Daily Headlines for May 9, 2011

Wisc., Pa. Governors To Address Pro-School Voucher Nonprofit; Union Leaders Plan Protest
Washington Post, DC, May 9, 2011
Two Republican governors are scheduled to speak at a Washington conference hosted by a nonprofit that pushes for private school vouchers and charter schools.

Latest Liberal Assault On School Reform Involves Playing Race Card
Orlando Sentinel, FL, May 8, 2011
Last week we reported how charter schools are less racially diverse than traditional public schools.

Education Reform: Shorter Week, More Learning
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 8, 2011
More than 120 school districts across the U.S. are finding that less can be more – less being fewer days spent in school.

CALIFORNIA

Examining California’s Parent Trigger Law
National Public Radio, May 8, 2011
California’s new “parent trigger” law allows parents with children at a troubled public school to “trigger” one of four school intervention models simply by signing a petition. Parents in Compton have done that already.

Teachers Union Challenges L.A. Unified’s New Evaluation Process
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 8, 2011
UTLA says the district did not “engage in good faith negotiation” over a new teacher evaluation system that includes use of student test scores. L.A. Unified is seeking volunteers to test the system.

COLORADO

Advanced Placement Courses Test Colorado Schools’ Path To Success
Denver Post, CO, May 8, 2011
Students at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette walk from class to class on cold, hard concrete rather than carpet – a subtle reminder that here, in the hallways of Colorado’s most saturated public Advanced Placement environment, substance supersedes style.

FLORIDA

Lawmakers Deepened Hole For Florida’s Schools, But Also Passed Major Reforms
St. Petersburg Times, FL, May 9, 2011
For schools, the annual legislative session left in its wake a $1.1 billion funding cut – and, unlike in years past, a slew of new policy reforms to go with it.

New Rules Shape Schools
Tampa Tribune, FL, May 9, 2011
Lawmakers passed a flurry of bills this session that are aimed at expanding what proponents call innovative school choice and what critics decry as a concerted attack on underfunded public schools.

INDIANA

How Will Education Reform Affect Schools?
Muncie Star Press, IN, May 9, 2011
Local educators react to education reform bills recently passed by the Indiana Legislature

Change in Education Certain, But Outcome Is Not
Terre Haute Tribune Star, IN, May 8, 2011
Let’s hope education reform does better than last Daniels reform

MAINE

Lots of Work Left
Morning Sentinel, ME, May 9, 2011
A mountain of work remains for lawmakers at the State House. With about six weeks left before it is scheduled to adjourn, the Legislature has yet to vote on nearly every major issue pending before it.

MASSACHUSETTS

Ed Reform Sparks Turnarounds, But Few Innovations In Year One
Boston Globe, MA, May 9, 2011
THE STATE’S new education reform law has been, by some measures, a highly utilized weapon. Turnaround efforts for the lowest-performing schools are proceeding apace, and the charter school community has responded eagerly to the challenge of expansion.

NEW JERSEY

In New Jersey, Per-Pupil Cost Proves Divisive
Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2011
Does Newark spend $24,500 or $17,000 per pupil to educate its students? Or is it closer to $10,000? Depends who’s counting.

Christie Administration Urges School Districts to Spend
NJ Spotlight, NJ, May 8, 2011
With deadline to spend ARRA funds fast approaching, school districts are being advised to use it or lose it

Parents, Schools In New Jersey Battle Against Autistic Student Segregation
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, May 8, 2011
The number of students in New Jersey public schools diagnosed with autism has almost doubled in the past five years, to more than 13,000 in 2010. More of these children are now being educated in their hometown schools.

NEW YORK

Lost in the School Choice Maze
New York Times, NY, May 8, 2011
ON the last day in March, when most eighth graders in New York City learned where they would be going to high school in the fall, Radcliffe Saddler watched the majority of his classmates rip open thin envelopes and celebrate.

NORTH CAROLINA

Who’s the Power Behind CMS?
Charlotte Observer, NC, May 8, 2011
If you follow the money, you’ll find the Broad Foundation. And skeptics are questioning its clout.

