Digital Learning Now! – Roadmap To Reform

Digital Learning Now!, a national campaign to encourage the creation of high quality online learning programs, releases Roadmap for Reform, a report aiming to guide Governors, state leaders, school officials, and lawmakers as they adopt policies to transform education for the digital age. The document defines 72 explicit measures within the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning framework that, when taken all together, will revolutionize education throughout the United States.

The 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning are organized around three general areas: customization and success for all students, a robust offering of
high quality options and infrastructure.

The ten elements are:
1. Student Access
2. No Barriers To Access
3. Personalized Learning
4. Advancement (According to progress achieved)
5. Quality Content
6. Quality Instruction
7. Quality Choices (access to multiple digital learning providers)
8. Assessment and Accountability
9. Funding
10. Infrastructure

These “10 Elements” were unveiled in 2010 at a National Summit on Education Reform, and were fashioned by the Digital Learning Council, which convened the same year. Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, and Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia, are co-chairs on this council that brought together over 100 leaders from education, government, philanthropy, business, technology, and think tanks.

To help states get started on reform, the Digital Learning Now! initiative created a state report card based on the “10 Elements” framework. Check out what an ideal state’s digital report card looks like, and compare how your state stacks up.

In the coming weeks you’ll also be able to go to the Center for Education Reform’s State Map to see how digital learning factors into the overall rating and general education weather forecast for your state.

Waivers from NCLB Proficiency Requirement – What it Means and What People Are Saying

President Obama declared that states who were willing to set higher standards, revamp teacher evaluations, and overhaul their lowest performing schools can apply for waivers from certain parts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), including the 2014 100% proficiency deadline. The waivers have been discussed for a few months, given that Congress has not come to an agreement on how to rewrite the NCLB law, which is past due for reauthorization. One of the big points of contention was that in the original law, children in every state had to be 100% proficient by 2014 under state-determined standards in reading and math, or states risked punishment and requirements to “fix” their schools by various means.

Since the law hasn’t been reauthorized and the prospects for that happening on a bipartisan basis grow increasingly dimmer as we enter an election year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama felt waivers based on states committing to certain ideas of high standards were the only way to provide relief to the states. This isn’t the first time the President rewarded states that promised to change their standards, teacher evaluations, or reform policies. Race to the Top was a grant competition based on states willing to push for reform, although the best intentions did not bring about the best results.

The big question is whether or not granting these waivers, but only for states that pledge to pursue the President’s policy reform agenda by agreeing to various conditions not part of the statutory waiver process, is legal. It is legal for Secretary Duncan to issue waivers, but it is unclear if they can be tied to reforms not authorized by Congress.

Debate will continue on this issue, with some education reformers supporting the efforts, and some opposing them.

Chiefs for Change, a coalition of state school chiefs working to advance an education reform agenda in their states, support the waivers set forth by the administration. State Superintendents within this group include Deborah Gist of Rhode Island, Gerard Robinson of Florida, and Tony Bennett of Indiana. This group issued a statement in support of the Administration’s decision. “We applaud both the flexibility waivers will grant states and districts and the reforms the Administration’s waiver policy will reward.” Because many of the states in this coalition have led the charge for education reform and have already reached many of the goals laid out by Sec. Duncan, they are pleased not to be penalized under the old NCLB law. While they see it as a chance to move forward with the reauthorization of ESEA without worry about 100% proficiency, others see waivers as a detriment to education reform.

Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, believes that issuing these waivers will actually detract from the education reform bills House Republicans are currently advancing to re-issue NCLB and improve charter schools. He issued a statement after the waiver announcement and says his main concern is that the “proposal could mean less transparency, new federal regulations, and greater uncertainty for students, teachers, and state and local officials.”

While Rep. Kline and other Republicans understand the urgent need to reform the education system in the United States, they are fearful of what will happen to these plans for reform if the federal government continues to create requirements, incentives, and additional regulations and burdens on states and superintendents. He believes, as do others, that it’s a controversial plan with no positive side effects now or long-term.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wrote an op-ed, which appeared in the New York Times on Tuesday, September 27, echoing the concerns of Rep. Kline that the federal government is putting too many regulations on states. Earlier this month, Sen. Alexander, and other Republicans introduced a set of bills to reauthorize NCLB that would put more responsibility on the states to reform education and be held accountable for results. Many legislators believe that now is the time to focus on working together to reauthorize ESEA to move education forward in the U.S. and not to worry about state-specific agendas.

Daily Headlines for October 31, 2011

Evidence Isn’t Good On Charter Schools
Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2011
Perhaps the NAACP opposes replacing public schools with charter schools because the data are not as clear-cut as your editorial “Charters and Minority Progress” (Oct. 21) suggests.

Rethinking Education Reform
San Diego News Tribune, CA, October 30, 2011
The simple answer is yes. A high-quality education might be priceless in today’s economy. But it doesn’t have to be overly expensive to provide.

Congress in the Classroom
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 31, 2011
Illinois’ latest school report cards are dismal. Of 666 public high schools, only eight — that’s not a misprint, eight — met federal standards for reading and math. Scores declined to a record low. Elementary and middle schools fared better than the high schools, but six in 10 still missed the mark.

STATE COVERAGE

Survey: Alaskans Approve of School Choice Program
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK, October 30, 2011
A recent survey suggests Alaskans approve of the idea of school choice, which would provide state tuition vouchers for families whose students try alternatives to regular public schools.

MIT Charter School Plots Course Toward Renewal
Times Herald, CA, October 30, 2011
Indeed, MIT is technically also Vallejo’s second charter school, as two separate charters were approved for its middle and high school programs. Now, a dozen years after its creation and several temporary locations, MIT’s charter is again up next week for re-authorization.

Charter School Debate Sparks Power Struggle on Mt. Diablo School Board
Contra Costa Times, CA, October 30, 2011
A power struggle between Mt. Diablo school board President Gary Eberhart and trustee Cheryl Hansen appears to be unfolding as tensions related to the Clayton Valley High charter proposal continue to rise.

California Teachers Lack The Resources And Time To Teach Science
Los Angeles Times, CA, October 31, 2011
A statewide survey and interviews with LAUSD elementary school teachers and administrators find that students are receiving little hands-on science instruction.

School Board Promises More Scrutiny of Charters
Keynoter, FL, October 29, 2011
Keys School board members this week approved another charter school application, but not before they vowed to look harder at future applications because of a recent shakeup at a Key West charter high school.

West Boynton Neighborhoods Seek Charter Middle, High Schools
Palm Beach Post, FL, October 30, 2011
A group of parents unhappy with the public middle school and high school options in unincorporated western Boynton Beach are close to getting a charter school in their area.

Three New Charter Schools May Open Doors In Collier Next Year
Marco News, FL, October 30, 2011
The number of charter schools in Collier County could double next year, pending final contract agreements with the district’s School Board.

More Choosing Charter Schools; Is It Right For You?
Tampa Tribune, FL, October 31, 2011
More Florida parents are putting their children in charter schools, pushing the state to the forefront of the national charter school movement.

Results Mixed in First Year of Private Management at Cobb Alternative School
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, October 30, 2011
Despite the graduation rate — about 40 percent last year, according to the Georgia Department of Education — officials say the school has shown improvement in some areas since Ombudsman Educational Services assumed management last year.

Charter School Suit Should Have Been Denied, Ruling Says
Star Advertiser, HI, October 30, 2011
The decision affirms that charter schools and their local school boards are state entities and therefore cannot sue other state entities.

In Idaho, Teacher Bonuses Depend On Parents
Associated Press, October 30, 2011
At least 29 school districts statewide have since developed merit pay plans based, at least partly, on parental involvement.

Economy, Changes Cut Interest In Teaching Careers
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 30, 2011
The economy and changes in how teachers are assessed and paid are being blamed for a drop in the number of education majors at many colleges across Indiana.

