Some of the News Fit to Print
POLLS REACH DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS ON TEACHER EVALUATIONS TIED TO SCORES
So just what does the public make of the recent move to tie student test scores to teacher evaluation? You won't get a straightforward answer from a bunch of polls that all dropped just this week, which found rather disparate responses to the question. The first poll, released by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, reported that 53 percent of parents polled said changes in students' statewide test scores should be used either "a great deal" or "quite a bit" in teachers' evaluations compared with 20 percent who said "only a little" or "not at all." But the PDK/Gallup poll, released yesterday, had a different response. It found that 58 percent of adults surveyed opposed state requirements that teacher evaluations "include how well a teacher's students perform on standardized tests," an increase from the last time it asked the question. The post is from Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog.
PETITION DRIVE TO PULL MAINE OUT OF COMMON CORE
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Equal Rights Center announced Wednesday that it will launch a citizens’ petition campaign to repeal Maine’s reliance on a set of education standards used in 45 states. The ballot question, which would go to a November 2014 referendum if petitioners gather enough valid signatures, is the first of its kind in the country. Heidi Sampson, a member of the state Board of Education and the Maine Charter School Commission, co-founded a group called No Common Core Maine, which is partnering with the Maine Equal Rights Center on the initiative. Opponents of Common Core characterize it as part of an attempt to nationalize public education and an erosion of local control. The article is in the Bangor Daily News.
DEVELOPING GRIT IN THE CLASSROOM
In his much-referenced book How Children Succeed, author Paul Tough draws on dozens of studies that point to perseverance, "grit," and other non-cognitive skills as critical factors in students' success. At the same time, researchers like James Heckman of the University of Chicago have demonstrated that living in poverty can affect children's development of these skills. Education Week Teacher asked educators: What role do you think traits like grit play in academic achievement? What steps are you taking in your classroom this year to help high-needs students to build such non-cognitive skills? What steps do you think administrators should take? Policymakers?
ABOUT HIGHER ED
OBAMA PLAN AIMS TO LOWER COST OF COLLEGE
President Obama announced a set of ambitious proposals on Thursday aimed at making colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to financial aid. A draft of the proposal, obtained by The New York Times and likely to cause some consternation among colleges, shows a plan to rate colleges before the 2015 school year based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is to base federal financial aid to students attending the colleges partly on those rankings. “All the things we’re measuring are important for students choosing a college,” a senior administration official said. “It’s important to us that colleges offer good value for their tuition dollars, and that higher education offer families a degree of security so students aren’t left with debt they can’t pay back.”
Amid a national debate about how the federal financial aid system could be improved, a new study shows that an increased amount of need-based aid with no strings attached can have positive, long-term effects for low-income students. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.