Daily Headlines for February 28, 2011

How Teacher Development Could Revolutionize Our Schools
Washington Post, DC, February 28, 2011
As the nation’s governors gather in Washington for their annual meeting, they are grappling with more than state budget deficits. They’re confronting deep education deficits as well.

Let Education Choice SOAR Coast To Coast
San Francisco Examiner, CA, February 28, 2011
Publicly funded voucher scholarship programs function in seven states and Washington, D.C. , while nine privately funded, tax-credit scholarship programs exist in seven states.

Teachers Unions Are Out Of Step With Students Needs, Financial Realities
Washington Examiner, DC, February 27, 2011
Public employee unionists are on the march in Wisconsin in response to newly elected Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut costs by reducing pension obligations, asking public employees to pay a share of health care that remains well below what private employees bear, and limiting collective bargaining rights.

Former D.C. Schools Chief Aims To Put ‘StudentsFirst’
NPR, February 26, 2011
It’s not only Republicans like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who are challenging unions. When it comes to teachers unions, increasingly it’s Democrats like Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the public school system in Washington, D.C.

Jail Time For Sneaking Kids Into A Better School: Was Justice Served?
Christian Science Monitor, MA, February 25, 2011
The case of an Ohio woman who lied so her girls could attend a better school triggers a sharp debate about equity in public education.

FROM THE STATES

Colorado

A Long Line To Learn
Houston Chronicle, TX, February 28, 2011
Harmony Academy charter system is booming, despite initial suspicions by parents and a lackluster economy

Families Want School Reforms
Denver Post, CO, February 28, 2011
The numbers prove that families in far Northeast Denver are receptive to the forward-thinking choices offered by DPS.

Florida

Rewarding Teachers And Nurturing Students
Tampa Bay Tribune, FL, February 27, 2011
The instructional quality discussion has been the focus of much debate this year as the Florida Senate works on solutions to reward teachers and improve the quality of education for our state’s children. Following months of collaboration and public input, Senate Bill 736, also known as “The Student Success Act,” has been introduced and passed in three Senate committees with bipartisan support.

Illinois

Charter School Makes Progress Despite Scores Below Nat’l Average
WIFR , IL, February 27, 2011
More than 250 families switched schools to attend Rockford ‘s newest charter school. 23 News is getting look at how the school’s doing and why despite test scores being below the national average, progress is being made.

Indiana

School Bills Help Enhance Opportunities
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, February 27, 2011
Throughout this legislative session, we have heard hours of debate and testimony concerning education, and we will continue to hear more in the coming weeks. The creation of education bills is rooted in our desire to provide students with a quality education that will make them more competitive in the 21st century.

Louisiana

Choices, Choices
Times Picayune, LA, February 28, 2011
Since Hurricane Katrina, the menu of high school choices in New Orleans has dramatically expanded. Students can now go to almost any school in the city, regardless of where they live. Nearly 75 percent of public schools are charters, free to develop their own curriculums, resulting in schools with distinct characters.

Minnesota

Gov. Dayton, Commissioner Cassellius All To Learn From Outstanding District And Charter Public Schools
Coon Rapids ECM Publishers, MN, February 25, 2011
Minnesota Gov.Mark Dayton and Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius are proposing a wise, and historic change in Minnesota public education. They are recognizing reality: Minnesota has outstanding district and charter public schools. We need to honor and learn from them. So they have made a proposal to do that.

Montana

Not All In Private School Are Affluent
Billings Gazette, MT, February 28, 2011
However, the comment made by Tara Veazey, executive director of the Montana Budget and Policy Center, was completely out of line. She stated, “This would use public funds to subsidize affluent people to send their children to private schools.” She obviously hasn’t done a survey of families in private schools. Our family, for instance, is far from affluent.

New York

City Details Worst-Case School Layoffs
New York Times, NY, February 28, 2011
The New York City Department of Education made public on Sunday a list that estimates the number of teachers each school will lose to layoffs if the state does not allocate more money for schools and seniority rules are not changed.

