Are We Ready to Race?

January 24, 2010

In “NC Submits Race to the Top Application” (1/22/10), The NC Public School Forum summarized the 195-page application as follows:

Governor Perdue announced this week that North Carolina’s $459.5 million application for Race to the Top was submitted to the U.S. Department over the weekend. According to the Governor, North Carolina’s application stressed four areas of improve and development for K-12 public education:

  • Internationally-benchmarked standards and assessments;
  • Development of data systems that measure success and improve instruction;
  • Supporting effective teachers and leaders;
  • and Turning around low-performing schools.

Smalltown, USA: Old Media Wrestles with New

January 24, 2010

In Sanford, NC–A newspaper veteran gives a balanced explanation of his company’s position on pulling the comments plug for their web articles.

In “Welcoming the Silence,” Billy Liggett writes:

The Internet’s been quieter the past few weeks in Sanford, and that silence is both welcome and unfortunate.

Two weeks ago Monday, we suspended the “comments” feature at sanfordherald.com because of the onslaught of the personal attacks and outright idiocracy (I’ll get to more on that later) that ensued in the weeks and months after we redesigned and upgraded our Web site. The suspension is expected to last until Feb. 1 tentatively, because by then we hope to have a system in place that will require valid e-mail addresses and require logins before a comment is posted.


Gov. Perdue: Ready, Set, Go

January 22, 2010

On her official website press release, N. C. Governer Bev Perdue outlines her education strategy called Ready, Set, Go:

Gov. Perdue’s education agenda will work in three steps:

Ready Increasing the number of students who can read, write and do math by the end of third grade.

Set Increasing the number of students that perform at or above grade level.

Go Increasing the number of students taking college credit courses in high school; graduating from high school; going to college; and completing their degree from a community college, college or university.

Specific policy highlights include:

* Incentives for great teachers in hard to staff schools and content areas
* Leadership Academy for school leaders
* Restructure the ABC’s program to include diagnostic assessment, 21st century skills and national assessments so we can see how our students compare to others across the nation and world
* Adopt the Common Core national standards: everyone agrees on the skills that all students need to know to graduate ready to work, go to college or vocational school
* Community College readiness initiative for diagnostic-type assessments to make sure that students graduate with skills necessary to do community college work

Based on the evolution of and our experience with NC ABCs and The Fed NCLB, the only thing certain anymore in education is that the target keeps moving….and it keeps moving higher.  Not a bad thing.  Because it necessitates continuous learning by and improvement of all stakeholders.

More than that, it reflects the rapid changes happening in the broader realms of society:  economy, markets, jobs, culture, information access, technology, globalization, and politics—among others.

Our students, teachers, and leaders will have to work harder than ever, study more than ever, and be more creative than ever just to ensure hope and place in the era of unprecedented change.

And this runs counter-cultural to any long-held traditional sense of national, societal, or individual entitlement.


Heels #1, again!

January 13, 2010

Kiplinger’s Magazine (Feb, 2010) ranks best public colleges in terms of best academics at affordable prices.  As stated in an e-mail I received this morning from FYI Carolina to Carolina Alumni and Friends:

Carolina remains the #1 overall best academic value in U.S. public higher education, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. The University has ranked first on the magazine’s list of schools that “deliver strong academics at affordable prices” since 1998 when Kiplinger’s began its analysis.

Here is the searchable database of Kiplinger’s Top 100.

Here are the refined results for NC.   The list includes UNC, NC State, AppState, UNC-W, UNC-A, and the North Carolina School of the Arts.

I’ll have to keep this academic/value proposition in mind each month as I cut that check to UNC…


Of Note

January 12, 2010

Three items of note from the January 8 edition of the NC Public School Forum’s Friday Report seem to hold significance as the 2010-2011 budget season eases out of the gates:

  1. Don’t forget that we are already starting next state budget year facing $1B or pre-programmed cuts.
  2. North Carolina Virtual Public School is ranked 5th largest on-line school in the nation in terms of enrollment.
  3. Carteret County’s “Communities in Schools” was among the recipients for a share of the $13M in North Carolina General Assembly money for dropout prevention.
  4. The NC Dept of Commerce released economic tier rankings of the 100 counties for 2010.  The folks in gold tend to be around the cities and the coast.

Suspended

January 12, 2010

The comments feature of an on-line newspaper had to be suspended “because of abusive comments and personal attacks posted on our Web site.”

Although this strategy will dampen the idiot winds for a while, the new information order calls for interactivity on the web.  This is another example of how we are going kicking and screaming into the future…

It shows that adults, as well as students, have significant learning curves when it comes to responsible communication and representation on the interactive web.  It also shows that he who holds the keys to the kingdom (in this case, the press) can and probably should make the rules when necessary.

You can go to almost any on-line news story today and filter through the comments for the stories (and agendas) behind the stories.

Will Richardson takes a much deeper dig on this topic in a post called “Norms of Participation“.  It is interesting to compare the quality of his commentators vs. the quality of commentators in a general news article.  Perhaps context is the key.