Recess round-up: August 16, 2010

A daily dose of education news around the nation – just in time for a little mid-day break!

Achievement gap: Results on the latest New York State math and English tests indicate that the proficiency gap between minority and white students has returned to about the same level as when Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein began their terms in 2002.  If you’re into numbers, take note: the gap between students in rich and poor schools increased from 15 percentage points in 2009 to 35 points this year. (The New York Times and The [New York] Daily News)

EduJobs: The $10 billion emergency funding to preserve teachers’ jobs comes too late for some. (The Atlanta-Journal Constitution)

For-profit education: Stocks drop, predictably, on the unimpressive loan-repayment rates of many for-profit institutions. (Bloomberg)

Rankings: Yale gets an “F” according to What will they learn?, a nonprofit website that rates 714 four-year colleges based on whether they require seven core subjects necessary to compete in the global marketplace and gain a well-rounded education. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Policy: Republican presidential aspirant Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty heads west to a national forum on education. In June, Pawlenty appeared on The Daily Show and pitched the idea of offering more college courses online rather than by “boring professors” on campus. (The State Column)

Reform: The Michigan Department of Education will release today a list of the state’s worst performing schools. Schools that fail to make improvements could fall under control of a new state reform district in which teacher-union contracts could be tossed out and new staff brought in. This comes just after a study by Michigan State researchers suggests that consolidating schools would save the state millions. Stay tuned. (The Detroit News)

Teacher effectiveness: The Los Angeles teachers’ union president said he was organizing a “massive boycott” of the Los Angeles Times after the newspaper published on Sunday the first in a series of articles that will use student test scores to estimate the effectiveness of district teachers. (Los Angeles Times)

About the series: A  grant from The Hechinger Report helped fund the work, though the Hechinger Institute did not participate in the analysis. The Los Angeles Times hired Richard Buddin, a senior economist and education researcher at RAND, as an independent contractor to conduct a “value-added” analysis of the data.  Rand was not involved in his analysis.

You might also be interested in the recent report by Mathematica about error rates in value-added estimates.