MarylandCAN News Roundup: Top 10 Education News Stories of the Week

Top 10 pick of education news stories for the week from MarylandCAN.


1. Test scores critical in achievement gap struggle

February 21, 2013 | The Gazette

They serve as means to gauge progress

As many of the state’s 24 school systems continue to struggle with crafting teacher and principal evaluations that reliably measure effectiveness, the pressures on local officials continue to mount. School systems were required to submit their evaluation proposals to the state, and Feb. 1, nine counties found out formally that their plans had been rejected. Revised plans must be resubmitted by May 15.

State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery met with local superintendents that Friday. She went over how state law impacts the evaluation process for teachers and principals — more specifically, the state’s Education Reform Act of 2010 and its waiver for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Read more here

2. Montgomery exec. calls county ‘open for business’

February 21, 2013 | Kate S. Alexander, The Gazette

Streamlined development, increased English literacy and closing the achievement gap are just three of the ways Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett plans to move the county forward.

Leggett spoke Wednesday to a packed house at the Silver Spring Civic Building that included Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) of Mitchellville and state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) of Takoma Park.

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3. Student performance on AP exams improvess

February 20, 2013 | Caralee Adams, Education Week

Nearly one in five public high school graduates in the class of 2012 passed an Advanced Placement exam, reflecting a steady increase in performance over the past decade, new data released today by the College Board show.

Last year, 19.5 percent of graduates scored a 3 or higher, which is considered a passing grade on a scale of 1 to 5. That is up from 18.1 percent who passed in 2011 and 11.6 percent among the class of 2002.

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4. Glen Burnie High still lags in grad rates

February 20, 2013 | Sara Blumburg, Maryland Gazette


Just three miles apart, Glen Burnie and North County High Schools are seeing different results as they try to boost their graduation rates.

The percentage of Glen Burnie High’s senior class who graduated last year improved but still teetered at 78 percent, below the statewide goal of 82.70 — the worst graduation rate in Anne Arundel County for at least the third year in a row, according to new data from the Maryland State Department of Education.

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5. Kennedy High School highlighted in achievement gap discussion

February 19, 2013 | Esther French, Wheaton Patch

"Frustration." That's the first word that comes to Dr. Eric Minus's mind when he thinks about the achievement gap--the disparity in academic successes between white or Asian students and African American or Latino students.

Minus is the principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Wheaton, a school where 84 percent of the students are African American or Latino, he said.

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6. Education panel: To close achievement gap, urgent state, federal action needed

February 19, 2013 | Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post

The nation must act urgently to close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children by changing the way public schools are financed, improving teacher quality, investing in early-childhood education and demanding greater accountability down to the local school board level, according to a report issued Tuesday by an expert panel.

Created by Congress in 2010 — with legislation sponsored by Reps. Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.) and Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) — the Equity and Excellence Commission aimed to propose ways to improve public education for poor American children. The 27-member panel included state and federal officials, civil rights activists and academics.

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7. Dance: BCPS won't default to state teacher evaluation plan

February 19, 2013 | Nayana Davis, Arbutus Patch

Though his original proposal was rejected, Superintendent Dallas Dance said Baltimore County Public Schools won't adopt the "generic" state teacher evaluation plan.

"We'll go back to the drawing board with our folks," Dance said.

Dance has until May to present the Maryland State Department of Education with an alternate proposal.

Read more here

8. Martirano to stay on as St. Mary’s superintendent

February 15, 2013 | Jesse Yeatman, Southern Maryland News

Michael Martirano was reappointed Wednesday as superintendent of St. Mary’s public schools for a third four-year-term.

Though contract details still must be worked out between the board of education and superintendent, Sal Raspa, school board chair, organized a ceremony to honor Martirano’s continued tenure on the job he has held since 2005.

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9. Getting preschool education right

February 15, 2013 | Editorial Staff, The New York Times

Even before the cost estimates and program details have been made public, President Obama’s proposal for expanding high-quality preschool education has encountered criticism from House Republicans. Yet decades of research has shown that well-designed preschool programs more than pay for themselves by giving young children the skills they need to move ahead. The challenge at the federal level will be to make sure that taxpayer dollars flow to proven, high-quality programs instead of being wasted on subsidies for glorified day care.

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10. MCPS already heeding Obama’s call for partnerships with colleges

February 15, 2013 | Julie Rasicot, Bethesda Magazine

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama called upon the country’s public high schools to redesign themselves so that they “better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.”

“We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math—the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future,” Obama said.

Read more here

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