Daily News Roundup, February 28, 2012

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


ABOUT K-12

STATE EYES SHIELDING TEACHERS
As New York City parents and teachers struggled Monday to make sense of recently published schoolteacher rankings, education officials considered whether future releases should be illegal to protect a fragile truce on a new statewide system. Legal experts said a series of court rulings have made it increasingly clear that statistics-based portions of teacher evaluations are public information, unlike those of police officers, firefighters and other public workers specifically protected under state law. Only a change in law, experts said, would change that. Shielding teacher rankings from public view is likely to become a new pressure point in the debate over how to measure the effectiveness of teachers, lawmakers and officials said Monday. The article is in The Wall Street Journal.

SHEDDING LIGHT ON TEACHER DATA REPORTS
Michael Winerip writes in The New York Times’ Schoolbook blog: I’m delighted that the New York City Education Department has finally released its teacher data reports. Finally, there are some solid numbers for judging teachers. Using a complex mathematical formula, the department’s statisticians have calculated how much elementary and middle-school teachers’ students outpaced — or fell short of — expectations on annual standardized tests. They adjusted these calculations for 32 variables, including “whether a child was new to the city in pretest or post-test year” and “whether the child was retained in grade before pretest year.” This enabled them to assign each teacher a score of 1 to 100, representing how much value the teachers added to their students’ education.

ENTER THE INNOVATION OFFICER: DISTRICTS DESIGN NEW JOBS
On the long list of education buzzwords—paradigm, experiential, accountability—"innovation" can be just as vague and all-encompassing as any other. But it is a buzzword for a reason. New forms of educational technology, the growth of nontraditional schools, and new public and private funding sources are among the trends influencing and potentially even redefining K-12 education. All are broadly categorized as "innovation." Enter the "innovation officer," a job title that is cropping up in school districts and state education departments nationwide. Often a top administrative position filled by a candidate from the corporate world, charter school management, or a district office, the innovation officer (or a variant on that title) might oversee a "portfolio" of schools, lead the integration of new technology into the classroom, and redistribute central-office services. The article is in Education Week.

 

ABOUT HIGHER ED

A THIRD OF STUDENTS TRANSFER BEFORE GRADUATING, AND MANY HEAD TOWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGES
One-third of all students switch institutions at least once before earning a degree, says a report released on Tuesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The "traditional" path of entering and graduating from the same institution is decreasingly followed, the report says. Students transfer across state lines and institution types, and even "reverse transfer" from four-year to two-year colleges. The report—"Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions," published in partnership with Indiana University's Project on Academic Success—examines students' increasingly complex transfer patterns. It looks at nearly 2.8 million full- and part-time students of all ages, at all institutional types, over a five-year period beginning in 2006. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

INVISIBLE TRANSFER STUDENTS
Enrollment managers have long spoken about the mobility of students, citing the high number of credits transferred in and out of their colleges and grumbling that federal graduation rate calculations fail to account for those transient degree-seekers. Data released today by the National Student Clearinghouse back those assertions, showing that a third of those who were first-time college students in 2006 had attended at least one other institution by summer 2011. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

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