Daily Headlines: December 30, 2011

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success
The Atlantic, December 29, 2011

The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.

In Education, It’s All About Dollars and Cents
Chicago Sun Times, IL, December 29, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, we can confidently declare that one of the biggest debates over education is — mercifully — resolved. We haven’t addressed all the huge challenges facing our schools, but we finally have empirical data ruling out apocryphal theories and exposing the fundamental problems.

Former D.C. Schools Chief Busy Lobbying, Helping Politicians
USA Today, December 30, 2011

More than a year after she resigned as chancellor of Washington, D.C., Public Schools — and nine months after her successor asked D.C.’s inspector general to investigate high erasure rates on standardized tests during her tenure —Michelle Rhee remains as high-profile as ever.

STATE COVERAGE

Charters Get ‘Slice’ of School Lawsuit
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, AR, December 30, 2011

Charter schools in Pulaski County received permission Thursday to intervene in the long-running school desegregation lawsuit to fight Little Rock School District efforts to put limits on them.

STATE: Charter Strife
Press Enterprise , CA, December 29, 2011

Charter schools’ freedom to try different teaching approaches should not exclude responsibility for results. A charter group’s call to close some poorly performing California charter schools sets the right tone: The public should not pour money into charter schools that fail to meet basic standards.

Chino Valley Unified Board Approves Charter School’s Renewal Petition
Contra Costa Times, CA, December 29, 2011

The Chino Valley Unified Board of Trustees unanimously approved Oxford Preparatory Academy’s petition Thursday to extend its charter for five years

Connecticut Graduation Rate Edges Upward
Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2011

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy’s administration on Thursday came out with a mixed bag of news about the graduation rates of the state’s public-school students: More are graduating on time, but the demographic gaps are as wide as ever.

Panel Recommends Special Grand Jury Investigation Into Dekalb Schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, December 29, 2011

After their November-December presentments, the DeKalb County Superior Court grand jury has recommended a special grand jury look into the county school board, because, “It is clear that the school system remains top-heavy and suffers from a perception of conflicts of interest and waste.”

Xavier Charter School Takes a Step in the Right Direction
Magic Valley Times News, ID, December 30, 2011

We’ve been critical of the leadership of Xavier Charter School for many of their actions — and inactions — over the past year. Principal roulette and curious decisions by Xavier’s school board have caused us to question their financial sense and business acuity.

Voucher Program Topped Education Stories In 2011
Evansville Courier & Press, IN, December 29, 2011

The passage of historic and controversial reforms made 2011 a landmark year for education in Indiana.

Louisiana Sets Strategies for Use of Race Funds
Shreveport Times, LA, December 29, 2011

Last week Louisiana learned it has been awarded approximately $17.4 million in the third round of the federal Race to the Top grant program.

Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Demands More Data From Charter School
The Times-Picayune, LA, December 29, 2011

Until Jefferson Community School submits a comprehensive plan to expand enrollment, Jefferson Parish public schools Superintendent James Meza said he will advise principals not to refer any pupils to the charter middle school for expelled students.

Cape Schools Improved By School Competition
Cape Cod Times, MA, December 30, 2011

Speaking with parents who have had less positive experiences, and having experienced it, I would disagree with her opinion that everyone loses by having school choice available. To the contrary, the entire Cape Cod community benefits by it, and it should remain — or possibly be expanded upon via vouchers.

Charter School Advocates Look To Change Mississippi Law
Times Picayune, LA, December 29, 2011

Republican control of Mississippi government could bring a new charter school law, and supporters are working on proposals. Schools that are chartered get more operational freedom in exchange for agreeing to meet certain goals. Under current Mississippi law, only schools with subpar ratings for three consecutive years can be chartered, and only at parents’ request. No school in the state has been chartered under those rules.

Get ‘Real’ About the Amount of Money Going To Charter
Voorhees Sun, NJ, December 29, 2011

I have been following, with interest, the dire predictions of some in our community due to the arrival of Regis Charter School. According to one charter school opponent, our existing public schools would be “dismantled,” our taxes would go up, no sports, no art, no music, no recess. That’s right, no recess.