OHIO

Budget Contains Gift To Charter School Operator And GOP Benefactor David Brennan
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, May 7, 2011
Wealthy Akron businessman David Brennan seems to love running schools and owning politicians. Brennan does a dismal job at the former. He’s having great success with the latter.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pottsville Zoning Board To Hear Charter School Case
Republican Herald, PA, May 9, 2011
Representatives of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church will appear before the Pottsville Zoning Hearing Board this mo
nth to determine if a charter school could occupy a former elementary school on its property.

Charter Schools Likely Coming To Pottstown, But Not Right Away
Pottstown Mercury, PA, May 8, 2011
When Schools Superintendent Reed Lindley told the school board last month that it might be difficult to prevent a charter school from taking over all of Pottstown’s elementary schools, it was an impression he gained as the result of a recently disclosed meeting he attended in Harrisburg.

Charter’s Board Ousts Its Founder
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 8, 2011
Vuong Thuy, the founding chief executive of an academically successful North Philadelphia charter school, was toppled by his handpicked board after a monthlong campaign by parents and staff.

The Case for School Vouchers: Equal Opportunity
Patriot News, PA, May 9, 2011
They say that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Every Pennsylvanian must pay taxes, a sizable portion of which goes toward public-funded education. But almost 20 percent of students in the commonwealth do not receive this funding. These students are those that opt for a private education.

In Pennsylvania, Activists Pour Millions Into The Fight For School Vouchers
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 8, 2011
Buoyed by what they see as their best opportunity in a decade, education activists are spending millions of dollars and countless hours trying to persuade or pressure Pennsylvania lawmakers to approve school tuition vouchers.

TEXAS

IDEA Schools Drawing Students, Funding From Other Districts
The Monitor, TX, May 8, 2011
In 11 short years, IDEA Public Schools has grown from one hastily arranged campus in an old Donna church house to filling nearly 20 state-rated “exemplary” schools with more than 6,800 students.

WISCONSIN

Choice Plan Isn’t About The Wealthy
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, May 7, 2011
Millionaires do screw up everything, don’t they? They’re hovering even now, ghostlike, haunting the working class amid the talk of expanding Milwaukee’s school choice program.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Cyber-School Students: Pentagon Snubs Our Service
Associated Press, May 9, 2011
Students graduating from the growing ranks of online high schools are running into a hurdle if their goal is to join the military: The Pentagon doesn’t want many recruits with non-traditional diplomas.

Greater Latrobe to Open eCat Online Academy This Fall
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, May 9, 2011
Hoping to win back students who have left the district to attend cyber schools, Greater Latrobe School District will open its own online academy this fall.

I ZUMI: Lesson from Wisconsin
Washington Times, DC, May 6, 2011
As Wisconsin government-employee unions protested against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-balancing proposals, teachers union members walked out of class, depriving thousands of children of their right to an education. The teachers’ callous, selfish actions demonstrate the need to give parents the ability to bypass the unionized government-monopoly school system.

Daily Headlines for May 6, 2011

If Supermarkets Were Like Public Schools
Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2011
What if groceries were paid for by taxes, and you were assigned a store based on where you live?

No Silver Bullet For Education Woes
Charlotte Observer, NC, May 6, 2011
Two reports caught my eye this week. They say a lot about what influences public education reform these days. They also say a lot about the difficulties involved in such “reforms” and even challenge the notion that some of the ideas can be tagged reforms.

FROM THE STATES

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Under Josephine Baker, D.C. Charter Schools Have Flourished
Washington Post, DC, May 5, 2011
WHEN JOSEPHINE BAKER was approached about joining the District’s new public charter school board, the first thing she had to do was find out what these newfangled schools were all about. It was 1996 and the national charter school movement was in its infancy.

FLORIDA

Lawmakers Took ‘Wrecking Ball’ To Florida Schools, Union Chief Says
Orlando Sentinel, FL, May 5, 2011
The Orange County school district shines as an example of the “good that’s going on in education” despite “tragic” budget cuts and an effort by Tallahassee power brokers to demoralize and denigrate teachers, union leader Randi Weingarten said Thursday.

GEORGIA

Race to the Top Begins Slowly
GBS, GA, May 5, 2011
Georgia has begun spending the $400 million it won eight months ago in the federal Race to the Top education grant competition. But progress has been slow. Although the state is picking up its pace, the delay has left some lingering confusion.

ILLINOIS

Not Ready For Reform
Chicago Tribune, IL, May 5, 2011
Not so fast. Looks now like we have proof the education employee unions aren’t ready to be leaders in reform. The governing body of the CTU has pulled its support for the bill known as Performance Counts.

