• What’s Right With Our Schools: West High IB program
    Students at West High School in Knoxville are on a new path this year. East Tennessee’s only International Baccalaureate Program is underway. The International Baccalaureate Program, or IB for short, is open to all students. Around 10% of West’s student body is in it now. The classes are similar to advanced placement course, but in the education world, the IB curriculum is viewed as the gold standard.
  • School consolidation, closures part of McIntyre’s options causing concern
    Facing a $7 million deficit in its 2013 budget, Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre is asking the school board to explore and look at five areas where cost savings could be an option, including the consolidation and closing of five small schools — Corryton, Gap Creek, Maynard, and South Knoxville elementaries and Vine Middle Magnet School. The other four areas are outsourcing custodian jobs, looking at high school staffing to support block scheduling, school start times and the community’s use of school facilities.
  • Best U.S. Schools Barely Compete with International Peers
    he highest-scoring American school districts are mediocre compared to their international counterparts, reports a new study examining national and international student test scores. This finding contradicts widespread American perceptions that wealthy, suburban school districts graduate well-educated students, though “most individuals know there is an achievement gap within certain large cities, and that broadly speaking we aren’t as competitive internationally,” said Kerri Briggs, director of Education Reform at the George W. Bush Institute, which published the report. With American school districts continuing to slide not just when compared to each other but also internationally on nearly every measure and study, Forster said, increasing school choice becomes “critical.”
  • Students show growth on state curriculum standards
    he Tennessee Department of Education has released more data from the 2011 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests administered last spring, and the results have the Cumberland County School System celebrating.
  • Spellings warns against dismantling ‘No Child’ law
    Former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, a leading enforcer of the federal No Child Left Behind law, says she worries a proposal to dismantle that system would be a step backward for the nation’s 50 million students. Spellings was a headliner at a Chamber Education 2020 speaker series in Nashville on Wednesday. She spoke with The Tennessean about her concerns:
  • Tutors to help Bradley students with math, reading/language arts
    As a result of Bradley’s classification by the federal government as a Title I school in School Improvement 2 status, Murfreesboro City Schools is allowed to spend up to $915 per eligible student to provide extra help to students in math and reading/language arts. Parents have the option to choose from 50 tutoring services. Tutors may provide one-on-one services or work with no more than five student at a time.
  • RCS Board says it falls short on planning in self-eval
    A self-evaluation of the Rutherford County Board of Education shows that board members feel they could do a better job of planning for the school system and its needs. The seven-member board graded itself in 10 areas…
  • Public discussion of STEM school begins
    More than 20 people gathered at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce offices Tuesday afternoon to begin publicly discussing the possibility of bringing a STEM school to the Chattanooga area as early as next August. The discussion was the first of five scheduled to take place in Chattanooga this month, but organizers stressed that the initiative would have effects far outside of Hamilton County. Another session is scheduled to take place in Bradley County on Oct. 26, and organizers are planning upcoming events in Rhea, Marion and Grundy counties. A detailed schedule of the events can be found at the STEM initiative’s website.
  • Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2009
    According to a new NCES report, approximately 3 million 16- through 24-year-olds were not enrolled in high school and had not earned a high school diploma or alternative credential as of October 2008. These dropouts represented 8 percent of the 38 million noninstitutionalized, civilian individuals in this age group living in the United States. This report updates a series of NCES reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. The report includes national and regional population estimates for the percentage of students who dropped out of high school between 2008 and 2009, the percentage of young people who were dropouts in 2009, and the percentage of young people who were not in high school and had some form of high school credential in 2009. Data are presented by a number of characteristics including race/ethnicity, sex, and age. Annual data for these population estimates are provided for the 1972-2009 period. Information about the high school class of 2009 is also presented in the form of on-time graduation rates from public high schools. Other findings include:
    • The percentage of 16- through 24-year olds who were not enrolled in high school and who lacked a high school credential varied by race and ethnicity in 2009. The rate for Hispanics (17.6 percent) was the highest followed by the rate for Blacks (9.3 percent). Rates for Whites (5.2 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (3.4 percent) were the lowest among racial/ethnic groups.
    • Considering 18- through 24-year-olds in the civilian-noninstitutionalized population who are no longer in high school, approximately 89.8 percent held some form of high school credential in October 2009. Credentials include regular diplomas and alternative credentials such as the General Education Development (GED) certificate.
    • Of first-time freshmen in public schools four years earlier, 75.5 percent had graduated with a regular diploma by the end of the 2008-09 school year. The lowest state-level rate was 56.3 percent and the highest was 90.7 percent.

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