School Accord Reached on Evaluation Process
Buffalo News, NY, December 29, 2011

The district and two of its main collective-bargaining units have reached an agreement on a process for evaluating teachers and principals at persistently low-achieving schools in the district, interim School Superintendent Amber Dixon announced during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Mayor Richards Isn’t Supporting Mayoral Control This Time Around
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, NY, December 30, 2011

I share Assemblyman David Gantt’s disappointment with the performance of the City School District in educating our children, as does almost everyone on both sides of the debate about mayoral control.

Chester Community Charter Sues CUSD for $3.8 Million
Delaware County Times, PA, December 29, 2011

Chester Upland School District and the district’s school board are among the defendants being sued by Chester Community Charter School for more than $3.8 million in delinquent funding.

New Laws And New Hamilton County Schools Chief Mark Year In Education
Times Free Press, TN, December 30, 2011

Some of public education’s most sacred cows vanished this year as the Tennessee General Assembly took on one of its most aggressive education reform sessions ever.

Joe Nathan: Charter Public Schools Started in Winona
Winona Daily News, WI, December 30, 2011

As we move toward 2012, it’s worth recalling that a national education innovation now involving more than 2 million students started 20 years ago in Winona. Bluffview Montessori was the first school in the country receiving approval to operate as a charter public school.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Students Get Another Good Alternative
Coos Bay World, OR, December 29, 2011

Online education has benefited many rural families. Students with the discipline to study on their own can enroll in an online school, such as Oregon Virtual Academy, to access diverse online classes that small hometown schools can’t offer.

 

** The next edition of Daily Headlines will be on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Happy New Year!

Daily Headlines for December 30, 2011

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success
The Atlantic, December 29, 2011

The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.

In Education, It’s All About Dollars and Cents
Chicago Sun Times, IL, December 29, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, we can confidently declare that one of the biggest debates over education is — mercifully — resolved. We haven’t addressed all the huge challenges facing our schools, but we finally have empirical data ruling out apocryphal theories and exposing the fundamental problems.

Former D.C. Schools Chief Busy Lobbying, Helping Politicians
USA Today, December 30, 2011

More than a year after she resigned as chancellor of Washington, D.C., Public Schools — and nine months after her successor asked D.C.’s inspector general to investigate high erasure rates on standardized tests during her tenure —Michelle Rhee remains as high-profile as ever.

STATE COVERAGE

ARKANSAS

Charters Get ‘Slice’ of School Lawsuit
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, AR, December 30, 2011

Charter schools in Pulaski County received permission Thursday to intervene in the long-running school desegregation lawsuit to fight Little Rock School District efforts to put limits on them.

CALIFORNIA

STATE: Charter Strife
Press Enterprise , CA, December 29, 2011

Charter schools’ freedom to try different teaching approaches should not exclude responsibility for results. A charter group’s call to close some poorly performing California charter schools sets the right tone: The public should not pour money into charter schools that fail to meet basic standards.

Chino Valley Unified Board Approves Charter School’s Renewal Petition
Contra Costa Times, CA, December 29, 2011

The Chino Valley Unified Board of Trustees unanimously approved Oxford Preparatory Academy’s petition Thursday to extend its charter for five years

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Graduation Rate Edges Upward
Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2011

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy’s administration on Thursday came out with a mixed bag of news about the graduation rates of the state’s public-school students: More are graduating on time, but the demographic gaps are as wide as ever.

GEORGIA

Panel Recommends Special Grand Jury Investigation Into Dekalb Schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, December 29, 2011

After their November-December presentments, the DeKalb County Superior Court grand jury has recommended a special grand jury look into the county school board, because, “It is clear that the school system remains top-heavy and suffers from a perception of conflicts of interest and waste.”