INDIANA

Indiana’s Great Education Leap
Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2011
School choice is gaining new momentum, and one of the biggest political breakthroughs came this week in Indiana. Governor Mitch Daniels signed legislation Thursday that includes far-reaching reforms in teacher assessment and tenure, as well the most ambitious voucher program in memory.

LOUISIANA

New Orleans Charter Schools Taking Their Time To Set Up Attendance Zones
Times Picayune, LA, May 5, 2011
New Orleans won’t move any closer to having neighborhood schools in the coming year, despite a new state policy that allows most of the city’s charter schools to set aside a portion of their slots for students who live nearby.

MAINE

No Union For Teachers
Portsmouth Herald, ME, May 6, 2011
Starting next school year, teachers at the Great Bay eLearning Charter School in Exeter will have separate contracts from those in the Exeter Region Cooperative School District , and will not belong to a teachers’ union.

MASSACHUSETTS

Unions, Get On Board With Schools
Boston Globe, MA, May 6, 2011
If the traditional schools don’t embrace a significantly longer day and more staffing flexibility, expect two things to happen. First, the performance gap between traditional schools and those with substantially longer days will become ever more apparent. Second, parental pressure will grow for more longer-day options.

Trying a New Way of Learning
Worcester Telegram, MA, May 6, 2011
Five schools will take new approaches to education this fall after School Committee votes last night to approve five innovation schools.

MISSOURI

Schools Face Influx Of Students From Failing Districts
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, May 6, 2011
Hope is dwindling that the Missouri Legislature will pass a bill reining in a landmark court decision that could trigger an exodus of thousands of children from failing urban schools to the suburbs.

NEW JERSEY

Give Charter Schools A Chance, Association Chairman Says
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, May 5, 2011
Charter schools are the research and development arm of public education and deserve a chance to prove they can succeed where public schools have not, a charter schools advocate told attendees Thursday at the annual Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association Scholarship Luncheon.

NEW YORK

Can Outside Organizations Help Schools?
WIVB, NY, May 6, 2011
Outside organizations now have an open invitation to step in and help turn around Buffalo’s struggling public schools.

Bill Would Help Charter Schools for At-Risk Students
New York Times, NY, May 6, 2011
When Mansoor Kapasi first began taking his students to chess tournaments, the other parents wondered if they were part of a gang.

OHIO

Budget Adds Teacher-Pay Changes
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 6, 2011
Voting along party lines yesterday, the Ohio House approved a new two-year state budget after Democrats tried unsuccessfully to remove language that is similar to performance-pay provisions also included in Senate Bill 5, the collective-bargaining bill.

OKLAHOMA

Proposed Tax Credit In Oklahoma For Private School Scholarships Could Go To Wealthy
The Oklahoman, OK, May 6, 2011
A proposed tax credit, touted as an opportunity for low-income children to attend a private school of their choice on a scholarship, would be available to any middle-class family in Oklahoma and many wealthy families as well.

PENNSYLVANIA

SRC Must Change
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 6, 2011
People are rightly questioning whether the Philadelphia School Reform Commission is fulfilling its role as an independent watchdog of the district’s operations.

NORTH CAROLINA

A Worthwhile Option for Progress in Public Education
Carolina Journal, NC, May 6, 2011
The school-choice movement in North Carolina and many other states has generated much effort and focus on charter schools, tax credits, and vouchers. Meanwhile, another means of achieving progress in educational choice has gone fairly overlooked: public school open enrollment.

A Seamless Success And A Race To The Top In Education
Fayetteville Observer, NC, May 6, 2011
The North Carolina Race to the Top federal grant provides the state with $399 million to be spent over a four-year period, ending with the 2013-2014 school year.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Implementing Virtual School Bill Has Polk Officials Worried
The Ledger, FL, May 5, 2011
Polk County School District officials are concerned about legislation that would require students entering high school next year take one course online in order to graduate.

Charter Virtual School To Make Debut Here This Fall
Barron News Shield, WI, May 6, 2011
About 12 years ago, students began engaging in a different type of education: virtual schooling. They were completing courses online, in a virtual, or online, community. A few years ago, more and more virtual schools started popping up around the U.S. , and today, a significant number of school districts are working to develop chartered virtual schools – including Barron.