The Big Chill
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 31, 2011
The report cards for Chicago schools were nothing to take home to mom and dad, either. And yet, what’s consuming the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union these days? A drawn out fight over how long children should be in school.

Year-Round Classes Lift Lindblom
Chicago Sun-Times, IL, October 31, 2011
Chicago Public Schools gained two high schools among the state’s 100 top-scoring ones this year, bringing the system’s total to seven.

Charter Schools Gaining Traction in Jefferson Parish
Times Picayune, LA, October 30, 2011
For 14 years, Louisiana’s first charter school, Jefferson Community School , stood as the lone charter in Jefferson Parish, an alternative campus for middle school students with severe discipline problems.

Communities Struggle With Representation on School Boards
Baltimore Sun, MD, October 29, 2011
When temperatures in the classrooms of Ridgely Middle School reached the high 90s, Julie Sugar and other parents invited Baltimore County school board members to check out the problem. The board members didn’t come — but local lawmakers did.

Merit Pay Plan For District’s Teachers Axed
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, October 29, 2011
The union and district had been developing a new version of Q Comp, which is known as “Pro-Pay” in Burnsville, after the state told them they needed to make changes. Approval was needed from both the school board and union for the program to continue.

Parents Slow To Give Up On Struggling Imagine Schools
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, October 31, 2011
That kind of endorsement has helped the Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc. persuade thousands of parents and grandparents to enroll their children at its six charter schools in St. Louis. Imagine has done so year after year despite those schools posting among the worst standardized exam scores in the city.

Imagine Opens School in Just 21 Days
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, October 31, 2011
In summer 2010, Imagine Schools officials devised a plan to fill a vacant downtown high-rise with a school for gifted and talented children — one intended to draw the brightest kids from Imagine’s three elementary schools and from other schools in the city.

Imagine Schools’ Real Estate Deals Fuel Company Growth
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, October 30, 2011
When students first entered Imagine Academy of Academic Success four years ago, their school was already entangled in a complex series of real estate deals — ones that would divert dollars from their education.

New Jersey’s Residence-Only Law Worries Some Schools
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, October 31, 2011
A new law has quietly gone into effect requiring all new public employees to live in New Jersey , and it is already spooking some in the state’s public schools who rely on out-of-state talent.

Reach a Deal on Tenure Reform
Gloucester County Times, NJ, October 30, 2011
Tenure reform. Fighting words in New Jersey until last week when, happily, the state’s largest teachers’ union offered a new truce of sorts, recommending a change in hidebound tenure laws.

In a Standardized Era, a Creative School Is Forced to Be More So
New York Times, NY, October 31, 2011
No more. Last year, the No Child Left Behind law, which calls for 100 percent proficiency by 2014, caught up with Oyster River. Under the law’s mandates for adequate yearly progress toward that goal, the school was one of 326 public schools in New Hampshire — 69 percent of the total — deemed to be failing.

Charter School Push Grows
Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2011
The rancor that has followed former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz’s attempts to open charter schools across New York City is coming to a place that hasn’t experienced it before: a middle-class neighborhood outside Manhattan.

Wake Educator Charts An Inspiring Path
News Observer, NC, October 30, 2011
In a few weeks, Medley will take applications for the first charter schools to exceed the 100-school cap, in place since the state allowed charter schools 15 years ago.

Charter School Deadline Nears
Winston Salem-Journal, NC, October 30, 2011
The deadline is approaching for potential new charter schools looking to fast-track their applications, now that North Carolina has repealed its charter cap.

Broken School-Funding System Is Showing Cracks In Even The Most Affluent Districts
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, October 29, 201
It’s been obvious for years that Ohio’s method of paying for public schools is broken. Asking hard-pressed property owners to put ever more money in the hat is a recipe for financial gridlock and voter anger.

Districts Must Reward the Best Teachers
Statesman Journal, OR, October 29, 2011
The Oregon Education Association fought the idea of using student performance as a component in teacher evaluations. Now it is saying it would allow it.

School Vouchers: For Some, It’s A Concern About Safety
Patriot News, PA, October 29, 2011
Pennsylvania’s public education system needs help. Every day that passes without enacting meaningful school choice legislation that empowers parents and gives them access to more educational options, countless students slip through the cracks from a future full of hope to a future full of despair.

Vouchers Are Not For the Kids
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 30, 2011
Harrisburg is bankrupt in so many ways, and not just officially. When it comes to helping Philadelphia , funding public schools and social services, or banning assault weapons that have zip to do with hunting Bambi, state legislators barely look up from their BlackBerrys.

Voucher Critics Are Misleading The Public
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, October 30, 2011
The usual suspects have again begun loudly denouncing Gov. Tom Corbett’s push for a second chance at passing education vouchers for poor students in Pennsylvania’s worst 5 percent of public schools.

Choice, Not Federal Gifts, Boosts School Outcomes
The Tennessean, TN, October 30, 2011
In Tennessee, state Sen. Brian Kelsey is sponsoring a bill called the “Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act,” which would give low-income families the power to send their children to the schools of their choice.

School Board To Discuss, Vote On Two Charter School Applications
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, October 31, 2011
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre has recommended the school board reject two applications to start charter schools in Knox County .

Alpine District 7th in Nation for Charter School Growth
Daily Herald, UT, October 30, 2011
Alpine School District has been singled out as one of the areas of fastest charter school growth in the country.

Accountability Necessary for Charter Schools
Leader-Telegram, WI, October 31, 2011
Charter schools have been a welcome addition to Wisconsin’s educational environment. For supporters of education reform, charter schools are a win-win: They are free to adopt curricula that differ from often-rigid public school methods, yet they remain accountable to taxpayers because they answer to local school boards.

State Charter School Bill Full Of Red Flags
Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, WI, October 29, 2011
Currently, public education is experiencing unprecedented levels of state funding reductions. This manifested itself in school district staffing reductions and compensation modifications for employees statewide.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Georgia’s First Online High School Looks To Reverse State Educational Trends Through Technology
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, October 31, 2011
The students at Gwinnett County’s newest high school don’t have to worry about missing the bus or forgetting their locker combinations. They don’t have to worry about hall passes, finding a seat in the cafeteria or making it to their desk before the tardy bell sounds.

Online Schools Offer Learning Virtually Anywhere

South Bend Tribune, IN, October 31, 2011
Every morning, more than 225,000 kids in 27 states roll out of bed and attend public K-12 schools simply by turning on their computers. No waiting for buses. No cliques or bullies. No anxiety about gym class or the cafeteria.

Experts Question Cyber School Legislation
WSJM, MI, October 28, 2011
Legislation now being considered in Lansing would allow full time cyber schools to expand their enrollment in Michigan, but some education experts wonder if those schools have really proven themselves to be effective yet.

Cyber Schools: State Needs More Info On Private Companies
Midland Daily News, MI, October 28, 2011
The Republican-led state Senate recently passed a bill that would allow the opening of more online charter schools. The measure heads to the House now for its OK.

Greenway Boasts High Completion Rates Among Online Consortium
Grand Rapids Herald Review, MN, October 29, 2011
With the increasing popularity of online education for high schoolers, the Greenway School board listened to an annual report from Infinity Online Director Jo McClure. Infinity is the online education consortium which Greenway has been a member since 2004. The district was one of the original members of the consortium when it began.

‘Blended learning’ is Big Hit at Chandler School
KTAR, AZ, October 28, 2011
A pilot program that uses technology alongside teacher instruction is gaining momentum in Chandler .

Daily Headlines for October 31, 2011

Evidence Isn’t Good On Charter Schools
Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2011
Perhaps the NAACP opposes replacing public schools with charter schools because the data are not as clear-cut as your editorial “Charters and Minority Progress” (Oct. 21) suggests.

Rethinking Education Reform
San Diego News Tribune, CA, October 30, 2011
The simple answer is yes. A high-quality education might be priceless in today’s economy. But it doesn’t have to be overly expensive to provide.

