The Hawaii Senate Education Committee advanced a legislative proposal that would enlarge the State Board of Education from nine to 11 members and increase terms from three to four years. The bill also would require two of the four at-large members to have business experience and require one to have experience as a principal or vice principal.
Members of the Washington State Board of Education have voted to recommend the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. State Superintendent Randy Dorn, who will make the final decision on adoption, has indicated his support for the standards and has said he will consult with lawmakers on the matter. Washington was among 26 states that took the lead in developing the standards. Five states have already adopted them.
The state boards of education in both Vermont and Maryland on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. The states join Kansas, Kentucky and Rhode Island in adopting the standards. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin applauded the move, noting in a press release that many businesses had struggled to find workers skilled in science, technology, engineering and math. "The Next Generation Science Standards help address these gaps and keep Vermont's schools on the leading edge nationwide," Shumlin said.
In a letter to school districts across the country Tuesday, the Education Department affirmed, among other things, that pregnant students should be afforded excused absences and should not need medical approval to be in school. Students also must be allowed to return to their same academic and extracurricular activities after a pregnancy, said the letter by Seth Galanter, the acting assistant secretary of the office for civil rights. "By ensuring that the student has the opportunity to maintain her academic status, we can encourage young parents to work toward graduation instead of choosing to drop out of school," Galanter wrote.
The Tennessee State Board of Education last week passed a controversial measure that, among other things, changes the salary schedule for the state's teachers and reduces incentives for educators to earn advanced degrees. Proponents of the plan, including Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, say it allows more autonomy for local districts to offer merit pay or rewards for those teaching in high-needs schools or subjects. However, others, including the state's teachers union, oppose the plan and say it will reduce teachers' earnings over the long term.