Daily Headlines for May 31, 2011

The Charter School Solution: The Best — Or Worst — Idea Ever?
Sun Journal, ME, May 29, 2011
Roger Brainerd was a public school teacher when he came to a simple, inescapable conclusion: Maine needs charter schools.

Grand Theft Education
Washington Times, DC, May 30, 2011
Parents desperate for better schools shouldn’t be prosecuted for cheating

Bill Gates and the School Reform Debate
New York Times, NY, May 29, 2011
Your article reports that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is financing groups that seek to eliminate seniority as a basis for teacher retention. While eliminating the seniority system might be the most efficacious way to keep the best teachers in times of layoffs if quality alone were used as the criterion, quality rarely governs such occasions.

Fine Line Between Like-Minded Folks And Conspiracy
News Tribune, WA, May 31, 2011
This column was not funded in whole or in part by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It may, however, be one of the few commentaries about education reform that isn’t influenced by Washington ’s favorite multi-billionaires.

FROM THE STATES

ALABAMA

A New Tenure Law, Yet Again
Huntsville Times, AL, May 29, 2011
Republicans and Democrats alike in the Alabama Legislature probably would agree the teacher tenure bill that was signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley Thursday will make it a lot easier for superintendents and school boards to fire teachers and other school employees.

CALIFORNIA

Charter School Leader Vielka McFarlane Brings Personal History, Passion To Education
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 30, 2011
Vielka McFarlane, after winning a fight with Los Angeles County schools officials over California’s ‘parent trigger’ law, plans to open a new charter school in Compton

COLORADO

Another Shot at Race to the Top
Denver Post, CO, May 29, 2011
Hopefully the third time will be the charm for Colorado to win federal education funds. The CEA needs to get behind this bid.

FLORIDA

Dade Teachers May Get Merit Pay This Summer
Miami Herald, FL, May 29, 2011
About 90 percent of Miami-Dade’s public school teachers could see extra money in their paychecks, ranging from a few hundred dollars to $25,000.

HAWAII

Charter Schools Reform Includes Better Oversight
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HI, May 29, 2011
Charter schools represent an example of an improvement that is trickier to manage than it sounds. In theory, few would dispute the contention that independent schools with a distinct mission, untethered from an educational bureaucracy, can operate more freely and produce the thing that’s too often missing in public education: innovation.

IDAHO

Challenge to School Reform Laws Follows Only Four Other Idaho Laws Tested By Ballot
Magic Valley Times-News, ID, May 29, 2011
If Idaho’s history with referendum efforts is any indication, opponents of public schools chief Tom Luna’s education reform laws will face an uphill battle in convincing voters to overturn the legislation at the polls in November 2012.

LOUISIANA

Test Scores a Boost for Backers of Charter-Heavy New Orleans Model, But Critics Question Aspects of New System
Times Picayune, LA, May 29, 2011
The head of a new coalition of public school leaders and teachers says the group expects to weigh in soon with its view of statewide standardized test scores.

MASSACHUSETTS

City School Board’s Charter Budget Plan Deserves State Look
Gloucester Daily Times, MA, May 31, 2011
From the start, the loudest complaints regarding the launch of a charter school — most pronounced in Gloucester, but in other communities as well — have always centered on the state’s charter school funding mechanism. This School Committee resolution would bring a very basic but potentially very healthy change.

MICHIGAN

Is Detroit Public Schools Worth Saving? Charter Process Sparks Debate
Detroit Free Press, MI, May 31, 2011
The Detroit Public Schools, as we know it, could disappear in a few years. A DPS action plan would charter up to 45 schools, close 20 and leave about 70 that include the best-performing schools, some newly constructed and a handful of special-education schools that are expensive to run.

Catholic School Says ‘Try Us, You’ll Like Us’
Union Enterprise, MI, May 30, 2011
St. Margaret Catholic School officials have a new plan to try to convince parents of the value of a Catholic education.

NEW YORK

Lawsuit May Prevent New Visions Charter Schools from Opening in Marble Hill
New York Daily News, NY, May 31, 2011
Jasmine Blackwell was swept away by promises that two new charter schools will open in September, and she entered her son in a lottery to vie for a seat in one of them.

The Combined Assault on Charter Schools by the Teachers Union and the NAACP is a Disgrace to Both
New York Daily News, NY, May 29, 2011-05-31
The mother of two Brooklyn elementary school children has powerfully expressed how horribly wrong the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP are in their furious attacks on charter schools.

OHIO

Even Top Teachers Fall Victim to Budget
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 29, 2011
Every Pickerington school chooses a teacher of the year. There are 14. But five of this year’s honorees are losing their jobs to budget cuts that will affect 120 teachers.

For These Grads, Option Saves the Day />Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 28, 2011
About 10 percent of Groveport Madison High School’s graduating class was in danger of dropping out or already had done so at the start of the school year.

PENNSYLVANIA

Embrace Change In Pennsylvania Education System

Patriot News, PA, May 29, 2011

Pennsylvania lawmakers are debating several education reforms that, taken together, would have a tremendous effect on the state’s education system.

Multi-Cultural Academy Teachers Vote for Union
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 30, 2011
Teachers and staff at the Multi-Cultural Academy Charter School in North Philadelphia have voted to be represented by an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania.

New Charter School Study Questions Results
Pottstown Mercury, PA, May 29, 2011
Issues of secrecy aside, Pottstown School District Superintendent Reed Lindley has made plain in e-mails on the subject that he is not blindly wedded to inviting charter schools into Pottstown .

RHODE ISLAND

Tensions Rising Again Among Teachers, Administration at Central Falls High School
Providence Journal, RI, May 29, 2011
The tattered relationship between school district leaders and the city’s teachers union has frayed further in recent weeks, even as the two sides try to collaborate to improve troubled Central Falls High School.

TENNESSEAN

Charters Still Face Some Misconceptions
The Tennessean, TN, May 31, 2011
May 24 was a major milestone for KIPP Academy Nashville charter school: The Metro school board approved a charter for KIPP’s first Nashville high school in 2013, which will expand on the success of our existing grades 5-8 middle school.

VIRGINIA

Education: Comparing Schools
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, May 31, 2011
Heather Nees wasn’t trying to start a spat — or make a point about education — when she made a remark at a recent hearing over school boundaries in Chesterfield. But she inadvertently did both when she said the possibility that her two children might attend different high schools — Cosby and Manchester — left her wondering, “How do I tell one child she’s worthy of a [quality] education and the other, not so much?”

The Story Behind School Choice Study”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, May 28, 2011
The results are more complicated than they are sometimes portrayed.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

BAMS Students Thrive In Online Classroom
Brattleboro Reformer, VT, May 30, 2011
For some middle school students, writing and self-expression can be difficult tasks. Teachers at Brattleboro Area Middle School however, are trying to do something about it using the Internet to create a safe digital classroom.

Lewisville ISD Considering Mandarin Online Class
Dallas Morning News, TX, May 29, 2011
The Lewisville school district is conducting a survey to find out if students would be interested in learning Mandarin Chinese through an online course offered through the Texas Virtual School Network.

Boulder-Area Schools Intrigued By Virtual Snow Day Idea
Daily Camera, CO, May 30, 2011
School districts and universities across the country are replacing snow angels and hot cocoa with online algebra and English during snow days and other school cancellations

Online school to enroll 100 New Students
Red Bluff Daily News, CA
Student registration and enrollment has begun for Northern California’s new tuition-free, online school for grades kindergarten through 12th Lost Coast Virtual Academy.

