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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.

Afternoon Announcements–November 18, 2011

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November 18, 2011 08:29 pm


Here are today’s afternoon announcements courtesy of Bill DeBaun, the Alliance’s policy intern.

Good afternoon and happy Friday! It’s a pretty quiet day in the world of education news, which means you can consume these tasty tidbits and then get on with your weekend!

The Indianapolis Star reports that some district officials are nervous about the Indiana State Board of Education taking over more public schools who fail to improve under the state’s accountability system. Earlier this year, the state took over five public schools, but new rules proposed by the board would expand the number of schools subject to takeover to over 100. Under the current accountability system, schools whose state test scores earn them an F grade for six consecutive years are subject to state takeover or other reforms. “When I know the rules, I can play the game,” Superintendent Jeff Butts of Wayne Township said. “I’m not as good when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game.”

A recent poll by the University of Southern California-Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times reveals that 52% of respondents had a favorable impression of charter schools. Only 12% of respondents had an unfavorable view. 48% of respondents said that they thought charter schools provide a better education than traditional public schools. Meanwhile, only 24% said traditional public schools provide a better education. While these results might seem like a coup for charter school advocates, the results also revealed that respondents favored increasing funding for traditional schools over charter schools by a 64-21% margin. Respondents were also disinclined to hand control over low-performing schools to outside operators.

More news out of California comes from Education Week, which reports that districts across the state may have to trim even more school days off of their calendar in order to accommodate $1.4 billion in automatic spending cuts. The California school year is already 175 days as a result of cuts caused by the recession, but one option for dealing with a new round of spending cuts would cut seven more days off of the calendar. These new spending cuts were triggered when actual state revenue in 2011-12 fell short of analysts’ projections.

Lisa Guernsey, Director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation, writes in The Huffington Post: “Amid the agitation over childhood in the digital age, two visions are battling it out. One side soars with optimism…The other side panics.” Her piece discusses the need for giving educators the professional development and resources necessary to use technology effectively in the classroom. Guernsey goes on to say, “One area of agreement among nearly all early childhood experts is that, no matter how much technology is adopted, teachers shouldn’t be marginalized.”

One last piece for today discusses a large group of people who were probably very happy to see the weekend last week. CNN reports that last Thursday, 700,000 South Korean students sat down to take the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). This exam is part of what is known as the “year of hell” for South Korean students. “In South Korea, the reality is most students have lived for this very day. They have put in so much time and effort, and the fact that everything is decided on this one day can place an immense amount of pressure on them,” a teacher from Paihwa Girl’s High School, who had come to cheer on his students, said. In order to facilitate students’ on-time arrival for testing, “the stock markets opened an hour late, buses and subway services were increased and police cars offered rides for students.”

So remember, even if it has been a long week, it could be worse. You could be having a “year of hell” with a test at the end of it. Enjoy your weekend and thanks for joining us!

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