University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Ed News Links 5/9/12

In OWL-OEP Weekly Links on May 10, 2012 at 5:35 am

From the OEP

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! There a many outlets saying “thanks” to all of our hard-working teachers across the country this week. In fact, if you exist on the “Twittersphere,” #ThankATeacher is currently trending. While you are checking out Twitter to see all the #ThankATeacher comments, consider following the OEP @Office4EdPolicy. It is one more way to stay in touch with our office.

It’s a busy week at the OEP, as we have TWO new releases to discuss. This morning the OEP posted a new policy brief that analyzes the funding for Arkansas’ traditional public schools and charter schools. Since a big chunk of funding follows students as they leave a traditional school district to attend a charter school, some are concerned that charter schools pull money away from the traditional public schools. Conversely, since charters do not have access to the capital funds available through the local millage, some fear that charters are inadequately funded and as such cannot provide their students, enrolled in a public school, with the facilities or other aspects of a high-quality education. Check out the full policy brief in detail here.

As the school year winds down and the testing window closes for the year, eyes will begin to turn toward test results. This week, we’ve jumpstarted that process by posting a new database to the OEP Data Resource Page. The 2010-2011 school-level End of Course (EOC) Exam Database includes performance on the Algebra, Biology, Geometry, and Grade 11 Literacy EOC exams for each school in the state. Throughout the rest of the spring and summer, we will be posting more EOC databases … as well as databases with benchmark performance, SAT-10/ITBS performance, demographics, and finances dating back to the 2004-05 academic year. Stay tuned in the coming months for more.

We also have information on another interesting conference this summer. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas will be hosting their Seventh Annual Literacy Symposium June 22-23, 2012 at the Fayetteville Town Center. This year’s conference theme is “Literacy & Common Core: What Does The Future Hold?” More information including speakers, times, and registration can be found here.

Finally, don’t forget that registration for our conference is up. If you are interested in attending – and let us just say it’s going to be well worth your time – please register. We expect this conference to quickly fill up, so we encourage prompt registration! You can find our full program here.

Annual OEP Conference
May 17, 2012

Using Technology to Increase Student Achievement

Peabody Hotel

Continental Breakfast and Registration starting at 7:30 AM

Conference Starts at 8 AM and ends at 12:00 PM

News from Around the Natural State

Shinn Honored as Educator of the Year
Bridget Sweetser Shinn, an English teacher at Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, received the 2012 Marian G. Lacey Educator of the Year Award at the Little Rock School District’s annual Crystal Awards banquet Monday night at the Embassy Suites Hotel. A handful of other educators from around the district were also honored.

E-Stem Schools Honor Teachers
Lenny Bryan, a history teacher at eStem Public Charter High School, received the charter school system’s 2012 Vicki Saviers eStem Educator of the Year Award at a ceremony Monday evening at the Darragh Center in the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System. Bryan, who teaches U.S. history and Advanced Placement U.S. history, has worked at eStem since the school opened in 2007-08. He holds certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. John Bacon, chief executive officer of the charter school system, said Bryan’s students describe him as a caring, dedicated teacher who challenges them to do their best. Awards also were presented to teachers at the elementary, middle and high schools.

Pulaski Teachers Unions Sue over Ruling
Unions representing teachers and staff at the Pulaski County School District have filed a lawsuit to challenge a state decision to cancel their contracts with the district. The unions sued Friday in the hope of stopping a plan to address fiscal problems at the district by removing the unions.

News from Around the Nation

FCC To Tell Phone Companies to Follow Low Price Rules for Schools
After 15 years of neglect, federal regulators are finally planning to tell phone companies selling services to schools and libraries how to comply with a rule requiring them to charge bargain prices. Last week ProPublica revealed that the Federal Communications Commission had failed to provide guidance for the low pricing rule case since the 1997 launch of the school program, called E-Rate. Lawsuits and other legal actions in four states turned up evidence that AT&T and Verizon charged local school districts much higher rates than it gave to similar customers or more than what the program allowed.

U.S. News Releases High School Rankings
To help guide parents through the universe of public high schools, U.S. News today released the fourth edition of the Best High Schools rankings, available exclusively online. While the previous high school rankings published in December 2009 included information on 1,800 schools, the 2012 rankings include data on nearly 22,000 public high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia. (Nebraska did not report enough data to be included in the rankings.)

Do Schools Begin Too Early?
What time should the school day begin? School start times vary considerably, both across the nation and within individual communities, with some schools beginning earlier than 7:30 a.m. and others after 9:00 a.m. Districts often stagger the start times of different schools in order to reduce transportation costs by using fewer buses. But if beginning the school day early in the morning has a negative impact on academic performance, staggering start times may not be worth the cost savings.

Click here to check out these news stories and more on the OEP Blog!!!

Don’t forget, you can always keep up with more education news on the In the News section of our website.

Site Seeing

Arkansas’ Talk Business journalist, Steve Brawner takes a look at a variety of shifting data to determine how Arkansas’ business, political and educational landscape may shift by the year 2025: The Class of 2025: The Workforce of Tomorrow.

Mark Your Calendar

May 14, 2012: State Board of Education Meeting, Little Rock, AR

May 17, 2012: OEP Conference, Peabody Hotel, Little Rock

June 15, 2012: UCA Summer Leadership Institute

Final Thought:

“No other profession carries a greater burden for securing our economic future & no other profession deserves more respect.” – Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan tweeting under the #ThankATeacher trend on Twitter for National Teacher Day/Week

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