Daily Headlines for May 26, 2011

Report Shows Education Choices Expanding Across US
Associated Press, May 26, 2011
When it comes to education choices (AP) — from kindergarten up through college – the decision is no longer simple.

Charter Schools And For-Profit Colleges On Rise
Washington Times, DC, May 26, 2011
From grade school to college, nontraditional education is growing in popularity, according to a new study from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Growth in Education Spending Slowed in 2009
New York Times, NY, May 26, 2011
The nation’s overall education spending grew at a slower pace in 2009 than at any other time in more than a decade, amid deepening state fiscal woes and flatter tax revenues, according to new census figures released Wednesday.

9 States Get New Chance at Federal Education Aid
New York Times, NY, May 26, 2011
Nine states that were also-rans in last year’s Race to the Top school improvement competition will get another chance, the Obama administration announced on Wednesday, though this time $200 million will be up for grabs, compared with $4 billion awarded last year

LOUISIANA

Progress in Standarized Tests in New Orleans Show the Benefits of Reform
Times Picayune, LA, May 26, 2011
Public school students in most of the metro area continue to make strides on standardized tests, according to scores released this week, with the Recovery School District schools in New Orleans posting the largest gains.

MARYLAND

Charters Don’t Get Unfair Funding Advantage
Baltimore Sun, MD, May 25, 2011
Responding to your May 23 article on per pupil funding in Baltimore City public schools, I see no evidence that school leaders and charter officials are “at odds,” either in the real world or in the article. I see even less for the claim that charter schools are set to receive “more per pupil funding” in the budget.

MASSACHUSETTS

Risks of School Choice
Salam News, MA, May 26, 2011
Taxpayers and parents in Peabody should cheer the school board’s decision to accept new students under the school choice program.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

A Tax Credit Plan For School Choice
Fosters Daily Democrat, NH, May 26, 2011
This was a pretty good week. We came within an eyelash of voting on legislation to establish a tax credit plan for school choice. The only sad part was that we just ran out of time to have it voted on this session. Everyone worked hard to make it happen, but in the end there wasn’t sufficient time to have it heard in the multiple committees required by the house rules.

NEW JERSEY

Caution Follows Ruling Ordering Christie To Come Up With Education Aid For Low-Income Districts
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 26, 2011
A day after the state Supreme Court ordered New Jersey to come up with $500 million in additional education aid for 31 largely urban, low-income districts, some that stand to be on the receiving end were regarding the news with a note of caution.

NEW YORK

No More Second Chances for Regents
Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2011
Changing a longstanding practice, the New York state Education Department has ruled that starting next month, teachers are no longer allowed to change scores on high school Regents exams.

PS 9 Enters Chartered Territory
The Brooklyn Paper, NY, May 26, 2011
The city will house a charter school in the PS 9 building on Underhill Avenue – further fueling a long-running battle for space at the school.

NORTH CAROLINA

Time, Care Needed On Teacher Pay Changes
Charlotte Observer, NC, May 26, 2011
We remain skeptical of pay-for-performance plans keyed to tests. But the CMS plan did start with this truth: CMS needs many more highly effective teachers, and must get rid of the bad ones to boost student achievement.

PENNSYLVANIA

Crisis Can Be Useful
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 26, 2011
The old saying that adversity births opportunity should be applied to the Philadelphia School District’s fiscal crisis, which represents a golden opportunity to rethink not only how the school system spends money, but also how the district should be governed, and how City Hall should allocate tax revenue.

Charter School To Focus On Global Perspectives
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, May 26, 2011
In early 2010, the Baldwin-Whitehall school board voted 8-to-1 against the approval of an application by the Young Scholars of Western Pennsylvania Charter School for a charter school. But that decision was later overruled by the state Department of Education on appeal.

TENNESSEE

Reform and Diligence Foster ‘Paragons’
Commercial Appeal, TN, May 26, 2011
With the efforts of Booker T. Washington High as an example, city schools can adopt initiatives advancing them to new levels.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Some Lawmakers Push Vouchers for Special Needs Students
WUMN, WI, May 26, 2011
The issue of funding for public schools is again on the docket in Madison. The Legislature’s Joint Finance committee is scheduled to vote today on how much of a hit public school districts will take in the next two-year budget. Gov. Scott Walker is proposing $834 million.

Daleville to Sponsor Virtual Charter School
Muncie Star Press, IN, May 26, 2011
Supt. Paul Garrison says the move would give Daleville students access to more course options

Daily Headlines for May 25, 2011

Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills
Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2011
Public schools across the country, struggling with cuts in state funding, rising personnel costs and lower tax revenues, are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.

WHITMIRE: The Battle To Defame Michelle Rhee
Washington Times, DC, May 24, 2011
Critics’ charges are desperate attempt to derail school reform across the country

Feds Ready 3rd Round of ‘Race to Top’ for Schools
Washington Times, DC, May 24, 2011
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is expected to announce Wednesday morning the third round of Race to the Top, which will include new rewards for states that improve their pre-kindergarten education programs.

Proven Methods For Reform In Education
The Oklahoman, OK, May 25, 2011
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called education “the civil rights issue of our generation.” Billions of dollars and time are being invested in the pursuit of a panacea to reform public education. It is sought via races between states, curriculum programs, charter schools, vouchers, mass firings, virtual learning, longer days … the list is endless.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

Bill to Cap Charter Schools Is Not the Solution to Improving Education
Los Angeles Daily News, CA, May 24, 2011
MAYOR Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday at a town hall meeting hosted by the Daily News that he didn’t want to see a cap on charter schools in the state. Rather, he’d choose to cap failing schools.

Board of Education Officially Cancels Community Elections Over School-Reform Plans
Los Angeles Times Blog, CA, May 24, 2011
In a largely symbolic but intensely debated move, the Board of Education narrowly voted Tuesday to end elections that allowed parents, high school students, school employees and community members to choose among different reform plans for schools.

California Must Keep Free Education Truly Free
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 24, 2011
As California’s public schools have lost state funding, they’ve increasingly turned to a sort of ‘pay to learn’ system. It’s unconstitutional.

FLORIDA

Nonprofit to Focus on Improving Schools
News Chief, FL, May 25, 2011
The African saying that “It takes a village to raise a child” was espoused Tuesday by city leaders from the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.

GEORGIA

Charter Ruling Flunks History, Ignores Roots of Segregation
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, May 24, 2011
In the first sentences of an opinion issued last week by the state Supreme Court, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein declared without qualification that the Georgia Charter School Commission was illegal because of an “unbroken … constitutional authority” existing since the adoption of the 1877 Constitution giving only “local boards of education” the power to create k-12 public schools.

Committee Hopes To Save Charter Schools
Athens Banner-Herald, GA, May 25, 2011
A special committee of Georgia legislators will meet next week to talk about ways to keep a group of state-approved charter schools going.

INDIANA

School Takeovers May Yield Biggest Reforms Yet
Indianapolis Star, IN, May 25, 2011
The heated debate over education reform at the Statehouse this year overshadowed a series of looming decisions that could result in even greater changes to the way Indiana schools are run.

MAINE

Charter School Bill Should Be Made Law
Portland Press Herald, ME, May 25, 2011
Families deserve to have choices when the traditional public school is not working for them.

NEW JERSEY

Court Orders New Jersey to Increase Aid to Schools
New York Times, NY, May 25, 2011
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a major piece of Gov. Chris Christie’s cost-cutting was unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to raise spending for poor, urban schools by $500 million next year, despite a state budget shortfall estimated at $10 billion.

