• “Pass This Bill” Not the Answer to Nation’s Education Woes
    This isn’t to say that some schools in the United States are not in ill-repair. But to put the federal government in the business of school maintenance and construction is a blatant overreach of power into local government authority. It is also inefficient. As The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke notes:
  • Two Chattanooga-area schools given Feds’ Blue Ribbon
    An elementary school in Dayton, Tenn., and another in Trion, Ga., have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. Trion Elementary in Chattooga County and Frazier Elementary in Rhea County are both listed among the 305 schools to get the designation today. Overall…six Tennessee schools made the list, which grades schools based on academic achievement and improvement.
  • Student transfers on rise in Hamilton County
    In Hamilton County, most of the students who are eligible for those transfers have not chosen to take advantage of them. The Times Free Press reported recently that of the thousands of students who are entitled to transfer, only 474 did so this year. And some of those may wind up transferring back to their original schools. However, the 474 who transferred this year were more than double the 198 who transferred last year — and last year’s number was about seven times the number who had transferred in 2009. So the local trend is moving upward.
  • SAT Scores Fall as Number of Test-Takers Rises
    The SAT benchmark is intended to be used to measure the college readiness of groups of students such as those in a particular school or district. It is not intended to measure individual performance. The purpose of the benchmark, the College Board said, is to help schools, districts, and states evaluate whether more students are graduating college-ready from one year to the next.
  • CMCSS officials support ending state’s mandate on physical activity
    Tennessee health advocates are concerned about the Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board’s support for the elimination of the state’s physical activity mandate. CMCSS Chief Academic Officer B.J. Worthington said the county supports the intent of the state law that requires all students to participate in 90 minutes of physical activity per week. However, he said problems arise because of the law’s “unintended consequences.”
  • Educator Evaluation: Teachers Want to Know
    Teachers are hungry for feedback, yet more than half of teachers told Teach Plus that their last evaluation was “not at all useful.” When teachers lack effective feedback, student learning suffers. TEM was designed to change that. As policymakers across the country begin to reimagine teacher evaluation systems, Memphis is leading the nation in advancing real reform. The TEM – and the teacher-driven process that created it – could serve as a model for their efforts.
  • Panning for Gold
    While we as a state begin using data to guide teacher evaluations, we should ensure that educators at every level have the training and resources necessary to make data-driven decisions. One way we can support our teachers is by assisting them in sifting through their data with a discerning eye. Too often well-meaning teachers find themselves drowning in paperwork and responsibilities and slip into teaching whatever comes next in the textbook rather than what their students most need.
  • Students say: ‘Pressure? What pressure?’
    How much academic stress do students feel? Hart Research Associates just asked them. The answer was: not a lot. Of a representative sample of the high school Class of 2010, 69 percent said the requirements for graduating, including tests and courses, were “easy” or “very easy.” And 47 percent said they totally or mainly wish they had worked harder in high school. An additional 16 percent partially feel that way.
  • “New” ESEA Bill
    This “new” ESEA bill introduced (good Politics K-12 overview here) by a group of Republican Senators – Alexander (TN), Burr (NC) Isakson (GA) and Kirk (IL) – is basically a time machine back to the 1990s.  There are some sensible ideas – I don’t think anyone really argues that the “highly qualified teacher” have worked.  But overall it’s just a pre-No Child version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with some extras like program consolidation thrown in.
  • Applying Lessons Learned Abroad at Home
    There’s much that the American education system can learn from international models. An oft-mentioned system of school vouchers is prevalent in Chile, where private school choice has been the norm since the 1980s. A majority of Chilean students are educated in private-voucher schools, and results from the national standardized test show significantly stronger performance among those students compared to their public school counterparts.
  • Hume-Fogg, Page earn Blue Ribbon School status
    Hume-Fogg Academic and Page High in Franklin have earned Blue Ribbon School status, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced Thursday. The schools will be honored at a conference and awards ceremony on Nov. 14 and 15 in Washington, D.C. The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing.
  • Metro hopes to better ‘sell’ school academies
    The class represents the kinds of partnerships and hands-on projects that come with 42 career academies within 12 Metro Nashville high schools this year. The idea is to get students aimed toward future careers by the time they’re sophomores, funneling them into special classes that they take with like-minded peers. Metro’s program is based on the same concepts as a Florida law that initially required high school students to pick majors.
  • Metro’s academies
    A list of Metro’s academies.
  • Senators trying to fix “No Child Left Behind”
    Sen. Lamar Alexander is among a group of senatorsintroducing legislation that would end the federal mandates, where Washington, D.C., decides which schools and teachers are succeeding or failing. Alexander along with Sens.Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) announced they are introducing a series of education bills to “fix” No Child Left Behind.
  • Urban schools search amiss for the next ‘savior’ superintendent
    Urban school districts look to ‘savior’ superintendents, only to fire them when they fail to fix everything. Leadership is important, but no single individual can redeem America’s failing big-city schools. By pretending otherwise, we set our leaders – and our students – up for failure. No matter who replaces these leaders, however, they won’t stand a chance unless the taxpayers, teachers, parents, and community members – even corporations – pitch in to help.
  • Pipeline Into Partnerships offers minority students a chance
    Under the program, called Pipelines Into Partnerships, the college’s admissions office outsourced much of the responsibility for choosing 17 members of its incoming freshman class to KIPP… The partners believe their model — which focuses on unconventional measures of success, such as grit and academic improvement instead of just overall grades and scores — will give a chance at college to minority students who might otherwise be overlooked. The partner institutions believe their model could spread nationally. Success for the Pipelines program isn’t certain.
  • Average Scores Slip on SAT
    “There are still consistent gaps, but that speaks more to access to quality education than to what’s going on with the SAT,” said Wayne Camara, the College Board’s vice president for research and development, adding that, for example, white and Asian students were far more likely than black or Hispanic students to take precalculus and calculus in high school.
  • SAT reading and math scores down in 2011, says College Board
    More bad news on the national education front: The College Board announced Wednesday that the mean SAT reading score for the high school class of 2011 fell 3 points from 2010’s mean — to 497, making it the lowest reading score since 1972. And then there’s this: The board found that just 43% of college-bound seniors met the SAT benchmark score of 1550 (the critical-reading, mathematics and writing scores combined). The benchmark score indicates that a student has a 65% likelihood of achieving a B- or higher during the first year of college. And remember, that’s 43% of students who are planning to go to college.

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