Congress in the Classroom
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 31, 2011
Illinois’ latest school report cards are dismal. Of 666 public high schools, only eight — that’s not a misprint, eight — met federal standards for reading and math. Scores declined to a record low. Elementary and middle schools fared better than the high schools, but six in 10 still missed the mark.

STATE COVERAGE

ALASKA

Survey: Alaskans Approve of School Choice Program
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK, October 30, 2011
A recent survey suggests Alaskans approve of the idea of school choice, which would provide state tuition vouchers for families whose students try alternatives to regular public schools.

CALIFORNIA

MIT Charter School Plots Course Toward Renewal
Times Herald, CA, October 30, 2011
Indeed, MIT is technically also Vallejo’s second charter school, as two separate charters were approved for its middle and high school programs. Now, a dozen years after its creation and several temporary locations, MIT’s charter is again up next week for re-authorization.

Charter School Debate Sparks Power Struggle on Mt. Diablo School Board
Contra Costa Times, CA, October 30, 2011
A power struggle between Mt. Diablo school board President Gary Eberhart and trustee Cheryl Hansen appears to be unfolding as tensions related to the Clayton Valley High charter proposal continue to rise.

California Teachers Lack The Resources And Time To Teach Science
Los Angeles Times, CA, October 31, 2011
A statewide survey and interviews with LAUSD elementary school teachers and administrators find that students are receiving little hands-on science instruction.

FLORIDA

School Board Promises More Scrutiny of Charters
Keynoter, FL, October 29, 2011
Keys School board members this week approved another charter school application, but not before they vowed to look harder at future applications because of a recent shakeup at a Key West charter high school.

West Boynton Neighborhoods Seek Charter Middle, High Schools
Palm Beach Post, FL, October 30, 2011
A group of parents unhappy with the public middle school and high school options in unincorporated western Boynton Beach are close to getting a charter school in their area.

More Choosing Charter Schools; Is It Right For You?
Tampa Tribune, FL, October 31, 2011
More Florida parents are putting their children in charter schools, pushing the state to the forefront of the national charter school movement.

GEORGIA

Results Mixed in First Year of Private Management at Cobb Alternative School
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, October 30, 2011
Despite the graduation rate — about 40 percent last year, according to the Georgia Department of Education — officials say the school has shown improvement in some areas since Ombudsman Educational Services assumed management last year.

HAWAII

Charter School Suit Should Have Been Denied, Ruling Says
Star Advertiser, HI, October 30, 2011
The decision affirms that charter schools and their local school boards are state entities and therefore cannot sue other state entities.

IDAHO

In Idaho, Teacher Bonuses Depend On Parents
Associated Press, October 30, 2011
At least 29 school districts statewide have since developed merit pay plans based, at least partly, on parental involvement.

ILLINOIS

Economy, Changes Cut Interest In Teaching Careers
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 30, 2011
The economy and changes in how teachers are assessed and paid are being blamed for a drop in the number of education majors at many colleges across Indiana.

The Big Chill
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 31, 2011
The report cards for Chicago schools were nothing to take home to mom and dad, either. And yet, what’s consuming the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union these days? A drawn out fight over how long children should be in school.

Year-Round Classes Lift Lindblom
Chicago Sun-Times, IL, October 31, 2011
Chicago Public Schools gained two high schools among the state’s 100 top-scoring ones this year, bringing the system’s total to seven.

LOUISIANA

Charter Schools Gaining Traction in Jefferson Parish
Times Picayune, LA, October 30, 2011
For 14 years, Louisiana’s first charter school, Jefferson Community School , stood as the lone charter in Jefferson Parish, an alternative campus for middle school students with severe discipline problems.

MARYLAND

Communities Struggle With Representation on School Boards
Baltimore Sun, MD, October 29, 2011
When temperatures in the classrooms of Ridgely Middle School reached the high 90s, Julie Sugar and other parents invited Baltimore County school board members to check out the problem. The board members didn’t come — but local lawmakers did.

MINNESOTA

Merit Pay Plan For District’s Teachers Axed
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, October 29, 2011
The union and district had been developing a new version of Q Comp, which is known as “Pro-Pay” in Burnsville, after the state told them they needed to make changes. Approval was needed from both the school board and union for the program to continue.

MISSOURI

Parents Slow To Give Up On Struggling Imagine Schools
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, October 31, 2011
That kind of endorsement has helped the Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc. persuade thousands of parents and grandparents to enroll their children at its six charter schools in St. Louis. Imagine has done so year after year despite those schools posting among the worst standardized exam scores in the city.

Imagine Schools’ Real Estate Deals Fuel Company Growth
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, October 30, 2011
When students first entered Imagine Academy of Academic Success four years ago, their school was already entangled in a complex series of real estate deals — ones that would divert dollars from their education.

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey’s Residence-Only Law Worries Some Schools
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, October 31, 2011
A new law has quietly gone into effect requiring all new public employees to live in New Jersey , and it is already spooking some in the state’s public schools who rely on out-of-state talent.

Reach a Deal on Tenure Reform
Gloucester County Times, NJ, October 30, 2011
Tenure reform. Fighting words in New Jersey until last week when, happily, the state’s largest teachers’ union offered a new truce of sorts, recommending a change in hidebound tenure laws.

NEW YORK

In a Standardized Era, a Creative School Is Forced to Be More So
New York Times, NY, October 31, 2011
No more. Last year, the No Child Left Behind law, which calls for 100 percent proficiency by 2014, caught up with Oyster River. Under the law’s mandates for adequate yearly progress toward that goal, the school was one of 326 public schools in New Hampshire — 69 percent of the total — deemed to be failing.

Charter School Push Grows
Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2011
The rancor that has followed former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz’s attempts to open charter schools across New York City is coming to a place that hasn’t experienced it before: a middle-class neighborhood outside Manhattan.

NORTH CAROLINA

Wake Educator Charts An Inspiring Path
News Observer, NC, October 30, 2011
In a few weeks, Medley will take applications for the first charter schools to exceed the 100-school cap, in place since the state allowed charter schools 15 years ago.

Charter School Deadline Nears
Winston Salem-Journal, NC, October 30, 2011
The deadline is approaching for potential new charter schools looking to fast-track their applications, now that North Carolina has repealed its charter cap.

OHIO

Broken School-Funding System Is Showing Cracks In Even The Most Affluent Districts
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, October 29, 201
It’s been obvious for years that Ohio’s method of paying for public schools is broken. Asking hard-pressed property owners to put ever more money in the hat is a recipe for financial gridlock and voter anger.

OREGON

Districts Must Reward the Best Teachers
Statesman Journal, OR, October 29, 2011
The Oregon Education Association fought the idea of using student performance as a component in teacher evaluations. Now it is saying it would allow it.

PENNSYLVANIA

School Vouchers: For Some, It’s A Concern About Safety
Patriot News, PA, October 29, 2011
Pennsylvania’s public education system needs help. Every day that passes without enacting meaningful school choice legislation that empowers parents and gives them access to more educational options, countless students slip through the cracks from a future full of hope to a future full of despair.

Vouchers Are Not For the Kids
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 30, 2011
Harrisburg is bankrupt in so many ways, and not just officially. When it comes to helping Philadelphia , funding public schools and social services, or banning assault weapons that have zip to do with hunting Bambi, state legislators barely look up from their BlackBerrys.

Voucher Critics Are Misleading The Public
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, October 30, 2011
The usual suspects have again begun loudly denouncing Gov. Tom Corbett’s push for a second chance at passing education vouchers for poor students in Pennsylvania’s worst 5 percent of public schools.

TENNESSEE

Choice, Not Federal Gifts, Boosts School Outcomes
The Tennessean, TN, October 30, 2011
In Tennessee, state Sen. Brian Kelsey is sponsoring a bill called the “Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act,” which would give low-income families the power to send their children to the schools of their choice.

School Board To Discuss, Vote On Two Charter School Applications
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, October 31, 2011
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre has recommended the school board reject two applications to start charter schools in Knox County.