With Court’s Decision On School Money, Christie Sheds Emporer’s Tag
The Record, NJ, May 25, 2011
Clutching a microphone in the steamy air of a Cherry Hill armory, Governor Christie explained how he expects to pay the $500 million “invoice” from the state Supreme Court that dropped on his desk Tuesday.

Court Continues To Look Only At Money
Courier Post, NJ, May 25, 2011
Getting kids in poor districts the education they deserve is about more than just funding.

NEW YORK

Giving Children an Extra Push in Harlem
Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2011
This year is particularly important for the organization. In August, the group will launch the East Harlem Scholars Academy Charter School, a 486-student school for kindergarten through eighth grade.

PENNSYLVANIA

Will City Write Big Check For Schools?
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, May 25, 2011
HOW DO YOU solve a problem like the school district’s? That question has been asked for years, but yesterday the answer was “money”: The district had come to City Council to ask the city for help in filling a $629 million shortfall in next year’s budget.

RHODE ISLAND

Cranston Mayor’s Plan For Charter School Draws Criticism
Providence Journal, RI, May 25, 2011
Even as the state’s top education official is expected to commend a Cranston middle scho
ol next week at her annual state-of-education address, city officials are sharply divided over the standing and direction of local public schools – once considered the gemstone in this middle-class city in Providence’s suburban belt.

TENNESSEE

Good Start on State Education Reform
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, May 25, 2011
Years from now, Tennesseans likely will look back on 2011 as the year education reform took hold in Tennessee.

TEXAS

Once-Stalled Education Bills Live On as Amendments
Texas Tribune, TX, May 24, 2011
Legislation on textbook funding approved by the Senate today breathed new life into left-behind education bills, including three languishing charter school measures.

WISCONSIN

Voucher Expansion Will Improve Education
Post Crescent, WI, May 25, 2011
What’s the problem? Money is certainly not the issue, yet conventional wisdom suggests that educational success is based on quantity rather than quality. The problem is rooted in the lack of competition, choice and coercion.

Wealthy ‘Burbs Don’t Need Vouchers
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, May 25, 2011
Giving children in poverty private-school vouchers to escape failing public schools in Milwaukee is one thing.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Virtual Classes Attract Students
The Republican, MA, May 25, 2011
Students today have learning options that were undreamed of even a generation ago. Among these is the on-site Virtual High School (VHS), a school-within-a-school that operates online.

Hadley’s Virtual School Put On Hold Amid State Concerns
Daily Hampshire Gazette, NH, May 25, 2011
The virtual school that Superintendent Nicholas Young planned to open this fall will be put on hold amid state concerns about quality control and duplication of effort.

Mehlville School District Seeks To Attract Home-Schoolers With ‘Virtual Classroom’
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, May 24, 2011
He might not be selling ice to Alaskans, but Mark Catalana’s job is no easy task. He’s trying to convince parents of home-schooled children to send their kids to the Mehlville School District.

Daily Headlines for May 24, 2011

Perpetuating Federal Spending on Education
Town Hall Blog, May 24, 2011
We’ve spent $2 trillion on education since federal aid began in 1965. The specified goals were to improve student achievement, eliminate or narrow the gap between upper-income and low-income students, and increase graduation rates from high school and college.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

Imagine School of Imperial Valley Doing Well At The End Of Year One

Imperial Valley Press, CA, May 24, 2011
The public charter school, which opened in August, held a duo of programs during its grand opening Monday. Imagine’s inaugural year has been challenging yet satisfying, said Imagine School Principal Susan Castro.

GEORGIA

Cherokee Calls For Charter School Application
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, May 23, 2011
The Cherokee County School District sent a letter Monday to a foundation trying to get a charter school approved, asking for a revised petition that addresses shortcomings the school board noted when it denied the school’s application last year.

Dashing Student Hopes And Choice
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, May 23, 2011
We are saddened over the Georgia Supreme Court decision striking down the Georgia Charter Schools Commission. This is bad news for thousands of children and parents who hoped for a brighter future with their children.

Try Adoption For Charter Schools
Marietta Daily Journal, GA, May 23, 2011
For years, the charter school movement was thwarted in Georgia by local school districts that turned down application after application. Many of those denials were for cause. Other charter school applications, however, were turned down for myriad other reasons. School boards, already under pressure, felt they were doing all they could do in this test-centric era.

MAINE

Charter School Law Allows Nothing That Can’t Be Done Already
Portland Press-Herald , ME, May 24, 2011
Public schools already have tools to let them be more flexible and innovative. Why not use them?

MASSACHUSSETTS

Charter’s Students, Parents Deserve State’s OK for Second Year
Gloucester Times, MA, May 23, 2011
The Gloucester Community Arts Charter School – born from a botched approval process, opened amid disputes over no-bid contracts and occupancy permits then finally cleared to continue in a state Department of Education probationary hearing in December – faces another key step along the road to its future today.

Charter Schools Have Alternative To Unionizing
Cape Cod Times, MA, May 24, 2011
While uncommon, unionization of charter schools is a very real threat to the innovative, flexible environment charters were intended to cultivate. Teachers and administrators should be aware of their options before committing to union representation.

MISSOURI

Belcher’s Volunteer Army Attacks Achievement Gap In Schools And Beyond
Columbia Missourian, MO, May 24, 2011
Ask Columbia School Superintendent Chris Belcher what it’s like to try to close the achievement gap, and he offers this analogy: It’s like trying to change the tire on a moving car.

NEVADA

Needed Reforms: To Improve Schools, Stop Protecting Bad Teachers
Las Vegas Review-Journal, NV, May 24, 2011
Friday’s meeting of the Senate Education Committee epitomized why student achievement has stagnated in Nevada, and why the meaningful reform legislation that would improve our schools never makes it to the governor’s desk.

NEW JERSEY

Court Decision Could Upend N.J. Schools
Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2011
The New Jersey Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision on a challenge to Gov. Chris Christie’s school-funding cuts, which left schools under-funded by $1.6 billion, on Tuesday morning.

N.J. Assembly Panel Advances Bills On Charter Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 24, 2011
The New Jersey Assembly Education Committee on Monday moved along four bills to change the process of creating and overseeing the state’s charter schools.

For Charter School Bills — an Easy Time in Committee, a Tough Time in the Assembly?
NJ Spotlight, NJ, May 24, 2011
Four bills that would revamp how charter schools are reviewed and approved in New Jersey won easy passage yesterday in a key Assembly committee.

NEW YORK

Tests for Pupils, But the Grades Go to Teachers
New York Times, NY, May 24, 2011
New York City education officials are developing more than a dozen new standardized tests, but in a sign of the times, their main purpose will be to grade teachers, not the students who take them.

Charter School Apps Soar While Waitlists Grow
NY 1, NY, May 23, 2011
A report released Monday by the New York City Charter School Center indicated a record number of students applied to city charter schools this year. Waitlists are now longer than ever.

NORTH CAROLINA

Senate Budget Proposes Merit Pay
Charlotte Observer, NC, May 24, 2011
The $19.4 billion state budget the Senate will make public today will include a proposal to pay state employees and teachers based on their performance. The plan will also include $320 million for raises, effective in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

TENNESSEE

Charter Schools’ Lofty Balloon Will Burst Sooner Or Later
The Tennessean, TN, May 23, 2011
Two recent opinion columns in The Tennessean, though reflecting different perspectives, contribute to the trum
ped-up mass appeal of charter schools.

