Education Policy & Practice

Archive for December 2009

Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie College), recognized as one of America’s “Top Up-and-Coming Schools” and “Great Schools, Great Prices” in U. S. News & World Report’s newly released 2010 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” is a small liberal arts university located in northern Baltimore County.  [tweetmeme =”wordpress”]

In the “News” section of its website, Stevenson advertises:

Visit Stevenson’s Campus and Earn Credit Toward Tuition

Prospective students can now earn a $250 credit towards their tuition when they register for and complete a qualifying campus visit. This credit will be awarded to them contingent upon their admission and full-time enrollment to the University for the fall 2010 semester.
I’ve never heard of this type of incentive for incoming freshmen.  And in all honesty, I must state that I don’t immediately disagree with this strategy, while I must also disclose that I do not have any knowledge of the rationale behind it.  Is this incentive part of a larger marketing/recruitment campaign?  I wonder what the – process was that led to offering a $250 credit.  Are the enrollment figures low?  How effective will a $250 incentive be in attracting students who might not otherwise consider Stevenson University? How will the University determine the effectiveness of this program? Will prospective students find that Stevenson is more attractive with a $250 inducement? 
Has anyone see an incentive like this one in higher education?  Please share if you have – I’m curious.    

I love words.  Here are my top 5 from the weekend, in no particular order:  [tweetmeme=”wordpress”]

1. Ennoble

2. Indomitable

3. Virulent

4. Innumerable

5. Basilisk


Texas school districts are waiting to hear whether the state will provide special relief for low attendance as a result of the swine flu.  School funding in Texas, like other states, is tied to student daily attendance.  Average Daily Attendance (ADA), according to federal legislation, is the aggregate number of days of attendance of all students during the school year divided by the number of days school is in session during that year.

According to The Dallas Morning News, school districts won’t find out until next year whether the state will help. Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott has issued a statement that no decision will be made until he sees whether the flu re-emerges next year.  Some districts could lose up to $2 million.


Students at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education reveal their reasons for wanting to teach.  To the teachers out there:

  1. Why did you want to enter the teaching profession?
  2. Why do you remain in the teaching profession?

What memories do you have of your pre-college experiences on a college campus and how do you think that helped shape your attitude toward and perception of college? [tweetmeme=”wordpress”]

Here are a few of my memories.  Frankly, I thought college was cool.

  • My earliest memory is from elementary school.  I participated in a summer arts enrichment program at Towson University.  The program was only for a few hours in the morning, for the duration of a few weeks.  I remember the cookies and juice that they served us for snacks.  I remember reading Rudyard Kipling.  I remember the sculpture class.  I don’t remember any of the people, however.
  • Another memory is of spending at least a part of a summer or two at an overnight basketball camp. I was probably a young teenager at that time. I remember my fascination with the concept of dormitory living, shared bathrooms, and the cafeteria.  I liked it.
  • My older cousin was a standout basketball player at Morgan State University, which is only a mile from where I grew up.  She invited me to spend the night on campus after attending one of her games.  I was excited, because at that time I was a varsity starter at my high school and was in awe of the real-ness of being a college basketball player.  And to boot, I would get to spend the night in a real college dorm with real college kids.

I recently asked my 15-year old cousin, “Have you ever spent any time on a college campus?”  He has not had any meaningful experience in a college setting.  To be fair, he has attended several college graduations at such institution as Duke University, Trinity College (Hartford, CT), the United States Naval Academy.

He then said something that I didn’t anticipate hearing.  After telling him that I wanted him to spend time on a college campus this summer, he quickly said that he didn’t want to do that because college campuses are so big.  Then I knew for sure that I had to get him on a college campus and help him to feel “comfortable.”  I believe that there is a college size and setting for everyone, and I want to help him find one.

I encourage you to speak to as many young people you know about college.


Plan to raise standards for new teachers proceeds | Rhode Island news | | The Providence Journal. [tweetmeme=”wordpress”]

Rhode Island‘s Education Commissioner, Deborah A. Gist, wants to raise the bar and elevate the cut score requirement on the state-required basic skills test  for prospective teachers. I’ve been shaking my head for a while trying to understand how it is seemingly so easy for someone to take the reigns of a classroom and be called “teacher.”

This is the same leader who directed her superintendents to end teacher assignments based on seniority.  I may have to pay closer attention to what’s happening in Rhode Island.

Commissioner Gist was appointed to her current post in April, arriving in Rhode Island after serving as state superintendent of education and chief education officer in the District of Columbia.


[tweetmeme source=”wordpress”]

YES!  That’s my answer, no question about it.  In my experience as a teacher, I couldn’t have enough data.  How can we provide the best possible educational experience for students without utilizing data to its fullest extent at the classroom, school and district levels?  And let’s not forget that “data” is not just numbers (the qualitative researcher in me is speaking now).

– Jacob’s attitude was a bit different today
– Kelly wasn’t as alert as she usually is
– Brian doesn’t usually get into verbal altercations like he did today

Paying attention to students and asking questions about their attitudes, dispositions, behavior will yield rich data that when coupled with test scores and attendance figures, for example, widens your purview of each student.   Beyond data collection, however, is the need to then do something about what you’ve learned.  I believe teachers must be observant, invested, and committed to data.  How else can you be an effective teacher?

Jennifer Morrison, award-winning teacher, proposes three attitude shifts in her article (see below) that would help teachers learn to love data:

  1. Realize that data are more than end-of-year standardized test scores.
  2. View data collection as a way to investigate the many questions about students, teaching practices, and learning that arise from any committed teacher.
  3. Begin talking with other teachers about what data reveal and how to build on those revelations.

Read this article from Educational Leadership:


Education Policy & Practice

December 2009
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