Archive for the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Category

Seeing teachers as technicians ignores what else they give students: confidence, moral support and inspiration

Spurred by federal policy, many states, including Georgia, want to move to evaluations that consider student progress on tests. But a rising chorus is challenging the reliability of testing to define a good teacher.

Spurred by federal policy, many states, including Georgia, are moving to teacher evaluations that consider student progress on tests. But a rising chorus is challenging the reliance on testing to define a good teacher. (AJC photo)

Frequent blog contributor Peter Smagorinsky is Distinguished Research Professor of English Education at the University of Georgia and recipient of the 2012 Sylvia Scribner Award from the American Educational Research Association for conducting scholarship that has influenced thinking and research of learning and instruction and that represents a significant advancement in the field’s understanding.

Here is a thoughtful piece he wrote on teacher evaluations.

By Peter Smagorinsky

When I was a kid growing up in Fairfax County, Va., my father became head of the school PTA at one point. Among his goals was to institute a merit pay system to reward the school’s best teachers.

Around the house, he’d say, “There’s no one more overpaid than a bad …

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No Child Left Behind neglected gifted students. That is about to change in Georgia.

Dori Kleber

Dori Kleber

Dori Kleber owns and operates GiftedAtlanta.com, a non-commercial online resource for parents of gifted children. She is a parent advocate for gifted education and the mother of two gifted children.

In this piece, she explains why education policy must not just consider under performing students, but those who are high performing, too.

By Dori Kleber

One of the great tragedies of our American public schools in the past decade has been the neglect of our brightest children. While struggling students have made gains, high-achieving students have stagnated.

During the reign of No Child Left Behind, our schools have been so intent on lifting low-performing students to a level of minimum aptitude that they have ignored the needs of those who already exceed basic proficiency and are ready for greater challenges. The result: Top students are languishing.

This imbalance in academic growth was confirmed in a 2008 study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “High-Achieving …

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Top 10 education issues facing Georgia

This is my live account from  the Georgia Partnership on Excellence in Education daylong media symposium Friday featuring education movers and shakers

First up is Dr. Dana Rickman, policy and research director for the partnership, on the Top Ten Education Issues to Watch in 2013.

Please note that all these comments are from the speakers today, not from me. (I did add a few comments, but I clearly designate them as mine.) I am writing as folks speak and may miss a typo but will go back during the breaks and clean this up.

Top 10 issues, says Rickman:

Race to the Top: Halfway through implementing grant. Where do we stand?

Elevating low performing schools. Will require high performing  teachers and leaders.

How do we pay for k-12 eduction? (”I don’t know,” says Rickman. “That really is the answer to that question.”)

Help wanted: Hiring 250,000 new graduates. Where are they? Only 42 percent has a college degree; State needs 250,000 more graduates.

Early learning: What this issue …

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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 …

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Was North Atlanta High ever in danger of state takeover?

The AJC education team has been working overtime to sort through APS school chief’s Erroll Davis’ comments last night at North Atlanta High School.

One of the most startling things that the superintendent told the parents and students: The Buckhead high school noted for its high-achieving International Baccalaureate program had been in danger of state takeover due to failing to make Adequate Yearly Progress for four years.

Davis’ repeated references to AYP seemed odd because Georgia is no longer under the No Child left Behind yoke, having won a waiver from the law’s accountability levers.

However, had the state not escaped No Child, North Atlanta High was still not at risk of a state takeover because Georgia has never gotten into the business of taking control of schools.

According to the AJC: (This is an excerpt. Please read the full story before commenting.)

“We don’t take over schools in Georgia,” said Matt Cardoza, spokesman for the Georgia Department of …

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The morning after: Did Erroll Davis provide a convincing case for the North Atlanta High shakeup?

Students were among the 900 people who attended a meeting with Erroll Davis at North Atlanta High on Tuesday night. (AJC/Johnny Crawford)

Students were among the 800 to 900 people who attended a meeting with Erroll Davis at North Atlanta High on Tuesday night. (AJC/Johnny Crawford)

In his explanation last night to about 900 parent and students at North Atlanta High on why he gutted the school’s leadership team in a blitzkrieg Friday, APS school chief Erroll Davis cited the school’s performance.

Among his comments:

“My view is this school needs to be a lot more than it is presently.”

“Performance data for this schools says it has to improve and improve quickly.”

“From 2007 to 2011, this school did not make AYP. Now, it is an Needs Improvement school, which means under some level of state monitoring.” (Here is the link to the North Atlanta High state report card.)

“The graduation rate is higher than system average. It is at 62 percent, seventh from the bottom at APS. This is not what I want for APS. This is not where we need to be. It means we are failing four out of every 10 of our children.”

Davis was …

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Live blogging from North Atlanta High meeting with Davis: Did he make his case?

8:03 p.m. Still five people on line to ask questions in a session that began 6:20 p.m.

Parent. (Final question at 8:09 p.m.) Have you told the truth and the whole truth?

Davis: I try to tell the truth.  When it gets to personnel matters, I am at a disadvantage as I can’t share that with you.

Student: Why now?

Davis: Already answered that. (Which he had, about a dozen times. Just not sure folks bought his answer.)

Student: Kids aren’t graduating. It is not the fault of the administrators. Kids aren’t doing the work.

Parent: Davis was correct in his opening statement. “We are not getting satisfaction from the meeting but also not getting clarity.” Why did this have to be so rushed, so cloak and dagger with no discussion with administrators involved?

Davis: I had a sense of urgency. I wanted to change leadership before new principal got here.

Student: Why remove administrators now as many have only been in jobs for one or two years so the school’s historic problems cannot be …

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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 …

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Election 2012: Does either presidential candidate offer hope on education?

A shorter version of this guest column ran today on the op-ed education page that I edit for the print AJC.  You are getting the uncut version. This piece by University of Arkansas associate professor Chris Goering reflects the concerns many educators feel about this upcoming presidential election: They don’t think either candidate has it right on education.

In the next two months, I hope to run more pieces on both the election and the charter school amendment vote in Georgia that is attracting national interest and money. If you have something to say on either and want to submit a piece, please email me at mdowney@ajc.com

By Chris Goering

Mr. President: On Education, You Can’t Handle the Truth

In November of 2008 and again in January of 2009, I have never been as proud to be an American as I was when you were elected and then subsequently sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. Before those two great days, I had lost a lot of faith in our country and …

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A crisis in confidence or in the classroom? Polls and lists on education issues and challenges.

Today, the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems released 75 Examples of How Bureaucracy Stands in the Way of America’s Students and Teachers.

The interesting list follows this week’s release of the 2012 annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

There was the usual “us and them” divide in the PDK/Gallup findings; 48 percent of Americans award their own schools an A or a B, but only 19 percent feel the rest of the schools in the country merit such high grades. But 62 percent are willing to pay more in taxes in order to improve urban public schools And asked the No. 1 problem facing schools,  35 percent of respondents say lack of financial support.

The poll notes stark divisions by political party. Here are highlights from the poll:

•On providing children of illegal immigrants  free public education, school lunches, and other benefits, 65 percent of Democrats versus 21 percent of Republicans  said “yes.” But overall, the …

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