Archive for the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Category

State board charter committee: No fireworks but a few sparks today

I am on deadline for a Sunday piece but dashed downtown to the state Department of Education this morning for the State Board Charter Committee meeting after being told to expect “fireworks” over John Barge’s surprising public statement last week in opposition to the November charter school amendment. The committee is a subcommittee of the state Board of Education.

It wasn’t quite fireworks, but there were a few sparks  The sparsely attended meeting had representatives from two charter schools, Heritage Prep Academy and Ivy Prep, who spoke in favor of their schools.

The charter school reps were there because of Barge’s statement last week: “Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school …

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AJC investigation: Dropouts in Georgia far higher than reported. Can we fix it?

In a front page Sunday investigation, the AJC shares its discovery – learned through open records requests — that 30,751 students in the Class of 2011 left high school without a diploma, nearly double the 15,590 initially reported.

The jarring difference owes to new federal requirements for counting dropouts, requirements that now put the onus on systems to track students who disappear.

I wonder whether schools have the staff to do what one principal described as intense detective work to hunt missing students.

“It’s going to be something where we all turn into Sherlock Holmes,” and we’re tracking every lead we can. It basically is a guilty-until-proven-innocent format,” Gabe Crerie, principal at Henry County’s Eagle’s Landing High School, said. He and his school’s grad coaches spent seven hours one day this summer, trying to track down 62 suspected dropouts. They found 33 at other schools, Crerie said.

The AJC story by reporters Nancy Badertscher and Kelly Guckian notes …

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Now, 32 states have won waivers from No Child Left Behind

From U.S. DOE:

The Obama administration today approved seven more requests for waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. The approved states include Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon and South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia.

Today’s announcement brings to 32 the number of states that have joined in a nationwide, bipartisan movement toward next-generation education reforms that go far beyond No Child Left Behind’s rigid, top-down prescriptions.

Federal education law has been due for congressional reauthorization since 2007. In the face of congressional inaction, President Obama announced in September of 2011 that the Obama Administration would grant waivers from NCLB to qualified states.

The first requests for waivers were granted in February of 2012. Five additional requests are …

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Are the new national academic standards rotten to the (Common) Core?

apple (Medium)Here is another compelling and passionate piece from Pelham City, Ga., school chief Jim Arnold. (You can search the blog for other Arnold essays.)

Arnold takes on the new Common Core Standards, in which former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue played a pivotal leadership role through the National Governor’s Association.

By Jim Arnold

I must state from the outset that I am innately suspicious of the underlying motives or educational benefits of any initiative – Common Core included — supported by the Georgia governor who instituted austerity cuts in 2003, led Georgia to be one of the only states to use teacher furloughs to balance the state budget and consistently under funded public education in order to promote quality fishing.

Common Core is a standardized national curriculum. Why is this problematic? From an historical context, a centralized school curriculum serves the goals of totalitarian states. Jefferson warned us about that.

There are additional issues:

1) There are …

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DOE releases statewide CRCT results: More kids exceed, but slight decline in some math, science scores

From DOE on this year’s CRCT results:

The 2012 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results show more students are exceeding the standards than last year. Results also showed a one-year improvement in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding on 20 of the 30 content-area tests.

“The best news in the 2012 CRCT report is that more of our students are exceeding the standards,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “Teachers are doing a great job teaching the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards and they are to be applauded for raising expectations for all students.”

Exceeding the Standards: One Year Improvement on 24 of the 30 Content-Area Tests

- Grade 3: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percentage of students exceeding the standard in Reading, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies increased by 7, 3, 3, 3, and 4 percentage points, resp

- Grade 4: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the …

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Dunwoody language teacher: Learning a second language is vital

Here is an essay by Dunwoody High School language teacher Clarissa Adams Fletcher on the importance of learning a second language.

Last year, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages named Fletcher its National
Language Teacher of the Year.

By Clarissa Adams Fletcher

Although many Georgians seek employment, many, unfortunately, lack the skills necessary for this new economy. Ask any employer what they are looking for in an employee and you will notice similarities. Many want what has been named 21st century skills – communication, critical thinking, problem solving skills, creativity and innovation.

Learning a second language in an extended sequence (more than three years, ideally starting in elementary school) develops and enhances these essential job skills. While communication in the new language is developing, the learner’s own communicative language is enhanced as well. Moreover, the ability to view others in terms of their cultural perspectives and …

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Not true that urban schools fail all students: Intown white high school students outperform suburban counterparts.

Jarod Apperson, a Midtown reader, sent me an interesting analysis of Georgia SAT scores, similar to one that I ran a few years ago, showing that white students in metro schools outperform suburban counterparts.  Except he went a bit deeper.

Here is why he compiled the data and what he hopes we learn from it:

Since my analysis has some newer data and focuses on specific schools, people might still be interested in it.  I think the fact that North Atlanta is the No. 3 public school in the state for white high school students could be a strong talking point for APS school chief Erroll B. Davis trying to get more middle-class families to stay in the public education system.

It’s a narrative that’s not heard enough.

To answer your question about how I came to look at this, I became interested in education reform a few years ago when I read a book by Paul Tough called “Whatever it Takes.”  I’ve always felt that excellent public education was the best way to create economic …

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State DOE releases list of Alert Schools today

The state Department of Education released its list of Alert Schools today.

The new DOE accountability designations — priority schools, focus schools and reward schools — replace the “needs improvement” label in No Child Left Behind that educators deemed unclear and unhelpful. These three designations target  “Title I” schools that have a high percentage of low-income students. DOE also designated a fourth category, “alert schools,” so the state can focus on struggling schools that do not necessarily have a high percentage of low-income students.

DOE defines Alert Schools are those that need to raise student achievement on statewide assessments in the areas of graduation rate for high schools and subgroup performance and subject performance for elementary and middle schools. Alert Schools can be Title I Schools or Non-Title I Schools.

The criteria used to identify Alert Schools are:

(1) Graduation Alert Schools: High Schools whose subgroup …

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Former U.S. ed secretary on legacy of No Child Left Behind

Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings

Daniel Malloy, the AJC’s reporter in Washington, D.C., sat down with former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings for an interview at an event in Washington today.  Here are her answers to a series of questions on major education issues:

DM: Cheating scandal call testing into question?

Spellings: I think obviously the vast majority of educators and education leaders take assessment seriously and the integrity seriously and don’t cheat. When it does happen it ought to be addressed and attended to vigorously. Obviously, we saw that exact same thing play out in Atlanta and what encourages me when I think about the Atlanta case study, the business community, as you know, was very engaged, got a little sideswiped by the scandal, a little aggrieved by their engagement that was rewarded with this sort of behavior. I think to their credit they’ve stayed engaged and active and continue to be and are moving forward to the benefit of kids. Often we take our …

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Next year, parents on their own in transporting kids who transferred under No Child

A DeKalb reader sent me a note about local school districts no longer having to provide transportation for AYP transfer students next year. The reader said: “I think this will lead to a lot of angst, especially in DeKalb, where we had hundreds of transfer students.”

I agree.

Here is the letter from DeKalb County schools to parents, explaining the change:

As of June 30, 2012, there will no longer be a Public School Choice (ESEA Choice) transfer option under ESEA as reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001  and the DeKalb County School District will no longer be required to implement ESEA Choice or pay for ESEC Choice transportation as implemented under the ESEA.

This change will go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year. All currently authorized travel reimbursements will continue to be processed through the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Any student that has previously transferred to another school by exercising ESEA Choice must be allowed to attend that …

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