UTAH

Alpine District 7th in Nation for Charter School Growth
Daily Herald, UT, October 30, 2011
Alpine School District has been singled out as one of the areas of fastest charter school growth in the country.

WISCONSIN

Accountability Necessary for Charter Schools
Leader-Telegram, WI, October 31, 2011
Charter schools have been a welcome addition to Wisconsin’s educational environment. For supporters of education reform, charter schools are a win-win: They are free to adopt curricula that differ from often-rigid public school methods, yet they remain accountable to taxpayers because they answer to local school boards.

State Charter School Bill Full Of Red Flags
Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, WI, October 29, 2011
Currently, public education is experiencing unprecedented levels of state funding reductions. This manifested itself in school district staffing reductions and compensation modifications for employees statewide.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Georgia’s First Online High School Looks To Reverse State Educational Trends Through Technology
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, October 31, 2011
The students at Gwinnett County’s newest high school don’t have to worry about missing the bus or forgetting their locker combinations. They don’t have to worry about hall passes, finding a seat in the cafeteria or making it to their desk before the tardy bell sounds.

Online Schools Offer Learning Virtually Anywhere

South Bend Tribune, IN, October 31, 2011
Every morning, more than 225,000 kids in 27 states roll out of bed and attend public K-12 schools simply by turning on their computers. No waiting for buses. No cliques or bullies. No anxiety about gym class or the cafeteria.

Experts Question Cyber School Legislation
WSJM, MI, October 28, 2011
Legislation now being considered in Lansing would allow full time cyber schools to expand their enrollment in Michigan, but some education experts wonder if those schools have really proven themselves to be effective yet.

Cyber Schools: State Needs More Info On Private Companies
Midland Daily News, MI, October 28, 2011
The Republican-led state Senate recently passed a bill that would allow the opening of more online charter schools. The measure heads to the House now for its OK.

Greenway Boasts High Completion Rates Among Online Consortium
Grand Rapids Herald Review, MN, October 29, 2011
With the increasing popularity of online education for high schoolers, the Greenway School board listened to an annual report from Infinity Online Director Jo McClure. Infinity is the online education consortium which Greenway has been a member since 2004. The district was one of the original members of the consortium when it began.

‘Blended learning’ is Big Hit at Chandler School
KTAR, AZ, October 28, 2011
A pilot program that uses technology alongside teacher instruction is gaining momentum in Chandler .

Education Policy PhD Program

Education will change in historic ways in the coming decades. Do you want to help make history? The Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas has a Ph.D. program in education policy that might be right for you. Our top fellowships are $32,000 annually, in addition to free tuition. More important, the research our faculty and graduate students conduct is helping change education policy. For example, we evaluated the Washington D.C. voucher program, which was later reauthorized. Our graduate brochure is attached, and you can call Robert Maranto at 479-575-3225 for more information. The application deadline is January 10.

Daily Headlines for October 28, 2011

Proposed Fixes Will Cripple Education Law
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 28, 2011
Legislation that is supposed to fix what’s wrong with the federal No Child Left Behind education law would instead water it down to the point that it would not do an adequate job.

School Choice Making Inroads In Blue States
Daily Caller, DC, October 27, 2011
If you have any doubt that real school choice can reach practically every state in this country, cast those apprehensions aside. School choice is making inroads in big, blue states, and it’s likely coming to a community near you. Need proof? Take a look at the news that just broke last night in Pennsylvania.

Who’s Minding the Gap?
TIME, October 27, 2011
Ah, the achievement gap. So much trouble to fix, so why bother trying? That seems to be the attitude in Washington, where pundits have spent the last several months ripping the current focus on improving the low end of student performance in our nation’s schools.

STATE COVERAGE

Charter Lesson: High Goals, Accountability Turn Schools Around
Hartford Courant, CT, October 28, 2011
The problem is that the success of several of these Connecticut charters — independent, publicly funded, non-union operations — is too irresistible to ignore.

Legality of Schools’ Takeover in Doubt
Connecticut Post, CT, October 27, 2011
The state Supreme Court is not expected to announce its decision for some days but if Thursday’s comments and questions from the justices are any indication, then the members of the state-appointed Bridgeport Board of Education probably shouldn’t get too comfortable in their seats.

True to Your School! Cobble Hill Parents Fight Charter
Brooklyn Paper, NY, October 28, 2011
The city wants to give one third of a formerly-struggling Cobble Hill high school to a high-performing charter school — but parents are already fighting the co-location plan.

Walcott Says City Must Step Up and Fix Failing Schools That Mayor Bloomberg Founded
New York Daily News, NY, October 28, 2011
City schools must do more to prepare kids for college, Chancellor Dennis Walcott acknowledged Friday, on the defensive over a Daily News story about failures of schools founded by Bloomberg.

State Superintendents Unveil Education Reform Efforts
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, October 28, 2011
Education leaders from across the state showed a unified front Thursday as they rolled out aggressive reform to revamp public K-12 education in Virginia.

KIPP Charter School Raises the Bar
MyFox Memphis, TN, October 27, 2011
From the moment you enter a KIPP Collegiate School, it’s clear that this is something different. The kids are fully engaged. There’s a sense of discipline, even in walking to your next class.

No Clear Push To Revamp
Charlotte Observer, NC, October 28, 2011
Of all the emotional topics in education, few send blood pressure soaring like student assignment.

Rock Hill Schools Plan More Choice For Students
Rock Hill Herald, SC, October 28, 2011
As Rock Hill schools continue adding a variety of academic options, two campuses are turning their focus to science, technology, engineering and math, while another opens its elementary International Baccalaureate program to any student in the district.

Staff Rejects Proposed Charter School for Pasco’s Disabled
St. Petersburg Times, FL, October 28, 2011
For two years, the Center for Independence in Hudson has proposed opening a charter school to serve students with disabilities ages 18-22.

Sunshine is Best
Columbus Dispatch, OH, October 28, 2011
Of course, taxpayers and the charter schools that hire operating companies such as White Hat Management Co. should be able to see records of how such companies spend public money and run public schools.

Pilot Program Evaluates Teachers in Youngstown District
Youngstown Vindicator, OH, October 28, 2011
A teacher-evaluation system operating as a pilot in the city schools this year reflects the standards outlined by the Ohio Department of Education.

Mayor Accuses Teachers Union of ‘Cheating Children Out of an Education’
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 27, 2011
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the teachers union’s efforts to block additional elementary schools from adopting a longer school day is akin to “cheating children out of an education.”

Accountability and the Achievement Gap
Twin City Daily Planet, MN, October 27, 2011
Those promoting accountability as the best way to close the “achievement gap,” focus their sights on what they identify as educational reforms.

More Oklahoma Schools, Districts Than Ever ‘Need Improvement’
The Oklahoman, OK, October 28, 2011
As federal standards steadily make it tougher for schools to meet academic performance requirements, more and more schools and school districts in Oklahoma have found themselves on the notorious list of schools in need of improvement.

Algiers Charter School Leaders Say Controversial Teacher Retirement Change Was A Surprise
Times-Picayune, LA, October 27, 2011
Leaders of the Algiers Charter Schools Association said during a crowded and boisterous meeting tonight that the group’s controversial departure from the state teacher retirement program wasn’t by choice.

Thompson School Board Denies Red Rock Academy Application
Reporter Herald, CO, October 27, 2011
The Thompson Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to deny Red Rock Academy’s application for a charter within the district.

Allow Home-Schooled Kids To Take Classes
Albuquerque Journal, NM, October 28, 2011
But school board members say the district’s lawyer advised the board it is illegal to allow home-schooled students to take classes in district schools because home schools are private schools.

NYC Mayor a Contributor to BESE Campaign
Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2011
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made some big-money donations in the race for control of Louisiana ‘s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Why Do Pa. Lawmakers Ignore The Will Of The People On School Vouchers?
Patriot News, PA, October 28, 2011
With the narrow passage this week of Senate Bill 1 by the Pennsylvania Senate, taxpayers in the commonwealth have been given a trick not a treat when it comes to potentially higher taxes in the future.

