By Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) – At a time when test scores are used to determine everything from district funding to whether schools can stay open, they’re taking on even broader meaning in Ohio.
Gov. John Kasich has signed legislation that will partially link scores to what teachers are paid.
In Ohio – and many other states throughout the country – teachers have traditionally been evaluated by observers who’ve determined whether the instructors are satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Evaluations will continue to play a role in Ohio. But by the 2013-14 school year, Ohio public school districts will be giving each teacher a grade, and half of that grade will be based on how much students learn, gauged by their test scores.
Decisions about salary, which teachers to promote, and which ones to fire will be based on these results. Teachers’ seniority will take a back seat in the new policy, and all but the top teachers in the state will be evaluated every year.
There are several reasons for the changes. One lies in the state budget, which specifies that student academic growth must determine at least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.
Another is the federal government’s Race to the Top program. In order to receive funds from it, Ohio is one of several states that have promised to find ways to measure and prove students’ academic growth.
A third reason is that Ohio is one of a majority of states that have gotten an Obama administration waiver from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law. In order to do that, the state has had to devise more detailed evaluations for teachers and base personnel decisions on them.
Some observers point out that the new Ohio law could still be changed or watered down before it goes into effect.
What’s wrong with America’s school system? Tell us here.
By Adam Reiss, CNN
(CNN) - The president of Florida A&M University has resigned, more than a month after the school's board of trustees gave him a vote of no confidence in the wake of last year's hazing death of a school band member, his office said Wednesday.
The president, James Ammons, was given the no-confidence vote June 7 after investigations into the university amid concerns over the November death of drum major Robert Champion.
Champion, 26, died after the initiation ritual aboard a bus. The Orange County medical examiner said the cause was "hemorrhagic shock due to soft tissue hemorrhage, due to blunt force trauma."
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, prompting a police investigation and renewed public scrutiny of hazing in the university's famed Marching 100 band, which got its name in 1950 and actually has about 400 members.
Read the full story
By Donna Rosato, @Money
(MONEY Magazine) - Raising three daughters born within a five-year span, the Fuccis knew they'd face steep tuition bills one day. But saving was tough.
The family lives in high-cost Westchester County, where their property taxes have tripled over the past decade.
For many years Stefanie worked part-time as a personal trainer. Now Kimberlee, 17, plans to go to James Madison University in Virginia this fall, where costs top $30,000 a year; high school sophomore Celine, 16, has pinned her hopes on going out of state too.
The Fuccis have already co-signed $14,000 worth of private loans to pay for 21-year-old Brittany to attend New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (she also has $14,000 in federal Stafford loans). Still, they are determined to let their kids go to their dream schools.
"Out of state goes against our plans, but it's the right fit for Kimberlee," says Stefanie.
How can this family afford to pay for college?
Read the full story from CNNMoney.com
A classroom celebration without homemade sweets? Schools in Easton, Massachusetts want to ban sugary treats from home as part of the district’s effort to provide students with healthier food choices in the classroom.
Instead of cupcakes, officials are suggesting a list of "safe foods" that fit a wellness policy.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments: Would banning baked goods during school celebrations be bittersweet? Can you celebrate a birthday without a cupcake?
CNN’s Schools of Thought blog is a place for parents, educators and students to learn about and discuss what's happening in education. We're curious about what's happening before kindergarten, through college and beyond. Have a story to tell? Contact us at email@example.com