IDAHO

Xavier Charter School Takes a Step in the Right Direction
Magic Valley Times News, ID, December 30, 2011

We’ve been critical of the leadership of Xavier Charter School for many of their actions — and inactions — over the past year. Principal roulette and curious decisions by Xavier’s school board have caused us to question their financial sense and business acuity.

INDIANA

Voucher Program Topped Education Stories In 2011
Evansville Courier & Press, IN, December 29, 2011

The passage of historic and controversial reforms made 2011 a landmark year for education in Indiana.

LOUISIANA

Louisiana Sets Strategies for Use of Race Funds
Shreveport Times, LA, December 29, 2011

Last week Louisiana learned it has been awarded approximately $17.4 million in the third round of the federal Race to the Top grant program.

Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Demands More Data From Charter School
The Times-Picayune, LA, December 29, 2011

Until Jefferson Community School submits a comprehensive plan to expand enrollment, Jefferson Parish public schools Superintendent James Meza said he will advise principals not to refer any pupils to the charter middle school for expelled students.

MASSACHUSETTS

Cape Schools Improved By School Competition
Cape Cod Times, MA, December 30, 2011

Speaking with parents who have had less positive experiences, and having experienced it, I would disagree with her opinion that everyone loses by having school choice available. To the contrary, the entire Cape Cod community benefits by it, and it should remain — or possibly be expanded upon via vouchers.

MISSISSIPPI

Charter School Advocates Look To Change Mississippi Law
Times Picayune, LA, December 29, 2011

Republican control of Mississippi government could bring a new charter school law, and supporters are working on proposals. Schools that are chartered get more operational freedom in exchange for agreeing to meet certain goals. Under current Mississippi law, only schools with subpar ratings for three consecutive years can be chartered, and only at parents’ request. No school in the state has been chartered under those rules.

NEW JERSEY

Get ‘Real’ About the Amount of Money Going To Charter
Voorhees Sun, NJ, December 29, 2011

I have been following, with interest, the dire predictions of some in our community due to the arrival of Regis Charter School. According to one charter school opponent, our existing public schools would be “dismantled,” our taxes would go up, no sports, no art, no music, no recess. That’s right, no recess.

NEW YORK

School Accord Reached on Evaluation Process
Buffalo News, NY, December 29, 2011

The district and two of its main collective-bargaining units have reached an agreement on a process for evaluating teachers and principals at persistently low-achieving schools in the district, interim School Superintendent Amber Dixon announced during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Mayor Richards Isn’t Supporting Mayoral Control This Time Around
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, NY, December 30, 2011

I share Assemblyman David Gantt’s disappointment with the performance of the City School District in educating our children, as does almost everyone on both sides of the debate about mayoral control.

PENNSYLVANIA

Chester Community Charter Sues CUSD for $3.8 Million
Delaware County Times, PA, December 29, 2011

Chester Upland School District and the district’s school board are among the defendants being sued by Chester Community Charter School for more than $3.8 million in delinquent funding.

TENNESSEE

New Laws And New Hamilton County Schools Chief Mark Year In Education
Times Free Press, TN, December 30, 2011

Some of public education’s most sacred cows vanished this year as the Tennessee General Assembly took on one of its most aggressive education reform sessions ever.

WISCONSIN

Joe Nathan: Charter Public Schools Started in Winona
Winona Daily News, WI, December 30, 2011

As we move toward 2012, it’s worth recalling that a national education innovation now involving more than 2 million students started 20 years ago in Winona. Bluffview Montessori was the first school in the country receiving approval to operate as a charter public school.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Students Get Another Good Alternative
Coos Bay World, OR, December 29, 2011

Online education has benefited many rural families. Students with the discipline to study on their own can enroll in an online school, such as Oregon Virtual Academy, to access diverse online classes that small hometown schools can’t offer.

** The next edition of the Daily Media Clips will be on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Happy New Year!

Online Schools: An Essential Choice

“Online schools play essential role”
Opinion
by Sarah DeHerrera
Denver Post
December 25, 2011

There are few choices parents will make that are more important than how to educate their children. That is why it is essential that they actually have a choice in the first place.

