The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Suspicious test scores in roughly 200 school districts resemble those that entangled Atlanta in the biggest cheating scandal in American history, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.
The newspaper analyzed test results for 69,000 public schools and found high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast. The findings represent an unprecedented examination of the integrity of school testing.
The analysis doesn’t prove cheating. But it reveals that test scores in hundreds of cities followed a pattern that, in Atlanta, indicated cheating in multiple schools.
For those with an interest in the technical details, the Journal-Constitution published its methodology here (the methodology page also lists the experts consulted as part of their analysis).
The Associated Press (via the Daily Mail) reports:
When 5,700 fifth-grade boys in Dallas’ public schools recently went to see a movie about black fighter pilots in World War II, the girls stayed in school and saw a different movie instead…
Spokesman Jon Dahlander told The Dallas Morning News that [space in movie theaters was limited and that] leaders of the district also thought boys would enjoy the movie more than girls.
‘Red Tails’ tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary pilots during World War II who become the first black aviators to serve in the U.S. military.
The New York Times reports:
Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects…
N0w, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.
“We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist.
USA Today reports:
When U.S. News & World Report debuted its list of “America’s Best Colleges” nearly 30 years ago, the magazine hoped its college rankings would be a game-changer for students and families. But arguably, they’ve had a much bigger effect on colleges themselves…
Yes, students and families still buy the guide and its less famous competitors by the hundreds of thousands, and still care about a college’s reputation. But it isn’t students who obsess over every incremental shift on the rankings scoreboard, and who regularly embarrass themselves in the process. It’s colleges…
…While U.S. News cross-checks some data with other sources, it relies largely on colleges themselves to provide it. Modest forms of fudging through data selection are undeniably common, especially in law school rankings. The most high-profile case of outright cheating involved Iona University in New York, which acknowledged last fall submitting years of false data that boosted its ranking from around 50th in its category to 30th.
But most rankings critics say by far the most pernicious failure of colleges isn’t blatant cheating, but what they do more openly — allowing the rankings formula to drive their goals and policies.
The Associated Press (via ABC News) reports:
America’s public school teachers are seeing their generations-old tenure protections weakened as states seek flexibility to fire teachers who aren’t performing. A few states have essentially nullified tenure protections altogether, according to an analysis being released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The changes are occurring as states replace virtually automatic “satisfactory” teacher evaluations with those linked to teacher performance and base teacher layoffs on performance instead of seniority. Politically powerful teachers’ unions are fighting back, arguing the changes lower morale, deny teachers due process, and unfairly target older teachers.
In the wake of his State of the Union address this past week, President Obama is touring the country and speaking, among other topics, about the relationship between STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and the American economy.
For instance, yesterday, Obama toured a new Intel manufacturing plant in Arizona that has struggled to find qualified workers in the U.S. and thus has had to outsource some parts of the manufacturing process overseas, as PC Magazine reports. The president addressed the issues of STEM education and the American workforce’s readiness to participate in the high technology economy in his State of the Union speech (see Scientific American’s roundup of expert reactions to Obama’s STEM-related remarks).
Perhaps due to the attention brought to this topic by the president’s speech, a number of STEM education-related news items have surfaced in recent days:
- A new survey conducted by M.I.T. uncovers reasons why American secondary students decline to pursue STEM studies (and, hence, STEM-related careers). Reasons include the perception that STEM fields are “too challenging.”
- The National Center for Science Education has announced it will “fight efforts to slip incorrect climate science information into school lessons. ‘We are seeing more efforts in legislatures and schools to push climate misinformation on teachers and students,’ says NCSE head Eugenie Scott.” [Source: USA Today]
- In a new podcast, the New York Times reports “an increasing number of parents are turning to outside organizations to supplement science education in the schools.”
Posted in College preparation, Curriculum, Education and careers, Faculty (K-12), Higher education, K-12, Outside the classroom, Research, School funding, School reform, Technology in education
The Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times reports:
Premont ISD has canceled its sports programs to save money and focus on academics as it tries to meet sweeping improvements proposed by the state.
[Superintendent Ernest] Singleton decided to temporarily end athletics after basketball season ends.
The ban runs until basketball season in late fall, meaning Premont students will go without tennis, track, baseball in the spring and volleyball and football in the fall. Other extracurricular activities, such as fine arts, are not affected.
When trustees last week signed an agreement with the state to stay open, Singleton warned parents and residents that he would make tough and unpopular choices to meet the Texas Education Agency’s 11 demands…
According to a school district press release:
Premont I.S.D. has been assigned an Accredited-Probation status due to the ratings assigned to the district in the financial accountability rating system and the state’s academic accountability rating system. Specifically, Premont I.S.D. was assigned a 2009 academic accountability rating of Academically Unacceptable, and a 2008, 2009, and 2010 financial accountability rating of Substandard Achievement.