TEXAS

Time Dwindling, Another Lost Chance At School Finance
Texas Tribune, TX, May 24, 2011
The death of a key education fiscal matters bill on the House floor tonight ensures that any changes to school finance formulas will happen in a conference committee – and adds fuel to speculation of a special session this summer.

WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Superintendent Tony Evers Calls School Choice Program ‘Morally Wrong’
Appleton Post-Crescent, WI, May 24, 2011
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to expand the Milwaukee school choice voucher program to other Wisconsin school districts is “morally wrong,” state Supt. Tony Evers told students and staff Monday at Green Bay Preble High School.

Social Justice And School Choice
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, May 23, 2011
Social justice is about equality and recognizing the dignity of every human being. Equality means parents of all backgrounds should have an equal footing to send their kids to the school of their choice.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

New Program to Cater to Home-Schooled K-8 Learners
Magic Valley Times News, ID, May 24, 2011
Minidoka County School District is going online next fall with a free virtual academy geared toward K-8 home-schooled children.

Daily Headlines for May 23, 2011

The Battle for Education Freedom
National Review Online, May 23, 2011
Under the guise of voluntary measures, and obscured by nebulous terminology, the nationalization of what your children will learn has been proceeding apace. And Congress is working right now on reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, through which federal domination will be cemented. But an organized opposition has formed, and it’s time for conservatives to decide: Are you going to let the federal government dictate what your children learn, or will you fight?

Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates
New York Times, NY, May 21, 2011
A handful of outspoken teachers helped persuade state lawmakers this spring to eliminate seniority-based layoff policies. They testified before the legislature, wrote briefing papers and published an op-ed article in The Indianapolis Star.

FROM THE STATES

ALABAMA

Time to Cool the Rhetoric: Just Pass The Tenure Bill
The Anniston Star, AL, May 23, 2011
Republican leaders say reforming Alabama’s teacher-tenure law will be their top priority when they return Tuesday from their two-week recess.

ARIZONA

5 Vital Ways To Reform K-12 Education
Arizona Republic, AZ, May 21, 2011
To carry out any discussion of K-12 education reform, you have to focus on both the numbers and the history. The numbers are pretty simple – and pretty devastating. About 30 percent of Arizona kids do not graduate from high school, and of the 70 percent who do graduate, about half do not have an education of sufficient quality to succeed in college.

CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles Teachers Union Seeks to Block Test of Evaluation Program
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 23, 2011
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy appeared to have momentum in the effort to revise educator evaluations in the LAUSD, but the teachers union is digging in its heels

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. Board Keeps Struggling Charter School Alive
Washington Examiner, DC, May 22, 2011
A struggling charter school was given a second chance by the D.C. Public Charter School Board, making Ideal Academy the first school in the board’s 12-year history to survive the revocation process.

Carlyle and the Business of Charter Schools
Washington Post, DC, May 22, 2011
A Carlyle comer named Cedric Bobo has figured this out. He built a charter school board headhunting firm called Charter Board Partners to find business executives who will donate their time to help District charter schools.

FLORIDA

Charter School Movement Exploding in Florida
Miami Herald, FL, May 21, 2011
The charter school movement is exploding in Florida, creating new opportunities for parents, educators and entrepreneurs. But are the results any better than traditional schools?

GEORGIA

Education Officials Applaud Charter Decision
Walton Tribune, GA, May 21, 2011
With the recent decision by the Georgia Supreme Court, charter schools once again require local approval to use local school funds, and Walton County education officials are praising the move.

Supreme Court: A Loss for Education
Savannah Morning News, GA, May 21, 2011
PARENTS IN Georgia should have as much choice as reasonably possible in determining where their children attend school.

HAWAII

Institution Founded On Choice Produces Strong Test Scores
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HI, May 22, 2011
The spartan campus of West Hawaii Explorations Academy, a public charter school next to Kona Airport, lives up to its motto, “No Child Left Indoors.” The most substantial structure is a hollow-tile concrete pavilion workshop. Students work mostly in open-air structures with fabric roofs.

Former Private School Finds Some Success In Transition To Public Waldorf Education
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HI, May 23, 2011
Once a private Waldorf school, it shut down in 2006 because not enough students could afford to attend. It was resuscitated in 2008 with tax dollars as a public charter school, open to all, with no tuition charge. Enrollment shot up from 79 students in its first year to 157 this year, in kindergarten through sixth grade.

ILLINOIS

Protect School Reform
Chicago Tribune, IL, May 22, 2011
The impressive education reform bill passed recently by the Illinois Legislature hasn’t been signed yet by Gov. Pat Quinn, but there is already a furious campaign to weaken it. This can’t be allowed to happen.

MAINE

Parents Raise $335k To Save School But Archdiocese Says No
Eagle Tribune, MA, May 23, 2011
Parents of students at St. Mary of the Assumption School said they feel deceived by the Archdiocese of Boston who promised to side with them if they could come up with the money to save their school.

Charter Schools Boosted By Strong Support on Education Committee
Bangor Daily News, ME, May 22, 2011
Charter schools in Maine came closer than they ever have to reality Friday when the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee voted in favor of a bill that would allow creation of up to 10 of them in the next 10 years.

MARYLAND

School Officials, Charter Leaders At Odds Over Funding Disparity
Baltimore Sun, MD, May 22, 2011
Charter schools to receive more per-pupil funding than traditional schools in budget set to be adopted Tuesday

NEVADA

A Different Kind of School Reform
Las Vegas Review-Journal, NV, May 22,
2011

Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee would have us believe that education reform is based on ending teacher tenure. We get rid of seniority, then magically, education will be fixed. That is a smoke screen, and it’s not real education reform.

NEW JERSEY

Teachers’ Test
The Record, NJ, May 23, 2011
THE STATE Department of Education is moving forward with a new system to evaluate public school teachers. But rather than impose untested new rules on the state’s entire teaching force, officials will test-drive the ranking program in a handful of volunteer districts next year.

Half the Cost of Sending New Jersey Children To School Misses The Classroom
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, May 21, 2011
As much as half of the cost of education has nothing to do with what goes on in a classroom, the new Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending released Friday by the state Department of Education says.

Assembly Panel To Consider Charter School Measure
Asbury Park Press, NJ, May 22, 2011
New Jersey voters would decide whether charter schools could be opened in their towns under legislation making its way through the Assembly.

OHIO

School Choice Will Move Ohio Forward
Cincinnati Enquirer, OH, May 22, 2011
Ohio has some really good schools – some public, some community or charter schools, and some private schools. There are plenty of lousy schools, too, of all stripes. The best way to get more of the former and fewer of the latter is to increase the choices available to parents.

OREGON

Oregon Charter School Debate Yields Little Progress
Ashland Daily Tidings, OR, May 23, 2011
Debate over charter schools has stirred ideological rancor and stalled other education issues not just for this year’s Legislature but for the past several years.

PENNSYLVANIA

Put Out Over City School’s Success
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 22, 2011
Roughly 50 slots were available, first come, first served. Ever since Penn Alexander opened in the troubled Philadelphia School District in 2001, parents have flocked to its doors.

Pennsylvania: Voucher Ground Zero
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, May 23, 2011
FOR WEEKS, deep-pocketed advocates for school vouchers – tax dollars to help students attend private or religious schools – in Pennsylvania sold their scheme as the only way for poor children to escape failing urban public schools.