Cool in School: Online Classes Help With Family Balance
KARE 11, MN, May 5, 2011
Luke Schneider doesn’t worry about catching the bus, standing in long lines at lunch or passing time in the hallway of his high school. No one disrupts his classes, either.

Online School Grows in Oklahoma
KTUL, OK, May 5, 2011
Technology is changing the way your children are learning. For years, colleges have offered online courses and degrees. Now it seems your student could graduate from high school without ever stepping foot in a classroom. NewsChannel 8′s Kim Jackson says this revolutionary curriculum may surprise even the most modern parents.

State, National Results Mixed: Latest Results on Nation’s Report Card Underscore Uniquely American Problem

While increased student achievement is and should be the major goal of school reform efforts, recent data revealing our students’ lagging civics knowledge – particularly in a time of increased international and national uncertainty – stands out as a continual black mark on the US and thus on its economic and national security.

According to an evaluation of civics test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, students are not learning the skills critical to being responsible citizens in America’s democracy.

“We as a nation are well below our goal,” said Jeanne Allen, president of The Center for Education Reform (CER). “How can we compete in a global society when student’s fail at understanding the foundation of the American political system? Meanwhile students in other countries are required to master their nation’s history as a condition of graduation.”

Compared to 1998, fourth graders in 2010 gained 4 points to post a 27 percent proficiency rate in civics, while 12th graders declined a few points to 24 percent. That means that nearly three quarters of all US students cannot correctly answer basic questions about their nation, its laws and practices. While fourth graders posted the highest civics score since 1998, high school seniors in 2010 scored lower than in 2006. Eighth graders showed no significant change in overall score.

About the Civics Assessment: Students were tested on three interrelated components: civic knowledge, intellectual and participatory skills, and civic dispositions. Results were reported as average scores on a 0 to 300 scale and as percentages of students scoring at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. The majority of students in each grade have only been performing at Basic level. Proficient level is widely recognized as grade level.

In other news, results from Florida’s annual test, the FCAT, showed continued gains and increased mastery on the writing assessment. These state tests mirror NAEP results earlier this year, when Florida students were part of the first computer based writing assessment. While writing isn’t civics, it is clear that states that implement significant reforms in choice and accountability see better student performance.

Daily Headlines for May 4, 2011

The Missing School Reform: Improving Leadership
Houston Chronicle, TX, May 3, 2011
The former D.C. schools superintendent, Michelle Rhee, is in Houston today to promote education reform. Her visit is timely: Across America, there is a growing consensus on choice, standards and accountability.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

Deasy Proposes Overhaul For Campus Reform
Los Angeles Daily News, CA, May 3, 2011
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy is proposing to overhaul the district’s Public School Choice reform program, eliminating a controversial public vote and limiting the campuses that can be included.

COLORADO

In Search Of Black Teachers
Colorado Education News, CO, May 3, 2011
When Malcinia Conley attended Montbello High School in the early ‘80s, she was inspired by the black teachers she saw at the front of her classrooms.

Saving Their School; Glade Park Gets Boost from D51 School Board
KKCO-TV, CO, May 3, 2011
As they fight to keep their school open, residents of Glade Park received some good news Tuesday night. The District 51 School Board gave them the green light to move forward with becoming a charter school.

School Voucher Program A Hit
KMGH Denver, CO, May 3, 2011
Douglas County’s school voucher program will likely go to a lottery system to handle high demand.

ILLINOIS

Illinois Lawmakers Considering New School Voucher Bill
FOX Chicago News, IL, May 3, 2011
Springfield, Ill. – This week, Illinois lawmakers will once again vote on a school voucher plan. This time, the bill would create a pilot program in Chicago that would offer students in the worst public schools a voucher that they could use for tuition at a private school.

MICHIGAN

DPS Charter School Bids Roll In
Detroit Free Press, MI, May 3, 2011
The ambitious plan to convert as many as 45 Detroit Public Schools to charter schools has attracted bids from 18 companies, a few of which have run high-achieving charter schools and several that have operated failing local schools.

Michigan Leaders Make Mockery of Public Schools
Livingston Daily, MI, May 4, 2011
If elected officials had gone to Lansing with the sole purpose of dismantling public education, it’s difficult to see how they could have been more destructive than the actual politicians – governors and lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats – who seem hell-bent on financially destroying Michigan school systems.

