Monday, January 31, 2011
In what is becoming common place around school districts all over the country but especially in the states of California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Texas--- the Austin Independent School District is struggling with a number of unique factors which all contribute to the need to reduce their operating budget in FY12 by over $100 million dollars (FY11 budget = $714 million). The cuts can potentially raise teacher/student ratios from 22 to 1 to 30 to 1 as well as close over a dozen neighborhood schools. A large part of the need for the cuts is the expected massive deficit to the State of Texas budget ($27 billion as a best guess estimate). -Dr. Petrosino
The Austin ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted, after hours of public input and discussion, to support Superintendent Carstarphen's proposed campus staffing formulas. The effect is that Austin ISD will employ approximately 500 fewer employees next school year. Lower anticipated property tax appraisals and greater expected state "Robin Hood" capture of local school tax funds mean a shortfall of potentially $90 - $130 million in Austin ISD's FY12 budget, against a base of $714 million for the FY11 budget.
Trustee action on the superintendent’s recommendation is the first of what will be several difficult votes in the coming months. The Chamber supports and thanks the Superintendent and Board of Trustees in prioritizing the budget to accomplish the strategic plan. When strategic plan targets are accomplished in 2015, 90% of AISD students will graduate, 77% will directly enroll in higher education and 70% will graduate ready to do college-level work.
The federal House Appropriations Committee has said that public education in Texas is facing as much as $10 billion in budget cuts for the upcoming two-year spending period. For AISD, the district is facing budget cuts from $94.4 to $113.8 million for one school year.
Picture: Austin Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Meria Carstarphen. See her biography by clicking HERE
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Stevens' CIESE Center Awarded Prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring
Candidates for the presidential mentoring award are nominated by colleagues, administrators and students from their home institutions. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school.
Official White House Press Release: Click HERE
Official Stevens Institute of Technology Press Release: Click HERE
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
President Honors Outstanding Science, Math, Engineering Mentors
President Obama today named 11 individuals and 4 organizations as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. The mentors will receive their awards at a White House ceremony next week. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, awarded by the White House each year to individuals or organizations, recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in those fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators reflect the full diversity of the United States. Candidates for the Presidential Mentoring Awards are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students in their home institutions. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 to advance their mentoring efforts. “These individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the United States remains on the cutting edge of science and engineering for years to come,” President Obama said. “Their devotion to the educational enrichment and personal growth of their students is remarkable, and these awards represent just a small token of our enormous gratitude.” The individuals and organizations receiving the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring this year are: · Richard L. Cardenas, St. Mary’s University, TX
· Anthony Carpi, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, NY
· Isaac J. Crumbly, Fort Valley State University, GA
· Jo Handelsman, Yale University, CT
· Douglass L. Henderson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
· Bruce A. Jackson, Massachusetts Bay Community College, MA
· Marigold L. Linton, University of Kansas, KS
· Maja J. Matarić, University of Southern California, CA
· Gerard F. R. Parkin, Columbia University, NY
· Julio J. Ramirez, Davidson College, NC
· Michelle A. Williams, University of Washington, WA
· Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ
· Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program, State University of New York, Purchase College, NY
· Grinnell Science Project, Grinnell College, IA
· Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Initiatives, Center for Research on Women and Gender, University of Illinois-Chicago, IL
Friday, January 21, 2011
The Math and Science Partnership program at NSF responds to a growing national concern — the educational performance of U.S. children in mathematics and science.Through MSP, NSF awards competitive, merit-based grants to teams composed of institutions of higher education, local K-12 school systems, and their supporting partners. The 2011 National conference of MSP Partnerships will meet in Washington DC from January 23-25. The theme of this year's meeting is MSP: From Partnerships of Innovation to Student Success.
The main meeting will begin on the morning of Monday, January 24th, at 8:30 am, and will conclude by 3:00 pm on Tuesday, January 25th. Up to five members from each Comprehensive, Institute, Phase II and Targeted Partnership project, four members from each MSP-Start, and two members from each RETA project are invited to attend. Each four- or five-member team should include at least the PI, a K-12 administrator or teacher leader, a STEM faculty member, and an evaluator.
Special Interest Group: Engineering Main Ballroom: Over the past 2 years, the National Science Foundation has awarded 3 MSP Targeted Partnerships and 1 MSP Start to groups with a general interest in STEM education as well as a specific focus on engineering education. Collectively, these recent MSPs cover nearly the entire K-16 educational continuum and are involved in working with pre-service and in-service teachers to create and deliver innovative and exciting curricula that will allow their students to discover what engineering is, what engineers do, and the role that engineering plays in shaping their world. Specifically, these grants are Purdue University's Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) which focuses on the use of engineering design as a vehicle for teaching science in grades 3 through 6; Stevens Institute of Technology's Partnership to Improve Student Achievement in Physical Science: Integrating STEM Approaches (PISA 2) which will employ contemporary societal challenges as vehicles to engage and motivate teachers and their students in grades 3-8; Springfield Community College's MSP Start Partnership's Drafting a Blueprint for Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Today which includes the community college perspective and The University of Texas at Austin's UTeach Engineering which focuses on preparing secondary educators to teach design-based engineering courses. This SIG session will include brief overviews of each MSP, a summary of results to date, accomplishments and challenges, and a structured discussion on how to best move forward, both individually and collectively, in leveraging each others’ experiences and expertise as well as how to effectively include stakeholders across the nation interested in engineering education.