Debate Rages Over Formula For Funding ‘Choice’
Delaware County Times, PA, May 23, 2011
Gov. Tom Corbett paid a visit to Chester Community Charter School late last month to tour a school he considers an embodiment of the school-choice education model he supports

Legislator Proposes End to SRC, Calling It A Bust
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 23, 2011
State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop (D., Phila.) has introduced legislation that would abolish the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, created by the state in 2001 as part of a takeover of the Philadelphia School District. The SRC consists of five members – three appointed by the governor and two by the mayor – and has certain “extraordinary” powers, including the ability to impose terms on the district’s unions to speed reform.

TENNESSEE

We Are for School Reforms If They Are Accountable
Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2011
Your editorial “Tennessee’s Chamber Maids” (May 13) mischaracterizes the letter the Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville chambers of commerce sent the Tennessee General Assembly regarding the Tennessee Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Charter School Groups Not Sure What’s Next
Athens Banner-Herald, GA, May 23, 2011
An online charter school that planned to open its virtual doors this fall has an information session scheduled for Wednesday in Athens – but the meeting and the school itself are in limbo in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling.

Technology Can Revolutionize Teaching
San Diego Union Tribune, CA, May 22, 2011
The budget crisis looks to be the new norm in California for years to come, and public schools are looking at ways to leverage technology to both revolutionize K-12 instruction as well as help us weather the doomsday cuts.

The Learning Landscape Is Changing
San Diego Union Tribune, CA, May 22, 2011
The learning landscape is dramatically changing at schools throughout San Diego Unified School District . For students who come to class at one of our schools or who take some or all of their courses online, San Diego Unified has a different learning experience in store for them.

State’s Fastest-Growing Charter Maintains Individual Attention For Each of Its Students
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HI, May 23, 2011
Launched in 2008, the public charter school has quadrupled its enrollment over two years, with 1,000 students at last count. On March 1 it opened up 250 more slots for this fall, triggering that line of parents. The school can grow so quickly despite its limited space – 10,000 square feet – because its students work mostly at home.

Daily Headlines for May 20, 2011

No Child Left Behind Fix Lagging in Congress
Associated Press, May 20, 2011
The long-awaited overhaul of the 9-year-old No Child Left Behind law has begun in the House with the first in a series of targeted bills, but a bipartisan, comprehensive reform of the nation’s most important education law still appears far from the finish line.

FROM THE STATES

COLORADO

Denver Public Schools OKs Innovation Status For 3 Future Schools
Denver Post, CO, May 20, 2011
Over opposition from the teachers union, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education voted 4-3 Thursday night to approve innovation status for three more future schools in the far northeast.

CONNECTICUT

Private Firm May Run Public School In New Haven
The Hartford Courant, CT, May 19, 2011
The city’s school system plans to hire a private company to run one of the city’s most troubled public schools, taking an unusual step that has been tried with varying success in a handful of school systems in Connecticut.

GEORGIA

Charter Schools Ruling Puts Many In Legal Limbo
Columbus Ledger Enquirer, GA, May 20, 2011
Court has not outlawed or abolished charter schools. What the court did, in a 4-3 decision handed down Monday, was to say charter schools, like other public schools in Georgia , are the province of local school districts and not the state.

Cherokee Makes No Charter School Decision
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, May 19, 2011
The Cherokee County School Board took no action Thursday on a last-minute appeal to reconsider a previously denied charter school application.

ILLINOIS

What’s In A Name The Issue: Plaza Becomes Prep Academy.
Evansville Courier & Press, IL, May 20, 2011
The name of the Academy for Innovative Studies is relatively new, but the concept isn’t. The EVSC has offered innovative programs for children who do not function well in traditional classroom settings for years.

INDIANA

Cathedral Among Groups Receiving Grants To Study Creating Charters
Indianapolis Star, IN, May 20, 2011
Cathedral High School is among five community groups that received research grants Thursday from the mayor’s office to explore the creation of charter schools.

Parents Facing A Long Wait For Answers
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, May 20, 2011
Parents interested in taking advantage of Indiana’s new private school voucher program have little choice but to wait for details. How do parents enroll children? How do they know which schools will accept vouchers? Will the vouchers be on paper or electronic?

MICHIGAN

Lawmakers Say Firing Bad Teachers Too Costly; Tenure Reforms Sought
Detroit Free Press, MI, May 20, 2011
Removing an ineffective teacher is such a long, expensive process that many districts won’t bother trying. State lawmakers want a face-lift for tenure laws, making it easier to fire bad teachers and harder to gain tenure status.

NEW JERSEY

Charters Should Be Option for All N.J. Students
Star Ledger Blog, NJ, May 20, 2011
Challenging the same old, same old is always tough, no matter how beneficial change may be.

NEW YORK

The Teachers Union and the NAACP Make War on the kids When They Sue To Keep Failing Schools Open
New York Daily News, NY, May 20, 2011
The United Federation of Teachers has launched an all-out legal assault on the city’s attempt to serve kids who attend failing schools. This was predictable. The union serves the interests of its adult members.

Education Legislation Struggle Breaks Old Alliances, Builds New Ones
New York Times, NY, May 20, 2011
After failing on three separate occasions to pass his signature education bill for the session and running out of time on a fourth, the Republican from The Woodlands was describing his plan to attach the legislation as an amendment to other bills that are still working their way through the House.

TENNESSEE

Alcoa Cool To Charter School Plan
Maryville Daily Times, TN, May 20, 2011
A group of Blount County residents who hope to open the state’s first suburban charter school may be facing an uphill battle with little support from elected school officials.

TN House Approves Bill To Limit Teachers Unions
The Tennessean, TN, May 20, 2011
After a grueling, four-hour debate in the state House of Representatives, Tennessee lawmakers were on track to put an end to formal negotiations between school boards and the state’s teachers union Thursday night.

WISCONSIN

We Must Expand the Parental School Choice Program in Racine
Journal Times, WI, May 20, 2011
Open the doors of learning to families wherever they seek to find it, regardless of economic means, race or ethnicity. It is what we as the adults of this community must do out of respect for the human potential in every child. We must expand the Parental School Choice Program in Racine.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Virtual and Traditional Ed Mix Well
Amherst Bulletin, MA, May 20, 2011
In the coverage of the academic options being considered by area schools, many of the comments imply that full-time virtual schools and traditional brick and mortar schools are the only available choices.

First Online High School Coming to Georgia
WRDW-TV, GA, May 19, 2011
The first online high school is coming to Georgia in August. Unlike existing virtual programs in the state, this will be strictly for students in grades 9-12 being taught all courses.

Dip In Number Of Colorado Home-Schoolers May Be Linked To Surge In Online Enrollment
Denver Post, CO, May 20, 2011
That’s how JD, now a Colorado Connections Academy eighth-grader, joined one of the fastest-growing student categories: online scholar. As the number of online students grows, state data indicate the number of home-schooled students is dropping, and some parents and educators see a link between the two.

 

Daily Headlines for May 19, 2011

Big-Box Stores and School Vouchers
Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2011
Think of Wal-Mart as the innovative charter school, free of union red tape, that would provide high-quality, low-cost goods and services (education) to those customers (students) who freely choose to shop (enroll) there-if only the unions and their politician protectors would allow them the option.

FROM THE STATES

COLORADO

Teachers Propose Plan For Rating Themselves
Denver Post, CO, May 18, 2011
A group of 21 teachers from 11 districts in the metro area, today released a report with their own recommendations for teacher evaluation.

GEORGIA

Fate of Charters May Rest In Hands of School Boards That Once Rejected Them
Atlanta Journal Constitution Blog, GA, May 19, 2011
Today, Cherokee Charter Academy and Ivy Preparatory Academy in Gwinnett County will seek lifelines from school boards that once rejected them.

