Welcome to NEWSWIRE. This bi-monthly e-newsletter has been designed to bring teacher education and early childhood program faculty in Arizona important news, facts, dates and information that can be shared with students and used to enhance any education environment. NCTE is proud to offer this newsletter as a resource, and values your feedback, input and suggestions. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arizona's Education Funding Daily updates come out of the state Capitol about how lawmakers plan to cut K-12 education funding for next year, with cuts ranging from $300 to $900 million. Lost in the shuffle is the discussion about how Arizonans fund education. Critics point out that the state is last nationally in per pupil expenditures, while legislators point out that education spending has skyrocketed in the past 15 years. Governing board members decry the state's property tax code, while lawmakers lobby for a business tax cut. Parents and teachers question how the state could consider cutting more from schools, while legislators point out that K-12 education funding is more than 40 percent of the general fund. This article summarizes what Arizona spends on education, where the funds come from, and the results of those expenditures.
The New Reverse Transfer The American Association of Community Colleges notes that a third of all two-year college students nationally previously attended a four-year institution. The recession has led to a surge in community college enrollments this year, and some experts believe “reverse transfers” are an important and sometimes overlooked portion of that growing student body at two-year institutions. These students change venues mostly for financial reasons, but also enjoy the benefits of smaller class sizes, personal relationships with faculty, and hands-on learning. Peter Ross, Cuyahoga Community College vice president for enrollment, said he expects the number of reserve transfers to continue to rise as the economy worsens. “I’ve been in the transfer world of higher education for about 25 years, and I’ve never seen numbers like this at a community college.”
The Internet has kindled a resurgence of interest in media literacy. With vast amounts of information at their fingertips, educators and parents worry about students’ ability to make sense of what they encounter. One of the most basic strands of media literacy emphasizes the skills and knowledge students need to locate and critically assess online content. Rather than ignoring the fact that more and more students spend more and more time online, educators and education policymakers should embrace it. From video games to social networks, incorporating what students are doing online into the school curriculum holds great, and perhaps the only, promise for keeping students engaged in learning. By integrating elements of digital media literacy into their instruction, teachers can influence how well students critically assess content, both online and offline.
Virginia Community College System officials believe they have found a way to assist students who need the most help planning for either college or a career after high school, but who often do not receive it. For four years, the system has employed “career coaches” based on-site at public high schools. The coaches work one-on-one with students to set career goals and create an academic road map to help them get where they want to be, as well as assisting students and parents figure out the financial aid system, giving pointers on how to strengthen a résumé, and hosting career fairs. Although the coaches work for the community college system, they make sure students are aware of the wide array of postsecondary options they have, from career and technical credentialing to the state's four-year institutions.
Parents and educators who favor traditional classroom-style learning over free, unstructured playtime in preschool and kindergarten may be stunting a child’s development instead of enhancing it. According to Anne Haas Dyson, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the University of Illinois, College of Education, play time for children is a “fundamental avenue” for learning. “Children learn the way we all learn: through engagement, and through construction.” Kindergarten and preschool, she said, should be a place for children to experience play as intellectual inquiry, before they get taken over by the tyranny of high-stakes testing. “Kids don’t respond well to sitting still in their desks and listening at that age. They need stimulation.”
Community colleges continue to see increases in distance education enrollments. According to Instructional Technology Council surveys, distance enrollments grew 18% from 2005 to 2006, and 11.3% from 2006 to 2007. The surveys also indicate that such increases cannot be sustained indefinitely. The top three challenges listed by administrators are related to resources needed to expand distance programs while keeping them at high quality: support staff for training and technical assistance, student services for distance students, and operating and equipment budgets. A further sign that distance enrollments are not likely to plateau any time soon, the study notes that 70 percent of respondents said that student demand for distance options at their institutions exceeds current offerings.
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