North Carolina

Charter More Charters: NC Legislature Should Eliminate Charter School Cap
The Daily Tar Heel, NC, February 28, 2011
Right now the number of charter schools in North Carolina is capped by the legislature at 100. A bill to eliminate the cap just passed the state Senate and will soon see debate in the state House. Eliminating the cap on charters would be good for North Carolina; the General Assembly should continue to work to pass the bill.

Pennsylvania

Keeping Standards High at Boys Latin
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, February 27, 2011
Every student, the Boys’ Latin uniform insists, is held to the same high standard. The school also embodies Hardy’s vision of getting more boys, particularly African American boys, into college.

Charter Schools: Public Education With a Twist
Chestnut Hill Patch, PA, February 28, 2011
Although they rely on public funding, charter schools have more freedom to innovate than schools run by the School District.

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Suggest Amendments To School Voucher Bill
Patriot News, PA, February 27, 2011
Lawmakers are lining up behind the idea of giving parents taxpayer-paid vouchers to send their children to schools of their choice. Trying to stop a voucher bill advancing in the Senate is seen by some as futile, so backers are focusing on ways to make it more palatable.

Rhode Island

Providence Teacher Dismissals Seen As Blow To Seniority System
Providence Journal, RI, February 26, 2011
No matter how you slice it, school experts say, the decision Thursday by the city School Board to notify teachers that they might be terminated at the end of the school year strikes at the heart of their union contract’s seniority system.

South Carolina

Charter School Funding
Spartanburg Herald Journal, SC, February 27, 2011
I am writing to thank South Carolina legislators for working to provide sustainable, if not ideal, funding for public charter schools sponsored by the S.C. Public Charter School District .

Public Funds For Private Schools Flunks Reform Test
The Tribune-Star, IN, February 27, 2011
At a time when resources for public education are limited, Indiana cannot afford to divert taxpayer money to fund private school tuition.

Texas

A Long Line to Learn
Houston Chronicle, TX, February 28, 2011
Harmony Academy charter system is booming, despite initial suspicions by parents and a lackluster economy

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Cyber Grads Face Military’s Bias
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , PA, February 27, 2011

As enrollment in Pennsylvania ‘s 11 cyber charter schools swelled to about 25,000 students statewide last year, Merrill and others who hope to enlist in the military after graduation are finding their plans derailed by an obscure Department of Defense policy.

Oregon’s K-12 Future Must Include Online Education
Statesman Journal, OR, February 28, 2011
Many Oregon schools face budget cuts. How can Oregon increase opportunities for its students, allowing kids to reach their academic potential? By giving parents the power to choose programs beyond their local district school.

Daily Headlines for February 25, 2011

Oh, To Be a Teacher in Wisconsin
Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2011
How can fringe benefits cost nearly as much as a worker’s salary? Answer: collective bargaining.

Leader of Teachers’ Union Urges Dismissal Overhaul
New York Times, NY, February 25, 2011
Responding to criticism that tenure gives even poor teachers a job for life, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, announced a plan Thursday to overhaul how teachers are evaluated and dismissed.

FROM THE STATES

California

Charter School Created To Help Teens Chart Futures
Santa Ynez Valley Journal, CA, February 24, 2011
Advocates of a local charter school for foster teens hope it will break ground in late 2012 and pave the way for a bright future ahead of youth who frequently fall by the wayside after high school.

Colorado

Most DPS Families Made Choices In Far Northeast Denver
Denver Post, CO, February 24, 2011
Efforts to discourage families in far northeast Denver from filling out choice applications as a way to protest turnaround plans appear to have been ineffective, as 92 percent of families with students entering middle or high schools made new school selections.

Florida

Business Leaders Want Independent Body For Duval’s Struggling Schools
Florida Times-Union, FL, February 24, 2011
Key members of Jacksonville’s business community jumped into the heated discussion about plans for improving Jacksonville ‘s four most struggling public schools.

Massachusetts

Black History – Blacked Out
Worcester Telegram, MA, February 24, 2011
But today, fewer and fewer Massachusetts students from all backgrounds are learning about the role African-American men and women played in our nation’s history.