Facilitator: Anthony J. Petrosino, University of Texas at Austin
Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than two other studying techniques.
The research, published online in the journal Science, found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.
One of those methods — repeatedly studying the material — is familiar to legions of students who cram before exams. The other — having students draw detailed diagrams documenting what they are learning — is prized by many teachers because it forces students to make connections among facts.
These other methods not only are popular, the researchers reported; they also seem to give students the illusion that they know material better than they do.
“I think that learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,” said the lead author, Jeffrey Karpicke, an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University. “I think that we’re tapping into something fundamental about how the mind works when we talk about retrieval.” -NY Times 1/21/11
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
NJ Approves 23 New Charter Schools- The new schools will raise the state’s total to 97, serving approximately 25,000 students by September 2011
Below is the full list of approved schools, as sent out in a press release from the office of Gov. Chris Christie.
Arete:K-4 (300) East Orange, Orange – Essex County Arete Charter School will offer a single-sex classroom, co-ed school environment. The school will offer single-gender classroom settings to differentiate instruction and drive student achievement.
Atlantic City Community Charter School:K-8 (950) Atlantic City – Atlantic County AC Community will seek to replicate the success of the high-performing Chester Community Charter School in Chester, Pennsylvania. The school will focus on high expectations and strong student outcomes for urban students.
Atlantic Preparatory Charter School: 9-12 (552) Atlantic City – Atlantic County Application presents a sound plan for a blended learning school program. The blended learning would incorporate online learning into the regular school day as well as provide increased access to schoolwork for students and families while not in school.
Bright Horizon Charter School: K-8 (306) Penns Grove-Carneys Point - Salem County Charter school will aim to serve foster care students or students at risk of being placed in an out-of-home setting though the school would be open to all students. The school will establish partnership with local organizations and agencies to offer comprehensive wrap-around services for its student population.
Camden Community Charter School: K-8 (950) Camden – Camden County Camden Community will seek to replicate the success of the high-performing Chester Community Charter School in Chester, Pennsylvania. The charter school will focus on high expectations and strong student outcomes for urban students.
Dr. Lena Edwards: K-8 (396) Jersey City – Hudson County The Dr. Lena Edwards Charter School will offer a classical education program with a focus on character education.
Dr. Therman Evans Charter School for Excellence: 6-8 (225) Linden, Elizabeth, Roselle – Union County The Dr. Therman Evans Charter School will offer a program focused on character, leadership, and culture.
Forest Hill Charter School: K-8 (80) Newark – Essex County Forest Hill will provide a comprehensive program to serve students with autism and Pervasive Developmental Delay (PDD).
Global Visions: K-4 (165) Egg Harbor City, Galloway Township, Mullica Township- Atlantic County Global Visions charter school will be centered on project-based learning and teaching to the multiple intelligences of students.
Great Oaks: 6-10 (331) Newark - Essex Great Oaks program aims to serve minority and low-income students in a rigorous college-preparatory environment. Great Oaks is modeled on the successful MATCH school in Boston and other high-performing charter schools.
Kingdom: K-6 (210) Gloucester Township The Kingdom Charter School will offer an experiential learning program that addresses the various learning styles of children.
M.E.T.S.: K-6 (210) Jersey City The application presented a plan for a program that will have a strong mathematics, engineering, technology and science curriculum. METS is planning to partner with Liberty Science Center to implement the curriculum.
Martha Palmer Chaneyfield Charter School: K-4 (400) Newark – Essex County Martha Palmer Chaneyfield Charter School will offer a community-based school committed to excellence for its students.
Millville: K-5 (216) Millville – Cumberland County Millville Charter will focus on academic excellence with an emphasis on the arts and will build on the successes at Vineland Public Charter School.
New Day Charter High School: 9-12 (100) Newark – Essex County New Day Charter High School will offer a program focused on academic achievement and supporting the whole child. Specifically it will address the issues of substance abuse, wellness, and developing strong decision-making skills for its students.
New Jersey Virtual Academy: K-12 (1200) Newark – Essex County New Jersey Virtual Academy will offer a virtual learning program for students in Newark.
New Jersey Virtual: 10-12 (300) Camden, Perth Amboy, Neptune Township, Paterson New Jersey Virtual will offer a blended learning program for high school students who have dropped out of school.
People’s Prep: 9-12 (380) Newark – Essex County People’s Prep will be a school focused on ensuring academic excellence for all students, developing strong character, and building a commitment to community.
Roseville Community: K-4 (330) Newark – Essex County Roseville Community Charter School will offer a rigorous academic program committed to developing the character and discipline in students that is required to achieve academic excellence in high school, college, and beyond.