Online schools should remain a valid option in our public education system.

After my oldest struggled in a traditional school, I explored other public options for my second child. For us, having the option of a public online education has made a world of difference.

Thousands of other Colorado families make use of public online schools for a wide variety of reasons. Their children have been freed from a host of bad influences or obstacles to their ability to excel academically.

Some online students have done poorly on standardized tests and some have dropped out of online schools. That can and does happen in any educational program and, of course, is a major problem at many conventional schools. However, students of online schools in Colorado account for less than 2 percent of the total public school student population. If policymakers are truly concerned about waste, they should audit all public schools.

Currently, Colorado counts the number of students seated in each district on a single date in the fall and then hands out funding for the entire school year based on that snapshot. This contrasts with a majority of states (26) that have modernized their system so that students are counted throughout the school year. Colorado’s overly simplistic approach means that most districts are either over-funded or under-funded at any given moment. The single count day approach also misses the opportunity to offer financial incentives to districts to retain students after the count day.

It’s illogical for any school — whether traditional or online — to get funding for a student who has left. Therefore, Colorado should move away from the antiquated practice of a single count day as a means for determining how much funding a school receives for a year and move toward a model that acknowledges that students move frequently for a variety of reasons. But online schools shouldn’t be treated differently than any other type of school in this regard.

Piling on additional regulation just for online schools — which are already held to the same accountability standards as every other public school — simply increases the administrative burden and limits a school’s ability to serve its students.

Almost all the children who enroll in online schools did so because they were not being served by traditional public schools. Let’s not single out these students, their parents or the educational options that work best for them for unfair and punitive treatment.

Sarah DeHererra of Commerce City is a parent of a Colorado online public school student.

Parent Power Can Alter Dynamic

“No Magic Solutions”
Opinion
by Ben Austin
Huffington Post
December 28, 2011

My daughter believes in magic.

When our home’s power went out last week because of a storm, she cast a spell to turn it back on. I love her magical world. I love jumping into it with her because — even if it’s just for a second — I get to live in a world where a magic spell can fix anything.

It makes sense that in complicated times, we grasp for quick fixes. Sometimes the status quo seems so simultaneously unacceptable and intractable, that we believe in simple solutions because it’s easier than the alternative. That’s understandable. I visit my daughter’s magical world as often as I can.

But when it comes to public education, unfortunately there is no magic spell to turn around decades of failure. As the Parent Trigger movement spreads across the state and even the nation, parents and policymakers must brace for the reality that we are about to embark upon a long journey. There will be ups and downs that none of us can presently predict.

I have worked on the inside of the system in a number of high-level positions when the doors are closed and reporters aren’t in the room, and I have seen first-hand how seldom the interests of children trump the interests of powerful adults. The only way to alter that dynamic is to give parents power over the education of their own children. Parent Trigger is a necessary precondition to kids-first change. But it is not sufficient. In and of itself, Parent Trigger cannot transform our schools for the 21st Century because of vexing challenges related to policy, partnerships and politics.

We must accept with humility that we don’t have all the answers when it comes to defining a kids-first policy agenda. Good policy research is being done right now, especially in the areas of teacher effectiveness. And some reforms are just plain common sense. Of course adults should be held accountable for student performance, and of course money should be invested in the classroom, rather than squandered in the bureaucracy. But common sense only goes so far. Today’s classroom hasn’t changed since the turn of the last century and we have a long way to go to reinvent it for this century. A lot of work remains to be done to discern how we turn around a failing school and transform a broken culture. And parents have lots of work to do not only to organize themselves, but also to educate themselves about how best to utilize their historic new power on behalf of their children.

Even more important than policy are partnerships and people.

Right now, parent union chapters across California are organizing to demand a teachers union contract that serves the interests of their children as well as their teachers. Many parents are working collaboratively with teachers and principals. These parents are organizing around the belief in common ground, not conflict. California’s new Parent Trigger law gives these parents historic power. But with that power they seek partnership, because parents understand they can’t have great schools without great teachers and great principals.