New Jersey

Despite Christie’s Big Promises, Charters Still Face Challenges
NJ Spotlight, NJ, February 25, 2011
The pronouncement in Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address on Tuesday drew some of the biggest applause of the day. The state was increasing its funding for charter schools by 50 percent, the governor said, one of the biggest increases in what is otherwise an austere budget.

New York

Bill Would Move Some Teachers Up Layoff Line
Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2011
As New York City threatens to lay off 4,650 teachers, a state senator introduced bill that would put teachers who are chronically late, have had poor performance ratings or have been convicted of a crime within the past five years at the top of the layoff list.

Worst System Ever
New York Post, NY, February 25, 2011
The United Federation of Teachers maintains that laying off teachers according to seniority is the only “fair” way to accommodate New York City budget cuts.
Fair for whom?

Charter Students Deserve Funding
Albany Times-Union, NY, February 25, 2011
The Times Union’s endorsement of a bill to cut charter school funding would turn an existing disadvantage for charters into a rout (” Albany draws the line on charters,” Feb. 22). Charter schools are public schools.

Rhode Island

Board Votes To Dismiss Teachers
Providence Journal, RI, February 25, 2011
After a raucous discussion, the Providence School Board Thursday night voted 4 to 3 to send letters of termination to the 1,926 teachers in the city’s school district.

South Carolina

Bill Would Change How S.C. Pays For Schools
The State, SC, February 25, 2011
Two bills making their way through the General Assembly would change how South Carolina pays for public schools and how teachers are paid.

Wisconsin

On Teachers Unions, The Devil Is In The Details
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, February 24, 2011
After years of fieldwork in more than 70 public schools, union and non-union, and after reading much of the research, I’m convinced that public-service unions in general and teachers unions in particular are hardly the demons that some make them out to be. That said, teachers unions do undermine democracy and transparency in ways that threaten the fiscal health of government and harm public education for poor children.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Virtual Education
Middleboro Gazette, MA, February 24, 2011
Virtual schools are a relatively recent addition to the educational menu. The first one in Massachusetts opened last fall – the Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield – part of the Greenfield public school district.

House and Senate to vote on Virginia ‘s Virtual Academy
WSLS, VA, February 24, 2011
The House and Senate will vote Friday whether or not to cap enrollment for Carroll County ‘s K12 Virginia Virtual Academy.

House and Senate to Vote on Virginia’s Virtual Academy
WSLS, VA, February 24, 2011
The House and Senate will vote Friday whether or not to cap enrollment for Carroll County ‘s K12 Virginia Virtual Academy.

Online Learning May Be the Way of the Future
KIVI-TV, ID, February 24, 2011
A virtual learning high school in Boise is coming into the spotlight thanks to the education debate. The I-Succeed High School, a completely online school teaches close to 1000 students across the Gem State. And the enrollment numbers are only going up.

Daily Headlines for February 24, 2011

Obama Sits Out State Fights

Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2011

President Barack Obama, after initially lending his support to organized labor, has stepped back from the fights spreading in state capitals from Wisconsin to Tennessee, leaving union officials divided about his tactics.

Michelle Rhee, Kevin Johnson Take On Teacher Seniority
Sacramento Bee, CA, February 23, 2011
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was in Washington Wednesday with education reformer Michelle Rhee, his fiancee, for the launch of a national campaign aimed at eliminating “last in, first out” policies that base teacher layoffs on seniority.

FROM THE STATES

Colorado

Douglas County School-voucher Access Wouldn’t Be Uniform
Denver Post, CO, February 24, 2011
If the Douglas County School District offers vouchers for private schools next year, the opportunities will vary greatly based on the tuition those schools charge.

Florida

Senate, House Advance Merit Pay Bills
St. Augustine Record, FL, February 23, 2011
Key committees in both legislative chambers gave yes votes Thursday to a proposal to partially base teacher salaries on their students’ test scores, a proposal shot down last year after teachers around the state protested that the merit pay system would penalize them.