Senators: Education Shake-Up Needed, Not Just Vouchers
Standard Speaker, PA, October 28, 2011
Local state senators believe that education in Pennsylvania needs a shake-up regardless of whether they supported a bill to provide vouchers for students to attend private schools.

Court Battle Begins Over Ballot Measure
News Press, FL, October 27, 2011
A proposed change to the state constitution making it easier for taxpayer funds to go to religious institutions does not adequately explain that fact to voters who will be asked to decide, an attorney for critics told a circuit judge Thursday.

State Shouldn’t Subsidize Private School Education
New Philadelphia Times Reporter, OH, October 27, 2011
The Ohio House Education Committee is coming under scrutiny after narrowly passing a bill that would provide scholarships to public-school students if they transfer to private or parochial schools.

SB 5 Camps Report Spending More Than $23 Million
‎Cincinnati Enquirer Blog, OH, October 27, 2011
The battle over Senate Bill 5 and whether collecting bargaining should be eliminated for government workers cost more than $23 million so far, according to campaign finance reports filed today with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Controversial Charter School Bill OK’d by State Senate
Detroit Free Press, MI, October 28, 2011
The Michigan Senate passed six bills Thursday that give parents more options for their children’s education, including one that lifts restrictions on the number of cyber charter schools that can open and the number of students that can enroll in them.

Education Bills Mean Changes
Lacrosse Tribune, WI, October 28, 2011
A raft of Republican education proposals that backers say will offer more flexibility for school districts and parents is moving closer to the governor’s desk.

Parents Concerned About School Voucher Program
KOCO, OK, October 27, 2011
School vouchers for special-needs students take away limited resources from children who remain in public education, a group of Tulsa-area parents told legislators Wednesday.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Enrollment Increasing at Ohio Online Schools
WFMJ, OH, October 27, 2011
More students are enrolling in online K-12 schools across Ohio but is this the right option for your child? 21 News spoke with an expert who says there are multiple factors to consider when making a decision.

Virtual School Offers K-12 Distance Learning Option
Lusk Herald, WY, October 27, 2011
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes education in a brick-and-mortar school just isn’t an option. The Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) offers an alternative.

Daily Headlines for October 28, 2011

Proposed Fixes Will Cripple Education Law
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 28, 2011
Legislation that is supposed to fix what’s wrong with the federal No Child Left Behind education law would instead water it down to the point that it would not do an adequate job.

School Choice Making Inroads In Blue States
Daily Caller, DC, October 27, 2011
If you have any doubt that real school choice can reach practically every state in this country, cast those apprehensions aside. School choice is making inroads in big, blue states, and it’s likely coming to a community near you. Need proof? Take a look at the news that just broke last night in Pennsylvania.

Who’s Minding the Gap?
TIME, October 27, 2011
Ah, the achievement gap. So much trouble to fix, so why bother trying? That seems to be the attitude in Washington, where pundits have spent the last several months ripping the current focus on improving the low end of student performance in our nation’s schools.

STATE COVERAGE

CONNECTICUT

Charter Lesson: High Goals, Accountability Turn Schools Around
Hartford Courant, CT, October 28, 2011
The problem is that the success of several of these Connecticut charters — independent, publicly funded, non-union operations — is too irresistible to ignore.

Legality of Schools’ Takeover in Doubt
Connecticut Post, CT, October 27, 2011
The state Supreme Court is not expected to announce its decision for some days but if Thursday’s comments and questions from the justices are any indication, then the members of the state-appointed Bridgeport Board of Education probably shouldn’t get too comfortable in their seats.

FLORIDA

Staff Rejects Proposed Charter School for Pasco’s Disabled
St. Petersburg Times, FL, October 28, 2011
For two years, the Center for Independence in Hudson has proposed opening a charter school to serve students with disabilities ages 18-22.

Court Battle Begins Over Ballot Measure
News Press, FL, October 27, 2011
A proposed change to the state constitution making it easier for taxpayer funds to go to religious institutions does not adequately explain that fact to voters who will be asked to decide, an attorney for critics told a circuit judge Thursday.

ILLINOIS

Mayor Accuses Teachers Union of ‘Cheating Children Out of an Education’
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 27, 2011
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the teachers union’s efforts to block additional elementary schools from adopting a longer school day is akin to “cheating children out of an education.”

LOUISIANA

Algiers Charter School Leaders Say Controversial Teacher Retirement Change Was A Surprise
Times-Picayune, LA, October 27, 2011
Leaders of the Algiers Charter Schools Association said during a crowded and boisterous meeting tonight that the group’s controversial departure from the state teacher retirement program wasn’t by choice.

MICHIGAN

Controversial Charter School Bill OK’d by State Senate
Detroit Free Press, MI, October 28, 2011
The Michigan Senate passed six bills Thursday that give parents more options for their children’s education, including one that lifts restrictions on the number of cyber charter schools that can open and the number of students that can enroll in them.

MINNESOTA

Accountability and the Achievement Gap
Twin City Daily Planet, MN, October 27, 2011
Those promoting accountability as the best way to close the “achievement gap,” focus their sights on what they identify as educational reforms.

NEW MEXICO

Allow Home-Schooled Kids To Take Classes
Albuquerque Journal, NM, October 28, 2011
But school board members say the district’s lawyer advised the board it is illegal to allow home-schooled students to take classes in district schools because home schools are private schools.

NEW YORK

NYC Mayor a Contributor to BESE Campaign
Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2011
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made some big-money donations in the race for control of Louisiana ‘s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

True to Your School! Cobble Hill Parents Fight Charter
Brooklyn Paper, NY, October 28, 2011
The city wants to give one third of a formerly-struggling Cobble Hill high school to a high-performing charter school — but parents are already fighting the co-location plan.

Walcott Says City Must Step Up and Fix Failing Schools That Mayor Bloomberg Founded
New York Daily News, NY, October 28, 2011
City schools must do more to prepare kids for college, Chancellor Dennis Walcott acknowledged Friday, on the defensive over a Daily News story about failures of schools founded by Bloomberg.

NORTH CAROLINA

No Clear Push To Revamp
Charlotte Observer, NC, October 28, 2011
Of all the emotional topics in education, few send blood pressure soaring like student assignment.

OHIO

Sunshine is Best
Columbus Dispatch, OH, October 28, 2011
Of course, taxpayers and the charter schools that hire operating companies such as White Hat Management Co. should be able to see records of how such companies spend public money and run public schools.

Pilot Program Evaluates Teachers in Youngstown District
Youngstown Vindicator, OH, October 28, 2011
A teacher-evaluation system operating as a pilot in the city schools this year reflects the standards outlined by the Ohio Department of Education.

State Shouldn’t Subsidize Private School Education
New Philadelphia Times Reporter, OH, October 27, 2011
The Ohio House Education Committee is coming under scrutiny after narrowly passing a bill that would provide scholarships to public-school students if they transfer to private or parochial schools.

SB 5 Camps Report Spending More Than $23 Million
‎Cincinnati Enquirer Blog, OH, October 27, 2011
The battle over Senate Bill 5 and whether collecting bargaining should be eliminated for government workers cost more than $23 million so far, according to campaign finance reports filed today with the Ohio Secretary of State.

OKLAHOMA

Parents Concerned About School Voucher Program
KOCO, OK, October 27, 2011
School vouchers for special-needs students take away limited resources from children who remain in public education, a group of Tulsa-area parents told legislators Wednesday.

More Oklahoma Schools, Districts Than Ever ‘Need Improvement’
The Oklahoman, OK, October 28, 2011
As federal standards steadily make it tougher for schools to meet academic performance requirements, more and more schools and school districts in Oklahoma have found themselves on the notorious list of schools in need of improvement.

