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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 .