Illinois

Charter Schools To CPS: We Need More Space
Chicago Tribune, IL, February 23, 2011
A month after Chicago Public Schools approved two new charters and several new campuses for charter schools, the charter community was back before the school board Wednesday asking for space.

Massachusetts

Extreme Makeover
Boston Globe, MA, February 24, 2011
Just five years ago, Haverhill ’s Silver Hill School was told to improve. Now, others seek to learn how it did so.

New Jersey

The Facts Are These, OSA Makes Sense
NJ Spotlight, NJ, February 23, 2011
The Opportunity Scholarship Act (S-1872/A-2810) gives students who meet the poverty criteria and live in a district with a chronically failing school the choice to attend another public school or a nonpublic school using a scholarship.

New York

Poll: New Yorkers Do Not Favor Seniority-based System For Teachers
Buffalo News, NY, February 24, 2011
As schools statewide threaten teacher layoffs, voters have little regard for a longstanding state law that dictates that teachers get pink slips based on seniority rather than on job performance, a new poll finds.

North Carolina

Charter School Bill Approved By NC Senate
Greenville Daily Reflector, NC, February 23, 2011
A bill eliminating North Carolina’s long-standing cap of 100 charter schools received tentative approval Wednesday in the state Senate, although it failed to gain broad bipartisan support after amendments Democrats said were designed to help at-risk children were defeated.

Wyoming

Wyoming Education Accountability Bill Grows
Billings Gazette, MT, February 24, 2011
The “education accountability” bill grew into an omnibus bill Wednesday, including merit pay for teachers and other proposals that previously were separate bills.

Gates Foundation Throws $2 Million to Florida Virtual School
Tampa Bay Tribune, FL, February 23, 2011
Florida Virtual School has landed a grant of more than $2 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop four college-prep courses in English and math. Two of the courses are aimed at ninth graders, and the other two will be for seniors.

Daily Headlines for February 23, 2011

Court Won’t Hear ‘No Child’ Challenge
Boston Globe, MA, February 23, 2011
The US Supreme Court decided against hearing Connecticut’s challenge to the federal No Child Left Behind law yesterday, ending the state’s six-year lawsuit over how to pay for the stepped-up student testing considered one of the law’s cornerstones.

Education System Should Be Privatized
Faribault Daily News, WI, February 23, 2011
My solution is to privatize the whole education system. If teachers in a private school want to unionize while competing with other private schools, that’s fine with me. Government teachers should not be allowed to unionize because they don’t have to compete for anyone’s business. We taxpayers are their captive customers.

FROM THE STATES

California

Compton School Board Rejects Parent Trigger Effort
Los Angeles Times, CA, February 23, 2011
A unanimous vote by the Compton school board rejects McKinley Elementary parents’ petition seeking to turn the struggling campus over to a charter operator.

Charter School Approval Should Be Easy
Chico Enterprise-Record, CA, February 23, 2011
A crowd of almost 400 supporters packed the Chico Unified School District board meeting chambers last week, overflowing into the hallways to be present for the hearing of the new charter for Blue Oak School.

Florida

Lawmakers to Take Up Decisive Ed Issues In Session
Miami Herald, FL, February 23, 2011
Major cuts to school budgets as federal stimulus funding dries up. Tying teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests. Expanding vouchers and virtual school programs.

New Jersey

Christie Budget Helps Charters And Choice
The Jersey Journal, NJ, February 23, 2011
Something is better than nothing. That was the reaction in many New Jersey school districts yesterday to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $249.3 million increase of state school aid, one year after the governor slashed spending for schools by $820 million,

Newark School Plan Would Clear Space For Charters, Shift Scores Of Students
Newark Star-Ledger, NJ, February 22, 1011
Newark school officials are considering a plan to move out, or consolidate, several of the city’s public schools to make space for 11 charter schools in a massive reshuffling that could affect thousands of students, according to a document obtained by The Star-Ledger.

New York

Charters Charting A Course In Excellence
New York Post, NY, February 23, 2011
Charter-school kids continued to outperform their traditional public-school classmates in three of the four categories tested in social studies and science, new data obtained by The Post show.