PENNSYLVANIA

Why Do Pa. Lawmakers Ignore The Will of the People on School Vouchers?
Patriot News, PA, October 28, 2011
With the narrow passage this week of Senate Bill 1 by the Pennsylvania Senate, taxpayers in the commonwealth have been given a trick not a treat when it comes to potentially higher taxes in the future.

Senators: Education Shake-Up Needed, Not Just Vouchers
Standard Speaker, PA, October 28, 2011
Local state senators believe that education in Pennsylvania needs a shake-up regardless of whether they supported a bill to provide vouchers for students to attend private schools.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Rock Hill Schools Plan More Choice For Students
Rock Hill Herald, SC, October 28, 2011
As Rock Hill schools continue adding a variety of academic options, two campuses are turning their focus to science, technology, engineering and math, while another opens its elementary International Baccalaureate program to any student in the district.

TENNESSEE

KIPP Charter School Raises the Bar
MyFox Memphis, TN, October 27, 2011
From the moment you enter a KIPP Collegiate School, it’s clear that this is something different. The kids are fully engaged. There’s a sense of discipline, even in walking to your next class.

VIRGINIA

State Superintendents Unveil Education Reform Efforts
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, October 28, 2011
Education leaders from across the state showed a unified front Thursday as they rolled out aggressive reform to revamp public K-12 education in Virginia.

WISCONSIN

Education Bills Mean Changes
Lacrosse Tribune, WI, October 28, 2011
A raft of Republican education proposals that backers say will offer more flexibility for school districts and parents is moving closer to the governor’s desk.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Enrollment Increasing at Ohio Online Schools
WFMJ, OH, October 27, 2011
More students are enrolling in online K-12 schools across Ohio but is this the right option for your child? 21 News spoke with an expert who says there are multiple factors to consider when making a decision.

Virtual School Offers K-12 Distance Learning Option
Lusk Herald, WY, October 27, 2011
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes education in a brick-and-mortar school just isn’t an option. The Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) offers an alternative.

Daily Headlines for October 27, 2011

The Wrong Fix for No Child Left Behind
New York Times, NY, October 27, 2011
The revised No Child Left Behind Act that passed out of the Senate education committee last week goes too far in relaxing state accountability and federal oversight of student achievement. The business community, civil rights groups and advocates of disabled children are rightly worried that the rewrite of the law would particularly hurt underprivileged children.

Andre Agassi Focuses On U.S. Education Efforts After Las Vegas Success
Las Vegas Sun, NV, October 26, 2011
Tennis champion and hometown hero Andre Agassi will see his ultimate dream come true at Saturday night’s 16th Grand Slam charity event with a superstar celebrity lineup.

STATE COVERAGE

Teacher Unions’ Double Standard
Fosters Daily Democrat, NH, October 27, 2011
If Laura Hainey, president of American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire, wants to cite scholarly studies to attack the handful of private school voucher programs in the nation, she ought to include all the facts. (“School vouchers offer false hope; kids need a quality education agenda,” Oct. 24)

Parents Get Rating Role
Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2011
New York City schools will soon be rated based on how well they work with parents, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Wednesday night, announcing an overhaul of how the city’s education system engages with families.

You Call This Choice?
New York Times, NY, October 26, 2011
She listed the schools she wanted in order of preference. She brought her list home and someone signed off on it, perhaps without taking the time to double check the schools selected, or without understanding the magnitude of this little piece of paper.

Controversial Cobble Hill Charter School Raising Eyebrows
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, NY, October 26, 2011
The announcement of a planned charter school to be called Success Academy Cobble Hill is raising the anxiety level of some parents in Community Education District 15 (CEC 15), who fear the school will be co-located inside their local public school.

NJEA Backs Four-Year Tenure Track, If Mentoring Is Added For New Teachers
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, October 26, 2011
The executive director of the state’s largest teacher union said Wednesday that the union would support a system that gives teachers tenure at the end of four years, a year later than the current law requires.

Baden Academy, Ambridge Face State Board
Beaver County Times, PA, October 26, 2011
After a two-year face-off, Baden Academy Charter school officials and Ambridge Area administrators faced a state panel in Harrisburg this week, and must now wait until December for a decision whose impact will be felt beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.

Private School Approved as Charter School
WNEP, PA, October 26, 2011
The state has given its approval to turn a private school into a charter school, meaning parents will no longer have to pay tuition.

Maryland Identified As A Leader In Teacher Evaluations
Baltimore Sun, MD, October 27, 2011
Maryland is one of 17 states leading a movement to evaluate teachers based on student performance in the classroom, but the state doesn’t require a teacher to be evaluated on an annual basis, according to a new report.

School Board Takes Steps Back, Forward
Memphis Daily News, TN, October 26, 2011
As the full board approved two KIPP Academy charter school applications and rejected 20 others, including a set by former mayor and MCS superintendent Willie Herenton, some board members expressed concern about the fiscal impact on the school systems if the number of charter schools continues to grow.

Cobb Culls Problem Schools, Targets Them For Intervention
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, October 27, 2011
Four schools in Cobb County have so many problems — from student discipline to teacher turnover — that officials are singling them out for special attention.

School Board Discusses Management Style Choices
Savannah Morning News, GA, October 27, 2011
In June 2015 the state will require all Georgia school boards to decide on one of three frameworks for managing their school districts — an IE2 or Investing in Excellence in Education System model, a charter system model or the current, traditional school district model.

Founder Of Failed School Now Wants To Open Charter
Tampa Bay Tribune, FL, October 27, 2011
The founder of a private school in Lutz who moved to Wisconsin owing millions to creditors has a plan for a new school in Hillsborough County .

New State Law Allows Some Teachers To Be Fired Without Cause
WWSB Sarasota, FL, October 26, 2011
A new state law allows some teachers to be fired without cause. That law is part of the Teacher Merit-Pay Bill, which also eliminated tenure and extended teacher’s probationary period from 97 days to one full year. And according to the Manatee Education Association, a year’s probation is too much for any teacher and gives the district an easy way out.

Teacher Merit Pay on the Table In Cleveland Schools Negotiations
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, October 26, 2011
Merit pay for teachers is a main issue as the Cleveland and teachers union continue negotiations that could restore at least some of the $13 million in cuts made Tuesday and avoid larger cuts next year.

Failing the Student Teachers
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, IN, October 27, 2011
One consequence just surfacing is the effect of a new teacher-evaluation law on college students, whose field experiences are the foundation of their teacher training. The requirement that part of the evaluation measure be based on how classroom students perform has some schools and teachers rethinking their commitments to accepting student teachers.

In IPS, Competition Is in the Classroom
Indianapolis Star, IN, October 26, 2011
Not that White has much choice but to adapt. Continuing enrollment losses — fueled by private school vouchers, charter schools and the imminent state takeover of some IPS schools — mean his district is poised to soon be at the center of one of the nation’s most competitive education marketplaces.

CPS to Use Tougher Standard for Evaluating Schools
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 27, 2011
After years of futility inside the classroom, Chicago Public Schools soon will adopt a more rigorous internal evaluation system that judges schools on how well they prepare students for college, a move that could lead to more school closings in the years ahead.

Financial Incentives for Longer Day Extended to Charters
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 26, 2011
Charter schools also will be given financial incentives for adding 90 minutes of instruction this year. The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved the program, which matches an offer already extended to neighborhood schools.

Council Should Get to the Bottom of ‘Miracle School’
Journal Sentinel, WI, October 26, 2011
Every child in Milwaukee deserves a high performing school. But the starting point for any school must be transparency and integrity in its claims of achievement. I urge Milwaukee’s Common Council to carefully research all of Rocketship’s outcomes before approving its request for a charter.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Focus on Education
Times-Picayune, LA, October 26, 2011
Gov. Bobby Jindal earned plenty of political capital with his commanding reelection victory Saturday. Now the governor is vowing to use some of it to focus on education reform during the first year of his second term.

