K12 Headlines

9/29/2011

9/29/2011

A plan to make Idaho the first state to require students to take at least two credits online will officially go before the public for comment next week.

The state Board of Education said a 30-day comment period will start next Wednesday on the proposed graduation requirement.

"We'll give those to the board and if there are changes to be made, they'll be made," said board spokesman Mark Browning.

The online education requirement would start with the class of 2016 ? students who start high school next fall.

9/29/2011

Choosing a pre-school, daycare or Head Start program for a young child can be a confusing experience for parents, but the city hopes to make it easier with a new five-star rating system unveiled Wednesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is creating the first-ever evaluation system for city-funded early childhood programs to empower parents and position Chicago to capture funds made available through the local and national ?Race to the Top? competition.

9/29/2011

A standing-room-only crowd of 400 angry and tearful parents, children and teachers railed against the Oakland school board Tuesday night as it pushed forward a proposal to close five elementary schools and eliminate eight others through consolidation.

After about four hours of emotional public comment, the board members sent the plan out to the community for a month of public comment at school sites before they take an expected final vote on the mergers and closures in late October.

9/29/2011

Standardized tests should rank students by percentile and rate teachers in teams, according to a new policy brief by Derek Neal, an economics professor at the University of Chicago.

"I'm very opposed to ever using this [data] to give individual scores for teachers," said Neal, speaking at a Tuesday conference hosted by the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project.

9/29/2011

A parent-advocacy group whose members have criticized Chicago Public Schools? efforts to offer financial incentives for a lengthened school day found that most respondents to its online survey support a longer day.

Raise Your Hand leaders said 68 percent of the 1,222 survey takers, made up of parents and teachers from 230 schools, said they favored a longer day. About 43 percent said they supported a longer school year.

9/29/2011

Curriki received a $3 million charitable contribution from Scott and Susan McNealy?s family foundation. The gift will benefit hundreds of thousands of educators and millions of students in the U.S. and around the world by giving them free access to more than 44,000 classroom-tested and peer-reviewed K-12 lessons, units, educational videos and games, and full courses.

9/29/2011

To help districts and schools improve the organization and efficiency of classroom observations, Teachscape has developed Teachscape Reflect Live, which provides a robust observation management and reporting tool to increase the efficiency and actionability of observations.

9/29/2011

Lexia just released the MyLexia? App for iPhone?, iPad? and iPod? touch: the industry?s first mobile app to provide real-time student skills data and norm-referenced performances measures. The app is available for free at the Apple App Store.

9/29/2011

Shmoop's new California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) Test Prep in Spanish is fun to use and offers hundreds of explanations, examples and exercises that cover every California standard. All California public school students are required to pass the CAHSEE to earn a high school diploma.

9/28/2011

9/28/2011

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) struck a bipartisan tone Tuesday, arguing that the federal requirements for evaluating students and teachers set out in No Child Left Behind should be scuttled in favor of state-set standards.

?Everyone knows that today every American?s job is on the line, and that better schools mean better jobs. Schools and jobs are alike in this sense: Washington can?t create good jobs, and Washington can?t create good schools,? writes Alexander, who served as education secretary under President George H.W. Bush, in a New York Times op-ed.

9/28/2011

The National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) has added the Fast ForWord? Language series program from Scientific Learning to its ?Instructional Intervention Tools Chart", which helps educators and families select instructional intervention programs that best meet their needs.

9/28/2011

A renowned, innovative after-school program that helps students control their tempers, deal with nerves, take responsibility and make good life choices is going national after receiving a $1 million donation.

WINGS for Kids started in Charleston 15 years ago and organizers say it's the only program of its kind teaching emotional skills to elementary school children in an after-school setting.

It now operates in four elementary schools, largely in low-income areas of Charleston, and 3,500 students have passed through WINGS since it was founded in 1996.

9/28/2011

In a downtrodden economy, parents are turning to the government for help cutting costs anyway they can. Thanks to the National School Lunch Program, eligible families have their children's lunches--and sometimes breakfasts--provided free of charge by the government, saving about $5 a week per child.

It may not seem like much, but for a typical 40-week school year, that's $200 per child. For a multiple-child household already struggling to make ends meet, that help makes a world of difference.

9/28/2011

Some of the nation?s largest oil refineries are seeking huge tax refunds that could force school districts and local governments across Texas to give back tens of millions of dollars they were counting on to pay teachers and provide other services.

The owners of the refineries--including San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp.--want the tax breaks in exchange for buying pollution-control equipment. But the cost to public schools would be dear, coming only months after legislators slashed education spending by more than $4 billion.

9/28/2011

Some New Jersey parochial schools facing closure because of declining enrollment may be allowed to convert into a public charter school, under a bill that passed the Senate yesterday.

The schools could not teach religion or display religious symbols, and if their name has a religious reference, it would have to be changed, according to the bill. The state would oversee the schools.

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