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Daily Headlines for September 20, 2011

New Research: School Choice Has Positive Impact On College Achievement Gap
Daily Caller, DC, September 20, 2011
On Monday the National Bureau of Economic Research released a working paper written by Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown University researchers, providing “the first evidence of the impact of school choice on the college achievement gap.”

FROM THE STATES

ARKANSAS

Lawyers For Little Rock Schools Tell Court State Shouldn’t Cut Off $70M In Desegregation Funds
Washington Post, DC, September 19, 2011
A decades-old fight over school integration in Arkansas entered a federal appeals court Monday, with the state and three school districts tussling over whether taxpayers should still have to fund desegregation efforts that have cost the state more than $1 billion.

CALIFORNIA

Judge Rules In Favor Of Charter Taking Over Two L.A. Schools
Los Angeles Times Blog, CA, September 19, 2011
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the city school district can allow an outside group to run two long-struggling campuses.

FLORIDA

A.A. Dixon Charter School Hoping For Miracle
Pensacola News Journal, FL, September 20, 2011
At today’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Malcolm Thomas will recommend that the board vote to close the school after 90 days. But, in a letter sent Monday, the Rev. LuTimothy May, chairman of A.A. Dixon’s governing board, pleaded with the School Board to give the charter school another chance.

More Than 1,100 Students Transfer From Failing Schools
Orlando Sentinel, FL, September 19, 2011
More than 1,100 students chose to transfer out of failing schools in Central Florida this fall as part of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Most were elementary and middle school students.

GEORGIA

State Appeals No Child Left Behind
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, September 20, 2011
Georgia today will become one of the first states to seek relief from a controversial federal law that measures the success of public schools almost exclusively through students’ CRCT scores.

Morgan Stands Behind ‘No’ Vote On Charter School
Marietta Daily Journal, GA, September 20, 2011
Cobb County School board member David Morgan said he stands by his decision to vote against renewing a charter school petition for Imagine International Academy of Mableton despite the school’s efforts to hold town hall meetings and attend school board meetings the last three months.

INDIANA

NWI Slighted When New Board Formed
The Times, IN, September 20, 2011
The proliferation of charter schools in Northwest Indiana should have earned the region a seat on the new Indiana Charter School Board.

Meetings Set This Week On School Takeovers
Indianapolis Star, IN, September 20, 2011
Meetings today and Wednesday will offer information on two Indianapolis Public Schools headed for state takeovers.

LOUISIANA

RSD Audit Notes Strides, Calls For More Oversight
Houston Chronicle, TX, September 19, 2011
A state audit report says that Louisiana’s Recovery School District, which takes over failing schools from local districts, has boosted performance at most of its schools while improving graduation rates, but adds that the district needs to improve its monitoring of schools it has turned over to independent charter organizations.

Audit Knocks Recovery School District On Oversight; Gives Good Grades On Academic Performance
Times Picayune, LA, September 19, 2011
The state’s Recovery School District , an agency in charge of most public schools in New Orleans , has not provided tough enough oversight on academics, finances or legal compliance for the charter schools it oversees according to a Legislative audit released Monday.

MARYLAND

City Schools Launch Attendance Campaign
Baltimore Sun, MD, September 19, 2011
Clutching a portfolio and a messenger bag with a city schools logo, Monique Robbins knew her unannounced visit to the homes of chronically absent students in West Baltimore on a recent misty evening might seem ominous.

MASSACHUSETTS

City, Charter Schools Reach New Accord
Boston Globe, MA, September 20, 2011
The Boston School Committee approved a historic agreement last night to establish greater cooperation between the city and independent charter schools, in an effort to provide more students across the city with a stronger education.

BTU Not to Blame
Boston Herald, MA, September 20, 2011
Your call for the Boston Teachers Union to “become part of the future” by doing business the charter school way is Pollyannaish at best (“Charters up, BTU stalls,” Sept. 17).

MICHIGAN

Ionia School Board Adopts Merit Pay Plan
Sentinel-Standard, MI, September 19, 2011
Members of the Ionia Public Schools Board of Education approved a motion to adopt a merit pay plan, which is required due to new state legislation.

