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March 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 27, 1998
 

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20 - CAPE GAZETI, Friday, March 27 - April 2, 1998 Secretary Metts promotes educational changes in Cape Region By Kerry Kester This spring marks the first year Delaware public schools will ad- minister the full battery of tests to assess how well students are meeting the state's educational standards. The assessments are also the first step the state is tak- ing to hold students, schools, school districts and the Depart- ment of Education accountable for student achievement. Delaware's tests contain multi- ple choice and open-ended ques- tions; they are designed to com- pare perfor- mance scores among Delaware stu- dents, mea- sure the state's stan- dards With national data and provide parents and MlgTTS schools with up to 40 comments about how in- dividual students may improve. According to Secretary of Edu- cation Dr. Iris Metts, who met with about 100 Cape Region resi- dents on March 25 at Cape Hen- lopen High School, within the next "several years, Delaware stu- dents will be required to pass a competency exam in 10th grade; those who fail the test will have other opportunities to take it, but those who do not meet the mini- mum competency levels will not be eligible for diplomas. Metts said that the test will first be offered in 10th grade, so stu- dents who do not meet the stan- dards will have plenty of time to improve their achievement levels through retesting. Carnegie units, grades and type of course work will still be factored in graduation criteria. Metts' purpose for meet- ing with Cape Region community members and professional educa- tors was to clarify some of the ac- countability issues that have been stirring controversy among Delawareans since Gov. Tom Carper released his accountability proposal in January. S.B. 250, the accountability bill, proposes to end social promotion for students who fail to meet liter- acy standards as measured through the state assessments. Schools will be required to pro- vide academic improvement ac- tivities for those students who fall below grade level in any of the following content areas: English/language arts, mathemat- ics, social studies or science. The bill calls for schools to be ranked relative to their ability to improve student achievement, with a system of rewards for those schools performing at or above the state's expectation levels and sanctions for those failing to show acceptable performance levels. School districts will have similar ranking criteria. "What we are presenting in this pla o is a cultural shift," said Metts. Components for exacting the educational changes include improving staff development, re- vising the certificafion/recertifica- tion policy for professional educa- tors, revising the Delaware profes- sional appraisal system, reducing class sizes, providing extended educational time for those stu- dents who fail to meet minimum standards, revising the policy for identifying learning disabled stu- dents, aligning state standards with classroom instruction and es- tablishing a statewide student ac- countability and instructional in- formation management system for the intemet. Peg Bradley, the governor's policy advisor for education, not- ed that during the past five years, Delaware has significantly in- creased funding for classrooms, provided school-based grants to create more positive school envi- ronments, spent $330 million to finance professional development, invested $13 million to wire every school district for technology ac- cess and provided funds to allow schools to develop extended school programs. The governor, she insisted, did not submit the accountability pro- posal without also calling for the financial enhancements school districts need to initiate the changes. The public, legislators and pro- fessional educators must embrace a paradigm shift that demands competency in all elements of lit- eracy, Metts asserted. "The whole system must change. You have to have the moral willpower and the belief in the system to want to im- prove," said Metts. The proposal has been criticized by educational leaders statewide. The Chief School Officers Asso- ciation and Delaware State Teach- ers Association have both submit- ted plans for the governor to re- view. Both have concerns that some groups of special education students will be shortchanged, districts will not be afforded enough funding to adjust physical facilities for more classrooms and the unit-funding mechanism may not cover the actual s .t,Ttffing needs for districts. Some teachers ex- pressed concern to Metts that there could also be problems with holding teachers, schools and dis- tricts accountable for student achievement, when often there are factors contributing to lower achievement that are beyond the control" of educational profession- als. "I'm not certain at this point that we can save all," said Metts, "but I'm certain we can try." She said she expects those concerns will be addressed as part of an on- going evaluative process and ad- justments will be made. No closing costs Perfect for debt consolidation Interest may be tax deductible Low monthly payments Apply by phone, 1-800-762-5626 With. a Sensible Credit* Line from CoreStates, consolidating bills is as easy as writing a check. To apply, call 1-800-762-5626, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or stop by any branch. CoreStates, the first name to think of for loans. CoreStat00 www.corestates.com "9,00% APR rate effectN as of 2/1/98. Rata may vary based on the Wall Street Jourmd prime rate plus .50%. ktextmum lifetime interest rata will not exceed 18% APR. Cow, suit your tax ao'visof oct the deOuctiblity of intete4t. (After the f,llt year. thera is an annu lee o l|35. PA/DE; $50 Nj.) This oiler al)plilm to ne,edy apl:,oved Sensible Credit Accotmts ordy, and is subject to withdrawal at any time. Customers are required to pay title and flood insurance lees. II applicable, Optional grou credit life insurance may be available Ioc Dennies LIIINOaa a day. NO s,og',CatiOl lee. Hon-,eowners insurarKe fequcced. Title msuratc.e rao/jired oil loans of $100,O00 0 more. CoreStates imk, N.A. Mefld)er FDiC. Equal Oppolunity Lender. 