University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

OWL Education News Links 05/30/2012

In OWL-OEP Weekly Links on May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

As we wrap up the 2011-12 academic year, we want to congratulate all of this year’s graduates and wish them well on their post-secondary pursuits. Now that summer break is upon us, the OEP will be doing its customary sign-off for the next few months – meaning there will be no regular weekly OWL email hitting your inboxes. However, before we sign off, we have this reminder for you over the summer:

Don’t forget, there are two interesting conferences coming up this summer: The 2012 UCA Summer Leadership Institute (note: ‘early bird’ registration ends tomorrow June 1st ), and the Seventh Annual Literacy Symposium hosted by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas. For a one-stop source of information on these two events, check out our blog post which features the dates, location, and costs of each conference. We hope you will take advantage of these great conferences.

We hope you all have a great summer. See you in August!

News from Around the Natural State

Judge Finalizes NLR District’s Unitary Status

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr., acting on the directions of a federal appeals court, declared the North Little Rock School District unitary and released from any further supervision of its desegregation efforts by federal officials. Marshall’s two-paragraph order was a procedural step necessary after a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on Dec. 28 overturned a portion of a lower court decision and concluded that the 9,000-student North Little Rock district was entitled to release from decades of federal court monitoring of its operations.

Racial Disparity Seen on School Waiting Lists

As many as 5,276 students are on waiting lists for the Little Rock School District’s six original magnet schools. Eighty-three percent, or 4,385, of the students on the district’s 2012-13 waiting lists are black students, according to data provided by the district. Many won’t be called to fill a vacancy – even in cases where a vacant seat might open. In comparison, there are 891 students who are white or of other races on the waiting lists for the special-program schools. The magnet schools were established to have a 50-50 black-to-“non-black” racial ratio with an allowed variation of up to 5 percentage points.

Program Aims to Create More Bilingual Teachers

The Bilingual Scholars Initiative hopes to produce 90 teachers who will work to bridge that language gap in the district’s classrooms, said Don Love, Springdale’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning at the secondary level. The collaborative initiative is a five-year effort of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville and the Springdale district. Focusing mainly on scholarship support for future teachers, the initiative begins with the 2012-13 academic year. “We need to have more bilingual teachers in our school district,” Love said. “We’ve just got to grow that applicant pool.” The Walton Family Foundation helped fund the initiative with a $775,000 grant, $615,000 of which will go toward the newly created Northwest Arkansas Bilingual Teacher Scholarship.

News from Around the Nation

How Much Will the Common Core Cost?

States face key spending decisions as they implement the Common Core State Standards, and a new study finds that they could save about $927 million—or spend as much as $8.3 billion—depending on the approaches they choose in three vital areas: curriculum materials, tests, and professional development. The report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, examines the net costs of three hypothetical transition routes to the new standards in mathematics and English/language arts.

NC Senate Works to Revamp Education Policy

The North Carolina Senate is working on revamping public school policies ranging scrapping job-protecting tenure laws for teachers to protecting home-packed bagged lunches from child nutrition oversight. While the state House shapes a $20 billion annual state budget that decides how much North Carolina should spend on education and where the money goes, the Senate is taking on more than a dozen changes on how schools will operate with that money. The proposal’s most controversial provision would do away with tenure for veteran public school teachers who now receive certain job protections — given to most after a four-year probationary period working in the same district. Tenured teachers are able to appeal their firings to school boards and ultimately to an impartial judge, a step that critics say makes it hard to

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

 

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