Daily News Roundup, January 7, 2013

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

ABOUT K-12

11 STATES GET FAILING GRADES FROM ADVOCACY GROUP
StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee’s advocacy group, issued a report today that ranks states based on how closely they follow the group’s platform, looking at policies related not only to tenure and evaluations but also to pensions and the governance of school districts. The group uses the classic academic grading system, awarding states A to F ratings. With no states receiving an A, two states receiving B-minuses and 11 states branded with an F, StudentsFirst would seem to be building a reputation as a harsh grader. Ms. Rhee said that the relatively weak showing reflected how recently statehouses had begun to address issues like tenure and performance evaluations. The article is in The New York Times.

THE EDUCATION OF MICHELLE RHEE
Another look at Rhee and her work is covered by FrontLine correspondent John Merrow, who was granted unprecedented access to Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington, DC public schools as she attempted to fix a broken school system. Merrow is a former scholar-in-residence at Carnegie. The FrontLine piece runs Tuesday on PBS.

TEACHERS IRATE AS BLOOMBERG LIKENS UNION TO THE N.R.A.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg embarked on a lengthy stream of consciousness on the need to negotiate a new teacher evaluation plan with the United Federation of Teachers. Toward the end, Mr. Bloomberg, almost as an aside, likened the teachers’ union to groups like the National Rifle Association and others in which he said a few leaders were out of sync with large numbers of rank-and-file members. “It’s typical of Congress, it’s typical of unions, it’s typical of companies, I guess, where a small group is really carrying the ball and the others aren’t necessarily in agreement,” Mr. Bloomberg said to the program host, John Gambling. “The N.R.A. is another place where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership.” The article is in The New York Times.

ABOUT HIGHER ED

PH.D. WITHOUT COVERAGE?
BOSTON -- It was hard to find any graduate students here, at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, who disagreed with the idea being put forth by many of the association's leaders that Ph.D.s shouldn't take 9.5 years to earn in language and literature fields (the current average).And there was widespread enthusiasm among graduate students and many faculty members for a related idea of broadening the purpose of the doctoral education to include training for careers at academic institutions that are not research universities or for relevant work outside of the professoriate. But at a hearing on the ideas, it was also clear that not all of the professors who teach in graduate departments are ready to move away from the current way of doing business. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

EDUCATOR OR HISTORIAN?
NEW ORLEANS -- Much attention has been devoted in recent years to the the question of whether humanities graduate programs adequately prepare students for careers outside academe. But panelists at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting also focused on another question: whether Ph.D. programs adequately prepare students for “the oldest alternative profession”: teaching. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

TWO-YEAR TECH DEGREES OFFER MIDDLE-CLASS PAY
Joanne Jacobs blogs for The Hechinger Report: Recent graduates with a technical or vocational associate degree average higher earnings than four-year graduates in three states analyzed by CollegeMeasures. In Virginia, the average technical associate degree graduate earned $49,000 a year between 2006 and 2010. Community college degrees “are worth a lot more than I expected and that I think other people expected,” said Mark Schneider, president of CollegeMeasures and a vice president at the American Institutes for Research.
 

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