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Briefs: State ready for online tests?

Colorado lacks the broadband infrastructure necessary for the new state tests that are coming as early as 2015, according to a new policy brief from the Donnell-Kay Foundation.

Citing numerous findings, including a recent report on rural blended learning, the brief says, “It is clear that not all schools in the state are equally prepared to take the new PARCC assessment online.” Colorado is a member of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two multi-state groups that are developing language arts and math tests that conform to the Common Core Standards, which Colorado has adopted.

The brief notes that PARCC is preparing paper and low-bandwidth online tests for districts and schools that need them. But the brief also warns that lack of bandwidth also restricts student opportunities for blended and other online learning and for technology-based career training. Read the foundation’s brief here.

The Donnell-Kay Foundation is a funder of Education News Colorado.

Panel urges more attention to teacher gap

The 13-member Quality Teachers Commission, originally created by a 2007 law, ended its work last year and issued its final report this month.

Its assignment was to make recommendations for an educator identifier system and for reducing the teacher gap, which refers to the phenomenon of at-risk students being disproportionately taught by inexperienced or ineffective teachers.

The group made several recommendations about the use of educator data and urged that the teacher gap be made a higher state policy priority. It also recommended that teacher gap data be incorporated into the state’s accreditation and improvement system for school districts. Read the commission’s full report here.

Health Foundation report gives state D+ for kids’ health

Colorado rates only a D+ in children’s health, according to the 2012 Colorado Health Report Card, released this week by the Colorado Health Foundation, which has been compiling such annual report cards since 2008.

For children, the report derived its grade from six indicators, including percentages of children who are insured, live in poverty, have consistent medical and dental care, participate in regular physical activity and who are obese.

The report awarded a B for the health of adolescents. Some of the indicators used for adolescents were similar, and additional indicators on alcohol and tobacco use, depression and sexual activity also were used.

The report also covers the health of pregnant women and adult age groups. Read a news release about the report and download the full report here.

The health foundation is a funder of Education News Colorado.

Preschool program seeks director

The Denver Preschool Program is seeking a new chief executive officer. The program is supported by a dedicated city sales tax that provides scholarships to more than 25,000 families. Learn about the job opening here and find out more about the program here.

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