First Bell

Declining test scores in some states may be a precursor for Kansas

Peter Hancock

News has already started coming from other states about how new tests aligned to the Common Core standards in reading and math are producing dramatically lower test scores. In [New York City][1], for example, where public schools are actually a division within city government, this year's sudden drop in test ...

Annoying cliches in education jargon

Peter Hancock

Two very interesting writers have been discussing their nominees for the most pernicious cliches floating around in education jargon these days. I have a few suggestions of my own, but we'll save those for a minute. [Judith Shulevitz of the New Republic][1] started it off last week with her nomination ...

Survey documents enthusiasm of first-year teachers

Peter Hancock

By now, most people know that today is the first day of class in Lawrence and many other public school districts in Kansas. That's always a big deal, especially for kids starting kindergarten for whom school is an entirely new experience. But one fact often lost in all the back-to-school ...

STEAM: Arts education gaining new respect

Peter Hancock

For the past several years, people in certain education reform circles have focused their attention on STEM classes, a popular acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The feeling has been that these are the areas that offer the most promise for future job growth and economic expansion. They're also ...

Lawrence school board asked to weigh real estate options

Peter Hancock

The Lawrence school district owns quite a bit of undeveloped real estate in town, some of which may be needed in the near future for new elementary or middle schools. That was one of the messages Monday afternoon as the board — including its two new members, Adina Morse and ...

Lawrence schools eyeing new snack food guidelines

Peter Hancock

Lawrence school officials say they are reviewing new federal guidelines governing snack food sold in vending machines at public schools to see if any changes need to be made in local policies. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture [announced new guidelines][1] meant to ensure that vending machines include healthy ...

More from the school board: bonds, tech plans and farewells

Peter Hancock

By Lawrence school board standards, it was a pretty lengthy and eventful meeting Monday night. The big news, of course, was the new contract for teachers that gives them an average 3-percent pay raise next year, coupled with comparable increases for administrators and support staff. But there was other news ...

Congress moving on NCLB overhaul

Peter Hancock

Roughly six years after the law was set to expire, Congress now seems to be moving on legislation to overhaul No Child Left Behind. NCLB was the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the basic law that provides funding for Title I, special education and a ...

Early results from speech and debate nationals

Peter Hancock

Thanks to Lawrence High School speech and debate coach Jeff Plinsky and [his prolific Twitter account][1], we have some early results from the National Forensics League tournament being held in Birmingham, Ala. LHS senior Lauren Pauls advanced to the semi finals in congressional debate - Senate, and still is competing ...

Departing assistant superintendent to work for Fort Hays State

Peter Hancock

Adam Holden is going back to work for Fort Hays State University after his resignation as assistant superintendent in the Lawrence school district takes effect July 1, although he plans to continue living in the Lawrence area. Holden said this week he will become chair of the Department of Teacher ...

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