …

Continue reading Using Race to the Top to pay for doctorates in DeKalb. Good idea or are there better uses for federal money? »