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December 11, 2013
Colorado schools fare about the same year-over-year in accountability rankings
Colorado schools are performing about as academically well as they did in pervious years, a new report from the Colorado Department of Education shows.
December 11, 2013
New tests will still affect state accountability measures
Teachers, schools and districts hoping for some time to adjust to Colorado's new state testing regimen won't get long, according to a plan presented at Wednesday's State Board of Education meeting.
December 10, 2013
Committing to health in school improvement plans
A handful of districts around the state are incorporating health and wellness goals into their Unified Improvement Plans, which typically are focused more narrowly on academic achievement.
November 26, 2013
Tennessee’s Achievement School District ranks high on “conditions for success”
Tennessee’s state-run Achievement School District was the only entity in the country that received top marks in every category of a national education policy…
November 22, 2013
State board struggles to avoid further delay of A to F release
The state board before Ritz ended the meeting early on Nov. 13. Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Indiana State Board of Education will get almost three weeks to cool off in the wake of their last, explosive get together. But a big question remains: Can the squabbling board then put aside battles for control of its agenda and over its own rules in time to approve long-delayed A to F school grades by year's end? Come the first week of December, questions about whether the 10 Republican-appointed board members can effectively conduct business with Ritz, their chair and the only Democrat holding statewide office, will quickly be tested on consecutive days. Lou Ann Baker, the board's spokeswoman, said its representatives have been meeting with Ritz's team and expect two previously scheduled meetings will be held that week — a strategic planning session on Dec. 3 and the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting on Dec. 4. After that, the board has so far not been able to decide whether and when it can meet for a third time in December to approve and publicly release A to F grades, but Baker said that is the goal. A spokesman for Ritz confirmed that is where the talks stand.
November 20, 2013
Architects of school grades concede errors as overhaul looms
Warren Simmons, of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, speaks during a panel discussion about New York City's accountability system. Two architects of New York City's controversial school progress reports acknowledged on Tuesday that the accountability system they developed needs to change. Law school professor James Liebman, who devised the A-F grading system "from scratch" in 2007, said the school grades were initially useful as a "powerful motivator of educators to take responsibility" for student learning in their schools. But after six years of relying on a narrow set of data — primarily state test scores and graduation rates — to hold schools accountable, Liebman said now is a good moment for "toning down on performance management." Liebman's suggestions, which hewed closely to recommendations offered Tuesday by the Department of Education's chief academic officer Shael Polakow-Suransky, come as an overhaul looms for the controversial grading system. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has said he would do away with the school grades, although he hasn't yet said whether he would maintain the underlying data that contributes to them. Liebman and Polakow-Suransky appeared on a panel discussion hosted by the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, a think tank run by former state education chief David Steiner, at which Polakow-Suransky released a report called "What's Next for School Accountability in New York City?" The report outlined six areas for de Blasio to consider when he takes over in January.
November 19, 2013
Previewing Polakaw-Suransky on accountability after Bloomberg
In just a little while, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the number-two official in the city Department of Education, will explain his thoughts about the city’s school accountability…
November 15, 2013
Colorado gets easier path to extension of NCLB waiver
State Board of Education members cheered when they got the news, but a U.S. Department of Education policy shift on extension of NCLB waivers has…
November 13, 2013
HOPE Online gets partial victory on accreditation
The State Board of Education has unanimously approved a compromise that allows part of HOPE Online Learning Academy’s program to be rated under the special…
November 13, 2013
Deferring all tough issues, state board approves new A to F grading scale
At its most contentious meeting yet, the Indiana State Board of Education today did manage to pass one piece of business: a new scale for the state's A to F school grades. But amid tensions that ultimately left Superintendent Glenda Ritz storming out before the meeting ended, board members left nearly all the important details about how the grades will be calculated undecided. Among the questions left unanswered are whether Indiana will follow Common Common Core standards, how students will be tested and how student test score growth will be measured. Board members said they wanted a narrow vote aimed at fulfilling a law passed earlier this year that required new A to F rules by Nov. 14. "We have the beginning framework for a model," board member Brad Oliver said before the vote. "I would be comfortable affirming that if there is a path for us to take a collective deep breath and do what legislature wanted us to do." The one no vote to the resolution, which board members approved 9 to 1, came from Andrea Neal. She called the legislature's November deadline "unreasonable," arguing that a separate debate, about what academic standards Indiana will follow, should be completed before A to F rules are created. "How can we approve an accountability framework before we know to what standards students will be held accountable?" Neal asked.
November 8, 2013
Ritz, state board's lawyers duel over A to F rules
Attorney Kristie Anderson, left, representing State Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Indiana Department of Education, debated with Michelle McKeown, right, an attorney for Gov. Mike Pence's new Center for Education and Career Innovation, before the Indiana State Board of Education Friday. The struggle between State Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Gov. Mike Pence for control of Indiana's education policy reached a fever pitch Friday with dueling lawyers arguing over interpretations of Indiana's A to F rules before a sometimes befuddled Indiana State Board Education. Kristie Anderson, representing Ritz and the the Indiana Department of Education, stood side-by-side with Michelle McKeown, an attorney for Pence's new Center for Education and Career Innovation, offering competing interpretations of state law. Board members, meanwhile, sparred over which advice to follow. “It seems as if our debate is about the board’s role and when it should start,” Ritz said The first meeting since tension boiled over last month into a lawsuit by state Superintendent Glenda Ritz against the other 10 members of the board lived up to its billing as another battle royale.
October 31, 2013
Memo: Final 2012-13 A to F grades for all schools won't happen until 2014
State report cards, grading schools on an A to F scale, wouldn't be ready until Nov. 22 under state Superintendent Glenda Ritz's proposed timeline. (Morag Riddell/Flickr) StateImpact Indiana has posted a memo sent from the Indiana Department of Education to superintendents this week which spells out a proposed timeline for release of A to F grades to Indiana schools. The story outlines the key proposed dates:
October 31, 2013
You can now read the A to F recommendations yourself
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz at Monday's A to F Accountability Panel meeting at the Statehouse. State Superintendent Glenda Ritz this afternoon released the final report and recommendations of an accountability panel appointed by Gov. Mike Pence, legislative leaders and herself. Ritz co-chaired the panel. Read our report here on their recommendations, which were approved Monday. The panel's report and recommendations can be found here. To read Ritz's statement and summary of tie panel's report, follow the jump:
October 28, 2013
Panel's A to F proposal would add new state tests
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz (center) and committee member Steve Baker (foreground) shared ideas at Monday's A to F accountability panel. State testing would be expanded with new exams in grades 1, 2, 9 and 11 in Indiana under a new school accountability proposal. Other proposed changes include a new method for measuring student test score gains, and giving extra credit to schools when student scores go up, and changing the grading scale for schools from 1 to 4 to 1 through 100. The recommendations come from a 17-member committee appointed by State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, Gov. Mike Pence and legislative leaders. The group's plan will be considered by the Indiana State Board of Education, which could accept, reject or revise it, next week. Then education department staff will do statistical analysis to verify the model works as anticipated. "This is the first phase of what we need to accomplish," Ritz said.
October 22, 2013
Study, model bill take different angle on accountability
A new study by two Boston College researchers, along with a model law drafted by a well-known Colorado education activist, lays out an alternative vision…
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