Ed Blogger Named to Common Standards Panel

by Robert Pondiscio
November 16th, 2009

A name familiar in edublog circles will serve on the newly announced “work groups” charged with developing K-12 standards in English Language Arts and math.  Diana Senechal, who contributes to the Core Knowledge Blog and pinch-hits at Joanne Jacobs’ blog has been named to the panel authoring the ELA standards.  Matt Davis, who along with Souzanne Wright is leading the development of the Core Knowledge Early Literacy Program, is also on board. 

Diana, who until recently taught at a Core Knowledge school in New York City, made waves recently when she showed that it was possible to pass New York State ELA and Math tests by simply guessing.  She was also interviewed recently on EdNews.org. 

The complete list of panel members is here.  The draft K-12 standards are expected to be released by early 2010.

Congress to Consider Expanding Troops to Teachers Program

by Robert Pondiscio
November 16th, 2009

Under a bill pending in Congress, 98% of U.S. schools would be eligible to hire retiring military personnel who will then be trained as educators under the federal “Troops to Teachers” program, McClatchy Newspapers reports:

As currently designed, the program offers troops up to $5,000 to help them pay for their education. And then they can get a $10,000 bonus by agreeing to teach in a school with a majority of low-income students for at least three years.  The program has strong backing from the Obama administration. At a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee in May, Education Secretary Arne Duncan promised to “push very hard” to sell the program.”I’m a huge fan of Troops to Teachers,” Duncan said. “I think it’s a phenomenal pool of talent.”

However to date participation in the program has been restricted “far beyond what Congress ever intended,” says Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI).  For example only 13 of his state’s 420 school districts qualify for the program, which is also restricted presently to veterans with six years of service or more. 

The brainchild of a Washington University history professor who wanted to help inner-city schools find qualified teachers and help large numbers of retired military personnel find jobs, the program could nearly quadruple in size under the pending legislation from $14 million to $50 million a year,

“There may be opponents of this legislation out there,” Arizona Senator John McCain said. “I just don’t know who they are.”

Are You Meeping Kidding Me?

by Robert Pondiscio
November 16th, 2009

The town of Danvers, Massachusetts can now claim prideful ownership of two great overreactions in American history.  The first was the Salem Witch Trials.  The second?  Banning the word “meep” at Danvers High School. 

Read it and meep.