Daily News Roundup, April 11, 2012

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

ABOUT K-12

BACK TO THE BASICS, INDEED: A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF EDUCATION RESEARCH
Elaine Weiss writes in The Huffington Post: At a recent event in New York City, Pedro Noguera, a sociologist at New York University, bemoaned the political maneuvering and bickering over details that has come to dominate education policy discussions. In all the arguing over whether to open more charter schools or publicize teacher test scores, he correctly noted that we often seem to ignore what is best for students. What would clearly serve the country's children better is putting our limited education dollars into what the evidence says works. There is more than enough heated rhetoric about "evidence-based" initiatives. Turn down the burners, however, and the research appears quite a bit clearer.

WE DON’T JUDGE TEACHERS BY NUMBERS ALONE – THE SAME SHOULD GO FOR (SOME?) SCHOOLS
Anne Hyslop responds to yesterday’s post by Mike Petrilli on school accountability: I completely agree that numbers – specifically test scores alone – cannot paint a complete picture of school quality. There are numerous other pieces of information – whether they are quantitative measures like AP success, postsecondary enrollment, and college remediation rates, or qualitative observations made by professional inspectors – that could inform our perceptions of school performance. Given these practical concerns, I think it makes sense to focus on where school inspections can add the most value. And to me, that means focusing less on their use in accountability and more on how they can inform school improvement. The article is in the Quick and the Ed.


ABOUT HIGHER ED

COMMUNITY COLLEGES' LEARNING DISABILITY
Mark Schneider and Lu Michelle Yin provide this commentary in the Los Angeles Times:  Community colleges are central to the nation's higher education system, enrolling almost 30% of all postsecondary students. But their record of success is spotty. Nationally, only about a quarter of full-time community college students complete their studies within three years (the official measure of a school's graduation rate). This happens year after year after year, and it's not only the dropouts who are harmed. When students fail to complete their degrees, taxpayers also lose. The question is: What can be done to make this happen?

2-YEAR COLLEGE RETIREMENT WAVE?
California's community colleges may be just a few years away from "a retirement wave" for faculty members, a transition that could create much better jobs for the part timers on whom campuses depend, according to a survey being presented at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting, which starts this week. The study, based on a survey of full-time and part-time faculty members throughout California's mammoth community college system (the largest in the United States), also points to the potential for campuses to more actively engage prospective faculty members in their careers. While the survey found great pride from many faculty members in their work and in the community college mission, it found that many developed those ideas "after the fact," with many instructors taking their first jobs without any intention of making a career of it, or fully understanding the nature of community college teaching. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

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