News from Around the Natural State
A survey by the Arkansas Partnership for Teacher Quality found the state produces too many teachers but not enough in certain subjects or in certain locations. The study, funded by the Arkansas Education Association and the Arkansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, presented to the House and Senate Education Committees, was designed to get a comprehensive picture of teacher training and retention in Arkansas. It used data from the state Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education of the 14,420 teachers licensed from 2002 to 2008, 9,968 teachers with fewer than four years’ experience and 1,117 first-year teachers.
Morris Holmes, Little Rock’s newly appointed superintendent for the next two school years, said that much of the district’s focus in that time will be on early childhood education, elementary-school reading, stronger middle schools and careful budgeting. Arts education, a push for better school attendance and the promotion of the many opportunities in the district’s high schools also will be priorities, Holmes said in his first news conference since his surprise appointment by the School Board. All the priorities are part of the district’s existing Target 2015 strategic operating plan, Holmes said.
News from Around the Nation
Feeling that social studies has been sidelined by a test-driven focus on math and English/language arts, subject-matter specialists from more than a dozen states are meeting with representatives of content-area groups to brainstorm ways to improve academic standards in that subject. The two-day gathering in Charlotte, N.C., is the third convened in the last year and a half as states and social studies groups seek to re-establish the prominent role they feel the disciplines deserve in classrooms. Social studies specialists from 18 states and officials of 15 social studies organizations have been taking part in the talks.
Four months after President Barack Obama made education a centerpiece of his State of the Union address, lawmakers charged with reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are beginning to sketch out their own visions for aspects of the law’s renewal. The prospects that Congress will meet the president’s goal—a comprehensive, bipartisan reauthorization by the start of the next school year—remain cloudy, however.
With the wrap-up of Benchmark and EOC testing, we thought it may be helpful to remind you of our OEP Resources page which contains a number of grade-, school-, and district-level data tables as well as some “lookup” databases which you can use to compare a particular school’s performance to that of the district, the region, or the entire state. As you begin to receive your student test scores from the spring 2011 test administration, these archived databases can serve as a point of comparison for how your grade, school, or district has performed compared to last year. Click here to visit the OEP Data Resources page.