An education task force in Massachusetts is recommending that the state change its achievement goal of having 100% of students scoring as proficient or advanced on state tests by 2014 to 85% by 2020. Members of the task force said the new goal would give educators and policymakers more time to improve underperforming schools and address areas where the "proficiency gap" is widest -- primarily with students from low-income areas and those who are learning English as a second language.
A proposal by state education officials that would have student achievement count toward at least 50% of a teacher's evaluation may cause conflict in Maryland. Officials say the changes would demonstrate the state's commitment to reforms for the competitive Race to the Top grants. But some lawmakers and teachers union representatives say the proposal oversteps the limits of legislation that caps at 35% the weight of any one criterion on teacher evaluations.
A final version of a bill to curb online and face-to-face bullying in Massachusetts schools is expected to be approved today by both houses of the state's legislature. The measure prohibits bullying on school grounds, buses and events as well as on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It also includes requirements that schools provide training for teachers on how to prevent and intervene in cases of bullying, and the bill provides extra protection for students with autism and other special needs.
A dozen education-focused foundations are offering up to $506 million in matching funds to support education reforms under federal programs such as Investing in Innovation. Districts, schools and nonprofit groups have until May 12 to apply for the grants to pay for programs that promote innovation in the classroom, improving underperforming schools or studying reforms that could be used to improve education across the country.
Black and Hispanic students who attend charter schools in New York City are more likely to be admitted to the city's top high schools, according to data analyzed by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Marcus Winters in this opinion article. He writes that the data support the argument that charters may offer black and Hispanic students a better elementary- or middle-school education and increased access to a superior secondary education, Winters writes.