State Update


State Update features education news at the state and local levels. Readers are encouraged to send submissions to: Techniques, 1410 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314, fax 703-683-7424 or e-mail acte@acteonline.org.

CALIFORNIA--The Los Angeles Unified School District has downgraded its plans to end social promotion programs across the district. Instead, only students in the second and eighth grades who fail English will be held back. Other grades will be phased into the new plan over the next four years.

Originally, students were to be judged on their standardized test scores alone, such as the Stanford 9 exam. But if that were the only factor, more than half of the 711,000 students in the district would fail.

Instead, the new plan requires teachers to use the previous year's test scores to determine whether a student needs remedial help. Parents will be notified in the beginning of the spring semester if their child is in danger of failing. After that, students may still be able to pass by taking a writing test, raising their English grade to a D or participating in summer school.

MASSACHUSETTS--Two million new teachers are expected to be hired across the country in the next 10 years; Massachusetts wants to make sure all of theirs stay put.

In January, the state began running programs to retain its 750 new teachers by hosting a series of seminars designed to help them successfully complete their first year. The five three-hour work-shops focus on issues such as education reform, incorporating technology into the classroom and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests. The rookie teachers also are assigned a mentor. The state expanded its mentor pool by 50 percent last summer through Mentor Training Institutes.

"We can't afford to put our new teachers in classrooms and then forget about them," Carol Dadazzio, a teacher at Heath Elementary School in Brookline, said in The Boston Globe. "Take the Red Sox. Every year we have a few rookies on the team who look to the older players for support. …

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