20 - CAPE GAZETI, Friday, March 27 - April 2, 1998 Secretary Metts promotes educational changes in Cape Region By Kerry Kester This spring marks the first year Delaware public schools will ad- minister the full battery of tests to assess how well students are meeting the state's educational standards. The assessments are also the first step the state is tak- ing to hold students, schools, school districts and the Depart- ment of Education accountable for student achievement. Delaware's tests contain multi- ple choice and open-ended ques- tions; they are designed to com- pare perfor- mance scores among Delaware stu- dents, mea- sure the state's stan- dards With national data and provide parents and MlgTTS schools with up to 40 comments about how in- dividual students may improve. According to Secretary of Edu- cation Dr. Iris Metts, who met with about 100 Cape Region resi- dents on March 25 at Cape Hen- lopen High School, within the next "several years, Delaware stu- dents will be required to pass a competency exam in 10th grade; those who fail the test will have other opportunities to take it, but those who do not meet the mini- mum competency levels will not be eligible for diplomas. Metts said that the test will first be offered in 10th grade, so stu- dents who do not meet the stan- dards will have plenty of time to improve their achievement levels through retesting. Carnegie units, grades and type of course work will still be factored in graduation criteria. Metts' purpose for meet- ing with Cape Region community members and professional educa- tors was to clarify some of the ac- countability issues that have been stirring controversy among Delawareans since Gov. Tom Carper released his accountability proposal in January. S.B. 250, the accountability bill, proposes to end social promotion for students who fail to meet liter- acy standards as measured through the state assessments. Schools will be required to pro- vide academic improvement ac- tivities for those students who fall below grade level in any of the following content areas: English/language arts, mathemat- ics, social studies or science. The bill calls for schools to be ranked relative to their ability to improve student achievement, with a system of rewards for those schools performing at or above the state's expectation levels and sanctions for those failing to show acceptable performance levels. School districts will have similar ranking criteria. "What we are presenting in this pla o is a cultural shift," said Metts. Components for exacting the educational changes include improving staff development, re- vising the certificafion/recertifica- tion policy for professional educa- tors, revising the Delaware profes- sional appraisal system, reducing class sizes, providing extended educational time for those stu- dents who fail to meet minimum standards, revising the policy for identifying learning disabled stu- dents, aligning state standards with classroom instruction and es- tablishing a statewide student ac- countability and instructional in- formation management system for the intemet. Peg Bradley, the governor's policy advisor for education, not- ed that during the past five years, Delaware has significantly in- creased funding for classrooms, provided school-based grants to create more positive school envi- ronments, spent $330 million to finance professional development, invested $13 million to wire every school district for technology ac- cess and provided funds to allow schools to develop extended school programs. The governor, she insisted, did not submit the accountability pro- posal without also calling for the financial enhancements school districts need to initiate the changes. The public, legislators and pro- fessional educators must embrace a paradigm shift that demands competency in all elements of lit- eracy, Metts asserted. "The whole system must change. You have to have the moral willpower and the belief in the system to want to im- prove," said Metts. The proposal has been criticized by educational leaders statewide. The Chief School Officers Asso- ciation and Delaware State Teach- ers Association have both submit- ted plans for the governor to re- view. Both have concerns that some groups of special education students will be shortchanged, districts will not be afforded enough funding to adjust physical facilities for more classrooms and the unit-funding mechanism may not cover the actual s .t,Ttffing needs for districts. Some teachers ex- pressed concern to Metts that there could also be problems with holding teachers, schools and dis- tricts accountable for student achievement, when often there are factors contributing to lower achievement that are beyond the control" of educational profession- als. "I'm not certain at this point that we can save all," said Metts, "but I'm certain we can try." She said she expects those concerns will be addressed as part of an on- going evaluative process and ad- justments will be made. No closing costs Perfect for debt consolidation Interest may be tax deductible Low monthly payments Apply by phone, 1-800-762-5626 With. a Sensible Credit* Line from CoreStates, consolidating bills is as easy as writing a check. To apply, call 1-800-762-5626, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or stop by any branch. CoreStates, the first name to think of for loans. CoreStat00 www.corestates.com "9,00% APR rate effectN as of 2/1/98. Rata may vary based on the Wall Street Jourmd prime rate plus .50%. ktextmum lifetime interest rata will not exceed 18% APR. Cow, suit your tax ao'visof oct the deOuctiblity of intete4t. (After the f,llt year. thera is an annu lee o l|35. PA/DE; $50 Nj.) This oiler al)plilm to ne,edy apl:,oved Sensible Credit Accotmts ordy, and is subject to withdrawal at any time. Customers are required to pay title and flood insurance lees. II applicable, Optional grou credit life insurance may be available Ioc Dennies LIIINOaa a day. NO s,og',CatiOl lee. Hon-,eowners insurarKe fequcced. Title msuratc.e rao/jired oil loans of $100,O00 0 more. CoreStates imk, N.A. Mefld)er FDiC. Equal Oppolunity Lender.