Shalom: K-8 (240) Englewood, Teaneck – Bergen County This application presents a plan for an academically rigorous, Hebrew language immersion program.
Spirit Prep: 9-12 (600) East Orange, Irvington, Newark – Essex County Spirit Prep will offer a blended learning model of project-based learning, face-to-face learning, and online instruction integrated with instrumental music.
Vailsburg Prep: 9-12 (600) Newark – Essex County Vailsburg Prep proposes to open a high school that will serve students using a research-based, blended learning curriculum. In this model, traditional classroom instruction will be supplemented with online learning.
Willingboro: K-5, 9-12 (410) Willingboro – Burlington County Wililngboro Academy Charter School will offer a curriculum that infuses technology and the arts throughout all content areas. Additionally, the school will focus on character development and community involvement.
Read an article about this story in the NY Times by clicking HERE.
• Atlantic City Community Charter School:K-8 (950) Atlantic City
• Atlantic Preparatory Charter School: 9-12 (552) Atlantic City
• Global Visions: K-4 (165) Egg Harbor City, Galloway Township, Mullica Township
• Shalom: K-8 (240) Englewood, Teaneck
• Willingboro: K-5, 9-12 (410) Willingboro
• Camden Community Charter School: K-8 (950) Camden
• New Jersey Virtual: 10-12 (300) Camden, Perth Amboy, Neptune Township, Paterson
• Millville: K-5 (216)
• Arete:K-4 (300) East Orange, Orange
• Forest Hill Charter School: K-8 (80) Newark
• Great Oaks: 6-10 (331) Newark
• Martha Palmer Chaneyfield Charter School: K-4 (400) Newark
• New Day Charter High School: 9-12 (100) Newark
• New Jersey Virtual Academy: K-12 (1200) Newark
• People’s Prep: 9-12 (380) Newark
• Roseville Community: K-4 (330) Newark
• Spirit Prep: 9-12 (600) East Orange, Irvington, Newark
• Vailsburg Prep: 9-12 (600) Newark
• Kingdom: K-6 (210) Gloucester Township
• Dr. Lena Edwards: K-8 (396) Jersey City
• M.E.T.S.: K-6 (210) Jersey City
• Bright Horizon Charter School: K-8 (306) Penns Grove-Carneys Point
• Dr. Therman Evans Charter School for Excellence: 6-8 (225) Linden, Elizabeth, Roselle
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
When you pay thousands of dollars for a college education, you expect to learn something in return. Right? Well, you may be disappointed to hear what's happening—or not—on college campuses according to a new study out today.
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) just released a report, Improving Undergraduate Learning: Findings and Policy Recommendations from the College Learning Assessment Longitudinal Study, and a book discussing the study's results, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.
The study—the first large-scale national survey of its kind—is based on an analysis of about 2,300 undergraduates at 24 four-year institutions to measure students' learning and study habits.
Traditional-age college freshmen from schools varying in size, selectivity, and missions, from liberal arts colleges to large research institutions, were contacted in the fall of 2005, in 2007 during their sophomore year, and again in the spring of 2009 to take a survey and the College Learning Assessment. The CLA measures general competencies, such as critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communication. It included three, open-ended prompts. Students used background documents to respond to a real-world scenario and solve a dilemma. (For more detail about the CLA, go here.)
Among the study's findings:
• 45 percent of students had no significant gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication during the first two years of college; 36 percent demonstrated no significant gains in those area over four years of college.
• 50 percent of students did not take a course requiring more than 20 pages of writing during a typical semester, and one-third did not take a course requiring at least 40 pages of reading per week, according to survey results.
• On average, students spent 12 hours per week studying (one-third of that with peers), and they met with their professors outside of the classroom on average once a month.
To find out what all this means, the author spoke with one of the authors of the research, Richard Arum, a professor of sociology and education at New York University and program director of education research for the SSRC.
Arum said he was surprised to find that large numbers of students were being exposed to such modest levels of academic rigor.
Instead of placing a high priority on learning, he said, colleges value generating new knowledge, advancing science in the field, and using higher education to improve economic competitiveness. Administrators are focused on the financial bottom line, institutional rankings, and getting top researchers and endowment dollars, he said.
"Across the board, you don't see a great focus on traditional core mission—undergraduate learning," Arum said.
When freshman were interviewed for the study, they often said they were were surprised at how easy college was.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
BEACON: An NSF Center for the Study of Evolution in Action
Erik D. Goodman from Michigan State University in partnership with colleagues at the University of Texas-Austin, University of Washington, North Carolina A&T State University, and the University of Idaho will establish a center that will promote the transfer of discoveries from biology into computer science and engineering design, and use novel computational methods to address complex biological questions that are difficult or impossible to study using natural organisms. BEACON will bring together scientists who, through research in their own disciplines, hold the interlocking keys to solving complex and fundamental problems in domains as diverse as cyber-security, epidemiology, and environmental sustainability. BEACON education and human resource development plans include K-12 programs, novel curricula development, undergraduate and graduate training, a mentoring program for faculty and post-docs, and outreach programs to educate the general public.