MINNESOTA

Charter Schools Retain Backup Authorizers
Winona Daily News, MN, May 4, 2011
Two local charter schools are each one step away from signing on with new state-mandated authorizers.

NEVADA

Parents Wait In Line For Charter School Enrollment
Lahontan Valley News, NV, May 3, 2011
Joe and Terry DeVault stood among more than 100 people bundled in thick winter coats and blankets Saturday morning as they waited their turn in line to enroll their granddaughter, Lola Wheeler, at Oasis Academy Charter School.

NEW JERSEY

Christie Picks Newark Schools Chief
Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2011
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has selected Cami Anderson, a top New York City schools official, to lead the state-run Newark Public School system, according to several people with knowledge of the selection.

Evaluating School Principals: The “Other” Educators
NJ Spotlight, NJ, May 4, 2011
Gov. Christie has made teacher evaluation a hot-button issue, but his proposed changes will also affect more than 2,000 New Jersey school principals.

NEW YORK

Speakers Blast Charter Application for College and Careers Girls Prep High School
The Niagara Gazette, NY, May 3, 2011
Plans for a new charter school in Niagara Falls were greeted with stiff opposition from a majority of speakers who attended a public hearing on Tuesday.

Should State Take Over Buffalo Schools?
WIVB, NY, May 3, 2011
Is it time for New York State to take over the Buffalo School District? Parents, educators and state lawmakers huddled Tuesday night to determine what to do about failing grades and low graduation rates.

OHIO

Columbus Schools To Test State’s ‘Takeover’ Plan
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 4, 2011
Columbus City Schools will become the testing ground for a new program allowing parents to initiate a takeover of the state’s worst-performing school buildings, under the latest changes yesterday to the two-year budget.

OREGON

Eugene School Choice Lottery Differs from Years Past
KEZI TV, OR, May 3, 2011
Every year, Eugene 4J holds a lottery to give parents a chance to pick which school their child goes to. But this year’s lottery was special because of all the schools that are closing.

PENNSYLVANIA

Phila. Parents Outraged By Planned Cuts
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 4, 2011
Six-year-old Madeline Church knew why she sat in the stuffy auditorium of Meredith Elementary School, a handmade sign taped to her white T-shirt, listening to a whole lot of grown-ups make speeches.

RHODE ISLAND

Toxic Reform Movement Demonizes Teachers
Providence Journal, RI, May 4, 2011
To Diane Ravitch, one of the nation’s most influential writers on education, nearly everything about Rhode Island’s current path of school reform is wrong. Worst of all, she says, the debate over how to improve schools has turned toxic, “demonizing and belittling” teachers.

SOUTH CAROLINA

6 Local Groups Eye New Schools
Post and Courier, SC, May 4, 2011
Six of the 20 community groups that have filed applications to open new public charter schools in South Carolina want to serve the Charleston community.

TENNESSEE

Success Story at BTW
Commercial Appeal, TN, May 4, 2011
Wherever President Barack Obama decides to deliver the high school commencement address this spring, Memphis ‘ Booker T. Washington has delivered an effective message to anyone following the White House 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.

Legislation Will End Union Monopoly In Education
The Tennessean, TN, May 4, 2011
Teaching is the most important profession in America today. The future of our state and nation will be determined by the quality of education our students receive. Tennessee has earned the dubious honor of placing 46th in the nation for student achievement.

UTAH

School Innovation
Salt Lake Tribune, UT, May 4, 2011
A popular criticism of public schools is that they do not innovate; they are so mired in “the way we already do it” that they fail to search for better methods, try them out and adopt the best.

WISCONSIN

Whose School Is It Anyway? Under Proposal, Taxpayers Could Pay For Experimental Charter Schools
Capital Times, WI, May 4, 2011
Kaleem Caire has spent much of the last year making a passionate, personal and controversial pitch for a publicly funded male-only charter school called Madison Preparatory that would operate independently of the Madison Metropolitan School District. It aims to serve primarily minority boys in grades six through 12 and their families.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Report: 6 Blended Learning Models Emerge
T.H.E. Journal, May 4, 2011
A report released this week identified six emerging models for blended learning in K-12, ranging from guided online instruction in the classroom to “self-blended” models where students take courses a la carte.

