Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, April 19, 2015

InspireNOLA Charter Schools: Where Education Reform Works

Students First – Brendan Ward

“When I spoke over the phone with Mr. Jamar McKneely, the CEO of InspireNOLA charter schools, a weather-alert siren was blaring around him. But Mr. McKneely plowed through, spoke over the siren, and told me how and why InspireNOLA helps so many students. At that moment I couldn’t help but notice that Mr. McKneely represented a lot of the education reform movement: Noise drowning out success. While Nationally people are making a lot of noise about education reform schemes, in New Orleans, people see the results and listen to what education reformers have to say. Education reformers like InspireNOLA Charter Schools.”(more)

Is your child sitting uncomfortably? Then we’ll begin

The Guardian – Chitra Ramaswamy

“It’s a childhood memory trigger up there with the smell of crayons and the sound of a Slinky travelling down the stairs. The feel of a school chair: bum-numbingly hard, built for stacking not sitting, mass-production not comfort, and bucket-shaped to a rigorous ergonomic standard that ensures it won’t fit a single child’s bottom in the land. Now one woman has decided to do for school chairs what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners. As in improve them, not start a boot camp in which designers are forced to stop manufacturing the Turkey Twizzlers of school furniture and make entertaining telly in the process.”(more)

US schools seek refund over $1.3bn iPad project

BBC – Staff Writer

“Schools in Los Angeles are seeking compensation from Apple over a $1.3bn (£870m) iPad-based education project that has gone awry. They have sent letters to Apple and its project partners seeking refunds. The project began in 2013 and aimed to give iPads and other computers to about 650,000 students. It hit problems when students were able to bypass security systems on the tablets and because the computer-based curriculum was incomplete. In the letters, the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) said it was “extremely dissatisfied” with the way the project has been handled, according to a report in the LA Times. The scheme was intended to be a way for poorer pupils to keep up with wealthier peers who already enjoyed access to tablets and other computer-based study aids. The LA school district initially bought 43,261 iPads loaded with a maths and English curriculum designed by educational and training firm Pearson. A further 77,000 iPads were bought to be used in standardised tests.”(more)

Los Angeles school district, teachers in tentative labor deal

Reuters – Staff Writer

“The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the city’s teachers union reached a tentative agreement on Friday night, the union said, averting a possible strike. The three-year agreement includes a 10 percent pay rise spread over two years, investment in class size and counseling, as well as improvements to the evaluation system for teachers, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) said on its website. Representatives for the school district could not be immediately reached early on Saturday, but school board member Steve Zimmer told the Los Angeles Times: “This is an important step in restoring trust and partnership between LAUSD and UTLA.” “Our message to our teachers is simple: We believe in you. I look forward to the stability and renewed collaboration this agreement will bring and to all us working together to improve outcomes for all students,” Zimmer said, according to the Times. The agreement must be ratified by union membership and the district’s Board of Education, the union said.”(more)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lloyd Bentsen IV: Focus on STEM education a no-brainer

The Dallas Morning News – Lloyd Bentsen IV

“If Fareed Zakaria has his way, the United States education system will continue to fail our children. In 2012, on the standard international education test, American students ranked 36th among developed countries in mathematics, with a score of 481 out of a possible 1,000 and below the average score of 494. In science, U.S. students scored 497 out of a possible 1,000 and below the average score of 501. By contrast, students in Singapore scored 573 in mathematics and 551 in science; Japan, Korea and parts of China scored at the top with Singapore. Education reformers have recently turned their attention to STEM — the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — because of a lack of workers and a mismatch between STEM degree-holders and STEM fields.”(more)

When students become entrepreneurs, real learning happens

E-School News – Jason Braddock

“Here in eastern Ohio, some of our students are embracing their entrepreneurial spirit right at school, engaging in a style of learning that helps make lessons come alive. The students, spread throughout nine districts, are working with my organization, the Mahoning County Educational Service Center, which provides educational opportunities—including this foray into project-based learning—to thousands of regional students.”(more)

Mass. teacher finds success with flipped model

E-School News – Michael Hartwell

“At Memorial Middle School in Fitchburg, Mass., science teacher Christopher Landry spends most of his time crouching down like a catcher, talking to his students one-on-one, instead of standing in front of the board. For the past four years, Landry, 40, has incorporated the flipped educational model, in which lectures are delivered electronically outside of the class and homework is done during class. Supporters say the method is growing in popularity, but Landry is the only one who uses it in his school.”(more)

What’s Next on ESEA?

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“Tell me if you disagree, my fellow wonks and pundits, but I don’t think anyone predicted a 22-0 vote from the Senate HELP committee on ESEA reauthorization. What an amazing tribute to the bipartisan leadership of Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray. So what happens now? The next stop is the Senate floor, where members of the committee and others will introduce many an amendment—some of which will be plenty controversial, but few of which will muster sixty votes. At that point, we’ll learn whether there are sixty votes to pass the bill as a whole. The unanimous committee vote certainly bodes well, though it’s no guarantee. (I can’t imagine Senator Rand Paul voting for a bill on the Senate floor that doesn’t including Title I portability, for example, but there aren’t the numbers for that. So he’ll vote nay.) And if the Senate does pass a bill? Then there’s that pesky House of Representatives. That’s where things get interesting. House Republican leaders will face three choices: First, they can take the Senate bill straight to the House floor and seek to pass it with bipartisan support. They will almost surely lose many liberals and conservatives, but they might squeak out a majority consisting of both Republicans and Democrats. (If they can’t get a majority of Republicans, they will have to break the “Hastert Rule” to pass it, which seems unlikely.).”(more)

Applause for No Child Left Behind rewrite, but concerns remain

The Christian Science Monitor – Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

“A bipartisan Senate bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind, took a big leap forward Thursday. The legislation passed out of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions unanimously, after members considered 57 amendments over the course of several days. Now dubbed the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, the legislation would continue to require the current level of testing in reading, math, and science. It also would require the reporting of data for subgroups of students according to categories such as race, gender, income, and disability. But it would allow states to set up their own accountability systems. Although states must work toward improving their lowest-performing schools overall, they would no longer be required to intervene in schools where students in various subgroups have fallen behind.”(more)

Senate panel approves bipartisan K-12 education bill

USA Today – Erin Kelly

“A bipartisan education bill to replace the controversial No Child Left Behind law and reduce the federal government’s power over schools cleared its first big hurdle Thursday. The Every Child Succeeds Act, from Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., was approved by a vote of 22-0 by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee after three days of debate and the adoption of nearly 30 amendments. Supporters said the bill would “fix” the No Child Left Behind law that governs the nation’s approximately 100,000 K-12 public schools. Critics say that law – signed by President George W. Bush in 2002 – placed too much emphasis on judging and punishing schools based on student test scores and gave the federal government too big a role in deciding how best to improve local schools. The law expired in 2007, but states still have to abide by its requirements until a new law replaces it.”(more)