University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

News from Around the State and Nation

In The View from the OEP on February 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

News from Around the Natural State   

Classroom Teachers Evaluation Changing to Statewide System
Teacher and evaluator training on a new teacher evaluation system will begin in the 2012-13 school year in Arkansas. The system will be piloted in a few districts in the 2013-14 school-year and fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year. The evaluation will be the first evaluation system from the state level. Evaluations are currently conducted at the district or school level. Teachers who teach untested subjects will also be evaluated in the new system.

Lawmakers Urge Push to End Desegregation Case
Two state lawmakers, Representative Tim Summers and Senator Gilbert Baker, have proposed resolutions for both the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate to offer their “full support” for the governor and attorney general to take every “lawful and responsible action” within their authority to see and litigate for a court order bringing an immediate end to the Pulaski County school desegregation case and the settlement agreement involving the state.

Curtail Charters, LR School s Urge
Attorneys for the Little Rock School District and the Joshua intervenors submitted a motion to U.S. District Judge D. Marshall Jr., on Tuesday requesting that the state stop charter schools from opening or expanding. Furthermore the motion requested that state be forced to pay Pulaski County’s three schools districts for district students who moved to the independently run charter schools. The attorneys argue that the state has violated in multiple ways a 1989 settlement agreement in the long-running Pulaski County school desegregation lawsuit. The state will respond by March 12 and Judge Price Marshall will hear arguments March 29.

Charter District Wants Advanced Accreditation

Superintendent Paul Hines filed paperwork Friday to start the process with AdvancED giving the charter school district additional accreditation. The district operates a high school campus and a campus for kindergarteners through eighth grade. As part of the AdvancED process company evaluators will interview community members, staff and administrators, classroom teachers, students and school board members. The evaluators will issue a report offering commendations and recommendations. The recommendations are not suggestions, but required actions. Schools must submit their solutions online within two years.

News from Around the Nation

Administration Seeks Competition to Improve Teaching Quality

The Obama administration is hoping competition combined with cash will encourage states and school districts to improve the nation’s teaching corps. Education Secretary Arne Duncan planned to announce details of the administration’s proposed $5 billion program for a new Race to the Top style competition, with states and districts competing for grant dollars to improve teacher quality, during a town hall meeting with teachers Wednesday. Among the changes, the administration is seeking: higher teaching salaries, compensation tied to performance and more selective and improved teaching colleges.

Obama Budget Touts Selective Boosts in Ed. Funding

Education takes a “marquee spot” in President Barack Obama’s last, otherwise austere, election-year budget request with his spending plan calling for new investments in community colleges, money to prevent teacher layoffs, investment in school facilities, and funds to spur state action on teacher quality. However, not all education policies received an equal priority. The Obama administration proposed to zero out the funding for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Does School Choice Reduce Crime?

According to David J. Deming, “Evaluations of school reform measures typically focus on the outcomes that are most easily quantified, namely, test scores, as a proxy for long term societal benefit”. In a new study, this Harvard researcher analyzed the impact of winning a school choice lottery on criminal activity of students in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. Deming followed students over seven years. The author found that for students at high risk of criminal activity who are admitted through lotteries to their preferred school commit 50 percent less crime, are slightly more likely to stay enrolled in school, and are less likely to be absent than similar peers who lose the lottery.

Site Seeing

The state of Arkansas, as well as many other states, intends to submit a request for a waiver from the requirements of NCLB at the end of the month. Education Week provides a cheat sheet on how to win a waiver in the second round of requests.

Mark Your Calendar

February 13, 2012: State Board of Education Meeting, Arkansas Department of Education , 9:00 AM

February 13, 2012: Fiscal Session Begins, 12:00 PM

March 5, 2012: Joint Committee Meeting on Education, State Capitol, Room 171, 1:30 PM

March 6, 2012: Joint Committee Meeting on Education, State Capitol, Room 171, 9:00 AM

Final Thought:

“The skills and training that employers are looking for begins with the men and women who educate our children. All of us can point to a teacher who’s made a difference in our lives—and I know I can,” President Barack Obama.

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