Consider Adoption For Court Impacted Charter Schools
Macon Telegraph, GA, May 19, 2011
For years, the charter school movement was thwarted in Georgia by local school districts that turned down application after application. Many of those denials were for cause.

IDAHO

Teachers Can Be Politically Active – Just Not At School
Idaho Press Tribune, ID, May 19, 2011
It’s a safe bet that Idaho Schools Superintendent Tom Luna and Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood won’t be inviting each other to their birthday parties this year.

ILLINOIS

Bill Could Mean More Charters in the Suburbs
WBEZ, IL, May 18, 2011
Legislation that could result in more charter schools in Chicago’s suburbs is on its way to the governor’s desk.

KANSAS

State Stuck with NCLB
Wichita Eagle, KS, May 19, 2011
It wasn’t surprising that federal officials denied a request by Kansas for a temporary waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. But it is disappointing that Kansas public schools have to keep chasing an impossible standard.

LOUISIANA

Legislators Approve Bills for Tuition Tax Breaks, Corporate Sponsors of Charter Schools
Times Picayune, LA, May 18, 2011
Lawmakers Wednesday continued their embrace of tax and education policies that either directly or indirectly steer money away from traditional public schools.

MAINE

Charter Schools Could Offer More Diverse Public Option to Maine Families
Portland Press Herald, ME, May 19, 2011
The schools will only survive if enough people choose them, so they have to offer what people want.

MASSACHUSETTS

Rules Tightened on New Schools
Boston Globe, MA, May 19, 2011
More than one in five Massachusetts public schools has a significant amount of extra space, a state report reveals, but state and local officials say communities now in the planning stages for new schools, including East Bridgewater, Marshfield, and many others, are in little danger of building too big.

The Benefits to Choice Outweigh the Negatives
Taunton Daily Gazette, MA, May 18, 2011
Evidence continues to mount of the benefits poor and minority students in particular gain from choice programs that give them access to options like charter public and Catholic schools. But Massachusetts is one of just two states with strict constitutional provisions that prevent families from taking advantage of many of these opportunities.

MINNESOTA

Minnesota Charter Schools Get Another Year To Comply
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, May 18, 2011
A bill signed on Wednesday extends a June 30 deadline for charter schools to find monitors, approved by the state under stricter standards, to oversee their finances.

Special Integrated Schools Struggling To Make The Grade
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MN, May 18, 2011
But Harambee and the metro area’s other voluntary integration programs are under intensifying pressure to show more than racial harmony among their 13,000 students. At a time when student achievement is a top priority, two out of the metro area’s three integration districts have failed to make the academic progress required under federal law. Some districts have pulled out.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Pretenured Time Increased By Bill
Nashua Telegraph, NH, May 19, 2011
New public school teachers would remain at-will employees for five years under legislation that easily cleared the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

NEW JERSEY

Bringing N.J. Schools’ Racial Segregation Into Open
Star-Ledger, NJ, May 19, 2011
The attention of the state’s political class is now fixed on school finance. Within days, probably, the state Supreme Court will rule on a motion from urban school advocates seeking a restoration of $1.6 billion in state aid cut by the Christie administration and the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

NEW YORK

Debate Over Charter Schools Comes to City Hall
Buffalo News, NY, May 18, 2011
Some of Buffalo’s lowest-performing schools should be turned into charter schools, a local attorney told the Common Council’s Education Committee on Wednesday.

Teachers Union Sues to Block School Closures
Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2011
The fate of tens of thousands of students was thrown into question Wednesday after the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP sued to block the city’s plans to shut down 22 failing schools, a move that threatened to derail a major Bloomberg education initiative for a second year in a row.

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. Senate Leader Lays Out Schools
Plan

News & Observer, NC, May 19, 2011
Senate Republicans have new ideas for public schools in North Carolina , and their coming budget proposal aims to reshape early-grade classrooms, teacher pay models and even the school calendar.

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia Effort To Overhaul Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 19, 2011
Nearly a year into the Philadelphia School District’s ambitious effort to overhaul low-performing schools, early results are mixed, a research report to be released Thursday concludes.

Taking a Ride
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 19, 2011
The Philadelphia School District has proposed cutting $38.5 million from its transportation budget by slashing both the yellow buses that bring younger students to elementary schools and subsidized SEPTA TransPasses for high schoolers.

TENNESSEE

School Reform Sham Heats Up
Commercial Appeal, TN, May 19, 2011
Sen. Brian Kelsey’s proposed legislation calling for “Equal Opportunity Scholarships” purports to benefit low-income students and public schools. In reality, it is a voucher bill that takes away much-needed tax dollars from public schools and gives them to private and religiously affiliated schools and does nothing to address the needs of our students or the challenges teachers overcome every day.

VIRGINIA

Local Education Alliance Aims To Engage Parents
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, May 19, 2011
A grass-roots organization is hoping to empower parents to close achievement gaps in education and boost student performance.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Not Everyone Will Benefit From Virtual Education
Miami Herald, FL, May 18, 2011
Virtual education seems like another development of our technological society that will further minimize the importance of social interaction. Diaz de la Portilla seems to forget that there are many opinions in this matter.

District Wooing Back Cyber School Students
Intelligencer, PA, May 19, 2011
The Palisades School District is taking on an ambitious program to win back students now attending cyber charter schools.

Virtual Learning
Herald Times Reporter, WI, May 19, 2011
Claire Krieger is studying six foreign languages as part of her eighth-grade curriculum at the middle school campus of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School – even though the only language the school offers is Spanish.

Daily Headlines for May 18, 2011

Could the Internet Spell the End of Snow Days?
Associated Press, May 17, 2011
Could the Internet mean the end of snow days? Some schools think so, and they are experimenting with ways for students to do lessons online during bad weather, potentially allowing classes to go on during even the worst blizzard.

Teachers Want Broader Goals In Revised No Child Law
Press-Enterprise, CA, May 17, 2011
A better-educated workforce is the answer to turning around the Inland area’s economy and lowering the unemployment rate, Cal State San Bernardino President Albert Karnig and Rep. Joe Baca said Tuesday.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

Reform from the Inside Out
Stockton Record, CA, May 18, 2011
At one of Stockton Unified School District’s longest-struggling campuses, teachers are behind an effort to turn the school around from the inside out, leading a reform effort among the first of its kind in the area.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Rigorous Charter Faces Tough Road in D.C.
Washington Post, DC, May 17, 2011
I sometimes think parents of gifted children are too whiny and too focused on their own issues, ignoring the greater needs of public education. But the reaction to BASIS proves they are right about one thing. Public educators, even the most reform-minded, are uncomfortable with any program that seems to move too fast and require too much effort.

FLORIDA

Parents Struggle With Best School Choice For Kids
Fort Wayne News Sentinel, FL, May 17, 2011
Parents today have to ask many questions when deciding whether to send their child to a public school or a charter – but years after the introduction of charter schools, answers aren’t so clear-cut.

GEORGIA

Court Decision Won’t Affect College and Career Academy
Times-Georgian, GA , May 18, 2011
The Carroll County College and Career Academy, the only charter school in Carroll County, will not be affected by Monday’s Georgia Supreme Court Ruling.

Local Families Deal With Court’s Decision
Cherokee Tribune, GA, May 18, 2011
Brent and Katie Orth of Holly Springs have been preparing their 4-year-old twin boys Gage and Cole to start at Cherokee Charter Academy in August.

Cherokee, Gwinnett Scramble To Get Charter School Approvals
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, May 17, 2011
Parents and officials of the Georgia charter schools whose funding has been threatened by a state Supreme Court ruling are seeking help from an unlikely source — the local school districts that once opposed their organization.