It’s Time to Back Grier, School Reforms
Houston Chronicle, TX, October 26, 2011
While everyone admits that Houston’s public education system is struggling, very few are willing to come forward with solutions that are both bold and realistic. And those who do take such a risk find themselves beset by critics at every turn.

State School System
Seattle Times, WA, October 26, 2011
I am gratified that Washington does not allow charter schools. I am equally alarmed to learn that the PTA wants them. [“PTA wants state to reconsider charter schools,” seattletimes.com, Oct. 20.]

Opposition to Charter Plan Brings Divisions Among Neighbors, Highlights Unintended Consequences of Prop. 39
The Argonaut, CA, October 27, 2011
A plan by the Los Angeles Unified School District has elicited cheers from some homeowners and interested parties to alleviate the tension brought on by colocation, a situation that allows charter schools to share campuses with traditional neighborhood schools.

Charter School on Horizon for Coronado
San Diego Tribune, CA, October 26, 2011
A new breed of charter school may soon find its way to the Coronado Unified School District.

Charter Company Making The Grade
Modesto Bee, CA, October 26, 2011
Aspire Public Schools has grown to be the largest company of its kind in California, and one of the top five in the nation. The nonprofit company that opened a Modesto school its first year now runs 34 schools serving 12,300 students statewide, the Oakland-based company announced.

Parent Trigger Law Important, But So Are Organized, Informed Parents
Mercury News, CA, October 26, 2011
The “parent trigger” law passed by the California Legislature gives parents the potential for a measure of real power in their children’s schools. If 51 percent or more sign a petition, parents can push a school to become a charter, replace the principal and teachers, or close it entirely. Similar laws have been passed in Texas , Ohio and Connecticut , and are pending in a number of other states.

Charter Wins Won’t End War
Boston Herald, MA, October 27, 2011
Like the swallows to Capistrano, opponents returned to the State House this month to portray the evils of charter schools. Unfortunately for them, the hearing came just after 2011 MCAS results showed that charter public schools again dramatically outperformed their district counterparts.

N.J. Education Chief Urges Civility On School Changes
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 27, 2011
Education officials meeting here this week called for more civility as the debate intensifies over sweeping changes in New Jersey public schools.

Vouchers Seen as A Way Out of Bad Schools
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, October 27, 2011
The bill would establish vouchers for students who attend and live within the attendance boundaries of the state’s 143 lowest-performing schools. Ferguson is one of 88 Philadelphia schools – 25 high schools and 63 elementary and middle schools – on that list.

Vouchers: Pass
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, October 27, 2011
THERE ARE a few bright spots in the revised Senate Bill 1 that would create a school-voucher program in Pennsylvania. Vouchers give money that would otherwise go to public-school systems directly to students to apply toward tuition in nonpublic schools.

Existing Oversight Over Charters Is Sufficient; Proposed Rules Would Stifle Greater School Choice
Detroit Free Press, MI, October 27, 2011
Do not let those opposed to charter public schools kill choice by adding excessive regulation, layers of bureaucracy and impediments to innovation in the existing legislation.

Charter Schools Show Mixed Results; Raising The Cap Should Require Higher Standards
Detroit Free Press, MI, October 27, 2011
Any legislation passed must seek to assure that parents and students can choose the highest quality charter schools.

House Democrats Question Whether Charter Schools Provide Options For All Parents
Grand Rapids Press, MI, October 26, 2011
Charter schools provide choice not for all parents, but “choice for those with means,” said Democratic state House members who oppose bills that would lift a cap on the number of charters and attract out-of-state providers.

Public Money, Public Schools
Commercial Appeal, TN, October 27, 2011
It seems an odd time to push legislation authorizing private school vouchers. Accountability and transparency are among the top concerns these days regarding public education.

Panel Luncheon Debates Special-Needs Scholarships
Tulsa World, OK, October 27, 2011
School vouchers for special-needs students take away limited resources from children who remain in public education, a group of Tulsa-area parents told legislators Wednesday.

Charter Proposal Has School Officials Concerned
Baraboo News Republic, WI, October 27, 2011
A measure allowing approval of local charter schools by a state body has some education advocates concerned it would drain money and students from community school districts.

Budget Panel Backs Expanding Charter School Program Statewide
Journal Sentinel, WI, October 26, 2011
An independent charter school program would expand to medium and large school districts around Wisconsin , under a bill passed Wednesday by Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Report: MI Has Virtually Nothing to Gain from Cyber Schools
Public News Service, October 27, 2011
Laptops and e-readers quickly are replacing pencils and papers in most classrooms. But should the classrooms themselves be replaced by Internet connections?

Daily Headlines for October 27, 2011

The Wrong Fix for No Child Left Behind
New York Times, NY, October 27, 2011
The revised No Child Left Behind Act that passed out of the Senate education committee last week goes too far in relaxing state accountability and federal oversight of student achievement. The business community, civil rights groups and advocates of disabled children are rightly worried that the rewrite of the law would particularly hurt underprivileged children.

Andre Agassi Focuses On U.S. Education Efforts After Las Vegas Success
Las Vegas Sun, NV, October 26, 2011
Tennis champion and hometown hero Andre Agassi will see his ultimate dream come true at Saturday night’s 16th Grand Slam charity event with a superstar celebrity lineup.

STATE COVERAGE

CALIFORNIA

Opposition to Charter Plan Brings Divisions Among Neighbors, Highlights Unintended Consequences of Prop. 39
The Argonaut, CA, October 27, 2011
A plan by the Los Angeles Unified School District has elicited cheers from some homeowners and interested parties to alleviate the tension brought on by colocation, a situation that allows charter schools to share campuses with traditional neighborhood schools.

Charter School on Horizon for Coronado
San Diego Tribune, CA, October 26, 2011
A new breed of charter school may soon find its way to the Coronado Unified School District.

Charter Company Making The Grade
Modesto Bee, CA, October 26, 2011
Aspire Public Schools has grown to be the largest company of its kind in California, and one of the top five in the nation. The nonprofit company that opened a Modesto school its first year now runs 34 schools serving 12,300 students statewide, the Oakland-based company announced.

Parent Trigger Law Important, But So Are Organized, Informed Parents
Mercury News, CA, October 26, 2011
The “parent trigger” law passed by the California Legislature gives parents the potential for a measure of real power in their children’s schools. If 51 percent or more sign a petition, parents can push a school to become a charter, replace the principal and teachers, or close it entirely. Similar laws have been passed in Texas , Ohio and Connecticut , and are pending in a number of other states.

FLORIDA

New State Law Allows Some Teachers To Be Fired Without Cause
WWSB Sarasota, FL, October 26, 2011
A new state law allows some teachers to be fired without cause. That law is part of the Teacher Merit-Pay Bill, which also eliminated tenure and extended teacher’s probationary period from 97 days to one full year. And according to the Manatee Education Association, a year’s probation is too much for any teacher and gives the district an easy way out.

GEORGIA

Cobb Culls Problem Schools, Targets Them For Intervention
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, October 27, 2011
Four schools in Cobb County have so many problems — from student discipline to teacher turnover — that officials are singling them out for special attention.

School Board Discusses Management Style Choices
Savannah Morning News, GA, October 27, 2011
In June 2015 the state will require all Georgia school boards to decide on one of three frameworks for managing their school districts — an IE2 or Investing in Excellence in Education System model, a charter system model or the current, traditional school district model

INDIANA

Failing the Student Teachers
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, IN, October 27, 2011
One consequence just surfacing is the effect of a new teacher-evaluation law on college students, whose field experiences are the foundation of their teacher training. The requirement that part of the evaluation measure be based on how classroom students perform has some schools and teachers rethinking their commitments to accepting student teachers.

In IPS, Competition Is in the Classroom
Indianapolis Star, IN, October 26, 2011
Not that White has much choice but to adapt. Continuing enrollment losses — fueled by private school vouchers, charter schools and the imminent state takeover of some IPS schools — mean his district is poised to soon be at the center of one of the nation’s most competitive education marketplaces.