Digital Learning To Expand
Imperial Valley Press, CA, May 4, 2011
Calexico High School is expanding its use of technology in the classrooms this year through a federal grant and is the only school in the district using digital learning at its level, school officials said.

Daily Headlines for May 3, 2011

The Evidence Is In: School Vouchers Work
Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2011
A study published last year found that D.C. voucher recipients had graduation rates of 91%. That’s significantly higher than the public school average of 56%.

Lawmakers Must Shield School Choice Reforms From Lawsuits
Forbes, May 3, 2011
As events in Washington, D.C., dominated headlines this spring, potentially historic education reforms in many state legislatures have gone largely unnoticed. Bills supporting parental choice through vouchers or tax credits have received unprecedented support in more than 20 state legislatures.

Spellings: Politics, Lack Of Knowledge Hurt School Reform
The Washington Times, DC, May 2, 2011
Ten years ago, former President George W. Bush’s signature education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act, garnered strong bipartisan support and passed the Senate on an 87-10 vote.

FROM THE STATES

COLORADO

Charters’ Challenge
Pueblo Chieftain, CO, May 3, 2011
TWO SCHOOLS in Pueblo West plan to give their students new opportunities for learning starting with the fall term. Both are District 70 public schools.

FLORIDA

Editorial: Education Reform?
Ocala, FL, May 3, 2011
Legislative observers are declaring 2011 one of the most significant years ever in setting Florida’s long-term educational direction. Sen. Dan Gaetz, R-Niceville, a former school superintendent and one of the Legislature’s most respected voices on education matters, went so far as to call this year’s educational policy moves “a sea change” for our state.

Florida House Tackles Education Issues as Final Week Begins
Sunshine State News, FL, May 3, 2011
As they approach Friday’s end-of-session, Florida House members tackled education issues Monday as part of their agenda, expanding school choice options and passing a measure reforming the Miami-Dade School Board.

GEORGIA

Cherokee Charter School Sets Lottery Date
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, May 1, 2011
The new Cherokee Charter Academy will hold a lottery in mid-May to determine which of the 2,400 applicants will fill the school’s 710 available slots.

INDIANA

Education Reforms Will Affect Futures Of Schools, Students And Teachers
Indianapolis Star, IN, May 3, 2011
When the dust settled at the end of the 2011 legislative session Friday, what emerged was a menu of education reforms that could take Indiana into new frontiers.

MASSACHUSETTS

New Lawrence Schools Receive Charters
Eagle Tribune, MA, May 3, 2011
Two new charter schools set to open in Lawrence have received their official school charters.

MAINE

Maine Lawmakers Consider California-Style “Parent Trigger” Law
MPBN, ME, May 1, 2011
Gov. Paul LePage’s administration believes more school choice is essential, if Maine is to boost the workforce and college readiness of its young people. In Augusta this afternoon, lawmakers and others debated school choice bills, including a Maine version of California’s contentious parent trigger law.

NORTH CAROLINA

Sen. Kay Hagan Announces Plans To Turn Around Schools
Herald-Sun, NC, May 3, 2011
Sen. Kay Hagan, at a Durham high school with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Rep. David Price, on Monday announced her plans to introduce legislation aimed at turning around low-performing schools.

OKLAHOMA

4 School Districts Served With Lawsuit Over Henry Scholarships
Tulsa World, OK, May 3, 2011
Four Tulsa-area school districts were served Monday with a lawsuit filed a week ago by parents claiming that their children with special needs were denied private-school scholarships under a new law.

PENNSYLVANIA

In Philly, An Incubator For Students’ Start-Up Ideas
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 3, 2011
On a recent afternoon, two young entrepreneurs were brainstorming names for the online dress shop they were starting, playing as usual off each other’s strengths.

New Plan Drawn Up To Attract More To Single-Gender Schools
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, May 3, 2011
For months, Pittsburgh Public Schools has been trying to persuade students in grades 6-12 this fall to choose new single-gender academies at Pittsburgh Westinghouse in Homewood.