Finally, it’s important to remember that parents are taking on some of the most powerful and entrenched forces in California politics. The defenders of the status quo are literally the biggest political campaign contributors in the state. Parents don’t derive their power from campaign contributions or lobbyists. Their power comes from love. From a refusal to accept anything less than the future our children deserve.

Parents will ultimately prevail because they are right. If the protests from Wall Street to the Middle East tell us anything about these revolutionary times, it’s that power cannot sustain in the face of truth and justice. But these movements also serve as an object lesson that the defenders of the status quo do not easily cede power, and the struggle for justice can be arduous and even brutal.

Unfortunately, the journey we are about to embark upon will not be a fairy tale. No magic spell will save us and no majestic hero will ride to our rescue. There will be bumps along this road, and we will take wrong turns. But we will ultimately reach our destination because we must. Because we have no choice. And because if we work together, we know this story can have a happy ending.

Weak Evaluations Aren't Worth $60M

“Better to lose $60 million than have a weak rating system”
Editorial
New York Daily News
December 29, 2011

Now is the time for Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to stand firm for city children in the battle to create an effective, streamlined program for evaluating teacher performance.

Both must make clear to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew that they will accept nothing less in down-to-the-wire talks than the right to subject instructors to meaningful assessments — with the power to remove those deemed ineffective from the classroom.

Mulgrew and other union leaders committed 18 months ago to negotiate an evaluation system that uses, among other measures, progress on test scores to judge how well a teacher imparts learning. The labor chiefs gave their word as part of New York’s applications for $700 million in federal Race to the Top funding and millions more in School Improvement Grants.

Since then, here and in districts across the state, the unions stonewalled in talks. They’ve brought the city to the brink of a Jan. 1 deadline for reaching a deal that would cover a pilot program for 33 low-performing schools.

Properly, after repeated warnings, state Education Commissioner John King has announced that, if the city and Mulgrew remain at loggerheads at the close of business Friday, he will cancel $60 million in improvement grants that were intended to pay for special services designed to lift achievement in that group of troubled schools.

Bloomberg and Walcott must not waver in the face of King’s ultimatum. The waste and pain of forgoing $60 million would be nothing next to the terrible long-term consequences of placating the UFT with ill-defined evaluations that turn out to be just one more teacher job-protection racket, complete with thickets of hearings and appeals.

Expanding such a mess to all the city’s 1,400 schools, as the UFT would insist, would be a travesty of epic proportions. Once more: Better to forfeit the money than agree to a wishy-washiness that dooms the cause of school improvement.

Mulgrew has been joined in intransigence by New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi. In fact, statewide, eight of the 10 districts targeted to get improvement grant funding to turn around selected schools have been blocked from reaching evaluation deals.

Only Syracuse and Rochester did as they had promised.

And with 80% of those districts out of compliance — including New York City, the largest and most important of them all — U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan may well move to revoke the state’s $700 million as well.

Think he won’t? He just did it to Hawaii.

The unions pledged to negotiate an evaluation program. State officials and the feds believed them, and put money where their mouths were.

Sadly, it’s the kids who are threatened with the real bite.

Daily Headlines: December 29, 2011

Finances, Underperformance Top Reasons For Charter School Closures
Teacher Certification Degrees Blog, December 28, 2011

As pressure mounts to reform the nation’s public schools, some parents are opting instead to send their children to charter schools, which often promise higher test scores and a better education, and those charter schools that don’t live up to performance expectations – an estimated 15 percent over the last two decades – permanently close their doors, a new report from The Center for Education Reform has found.

The Top 5 Underreported Education Stories of 2011
Daily Caller, DC, December 28, 2011

With the New Year upon us, pundits are handing out their “best and worst” awards and gossip magazines their “top whatever” lists. Well, on my list, you won’t find Occupy Wall Street or No Child Left Behind drama, but something much more significant to taxpayers, parents, and citizens: the top five underreported education stories of 2011.