ILLINOIS

CPS to Use Tougher Standard for Evaluating Schools
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 27, 2011
After years of futility inside the classroom, Chicago Public Schools soon will adopt a more rigorous internal evaluation system that judges schools on how well they prepare students for college, a move that could lead to more school closings in the years ahead.

Financial Incentives for Longer Day Extended to Charters
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 26, 2011
Charter schools also will be given financial incentives for adding 90 minutes of instruction this year. The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved the program, which matches an offer already extended to neighborhood schools.

LOUISIANA

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Focus on Education
Times-Picayune, LA, October 26, 2011
Gov. Bobby Jindal earned plenty of political capital with his commanding reelection victory Saturday. Now the governor is vowing to use some of it to focus on education reform during the first year of his second term.

MASSACHUSETTS

Charter Wins Won’t End War
Boston Herald, MA, October 27, 2011
Like the swallows to Capistrano, opponents returned to the State House this month to portray the evils of charter schools. Unfortunately for them, the hearing came just after 2011 MCAS results showed that charter public schools again dramatically outperformed their district counterparts.

MICHIGAN

Existing Oversight Over Charters Is Sufficient; Proposed Rules Would Stifle Greater School Choice
Detroit Free Press, MI, October 27, 2011
Do not let those opposed to charter public schools kill choice by adding excessive regulation, layers of bureaucracy and impediments to innovation in the existing legislation.

Charter Schools Show Mixed Results; Raising The Cap Should Require Higher Standards
Detroit Free Press, MI, October 27, 2011
Any legislation passed must seek to assure that parents and students can choose the highest quality charter schools.

House Democrats Question Whether Charter Schools Provide Options For All Parents
Grand Rapids Press, MI, October 26, 2011
Charter schools provide choice not for all parents, but “choice for those with means,” said Democratic state House members who oppose bills that would lift a cap on the number of charters and attract out-of-state providers.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Teacher Unions’ Double Standard
Fosters Daily Democrat, NH, October 27, 2011
If Laura Hainey, president of American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire, wants to cite scholarly studies to attack the handful of private school voucher programs in the nation, she ought to include all the facts. (“School vouchers offer false hope; kids need a quality education agenda,” Oct. 24)

NEW JERSEY

NJEA Backs Four-Year Tenure Track, If Mentoring Is Added For New Teachers
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, October 26, 2011
The executive director of the state’s largest teacher union said Wednesday that the union would support a system that gives teachers tenure at the end of four years, a year later than the current law requires.

N.J. Education Chief Urges Civility On School Changes
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 27, 2011
Education officials meeting here this week called for more civility as the debate intensifies over sweeping changes in New Jersey public schools.

NEW YORK

Parents Get Rating Role
Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2011
New York City schools will soon be rated based on how well they work with parents, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Wednesday night, announcing an overhaul of how the city’s education system engages with families.

You Call This Choice?
New York Times, NY, October 26, 2011
She listed the schools she wanted in order of preference. She brought her list home and someone signed off on it, perhaps without taking the time to double check the schools selected, or without understanding the magnitude of this little piece of paper.

Controversial Cobble Hill Charter School Raising Eyebrows
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, NY, October 26, 2011
The announcement of a planned charter school to be called Success Academy Cobble Hill is raising the anxiety level of some parents in Community Education District 15 (CEC 15), who fear the school will be co-located inside their local public school.

OHIO

Teacher Merit Pay on the Table In Cleveland Schools Negotiations
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, October 26, 2011
Merit pay for teachers is a main issue as the Cleveland and teachers union continue negotiations that could restore at least some of the $13 million in cuts made Tuesday and avoid larger cuts next year.

OKLAHOMA

Panel Luncheon Debates Special-Needs Scholarships
Tulsa World, OK, October 27, 2011
School vouchers for special-needs students take away limited resources from children who remain in public education, a group of Tulsa-area parents told legislators Wednesday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Baden Academy, Ambridge Face State Board
Beaver County Times, PA, October 26, 2011
After a two-year face-off, Baden Academy Charter school officials and Ambridge Area administrators faced a state panel in Harrisburg this week, and must now wait until December for a decision whose impact will be felt beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.

Private School Approved as Charter School
WNEP, PA, October 26, 2011
The state has given its approval to turn a private school into a charter school, meaning parents will no longer have to pay tuition.

Vouchers Seen as A Way Out of Bad Schools
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, October 27, 2011
The bill would establish vouchers for students who attend and live within the attendance boundaries of the state’s 143 lowest-performing schools. Ferguson is one of 88 Philadelphia schools – 25 high schools and 63 elementary and middle schools – on that list.

Vouchers: Pass
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, October 27, 2011
THERE ARE a few bright spots in the revised Senate Bill 1 that would create a school-voucher program in Pennsylvania. Vouchers give money that would otherwise go to public-school systems directly to students to apply toward tuition in nonpublic schools.

TENNESSEE

Public Money, Public Schools
Commercial Appeal, TN, October 27, 2011
It seems an odd time to push legislation authorizing private school vouchers. Accountability and transparency are among the top concerns these days regarding public education.

School Board Takes Steps Back, Forward
Memphis Daily News, TN, October 26, 2011
As the full board approved two KIPP Academy charter school applications and rejected 20 others, including a set by former mayor and MCS superintendent Willie Herenton, some board members expressed concern about the fiscal impact on the school systems if the number of charter schools continues to grow.

TEXAS

It’s Time to Back Grier, School Reforms
Houston Chronicle, TX, October 26, 2011
While everyone admits that Houston’s public education system is struggling, very few are willing to come forward with solutions that are both bold and realistic. And those who do take such a risk find themselves beset by critics at every turn

WASHINGTON

State School System
Seattle Times, WA, October 26, 2011
I am gratified that Washington does not allow charter schools. I am equally alarmed to learn that the PTA wants them. [“PTA wants state to reconsider charter schools,” seattletimes.com, Oct. 20.]

WISCONSIN

Council Should Get to the Bottom of ‘Miracle School’
Journal Sentinel, WI, October 26, 2011
Every child in Milwaukee deserves a high performing school. But the starting point for any school must be transparency and integrity in its claims of achievement. I urge Milwaukee’s Common Council to carefully research all of Rocketship’s outcomes before approving its request for a charter.

Budget Panel Backs Expanding Charter School Program Statewide
Journal Sentinel, WI, October 26, 2011
An independent charter school program would expand to medium and large school districts around Wisconsin , under a bill passed Wednesday by Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Report: MI Has Virtually Nothing to Gain from Cyber Schools
Public News Service, October 27, 2011
Laptops and e-readers quickly are replacing pencils and papers in most classrooms. But should the classrooms themselves be replaced by Internet connections?

PA Senate Says Yes to School Choice

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

One of the nation’s most populated and important political states today moved closer to adopting a full school choice program for its neediest children when its state Senate just passed SB 1, which moves to the House, as early as this week.

“Kudos to the state’s courageous leadership, who put education for children first in their actions today, despite enormous pressure by unions and the status quo,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform. “This bill is the lifeline children need to ensure a true path to success – in learning and life.”

Championed by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R) and Sen. Anthony Williams (D), the enacted bill with passage in the House would:

• Give families with children in the lowest performing school districts the opportunity to choose a better school for their child, with the money allocated for their education following them to the school their parents best feel meets their needs.

• Provide additional tax incentives for businesses to contribute their profits to scholarship organizations (the Educational Improvement Tax Credit), which provide middle and low income parents with support to pay for alternative educational opportunities.

• Make additional improvements to the state’s charter school law paving the way for further action in the House that would enable new, publicly accountable authorizers to manage, open and monitor charter schools. Such laws in other states are responsible for the highest number of high quality charter schools.

“Today in the U.S., growing numbers of policy makers are seeing increased student achievement in states that have adopted similar, bold initiatives,” said Allen. “Pennsylvania is on the cusp of meaningful education improvement with this exciting development.”