VIRGINIA

School Choice Again Offered to D.J. Montague Parents
Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, VA, May 3, 2011
Parents of students at D.J. Montague Elementary School will again have a chance to choose whether to stay or leave the school next year.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Florida House Passes Virtual Learning Expansion
Miami Herald, FL, May 2, 3011
The Florida House has passed legislation to expand virtual learning in the state. The chamber voted 98-19 for the bill (HB 7197) on Monday. It goes to the Senate where an identical measure (SB 1620) is awaiting floor action.

Daily Headlines for May 2, 2011

Do American Students Study Too Hard?
Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2011
A new documentary argues that kids these days memorize too many facts. Go figure.

School Choice and Urban Diversity
Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2011
Many more middle-class parents would live in big cities if they could pick the public schools their kids attend.

How Schools Can Help Struggling Students
New York Times, NY, May 1, 2011
In his April 26 column, “The Limits of School Reform,” Joe Nocera uses the case of one 13-year-old to illustrate how the education system fails one child, and not because he did not have a caring, skilled teacher or supportive school, but rather because socioeconomic background and personal issues “vastly outweigh what goes on in school” in determining students’ success or failure.

Back to School for the Billionaires
Newsweek, May 1, 2011
They hoped their cash could transform failing classrooms. They were wrong. NEWSWEEK investigates what their money bought.

Parents Risk Jail For A Good School
Kansas City Star, MO, May 1, 2011
When I hear larceny, the last thing I think about is someone stealing an education.
But these days, despite shrinking school districts, mass teacher layoffs and blatant education inequality, parents can face jail time for lying about where they live so their child can go to a good school.

School Reform Best Path To High-Paying Jobs
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, May 1, 2011
The president and Congress have many important items on their agenda: wars, deficits, gas prices, energy policy and more. However, no list of key issues is complete without adding education reform. Improving the performance of American students strengthens our economy, increases our productivity and ability to innovate, and creates high paying jobs.

FROM THE STATES

ALABAMA

Lawmakers Consider Charter School Proposal
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, May 1, 2011
Republicans including then- Gov. Bob Riley pushed hard a year ago for legislation that would allow charter schools in the state, but the Alabama Edu¬cation Association and Demo¬crats in the Legislature killed the proposal before it ever started moving.

CALIFORNIA

Public Education And Private Money May Prove A Mixed Bag
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 1, 2011
We support taking private dollars to help make ends meet. But there is reason for concern when a slate of top positions is filled through the largesse of private citizen benefactors

FLORIDA

Why Parents Favor Charters – 2 Points Of View
Orlando Sentinel, FL, May 1, 2011
Karen Hankins makes the half-hour drive from her home in the Clarcona area each morning to take her three children to Nap Ford charter school in downtown Orlando.

Senate-Passed Measure Put Charter Visions at Odds
St. Petersburg Times, FL, May 1, 2011
There are two competing visions of charter schools in Florida – one rosy, and one far darker.

GEORGIA

Charter Schools Gain Traction In Midstate
Macon Telegraph, GA, May 1, 2011
While the fate of state-approved charter schools all over Georgia remains in limbo, charter schools with local backing are gaining more prominence in the midstate.

ILLINOIS

Parent Power
Chicago Tribune, IL, April 30, 2011
A trigger law or policy would harness the power of Chicago parents. School officials would be more accountable to deliver better results. The people who run excellent schools would have nothing to fear. Everyone else would be accountable to parents.

LOUISIANA

New Leader of Recovery School District Takes Over Today
Times Picayune, LA, May 1, 2011
Since his days in Jersey City, White, 35, has charged up the ranks of a nationwide reform movement aimed at eliminating those sorts of obstacles. Today, he officially takes over as head of the Louisiana Recovery School District, a job that gives him oversight of most New Orleans public schools.

MASSACHUSSETTS

A Calculated Risk Taken, Rewarded
Boston Globe, MA, May 1, 2011
After enduring growing pains, charter school set to graduate its first class

MICHIGAN

New Rules for Schools — State Must Do More Groundwork to Make Competition Work for Students
Detroit Free Press, MI, May 1, 2011
Strip away the frills and Gov. Rick Snyder’s plans to revamp education in Michigan boil down to one word: competition.

