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Daily Headlines for October 25, 2011

Fewer Rules, Not Vouchers, Needed To Improve Schools
Patriot News, PA, October 25, 2011
Until the 1840s, America’s education system was highly localized. Wealthy people sent their children to elite private schools. Public school students attended classes for only a few weeks each winter, often in poorly equipped schoolhouses with untrained teachers.

No Child Left Behind – Turning A Yardstick Into A Cookie Cutter
The Republic, MA, October 25, 2011
If what you’d been doing was failing badly, but the thing you’d replaced it with was shown to have problems of its own, would it make sense to return to the place you’d been in initially?

STATE COVERAGE

Sluggish on Schools
Boston Herald, MA, October 25, 2011
Momentum is on the side of school reformers these days. A slew of new urban charter schools opened in Massachusetts this fall, and now comes word that an advocacy group has, in just one month, collected more than 100,000 voter signatures in support of a ballot question that would shake up teacher evaluation and hiring rules statewide.

College Readiness Is Lacking, City Reports Show
New York Times, NY, October 25, 2011
Only one in four students who enter high school in New York City are ready for college after four years, and less than half enroll, according to the A-through-F high school report cards released on Monday.

Solving Puzzle of Bad Teachers
Albany Times Union, NY, October 24, 2011
A New York City speech and language teacher showed up late 101 times in a single school year and left early 47 others. Though she never bothered to clock in some days, she successfully fought off the Department of Education’s attempt to fire her for 18 months and paid a fine before she returned to the classroom.

Catholic School Enrollment Continues To Decline
Baltimore Sun, MD, October 24, 2011
At 4.3 percent, it’s the smallest percentage drop seen in past four years at the 60 archdiocese-run schools

Charter Schools: Getting to Success
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, October 25, 2011
The Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, the first elementary-grade charter school in Virginia , has endured its share of growing pains. The Richmond-based school has been dogged by questions about finances and the leadership of its principal, Pamela Boyd. Now the school — and some members of the Richmond school system — say the state needs to improve its notoriously weak charter-school law.

Va. Should Allow Charter Schools More Autonomy
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, October 25, 2011
Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts and Richmond Public Schools are joined at the hip, and neither seems terribly comfortable with the arrangement.

Teachers Propose Fairfax Charter School
Washington Examiner, DC, October 24, 2011
Maryland has more than 50. Virginia has just four. And Fairfax County has none at all. But if a group of area educators is successful in their bid to the state Board of Education, the county could become home to Northern Virginia ‘s first charter school by 2013.

3 More Hall Schools Want Charters
Gainesville Times, GA, October 24, 2011
Pending state approval, three new charter schools will soon join Hall County ’s ranks.

White Says He Has Proof That Charters ‘Dump’ Students Back To IPS
Indianapolis Star, IN, October 24, 2011
Superintendent Eugene White has long argued that Indianapolis Public Schools are victimized by charter schools that take a full year’s worth of state aid but then dump students back on the district.

Endangered Profession?
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, IN, October 25, 2011
Double-digit enrollment decreases in education schools at area colleges and universities ought to be an early warning that something’s amiss in Indiana ’s efforts to overhaul its schools. When students choose not to pursue teaching careers because of discouraging job prospects or unfavorable attitudes toward the profession, the very quality of education is at risk.

CPS May Extend Longer-Day Incentives To Charter Schools
Chicago Tribune, IL, October 25, 2011
Chicago Public Schools is considering offering financial incentives to charter schools willing to adopt a longer school day this year, even as the attorney general’s office prepares to petition Cook County Circuit Court to stop the extended day from being implemented in more neighborhood schools.

Educators Develop Uniform Guidelines For Principal Performance
Minnesota Public Radio, MN, October 24, 2011
With increasing pressure over the last decade to improve student achievement, a growing body of research highlights the crucial role school principals play in creating good environments for learning.

New Data To Help In Assessing Learning
Tulsa World, OK, October 25, 2011
New data from Tulsa Public Schools offer parents greater insight into the impact their child’s classroom experience is having on their achievement in reading, math and other tested subjects.

City Teachers Turn Down Bonuses
KATU, OR, October 24, 2011
Oregon City educators rejected a multimillion-dollar grant meant to reward teachers, because the money would have been tied to student test scores.

Two Oakland Schools To Split From The District
Oakland Tribune, CA, October 24, 2011
The faculty at two Oakland elementary schools have voted to break away from the district and convert their schools into independently run charters, a move that could cost Oakland Unified more than $4 million.

Minersville Area Superintendent Questions Fairness Of Voucher Proposal
Republican Herald, PA, October 25, 2011
With a tuition voucher bill to be considered by the Senate Education Committee in Harrisburg today, Minersville Area School District Superintendent M. Joseph Brady urged parents and taxpayers Monday night to take action.

State Senate Needs To Act On SRC Nominations
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, October 25, 2011
It was good to see Gov. Corbett act swiftly to fill the latest vacancy on the School Reform Commission, but the state Senate still needs to accelerate action on his nominations so the panel can get to work on unresolved issues.

Shelby County Board To Consider Vouchers Tonight
Commercial Appeal, TN, October 25, 2011
Days after Sen. Brian Kelsey refiled his school voucher bill in mid-October, school boards large and small have stood up to fight.

Pro-Charter School Lobbying Group Emerges
Florida Times Union Blog , FL, October 24, 2011
A new lobbying group for charter schools officially launched on Monday. With support from the Walton Family Foundation, the Florida Charter School Alliance will advocate for policies that benefit charter schools.

Superintendents Oppose Proposed House Bill 136
The Morning Journal, OH, October 25, 2011
A group of 17 local school superintendents are asking residents to tell their state representatives to not support proposed Ohio House Bill 136.

New Orleans Schools Chief Is on the Cusp of Grasping State Superintendent’s Reins
Times Picayune, LA, October 24, 2011
White’s appointment is still uncertain. Any candidate will need an eight-member supermajority on the 11-member board to take over the Louisiana Department of Education.

Denver’s School Board Races Are Colorado’s Most Expensive Ever
KDVR, CO, October 24, 2011
A year after Colorado saw the most expensive U.S. Senate race in the entire country, an election that’s seen more than $600,000 in campaign contributions might seem like a low budget affair.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Study Raises Questions About Virtual Schools
Washington Post, DC, October 24, 2011
As an increasing number of cash-strapped states turn to virtual schools — where computers replace classmates and students learn via the Internet — a new study is raising questions about their quality and oversight.

District Considers Mix Of Online, Classroom Teaching; Parents Upset
WFMZ, PA, October 24, 2011
The district is exploring the option of hybrid learning, said superintendent Larry Mayes, who explained that it combines online curriculum and classroom interaction with a teacher.

Cyberschools Would Receive Funding Under Michigan Senate Proposal; Critics Raise Concerns
Kalamazoo Gazette, MI, October 24, 2011
When supporters of cyberschools talk about changing Michigan law to fund the schools’ expansion, they point to states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, where thousands of students are enrolled in virtual charter schools.