Political Point A Costly Decision
Albany Times-Union, NY, February 23, 2011
Albany’s Capital Resource Corporation Board recently voted 4 to 3 against issuing bonds to finance the Albany Leadership High School , Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Girls and Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys.

North Carolina

Charter School Bill Returning to NC Senate Floor
WLOS, NC, February 23, 2011
A rewrite of North Carolina’s charter school law headed for a floor vote in the legislature incorporates a Republican promise during the campaign — ending the current 100-school limit.

Ohio

Cleveland Students Hold Their Own With Voucher Students On State Tests
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, February 22, 2011
The push is on to expand school voucher programs in Ohio, but new state data suggests that students who attend private schools with the help of taxpayer-funded vouchers don’t necessarily fare better academically than the children they leave behind.

Oklahoma

Proposal Would Change Teacher Due Process System in Oklahoma
The Oklahoman, OK, February 23, 2011
An Oklahoma House panel approved a measure that, if it becomes law, would do away with the practice of tenured teachers having the right to appeal a school board’s termination to district court. The state’s largest teachers union supports the bill.

Texas

Legislature Should Help Texas’ Charter School Movement Grow
Dallas Morning News, TX, February 23, 2011
Two realities limit the growth of Texas’ charter schools, the public campuses that the state has given ample freedom to innovate with classroom approaches. And legislators must deal with both realities if the state is going to offer students, especially those from disadvantaged families, enough pathways to a rigorous education.

Wyoming

House Changes Tenure Provision For Teachers
Laramie Boomerang, WY, February 22, 2011
Wyoming school districts would have more time to decide whether to bestow employment protections on new teachers under changes the state House made to a proposed bill.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Lt. Gov. Cawley Explores Virtual Learning

PR Newswire, February 22, 2011
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley yesterday toured The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School’s Harrisburg facility, where teachers and school administrators demonstrated a virtual class and discussed how their innovative approaches and use of digital learning tools are improving educational opportunities for students across the commonwealth.

Shepherd School Balances Classroom, Online Learning With Blended Solutions
The Morning Sun, MI, February 22, 2011
Shepherd High School is bridging the gap between traditional classroom teaching and the growing world of online instruction.

Virtual Classrooms Stay Open Even In Worst Weather
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, February 22, 2011
Blogs, podcasts and other tech tools are helping keep local kids “virtually” in class despite interruptions like recent snow days.

Daily Headlines for February 22, 2011

Jonah Goldberg: Public Unions Must Go
Los Angeles Times, CA, February 22, 2011
A crucial distinction has been lost in the debate over Walker’s proposals: Government unions are not the same thing as private sector unions.

State Budget Fights Fire Up Union; Obama Involved
Associated Press, February 20, 2011
Organized labor is trying to re-energize and take advantage of the growing backlash from the wave of anti-union sentiment in Wisconsin and more than a dozen other states.

FROM THE STATES

California

Once-mighty UTLA Loses Political Muscle
Los Angeles Times, CA, February 18, 2011
In a series of missteps, the teachers union has lost influence in L.A. Unified elections and in negotiations with board members backed by Mayor Villaraigosa.

Indiana

Herron Teachers Are Non-Union By Choice
WTHR, IN, February 21, 2011
While some workers spent the day demanding their union rights, others went to work without any representation.

Michigan

Detroit Schools’ Cuts Plan Approved
Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2011
The state of Michigan approved a plan for Detroit to close about half of its public schools and increase the average size of high-school classrooms to 60 students over the next four years to eliminate a $327 million deficit.

Missouri

Debate on St. Louis Public Schools Oversight Should Begin Now
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, February 21, 2011
If lawmakers are serious about improving education, they will settle on a few less-flashy reforms that actually could make a big difference. Rethinking how troubled school districts are governed should be high on their list.

New Jersey

Reforming Teacher Tenure / A Reasonable Start
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, February 21, 2011
But having said that, holding teachers more accountable, making tenure harder to get and creating financial incentives for excellence in the classroom are reasonable goals that would improve schools anywhere.