NEVADA

It’s Not Multiple Choice
Las Vegas Sun, NV, May 2, 2011
Improving education is more complex than many simplistic plans suggest

NEW YORK

The $100 Million School That Could Remake Harlem
New York Post, NY, April 30, 2011
It’s a $100 million holistic Harlem complex meant to combine the latest research on how to provide the best education to kids in poor communities, which means going beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

Brizard’s Departure Should Be A Wake-Up Call
Democrat and Chronicle, NY, May 1, 2011
City school reform is now into its fourth decade and the schools are poorer, more segregated and more educationally dysfunctional than ever.

A New Measure for Classroom Quality
New York Times, NY, May 1, 2011
OF
all the goals of the education reform movement, none is more elusive than developing an objective method to assess teachers. Studies show that over time, test scores do not provide a consistent means of separating good from bad instructors.

NORTH CAROLINA

Fuzzy Math Muddles School Choice Debate
Times and Democrat, NC, May 2, 2011
In every profession there are certain tools. No one would tolerate a dentist who scraped plaque with wire strippers or an auto mechanic reaching for a scroll saw rather than a wrench to tighten belts.

OHIO

Pay for Performance
Toledo Blade, OH, May 2, 2011
AMONG the many groups that oppose Ohio’s new collective-bargaining law for public employees, none are more adamant than teachers unions. The law would replace salary schedules that reward longevity and advanced degrees with a merit system that supposedly is based on teacher performance.

Charter Backer Says House Proposal Weakens Oversight
Columbus Dispatch, OH, April 30, 2011
A leading school-choice supporter says the sweeping changes proposed by House Republicans would weaken oversight of charter schools severely and threaten to turn Ohio into a “laughingstock of the nation’s charter-school programs.”

OKLAHOMA

Tax Credit Scholarship Bill Could Be Improved
The Oklahoman, OK, May 1, 2011
THE best thing that could happen for Oklahoma’s schoolchildren is education reform so bold and innovative that it wouldn’t matter if they lived in a poor neighborhood or a rich one, or in a school district that had a good reputation or a bad one.

PENNSYLVANIA

KIPP Charter Schools Open Up To Invite Credibility
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 2, 2011
Against a backdrop of scandals at other Philadelphia charter schools, one charter organization has devised its own system to provide more accountability.

Corbett Praises Chester Community Charter School
Gant Daily, PA, May 2, 2011
Gov. Tom Corbett toured the Chester Community Charter School, telling students that “having a choice means having a chance.”

Schuylkill County Schools Bristle At Notion Of Vouchers
Republican Herald, PA, May 2, 2011
In addition to proposing solutions to the $2.8 million deficit in its 2011-12 budget, the Blue Mountain school board also took a stand against part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget plan Thursday night.

RHODE ISLAND

Two R.I. Teachers’ Unions Rally To Bolster Morale And Defend Their Profession
Providence Journal, RI, May 1, 2011
Held at the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island, the day was designed to reinvigorate Rhode Island classroom teachers dispirited by the far-reaching debate about how to improve schools, a national conversation that often feels like an attack on teachers, said Larry Purtill, NEARI’s president.

VIRGINIA

Meritorious Teachers
The Free Lance-Star, VA, May 1, 2011
HARD WORK should be rewarded. That’s a universal principle applicable at all levels of the education process. But is Gov. McDonnell’s merit-pay pilot program for teachers well-founded.

WISCONSIN

UWM Getting Results In Charter School World
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, April 30, 2011
UWM holds its 12 charter schools accountable and is getting promising results

Bill Would Give Disabled Students Vouchers For Private Schools
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, May 1, 2011
Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow students with disabilities living anywhere in the state to attend private schools at taxpayers’ expense.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

School Board Wants To Put Dropouts Back In The Classroom
Ocala Star-Banner, FL, May 1, 2011
The Marion County School Board wants to partner with a national dropout retrieval company called Alternatives Unlimited to find local high school dropouts and help them get their diplomas.

Online Students Better Connected
Times Leader, PA, April 30, 2011
Public cyber charter school opens NEPA site, giving kids more access to teachers.

Online Classes Helped Ill Woonsocket Teen Earn High School Diploma
Providence Journal, RI, May 1, 2011
In his 17 years, Daniel Collin McNulty has missed more days of school than he has attended, spending weeks at a time in the hospital battling illnesses caused by autoimmune diseases.

Legislators Seek To Cap School Realty Tax Increases
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, May 2, 2011
Momentum is growing in the General Assembly for legislation that would prevent your local school district from significantly increasing your property taxes without your say.