Korsmo’s news roundup: Higher ed – and beyond

A wickedly beautiful day to you all, my Edu-Friends.

Charter – palooza: Was it divine intervention? Good scheduling? Dumb luck? During this, the national Charter School Week, I was lucky enough to be in Sacramento walking through some very impressive public charter schools.  (And taking my hugs and kisses from Mayor Johnson) (do NOT tell Michelle Rhee.)  Talking with the school leaders at Capitol Collegiate and then walking through classrooms was one of the more inspirational experiences your intrepid writer has had in a while. Meanwhile, closer to home, the state PTA voted to support non-profit charters. Maybe someday, one of the top ranked public charters will come from Washington. For the best of what Washington currently has to offer, check the most recent rankings.

Higher Ed – and Beyond: Sadly, these days the phrase “higher ed” conjures up  references to tuition. Washington students won’t escape tuition hikes, even as they struggle to commit to majors that will find them gainfully employed in their area of study. While locally, our college degree rankings are raising eyebrows – and not in a good way. Seattle ranks 16th – and that doesn’t seem to take into account the HUGE numbers of degrees we import vs. produce.  (There’s still some skepticism about what a degree really gets you, from the WSJ.) College degrees are only conferred if you can finish and for those who start out in remedial classes, the data on completion are abysmal. This may be why Connecticut is doing away with remedial courses. The plan is to put downward pressure on the K-12 system to improve outcomes and to provide more individualized opportunities to catch students up faster in college. Lessons to getting kids ready could lie in the new Seattle Public Schools Skills Center – which will open this fall. Two other local initiatives could also have big impact – the STEM program in Kent and the early learning programs in Auburn and Kent have loads of promise.  And for more good stuff locally;  Seattle gets a shout out on its PreK-3 work – the city is further along on this work than most.

(un)Disciplined: The student discipline issue is getting a fresh look both locally and nationwide. Apparently someone forgot to mention this to the folks in Aurora, Colorado.

A+ Washington: What if you wrote a plan and nobody read it? Fortunately the A+ Washington plan is getting a lot of looks. And a lot of positive reactions. From Seattle to Everett. From Spokane to Tacoma. Putting the plan into action is the work of the Excellent Schools Now coalition. And it’s already well underway. The new teacher/principal evaluation law  was taken from a page in this playbook.

Beach Reading:

  • Harvard published the results of a “round table” on effective teaching and improved student outcomes – original title of which was so boring that I couldn’t bring myself to repeat it.
  • Mainstreaming of special needs students is on the rise. Everyone I met with last week was talking about it but called it integration. You say tomato…
  • LEV’s own Heather Cope published in Curriculum in Context. A great look at the work going on with teacher/principal evaluations.

That should be plenty to get you through this Mother’s Day weekend. Go have a great day. I hope to see you Tuesday, bright and early for the LEV breakfast!.

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