North Carolina

Educators Debate Bill For Private-School Tax Credit
Star News, NC, February 19, 2011
Word of a proposed state tax credit for families opting to take their children out of public schools for a private school education has had both educational sectors in a dither this month.

Free the Charters: Assessment Holds Them Down
Southern Pines Pilot, NC, February 19, 2011
Unless charter schools are permitted a radically different means of assessment in any new proposals put forth, they won’t be much different than regular public schools. They may have smaller class sizes, serve a particular niche, or offer a distinct twist to the curriculum. But in the end, if they are assessed the same way, then they must operate the same way.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Senate Approves Bill To Shake Up Board of Education
The Oklahoman, OK, February 22, 2011
Senate Bill 435, which would replace the Oklahoma Board of Education’s six appointed members with the governor, attorney general and secretary of state, passed on a party-line vote Monday. It now goes to the Oklahoma House.

Education Changes Inevitable
Enid News, OK, February 20, 2011
There’s a phrase on the lips of just about every legislative leader at the state Capitol this session, and that phrase is “education reform”.

Rhode Island

Charter Schools To Hold Student Lottery Earlier
Providence Journal, RI, February 22, 2011
Some charter schools will hold their admissions lottery earlier this year and parents are advised to call the schools to get the latest information.

Tennessee

Parents Should Have Option To Choose Nontraditional Schools
The Tennessean, TN, February 19, 2011
A vast majority of Tennesseans believe their public school system needs changing, as found by a recent Vanderbilt University poll. Thankfully, state leaders don’t have to play a guessing game to determine which reforms would best serve Tennessee’s children.

Texas

Texas Charter Schools Eye Permanent School Fund
Texas Tribune, TX, February 20, 2011
It took seven years for Houston-based Harmony Public Schools , the state’s largest charter network and one of its best academically, to secure a bank bond in 2007 to buy and remodel buildings on its 33 campuses.

An Entrepreneurial Model Of Education
Houston Chronicle, TX, February 19, 2011
As young Teach for America (TFA) teachers in inner-city Houston, Levin and Feinberg co-founded the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter schools in 1994. The most famed of the nation’s high poverty/high achievement public schools, KIPP now has 18 campuses in Houston, and 99 nationwide. KIPP and Harmony rank among the best charter schools in the nation, but they might not be the best in Houston.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

PACyber Charter School Satisfies Students, Teachers, Parents
abc27 News, PA, February 21, 2011
You don’t have to wait for the future of education. For many midstate parents, the future is now – and it’s here in this Harrisburg hub of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School .

Digital Learning: The Future Is Now, But Change Is Slow
Orlando Sentinel, FL, February 19, 2011
‘Every year another group of 5-year-olds is coming in who’ve had technology since infancy. We’re not asking them to power down to come into this building.’

Customizing Student Learning Through Online Education
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 18, 2011
Having served as many as 900 students per year, BlueSky Online School is one of the largest online charter school in Minnesota. As a 100% online school, it has pioneered quality online education tailored to students’ unique needs.

An evening ON PUPOSE

on_purposeAre great schools made ON PURPOSE?

Samuel Casey Carter seems to think so in his new book, On Purpose: How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character.

On Purpose introduces readers to the teachers and school leaders who will stop at nothing to see the lives of their children changed for the better,and the children whose futures are brighter because they attend schools with cultures designed on purpose.

Want to learn more?

Then please join Casey, Jeanne Allen and Checker Finn on February 16th in Washington, DC for An Evening On Purpose.

Click here for details and to register.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Daily Headlines for February 9, 2011

Educating Our Children: Catholic Schools Doing More With Less
Fox News, February 8, 2011
Earlier this month, President Obama challenged high schools across the county to compete against each other in the second annual “Race to the Top” educational success program for the chance to have him give the commencement address at their graduation. Not included in the contest, though, are the more than 2 million students in America’s Catholic schools. If they could participate, the nation’s parochial schools would be fearsome competitors.