Deal Panel Will Look at School Funding in Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, May 17, 2011
Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday the appointment of a 20-member committee that will look at how public schools are funded in Georgia

LOUISIANA

School Bills Are Chance To Make Improvements
Opelousas Daily World, LA, May 18, 2011
Though the fiscal issues capture the headlines, there is actually an abundance of legislative instruments that have been filed on the education front some good bills that maintain the forward progression of public education reform, and some bad instruments that would turn back the clock and further protect the status quo.

NEW YORK

Charter Link in Albany Fliers
Albany Times-Union, NY, May 17, 2011
A group associated with Albany’s charter schools sent out multiple fliers and likely paid for a push poll to kill the Albany school budget.

A Measurement Tool
Buffalo News, NY, May 17, 2011
Cuomo has crafted a strong plan for gauging teacher effectiveness

PENNSYLVANIA

Don’t Cripple Our Schools
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, May 18, 2011
Harrisburg needs to display some creativity to avoid damaging Pennsylvania’s educational system

TEXAS

School Vouchers Doubtful For This Session
San Antonio Express, TX, May 17, 2011
House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, signaled Tuesday that he would move to table any school voucher amendment when lawmakers consider a bill Wednesday to find more revenue for the state budget.

VIRGINIA

Second Charter School For Richmond Recommended For Denial
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, May 18, 2011
A proposed second charter school in Richmond has been recommended for denial because of concerns that include a curriculum deemed to not meet state standards.

WISCONSIN

Anti-Union Law Puts Milwaukee Teachers Union In Spotlight
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 18, 2011
Many opponents of the powerful Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Assn. are thrilled by a new law that would curb its bargaining rights. But others say it won’t resolve the schools’ deep troubles.

Bill Would Allow Test Scores As Basis To Fire Teachers
Oshkosh Northwestern, WI, May 18, 2011
School boards would be allowed to consider student test scores for disciplining and dismissing teachers under an education bill proposed by a local state senator.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Online Schools Make Big Profits from Tax Dollars
NewsChannel5, TN, May 17, 2011
It’s a controversial bill that could change the way Tennessee kids go to school. A multi-million dollar company is pushing a bill in the Tennessee Legislature that would allow for-profit companies to operate full-time, online schools.

Online High School Recruiting in Macon
Macon Telegraph, GA, May 18, 2011
Officials from Provost Academy Georgia held three information sessions in Macon to give people details on what would be Georgia’s newest charter school — a tuition-free, statewide program taught entirely online for grades 9 through 12.

Daily Headlines for May 13, 2011

Teacher Tenure Under Fire From Statehouses
Huffington Post, NY, May 12, 2011
State lawmakers from Illinois to Tennessee are considering laws that could change what it means to be a teacher, as labor policy has become the heart of a pitched education debate — one in which each side claims that the other doesn’t put students’ interests first.

Senator Hagan Introduces Bill To Turn Around Worst Schools: Can It Work?
Christian Science Monitor, MA, May 12, 2011
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) announced the School Turnaround and Rewards (STAR) Act on Thursday. She hopes it will be incorporated into a more comprehensive overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

CALIFORNIA

Planned Merger of Charter School Organizations Dissolves
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 13, 2011
Financially troubled ICEF Public Schools, backed by Richard Riordan, was to be acquired by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, but the deal has been scrapped, and ICEF’s leadership is in flux.

GEORGIA

Metro Districts Put Race To The Top Funds To Use
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, May 12, 2011
Georgia is only one quarter of the way into its four-year, $400 million federal Race to the Top grant, but school districts are already seeing changes.

ILLINOIS

Education Reform Comes to Illinois
Chicago Sun Times, IL, May 13, 2011
There’s always talk of change. There’s always hope for change. And then change almost never happens. Except this time.

KANSAS

Group Seeks Support For School Choice
The Wichita Eagle, KS, May 13, 2011
A group that favors vouchers, tax credits and other forms of school choice launched a campaign Thursday aimed at garnering public support for those reforms in Kansas.

LOUISIANA

New Orleans School Officials Must Fulfill Promise To All Students
Times Picayune, LA, May 12, 2011
Many New Orleans children have benefited greatly from the variety of choices afforded by the Recovery School District and the charter schools overseen by the RSD and the Orleans Parish School Board.

Recovery School District Will Use Teacher Evaluations In Deciding Layoffs
Times Picayune, LA, May 12, 2011
Almost 250 teachers will lose their jobs this summer at New Orleans schools run by the state’s Recovery School District in what’s become an annual occurrence as officials close down underperforming schools and convert others into charters.

MAINE

Charter School Friends, Foes Testify in Augusta
Kennebec Journal, ME, May 13, 2011
Supporters of public charter schools told lawmakers Thursday that the schools would improve the quality of education in Maine by giving students and parents options.

MASSACHUSETTS

Charter School Teachers Unionize
Cape Cod Times, MA, May 13, 2011
Teachers and support staff at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Orleans have formed a union, becoming only the second charter school in the state to organize, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts said Thursday.

NEW YORK

Nine City High Schools to Stay Open, With Private Management
New York Times, NY, May 13, 2011
There was a sense of relief at nine low-performing city high schools on Thursday as the city’s Department of Education announced they would not be closed next year. The decisions came after months of uncertainty about the schools’ future.

As School Boycott Nears, United Spirit Is Not Yet In Sight
Buffalo News, NY, May 13, 2011
Many Buffalo parents will keep their children out of school Monday as part of a boycott that has been called by a parent organization in the district.

OHIO

Campaign Donations Did Not Affect Charter School Legislation, Says Speaker
Dayton Daily News, OH, May 13, 2011
Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder angrily denied mounting allegations from conservatives and liberals alike that campaign donations from large, for-profit charter school operators influenced House Republicans ?to pass legislation last week that would water down regulations designed to stamp out poorly performing charters and hold operators accountable for how they spend taxpayer money.

OKLAHOMA

Firing Bad Teachers Less An Issue Than Keeping Good Ones
The Oklahoman, OK, May 13, 2011
There is a consensus among researchers and educators that the single most important factor in determining student performance is the quality of the teacher. Therefore, our most critical efforts must be focused on attracting, supporting and retaining high-quality teachers in every community – not making it easier to fire all teachers

SOUTH CAROLINA

Confusion on Charter School Getting Tiresome for the Public
Hilton Head Island Packet, SC, May 13, 2011
Once again, confusion reigns between the Riverview Charter School in Beaufort and the Beaufort County School District. This time, it’s about the school district’s role in governing the charter school’s lottery for enrollment.

TENNESSEE

Tennessee’s Chamber Maids
Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2011
Nothing is worse for freedom and opportunity than when big business conspires with big labor. Behold the spectacle in Tennessee, where the Chambers of Commerce in Chattanooga , Knoxville and Nashville have joined with the teachers unions to kill education vouchers.

TEXAS

Texas House Kills Teacher Furloughs, Pay Cuts Bill
The Monitor, TX, May 12, 2011
The Texas House of Representatives killed a controversial “mandate relief bill” Thursday night, depriving school boards of unprecedented powers to balance state budget cuts.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using the Tools of Social Media
New York Times, NY, May 13, 2011
Now, Erin Olson, an English teacher in Sioux Rapids, Iowa , is among a small but growing cadre of educators trying to exploit Twitter-like technology to enhance classroom discussion.

