Editor's Note (The View From Here)

In the News

The good and not-so-good.

There is never a lack of news when it comes to K-12 education. Stories range from changes in policy to changes in program, and like every good story, there are always two sides. Here are some of the most recent and more interesting discussions in the news.

TEACHING: In North Carolina, legislators have approved a proposal that will end teacher tenure. Previously, all North Carolina teachers with five years of experience were eligible for tenure, which granted them a right to due process before dismissal. Now, the length of teacher contracts will depend on performance, with four-year contracts being offered to top performers and one- or two-year contracts being offered to everyone else. The good… ineffective teachers will be removed from the classroom. The not-so-good… it may lead to rapid teacher turnover.

COMPLETION: The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 78.2 percent of high school students graduated on time with a regular diploma. Graduation rates varied by state. In the 2009-10 school year, Vermont topped the list with a graduation rate of 91.4 percent. Nevada had the lowest graduation rate at 57.8 percent. The good… there was an increase in the graduation rate in 43 states from school year 2005-06 to 2009-10. The not-so-good… we are failing to educate 22 percent of our students.

ACCELERATED PROGRAMS: According to USA Today, early high school graduation programs are gaining traction. Financial incentives are offered in Indiana, Idaho, Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah to students who complete high school in fewer than four years. The good… districts’ instructional costs are lowered and students receive scholarship money for a higher education. The not-so-good… good grades do not necessarily translate to the maturity level necessary for college success.

FEDERAL AUTHORITY: House members voted to pass the H.R. 5, also known as the Student Success Act to replace the outdated No Child Left Behind Act. A key point of the bill would be a decrease in federal oversight and authority. States would be required to adopt standards in reading and math, assess student progress and publically report the results to parents. The good… this is the first serious legislative alternative we have seen in 12 years to the NCLB Act. The not-so-good… the effort is not a bi-partisan effort and passing new legislation is far from guaranteed.

It is obvious that we don’t have all the answers, and the plans we come up with may be imperfect, but at least we have started the needed discussion. Like they say in the news… stay tuned!

This article originally appeared in the School Planning & Management August 2013 issue of Spaces4Learning.

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