Sunday, December 2, 2012

Report and summary of the 11/27/12 School Board Meeting

A workshop on Common Core 

School board meetings can be really long. This one runs over two and a quarter hours. This meeting is designated a "work session" rather than a regular meeting. No votes are taken.

Dr. Register starts the meeting with an announcement that we are one of 61 finalist for the second "Race to the Top" grant and he recognized the people involved in writing the grant. We the only district in Tennessee in the running and have a grant request of $40 million dollars. The US Department of Education received over 372 applications for the Race to the Top grant program and will determine the winner before the end of December.

Almost all of this meeting is a presentation and discussion of "Common Core," the new state means of measuring student achievements.

Dr. Register says a challenge facing the district is that only about one half of the students in metro schools have access to computers or the Internet at home. He says we must get wireless Internet in all of our schools and have sufficient number of "devices" so children will have the skills and the comfort level to do well on the new common core test, which I gather is administered on a computer.

There are good question asked by Will Pinkston about the interventions and strategies designed to address the problem of students who are not performing on grade level. There seems to be a reluctance on the part of the educators making the presentation to say a child will be "held back" or failed. If students show "growth" they will still be promoted even if they are not performing at grade level.

Dr. Register ask a question that elicits a response that says it is very important that we move to a school-based instructional coaches model with embedded professional development.

There is a frank admission that the previous standards and measuring, inappropriately rated schools and students as performing well, when in fact they were not.

Announcement: I am looking for someone to take over the function of reporting on education matters for this blog. Your post would carry your byline. The person doing this would get paid the same as I do for blogging (no pay). I would want someone who has a passion for education and would be diligent and timely. I would prefer someone with conservative values similar to my own, however if a person was more liberal than I, but could report on education matters with objectivity they would be considered. If interested, contact me. Rod

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