No Magic Solutions
Huffington Post, December 28, 2011

The only way to alter that dynamic is to give parents power over the education of their own children. Parent Trigger is a necessary precondition to kids-first change. But it is not sufficient. In and of itself, Parent Trigger cannot transform our schools for the 21st Century because of vexing challenges related to policy, partnerships and politics.

STATE COVERAGE

School Committee Considers Strategic Plan
Boston Globe, MA, December 29, 2011

Tilton Elementary School would be transformed into one of the state’s first innovation schools. Haverhill’s youngest students would have access to free, full-day kindergarten classes. And high school students would have an opportunity to explore different career paths in structured academies.

Better to Lose $60 Million Than Have A Weak Rating System
New York Daily News, NY, December 29, 2011

Now is the time for Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to stand firm for city children in the battle to create an effective, streamlined program for evaluating teacher performance.

City Schools Missing Out on Aid for Special Needs
New York Times, NY, December 29, 2011

New York City has failed to recover tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements for services it provided to special-needs students in recent years, as the Education Department has struggled to adapt to new rules imposed after a devastating federal audit forced the city to return money it received for claims it could not properly document.

In Washington Area, African American Students Suspended and Expelled Two To Five Times As Often As Whites
Washington Post, DC, December 29, 2011

Across the Washington area, black students are suspended and expelled two to five times as often as white students, creating disparities in discipline that experts say reflect a growing national problem.

Student Performance To Factor Into School Chief’s Job Evaluation
Oak Ridger, TN, December 28, 2011

The Oak Ridge School Board of Education has changed its model used to evaluate the school superintendent’s annual job performance.

New Birth Academy Closes; Hundreds Of Students Looking For New School
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, December 28, 2011

New Birth Christian Academy is closing after 18 years, sending hundreds of students scrambling to find a new school by next week.

Mavericks Charter Schools Don’t Live Up To Big Promises
Miami News Times News, FL, December 29, 2011

In the past two years, eight Mavericks high schools have opened in Florida, including two in Miami-Dade, two in Broward, and one in Palm Beach . In 2011, Mavericks claimed to enroll more than 3,700 students.

Districts Worry Charter School Law Could Cost Them Students
Lansing State Journal, MI, December 29, 2011

Michigan’s new law that removes a cap on the number of charter schools by 2015 won’t have an instant effect, local school district officials say.

Race to the Top Results ‘Baffling’ to Illinois Education Advocates
Chicago News Cooperative, IL, December 29, 2011

Illinois finally crossed the finish line first in the latest “Race to the Top” competition for federal education grants, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s reform agenda.

New Look At Chicago School Buildings Finds Half Underused
Chicago Sun Times, IL, December 28, 2011

Half of all Chicago public schools are underused, based on a new building utilization formula unveiled Wednesday. The new formula is a critical one for many CPS schools as underuse can make a school vulnerable to closure or to sharing its building with another school, such as a charter. Both options triggered opposition in the past.

The History of an IDEA
Austin Chronicle Blog, TX, December 28, 2011

The Austin ISD board of trustees may be trying to put a happy face on after the PR pummeling it took over the IDEA Public Schools debacle. But if its latest attempt to rewrite history is any measure, they should prepare for more heavy hits.

Red Shield Charter School Plan Deserves Consideration
Modesto Bee, CA, December 28, 2011

While we’re not prepared to fully endorse the charter application for the Great Valley Academy, we do like the innovative thinking going on with the proposal to open a charter school at The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Center in south Modesto .

Republicans Seek To Gut Public Education
Nashua Telegraph, NH, December 18, 2011

A bill to come later in the term would give tax credits to businesses that they would then use to fund scholarships to private schools. The bill would, in other words, take taxpayer money away from public schools to send students to private schools.