Online Schools Poor Performers, Study Says
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 12, 2011
With five of the state’s seven largest e-schools posting graduation rates lower than that of the state’s worst traditional public school district, and six of seven rated less than “effective,” a liberal policy group said today that the state is wasting money on the poorly performing online schools.

TiZA Suing In Effort To Secure Charter School Oversight
Pioneer Press, MN, May 12, 2011
A metro-area charter school embroiled in a two-year legal standoff with the American Civil Liberties Union in turn sued two former fellow defendants Thursday.

Daily Headlines for May 10, 2011

The Failure of American Schools
The Atlantic, June 2011
Who better to lead an educational revolution than Joel Klein, the prosecutor who took on the software giant Microsoft? But in his eight years as chancellor of New York City’s school system, the nation’s largest, Klein learned a few painful lessons of his own-about feckless politicians, recalcitrant unions, mediocre teachers, and other enduring obstacles to school reform.

Education Programs Assail ‘U.S. News’ Survey
NPR, May 10, 2011
Amid criticism from education reform advocates who say many teacher preparation programs provide poor training, a national organization is conducting a review of more than 1,000 programs to help aspiring teachers choose from the best.

Obama Expands Education Vision
Poughkeepsie Journal, NY, May 9, 2011
In ways, it’s hard to believe No Child Left Behind is almost a decade old, but there’s no denying aspects of it can, and should, be improved.

‘Last In, First Out’ Among Teacher Layoff Policies Under Scrutiny
PBS NewsHour, May 9, 2011
As the end of the school year approaches, thousands of teachers across the country are facing the prospect of being laid off. And that’s prompting questions about the role of seniority in determining which teachers stay and who is let go. NewsHour special correspondent John Tulenko reports from Hartford, Conn.

FROM THE STATES

ARKANSAS

Finalist: School Choice OK
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, AR, May 10, 2011
June Rimmer, the Little Rock School District’s lone finalist for superintendent, said Monday that she had no objections to offering school choice options to parents and students but – first and foremost – every school must offer a high-quality education program.

CALIFORNIA

City Supports Charter School In Concept
Clayton Pioneer, CA, May 9, 2011
A movement to convert Clayton Valley High School to a charter school gained momentum last week when the Clayton City Council voted to support the teacher-led effort in concept and encourage the school district to cooperate.

School ‘Choices’ Versus Choices
Voice of San Diego, CA, May 9, 2011
One of the great things about San Diego city schools has been the availability of various school choices, including magnet schools, theme schools, etc. What makes these choices “good” is not only that they exist, but that they are made “real” by the school district providing transportation to those options.

FLORIDA

Changes in Store for Charter Schools
MyFox Tampa Bay, FL, May 9, 2011
Traditional public schools vs charter schools — which is better? Educators say they can’t be compared. They are very different in what they are allowed to do and who they are accountable to.

No Applicants For State’s Top Education Post
Miami Herald, FL, May 9, 2011
With only weeks to go, Florida education officials have not gotten a single applicant for the state’s top education post.

ILLINOIS

Illinois Education Overhaul at Risk
Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2011
A sweeping state education bill that passed the Illinois state Senate unanimously and had the support of teachers unions and education-advocacy groups could be derailed by claims it was altered at the last minute.

INDIANA

Time for a Note of Caution on State Education Reform
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel , IN, May 9, 2011
Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed the last of his education reform bills into law, having gotten almost everything he asked for in one of the most radical packages that have ever been seen.

State Makes Giant Leap for Education
Indianapolis Star, IN, May 9, 2011
In four months, Indiana legislators shaped the nation’s most complete education reform agenda. Not since Gov. Robert Orr and Dean Evans’ A+ Plan of 1987 has our state endeavored to so completely transform its system of schools — and this session’s “Putting Students First” agenda takes us considerably beyond A+. I believe Orr and Evans would be proud.

MASSACHUSETTS

Expansion of Charter School Rejected
The Republican, MA, May 10, 2011
The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School will have to wait another year before trying again to add 120 seats for the middle school, but officials will apply this summer for approval to add a high school.

NEVADA

Union Lobbyists Try To Temper Teacher Firing Bills
Las Vegas Journal- Review, NV, May 9, 2011
Nevada State Education Association lobbyists sought to temper two Democrat-sponsored bills that would make it easier for school districts to fire under-performing, probationary employees.

Controversial Educational Reform Commercials Hit the Airwaves
KLAS-TV, NV, May 10, 2011
Should teachers be compensated and fired based on their student’s test performance, or are the tests themselves flawed? One education group is hitting the airwaves to make their case for teacher accountability.

NEW JERSEY

Growing Tensions Over Charter Schools
NJ Spotlight, NJ, May 10, 2011
Lawmakers and local residents want to know why they can’t have a greater say about charter schools hosted by their communities

School Choice Program Would Bring Tax Relief
Shore News Today, NJ, May 9, 2011
As Margate approaches the dawn of a new administration, it is abundantly clear that taxpayers still remain in the shadows cast by the city’s vast special interest groups.

Voter Approval Wanted For Charter Schools
Daily Record, NJ, May 9, 2011
State Senate Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Buono said Monday she wanted voters in school districts to have the ability to reject proposed charter schools.

NEW YORK

Schoolhouse Rot
New York Post, NY, May 10, 2011
Those who proclaim to be speaking for the community in opposing a new charter school for the Upper West Side certainly aren’t representing me or the 700 other parents who applied for seats for their children at Upper West Success Academy.

OHIO

Kasich Outlines His View On How To Judge Teachers
The Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 10, 2011
When Gov. John Kasich wasn’t blasting the nursing-home lobby yesterday or discussing a tax cut for Ohioans in 2012, he was offering insight into his views on how a teacher should be judged in the classroom.

Are Charter-School Reforms On Right Track? No
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 9, 2011
If the Ohio House’s version of the biennial budget makes its way into law, the state’s mish-mash of a community-school (i.e. charter school) program will become a full-fledged contender for America’s worst.

Are Charter-School Reforms On Right Track? Yes
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 9, 2011
Gov. John Kasich has taken the next important steps in advancing Ohio as the nation’s school-choice leader.

PENNSYLVANIA

Corbett Makes Case for School Vouchers in Washington Speech
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 10, 2011
Gov. Corbett, making his first appearance on a national stage since taking office in January, told an audience at an education conference Monday that providing families with an alternative to failing public schools was a “moral obligation.

TENNESSEE

Charter Schools Future in East Tennessee
WBIR-TV, TN, May 9, 2011
As part of his statewide push to emphasize education in Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam is proposing to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.

WASHINGTON

Base Teacher Layoffs On Effectiveness, Not Seniority
Seattle Times, WA, May 9, 2011
School districts notify teachers next week of potential layoffs, a challenge complicated by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, and House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and their stubborn insistence on an outdated seniority-based layoff policy.

WISCONSIN

MPS Hopes Lawmakers Fix School Funding Flaw
WUWM, MN, May 10, 2011
Tuesday, the state Assembly will take up a plan to expand the school voucher program in Milwaukee . Republicans want to allow any child to attend private school using state funding, and open the program to any private or religious school in Milwaukee County.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Military Shouldn’t Limit Online Education Grads
Battle Creek Enquirer, MI, May 9, 2011
With technology playing a major – and growing – role in national defense, you’d think the U.S. military would welcome computer-savvy young people into its ranks. But an increasing number of prospective recruits who have opted for online education as opposed to a traditional high school diploma are being turned away.

Online Options Abound for K-12 Students in Arizona
East Valley Tribune, AZ, May 9, 2011
Arizona students are taking online classes by the thousands, and with a change in state law, they have more options to do so.