Teachers’ Colleges Upset By Plan to Grade Them
New York Times, NY, February 9, 2011
Grades are the currency of education – teachers give them to students, administrators grade teachers and states often assign grades to schools.

FROM THE STATES

California

California Education Reform May Be Facing a Brownout
Mercury News, CA, February 8, 2011
Across the country, governors have become serious about education reform. New Jersey ‘s Chris Christie and Florida ‘s Rick Scott are leading the charge for eliminating teacher tenure, instituting merit pay and focusing on accountability and efficiency.

State Ed Board Faces A Moment Of Choice
Sacramento Bee, CA , February 9, 2011
Today, Gov. Jerry Brown’s new State Board of Education faces its first major test on a contentious issue. How should the state handle petitions by parents asking for major restructuring of chronically underperforming schools under the new Parent Empowerment Act of 2009?

Expand a Proven Finance Solution for All Charter Schools
Huffington Post, NY, February 8, 2011
California public schools, including the charter school that I established in Highland Park , are facing a cash-flow crisis created by the state’s deferral of more than 60 percent of our annual budget.

Florida

Charter School Supporters Pack City Meeting
News Herald, FL, February 8, 2011
She was one of many Bay Haven supporters who packed into the Lynn Haven City Commission meeting room Tuesday night to let the commission know about their support for the charter school that intends to move into the former Sallie Mae building, located in a Lynn Haven industrial park.

Maine

Charter Schools Reveal How To Step Out Of The Box
Bangor Daily News, ME, February 8, 2011
Bangor School Superintendent Betsy Webb recently spoke to state legislators about her thoughts concerning charter schools, saying, “Competition is good, but you need a level playing field,” and expressing her view that charters should not operate with a different set of rules. Yet, it’s the rules that have kept even the strongest school districts – such as Bangor – from fulfilling their goal of providing “academic excellence for all.”

Maryland

Senator Introduces Sweeping Education Bill Package
The Baltimore Sun, MD, February 8, 2011
A freshman state senator has introduced four bills that seek to strengthen the autonomy of charter schools and boost teacher quality in public schools, including a measure that would add “ineffectiveness” as a basis for dismissing teachers.

New York

Why School Reforms Matter
New York Post, NY, February 09, 2011
The State Education Department data showing that a scant 23 percent of New York City high school graduates are prepared for college puts more pressure on — and demands more accountability from — educators and elected leaders alike.

North Carolina

NC Appeals Court To Weigh Charter School Funding
Charlotte Observer, NC, February 8, 2011
A state appeals court on Wednesday will consider a charter school’s lawsuit arguing that its funding share should be calculated from a pie that includes Head Start and other early childhood education funds

Pennsylvania

It’s Time For School Choice In Pennsylvania
Forbes, February 8, 2011
The plight of children in failing schools, particularly minority students in low-income districts, has rightly been called “the civil rights issue of the 21st century.” The opponents of school choice have become the anti-reformers of today, sometimes with startling honesty.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Florence Teacher is Virtual Teacher of the Year
South Carolina Now, SC, February 8, 2011
A Florence woman is the first to receive distinction as the state’s virtual school teacher of the year.

Daily Headlines for February 8, 2011

Starving Charters
Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2011
Look quickly and you might think that charter schools have it easy, given the celebrated documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” the efforts of reformers like Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein, and the support of the Obama Administration. That’s why a report out Tuesday is a needed corrective: It demonstrates how government policies regularly discriminate against charters.

U.S. Plan to Replace Principals Hits Snag: Who Will Step In?
New York Times, NY, February 8, 2011
The aggressive $4 billion program begun by the Obama administration in 2009 to radically transform the country’s worst schools included, as its centerpiece, a plan to install new principals to overhaul most of the failing schools.

A Question of Vouchers
National Journal, February 7, 2011
Is there a place for vouchers in the current elementary and secondary education system? Is it appropriate to debate school vouchers as part of a broader discussion of No Child Left Behind? What could policymakers do to broaden the issue beyond the District of Columbia? Can the question of vouchers be a positive force in driving the education debate as a whole, or is it merely a distraction?

