Daily News Roundup, March 28, 2013

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


Evaluating teachers to gauge their impact on student achievement is a necessary reform. For too long school districts have been unable to identify their high performers from their underachievers, and reward and support them accordingly. Few disagree that it is a good thing to know if teachers are having a positive impact on their students’ abilities to read, write, do mathematics, comprehend history, and acquire the other academic knowledge and skills young people need to be successful in life. But, in Ohio – and probably in other states – the desire to evaluate teachers has likely gone too far when we try to hold Physical Ed teachers accountable for teaching students to meet state defined targets. The post is from the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog.

Recent battles over school funding, performance evaluations and tenure have given rise to public perceptions of a beleaguered teaching corps across the United States. But a new analysis of polling data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index that examines “well-being” as measured by a number of indicators, including physical and emotional health, job satisfaction and feelings of community and safety, found that teachers ranked second only to physicians. In addition, teachers ranked above all other professions in answers to questions about whether they “smiled or laughed yesterday,” as well as whether they experienced happiness and enjoyment the day before the survey. The article is in The New York Times.

Students in early-college high schools have a 93% graduation rate, compared with the national average of 78%, according to Jobs for the Future, which has 246 early-college schools in its network. The first semester after graduating early college, 76% of graduates in JFF's network enroll in college vs. the national rate of 68%. Early-college grads from JFF schools in 2011 earned an average 36 college credits. The post is in Education Week’s College Bound blog.


Mellon Foundation President Emeritus William Bowen writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education:There is a real danger that the media frenzy associated with MOOCs will lead some colleges (and, especially, business-oriented members of their boards) to embrace too tightly the MOOC approach before it is adequately tested and found to be both sustainable and capable of delivering good learning outcomes for all kinds of students. Uncertainties notwithstanding, it is clear to me that online systems have great potential. Vigorous efforts should be made to explore further uses of both the relatively simple systems that are proliferating all around us, often to good effect, and sophisticated systems that are still in their infancy—systems sure to improve over time.

Academic senate leaders from California’s three higher education systems uniformly oppose an effort to require public colleges to award credit for work done by students in online programs unaffiliated with their colleges, including course offerings from unaccredited, for-profit providers. The plan, designed to reduce overcrowding, is the brainchild of a top state lawmaker, Democratic State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.  His effort this month immediately captured attention in and outside of higher education circles, among pundits and politicians across the country. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.


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