From the OEP
Good morning all! If you don’t have anything planned for this weekend, may we recommend some spring reading. Today we publish our Arkansas Education Report: Analyzing the 2011 NAEP Results: Where Does Arkansas Stand Now? The report highlights not only the 2011 NAEP scores in Reading and Math, but also reports the long-term trends. We break the results down by income and racial subgroups and by subject area. We also delve into history a little and talk about the education reforms in Arkansas. We hope you will take some time to check this report out.
In other news, the Office for Education Policy issued a Save the Date announcement for our annual OEP conference to be held in May. We hope you will join us. We have a fantastic line-up of speakers, which we will announce in more detail next week.
News from Around the Natural State
The Arkansas Department of Education, in partnership with the Arkansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the Common Core State Standards Guiding Coalition, is hosting public forums this afternoon on new national standards for math and English Language Arts. The standards are now the basis for instruction in kindergarten through second grades in the state’s public school system. Their used will be expanded to the third through eighth grades in 2012-13 in ninth through twelfth grades in 2013-14.
The Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers (PACT) is fighting battles on two fronts; a district looking to cut $7 million in teacher pay and benefits on one side, and a fledgling competitor on the other. The PACT filed a lawsuit against five PCSSD teachers who are trying to form a personnel policy committee. By state law, every school district must have employee policies for teachers and staff. Those policies can be created by a union, or a personnel policy committee. If teachers succeed in forming a PPC in Pulaski County, it could potentially replace the union.
News from Around the Nation
More than 3 million high school students and 600,000 middle school students still smoke cigarettes and are at risk of early lung and heart problems according to a report issued by the U.S. Surgeon General. The smoking rates among teen high school students have dropped from 27.5 percent in 1994 to 19.5 percent now, but the decline has slowed in recent years. Nearly 90 percent of new smokers start before they turn 18, and three-quarters of high school smokers continue into their adulthood.