Some of the News Fit to Print
EVEN MATH TEACHERS STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND FLORIDA’S VALUE ADDED FORMULA
At Coral Reef Senior High, calculus teacher Orlando Sarduy understands complicated formulas, and knows he will be graded in part on how his students perform on tests. Despite his advanced knowledge of math, Sarduy cannot fully explain the statistics-driven formula behind the grade he'll get. Even a member of the state committee tasked with developing it abstained from a vote because she didn't understand it. The formula—in what is called a "value-added" model—tries to determine a teacher's effect on a student's FCAT performance by predicting what that student should score in a given year, and then rating the teacher on whether the student hits, misses or surpasses the mark. The article is in Education Week Teacher.
IN TENNESSEE, FOLLOWING RULES FOR EVALUATIONS OFF A CLIFF
Because there are no student test scores with which to evaluate over half of Tennessee’s teachers — kindergarten to third-grade teachers; art, music and vocational teachers — the state has created a bewildering set of assessment rules. Math specialists can be evaluated by their school’s English scores, music teachers by the school’s writing scores. “One of my teachers came to me six weeks ago and said, ‘Will, morale is in the toilet,’ ” one principal recalled. “This destroys any possibility of building a family atmosphere. It causes so much distrust.” The article is in The New York Times.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
CLOSING THE GIRL GAP
In an article in Sunday’s New York Times Education Life on closing the gap in STEM fields, Carnegie Board member and Harvard history of American education professor Patricia Albjerg Graham said, “We need to change the culture for little girls who are growing up now, and start expecting them to not only ‘get’ math and science, but to do well, take more A.P. classes, and join the math and science club.”
THE EVOLUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION
What with shrinking government funds and growing competition from online for-profit institutions, American colleges and universities are facing hard times, and being forced to rethink what they do. Richard A. DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Institute of Technology, discusses the evolution of universities in his new book, “Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities.” Drawing on his experience as the first chief technology officer at Hewlett-Packard, director of the National Science Foundation’s computer and computation research division, and dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, Dr. DeMillo offers an engineer’s view of the challenges facing higher education. The article was in The New York Times Education Life section.
OUR UNIVERSITIES: WHY ARE THEY FAILING?
Many - perhaps most - books on the American university fall into two categories. A fair number of them conform to a single type, that instead of examining these complex communities from multiple points of view, they single out one group of actors as villains. The other set are seriously researched, rich in data, and sometimes adorned with dozens of tables that the uninitiated may find cryptic. They excavate a world of ugly facts and unsatisfactory practices that has the gritty look and feel of reality - a reality that has little to do with the glossy hype of world university ratings. The article is in The New York Review of Books. (Thanks to Roland King at NAICU for pointing us to this article.)
PRESIDENTS BOWING OUT AT SOME CAL STATE SCHOOLS
San Francisco State President Robert Corrigan decided this summer that at 76, he could not outlast a battered state economy that has forced deep cuts in programs and faculty at his and other Cal State campuses. In August, he announced that he would step down at the end of the academic year to return to research and writing, leaving worries about the budget to his successor. Corrigan is not alone. Long-serving presidents of four other Cal State campuses — Northridge, Fullerton, San Bernardino and the California Maritime Academy — also are retiring this year or next. The university's leaders face the challenge of finding replacements during the state's fiscal crisis and at a time when Cal State is also under scrutiny for recent hiring and compensation decisions. The article is in the L.A. Times.