Some of the News Fit to Print
DISTRICTS TYING PRINCIPAL REVIEWS TO TEST SCORES
A growing number of school districts—including large ones like those in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Hawaii—have become recent converts to new principal-evaluation systems that tie school leaders' appraisals to student test scores. As of this school year, student achievement accounts for 40 percent to 50 percent of principals' evaluations in each of those school systems, while district leaders in a number of other places are preparing to make similar changes in coming school years. The article is in Education Week.
REBOOTING IDAHO SCHOOLS USING THE KHAN ACADEMY
Idaho will be the first state in the country to pilot the Khan Academy statewide in 47 schools serving more than 10,000 K-12 students. Grantees will use nearly $1.5 million for training, technology, technical assistance, and assessment from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. Kahn Academy is a free online education source started in 2008 by Sal Khan to help a cousin with math. He put the videos on YouTube and his gentle lessons soon became a sensation.
STUDENT DATABASE BACKED BY GATES FOUNDATION JAZZES TECH STARTUPS
A $100 million database recently was built to chart the academic paths of K-12 students and it holds information on millions of children. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, and attitudes toward school. Several states plan to enter data from select districts or for all students. The article is in the Huffington Post.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
THE PROFESSORS’ BIG STAGE
Thomas Friedman writes in The New York Times: Institutions of higher learning must move, as the historian Walter Russell Mead puts it, from a model of “time served” to a model of “stuff learned.” Because increasingly the world does not care what you know. Everything is on Google. The world only cares, and will only pay for, what you can do with what you know. And therefore it will not pay for a C+ in chemistry, just because your state college considers that a passing grade and was willing to give you a diploma that says so. We’re moving to a more competency-based world where there will be less interest in how you acquired the competency — in an online course, at a four-year-college or in a company-administered class — and more demand to prove that you mastered the competency. Therefore, we have to get beyond the current system of information and delivery — the professorial “sage on the stage” and students taking notes, followed by a superficial assessment, to one in which students are asked and empowered to master more basic material online at their own pace, and the classroom becomes a place where the application of that knowledge can be honed through lab experiments and discussions with the professor.
FINANCING FOR COLLEGES DECLINES AS COSTS RISE
State and local financing for higher education declined 7 percent in fiscal 2012, to $81.2 billion, according to the annual report of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, and per-student support dropped 9 percent from the previous year, to $5,896, in constant dollars, the lowest level in at least 25 years. The article is in The New York Times.
UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF GEORGIA OFFERS MODEL FOR BLACK MALE ENROLLMENT
A decade after the University System of Georgia created the African-American Male Initiative, a statewide program to identify and surmount the barriers black men encounter on their path to college, the results are beginning to take shape. From 2002 to 2011, enrollment of African-American male students systemwide increased by nearly 14,000, or 80 percent; the percentage of degrees conferred grew by nearly 60 percent; and the six-year graduation rate for the black male students who entered in 2005 was 40 percent—an 11 percentage-point uptick since the program's inception. Based at Kennesaw State University, the program has now spread to nearly all of the university system's 31 campuses. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.