FROM THE STATES

California

A Test Of Parent Trigger Law
Long Beach Press-Telegram, CA, February 7, 2011
A legal battle now under way in the Compton Unified School District presents a disturbing glimpse into much of what is wrong with California’s dysfunctional education system. It also offers hope for change.

Separate Study Confirms Many Los Angeles Times Findings On Teacher Effectiveness
Los Angeles Times, CA, February 8, 2011
A University of Colorado review of Los Angeles Unified teacher effectiveness also raises some questions about the precision of ratings as reported in The Times

Colorado

“Recess,” Charter Facilities Bills Advance
Education News Colorado, CO, February 8, 2011
Compromise and significant amendments got two high-profile bills out of the House Education Committee Monday, and another controversial measure was dealt off to a different panel.

Florida

The Trend Lies In Favor Of Charter Schools
The Bradenton Times, FL, February 8, 2011
Manatee County’s district administrators and school board members “tried something new” by holding a workshop to review annual reports from representatives of charter schools and allowed them to reestablish their mission and vision with the new school board members today during a workshop.

Indiana

Indiana House Wades Through Amendments Over Charter Schools
Evansville Courier & Press, IN, February 7, 2011
The Indiana House worked late Monday night on a measure that would ease the path for charter schools to get the state’s green light.

Maine

Group Touts Plan For Charter Schools In Maine
Portland Press Herald, ME, February 8, 2011
A charter school bill would set up schools that would get public funds but have more flexibility.

Maryland

More Charters, More Choices
Baltimore Sun, MD, February 7, 2011
Montgomery County is rightly proud of its public school system, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the state. Perhaps that’s why, nearly eight years after state lawmakers passed a law allowing for the establishment of charter schools – alternative institutions that receive public funds but operate independently – the Montgomery County school board has yet to approve a single application to open one.

New York

Charter School Advocates Converge On Albany
NY1, NY, February 7, 2011
More than 2,000 city parents, students and teachers arrived by the bus load Monday in Albany. Their message to lawmakers: the charter school lobby is here to stay.

Ohio

Kasich Asked To Pardon Mom In School-Enrollment Fraud
Columbus Dispatch, OH, February 8, 2011
Kelley Williams-Bolar is a single mother with hopes of becoming a schoolteacher. Several national political-activist groups have asked Gov. John Kasich to pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Akron mother who spent 10 days in jail for fraudulently enrolling her daughters in a school district where they were not residents.

Kasich Creates Cabinet Post For Education
Columbus Dispatch, OH, February 8, 2011
In a seeming attempt to take greater control of education policy in Ohio , Gov. John Kasich created a cabinet-level schools position yesterday that answers directly to him.

Oklahoma

Bill To Strip Power From Oklahoma Board Of Education Approved By Senate Committee
The Oklahoman, OK, February 8, 2011
Oklahoma’s Senate Education Committee on Monday voted 12-5 in favor of a Republican-backed bill that would transfer control of the state Education Department from the board to the state schools superintendent.

Texas

Should Performance Dictate Teachers’ Pay
Houston Chronicle, TX, February 8, 2011
Pay for Texas public school teachers should be connected to appraisals of their work and other factors instead of the 60-year-old salary schedule based on seniority, former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige and other school reformers said Monday.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy to Open Fall 2011
Centre Daily Times, LA, February 8, 2011
LAVCA, sponsored by the Community School for Apprenticeship Learning (CSAL), expects to serve over 1,000 students in grades K through 10 from all around the state. The charter school was recently authorized by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

UM Students Work
With Online School

Montana Kaimin, MT, February 8, 2011
The Montana Digital Academy started last year and is housed in the UM College of Education . The school offers a variety of courses, most of which are not offered in rural Montana high schools, and has about 1,400 enrolled students.

Day Schools Exploring Online Learning
Jewish Week Blog, CA, February 7, 2011
Jewish day schools may soon be making more use of students taking online courses in secular subjects as a means of reducing tuition costs while accessing a wide range of academic topics for students.