Education News: May 9, 2008
Following are some of the top headlines from the world of education for the week ending May 9, 2008.
Out of School, Risking Violence
(Source: The Baltimore Sun, 5/9/08): New data from Baltimore’s health department and school system indicate a correlation between students missing school and falling victim to violence. From 2003 to 2007, 115 young people in Baltimore were murdered, and 405 were the victims of non-fatal shootings. On average, these students missed 46 days of school per year due both to absenteeism and suspensions and expulsions.
Woman Donates Kidney to Her Former English Teacher
(Source: The Boston Globe, 5/9/08): An Indiana woman donated her kidney to her high school English teacher 22 years after graduating. Angie Collins, the donor, thought about the decision for two months before proceeding to donate her kidney to Darren Paquin, who is an English teacher at Elwood Community High School.
Rhee Dismisses Principal of the School That Her Children Attend
(Source: The Washington Post, 5/9/08): Marta Guzman, who is the principal of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington, D.C., has received a letter notifying her of her dismissal from schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who also happens to be the mother of two of the students attending the school. Ms. Guzman is one of at least two dozen city principals whose contracts will not be renewed.
Changes at New Orleans Schools Bring Gains in Test Scores
(Source: The New York Times, 5/7/08): Standardized test results indicate that fourth graders and eighth graders in New Orleans are making gains. The number of fourth graders passing a state promotional exam went up 12 percentage points, while the number of passing eighth graders went by four points. City superintendent Paul Vallas credits an influx of new teachers with the improvements, but notes that New Orleans students still have a long way to go. Approximately 85 percent of the district’s students are not reading or doing math at grade level.
School Threats Set Off Ton of Text Messages – and Absences
(Source: USA Today, 5/7/08): The combination of school violence and text messaging has resulted in an interesting phenomenon. Once a rumor or threat of school violence surfaces, warnings of the potential danger now tend to spread quickly via text messaging amongst students’ cell phones, meaning that students and parents often hear the rumors before school administrators do. Even once school administrators learn of and extinguish rumors of violence, students are sometimes absent in droves on the day of the anticipated incident.
Teachers Agree: Bad Teachers with Tenure Too Tough to Fire
(Source: USA Today, 5/6/08): A recent nationwide survey has found that over half of teachers believe it is too difficult to fire an ineffective teacher who has been given tenure. Approximately 70 percent of the teachers surveyed said that tenure was a formality that had little to do with the quality of one’s job performance.