NEW JERSEY

Imagine Schools Fail Their Students
St. Louis Beacon, MO, September 19, 2011
Simply put, a charter is a contract to improve student achievement. The Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) commends the charter public schools in the state who are honoring this contract and operating in the best interest of the students they serve. MCPSA is, however, deeply concerned…

Teachers Union Accepts Evaluation Program
Daily Record, NJ, September 19, 2011
It may be too early to call it détente, but the state’s largest teachers union has told local chapters to cooperate with a state pilot program that will help create a new evaluation system for teachers.

Fine-Tuning a Controversial Tenure Proposal — Quietly
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, September 20, 2011
The Democrats’ leading bill to change teacher tenure in New Jersey is unlikely to get another public viewing until after the election, but its chief sponsor has begun a series of private meetings to fine-tune and amend the controversial measure.

NEW MEXICO

Schools About To Take Up New Alignment
Albuquerque Journal, NM, September 20, 2011
On Wednesday, at the NMAA’s next board meeting, one of the discussion items on the agenda deals indirectly with future alignment, starting with the next block which begins with the 2014-15 school year.

PENNSYLVANIA

Entire SRC Ought To Resign
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, September 20, 2011
Here’s hoping the resignation of city School Reform Commission Chairman Robert L. Archie has sent the right message to the remaining SRC members, who ought to follow him out the door.

Local Schools Districts Will Try Pilot Program To Evaluate New Educators
York Daily Record, PA, September 20, 2011
Two York County districts have volunteered to participate in the state’s pilot program for a new teacher evaluation system.

It’s Time for School Choice
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, September 20, 2011
Shortly after doctors performed a high-risk heart-liver transplant on Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the governor reflected on his career in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “I would run for a third term if I could because I would like to work on some issues that I have been unable to accomplish, such as tax reform and school choice.

WASHINGTON

Teacher Talks Continue
News Tribune, WA, September 20, 2011
Striking Tacoma teachers pedaled around the city on a “bike strike” Monday, while a Pierce County judge threatened to authorize hiring replacement workers in an effort to end a standoff that has closed schools for a sixth day as of this morning.

WISCONSIN

Grading Our Teachers: Administrators, Teachers Doubt Need Or Ability To Make Big Changes To Job Evaluation Process
Wausau Daily Herald, WI, September 20, 2011
But don’t expect a revolution, with immediate reforms such as tying student academic progress to teacher evaluations, creating a merit pay system for educators and using a more in-depth evaluation system.

Despite Changes, Charter School Expansion Bill Faces A Headwind
Capital Times Blog, WI, September 20, 2011
A controversial bill that would create an independent, statewide authorizing board for charter schools is facing a tougher path now that Republicans have a razor thin 17-16 edge in the Wisconsin Senate.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Online Grade Schools Becoming a Popular Alternative
CNBC, September 19, 2011
Overall, more than half a million students are learning online full-time in the U.S. , according to education researcher Ambient Insight. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have virtual schools, while 29 states offer full-time online schools.

Tri-City Christian Offering Online Courses
Fosters Daily Democrat, NH, September 20, 2011
Tri-City Christian Academy recently announced the addition of online courses to its core curriculum in the school’s continued pursuit of delivering a dynamic Christian educational program that best prepares its students for the demands of the marketplace contemplating both the trades and professional career paths.

Local Teen a ‘Cyber Student’ at School of Science and Math
McDowell News, NC, September 19, 2011
A McDowell teenager is blazing a new trail in science education. Nebo’s Courtney Buchanan is now studying at the North Carolina School of Science and Math(NCSSM) from the comfort of McDowell High School and her home.

Spartanburg County Public Virtual School Students Trade Physical Classroom For Online One
Herald Journal, GA, September 19, 2011
No backpacks. No books. No bulletin board or rows of desks. For students who enroll in the new Spartanburg County Public Virtual School, the only requirement for their “classroom” is a computer and an Internet connection.

State Audit Finds Lower Completion Rates, More Dropouts Among Full-Time Online Students
Minnesota Public Radio, MN, September 19, 2011
A new audit released Monday from the Office of Legislative Auditor finds enrollment in online courses is booming. But it also raises concerns about how well those students perform in that setting, and also how the state regulates the entire venture.

Why Online Classes Are Needed
The Coeur d’ Alene Press, ID, September 19, 2011
According to the leaders of Idaho’s education labor union, the Idaho Education Association (IEA), online education is wrong for Idaho students. If you have followed the testimony offered at the public hearings, recently held around the state, you might have come away with the same belief. In reality, the union’s objection to digital learning has nothing to do with the quality of education. It has everything to do with the union’s desire to maintain its monopoly.