2012 Kentucky Legislative Preview | Dropout Bill and Charter Schools to Return
Louisville Courier-Journal, KY, December 29, 2011

With Kentucky’s student dropout rate hovering around 3 percent, Gov. Steve Beshear, lawmakers and education officials all expect raising the dropout age to remain a key issue in the 2012 legislative session.

Cut Down Red Tape In Teacher Evaluations
Daily News Journal, TN, December 28, 2011

The Tennessee Legislature acted rashly when it adopted a new teacher evaluation system as part of an education reform effort and application for federal funds.

Jindal Wants Bold Changes to K-12 Education
WWL, LA, December 28, 2011

The 2012 Legislative Session doesn’t begin until March 12, but already the debate over K-12 education is on. Wednesday, Governor Bobby Jindal met with roughly a dozen legislators at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.

Time La. Look At Real Education Reform
Shreveport Times, LA, December 29, 2011

The recent elections and subsequent influx of freshman legislators and BESE members provides Louisiana with the opportunity to address some of the most significant issues facing our state, particularly the pressing matter of reforming our public education system.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

New Bronx Charter School Will Use Technology To Expose Kids To International Cultures In The Classroom
New York Daily News, NY, December 29, 2011

The creators of a new charter school opening in the Bronx next fall couldn’t be more different, but they have a shared vision: exposing underprivileged kids to international cultures through technology.

Three School Districts Here Will Merge Teaching Efforts
Intelligencer Journal, PA, December 28, 2011

Imagine a high school where students can take classes as early as 7 a.m. or as late as 9 p.m.
Some of the courses are taught face-to-face in the school, with others delivered online and still others taught through a mix of classroom and computer-based instruction.

School Board Again Denies Charter School Application
Chattanooga Times, TN, December 28, 2011

Mr. Henderson said the school would focus on online learning and the students would have computers instead of textbooks.

The Hand of A Teacher Is Important — Even Online
Evansville Courier Press, IN, December 29, 2011

Indeed, online learning has become very popular and I wholeheartedly agree with the viewpoint that it can be very beneficial to students and that it can be a method of concern if not administered effectively.

Daily Headlines: December 29, 2011

Finances, Underperformance Top Reasons For Charter School Closures
Teacher Certification Degrees Blog, December 28, 2011

As pressure mounts to reform the nation’s public schools, some parents are opting instead to send their children to charter schools, which often promise higher test scores and a better education, and those charter schools that don’t live up to performance expectations – an estimated 15 percent over the last two decades – permanently close their doors, a new report from The Center for Education Reform has found.

The Top 5 Underreported Education Stories of 2011
Daily Caller, DC, December 28, 2011

With the New Year upon us, pundits are handing out their “best and worst” awards and gossip magazines their “top whatever” lists. Well, on my list, you won’t find Occupy Wall Street or No Child Left Behind drama, but something much more significant to taxpayers, parents, and citizens: the top five underreported education stories of 2011.

No Magic Solutions
Huffington Post, December 28, 2011

The only way to alter that dynamic is to give parents power over the education of their own children. Parent Trigger is a necessary precondition to kids-first change. But it is not sufficient. In and of itself, Parent Trigger cannot transform our schools for the 21st Century because of vexing challenges related to policy, partnerships and politics.

STATE COVERAGE

CALIFORNIA

Red Shield Charter School Plan Deserves Consideration
Modesto Bee, CA, December 28, 2011

While we’re not prepared to fully endorse the charter application for the Great Valley Academy, we do like the innovative thinking going on with the proposal to open a charter school at The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Center in south Modesto.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

In Washington Area, African American Students Suspended and Expelled Two To Five Times As Often As Whites
Washington Post, DC, December 29, 2011

Across the Washington area, black students are suspended and expelled two to five times as often as white students, creating disparities in discipline that experts say reflect a growing national problem.

GEORGIA

New Birth Academy Closes; Hundreds Of Students Looking For New School
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, December 28, 2011

New Birth Christian Academy is closing after 18 years, sending hundreds of students scrambling to find a new school by next week.

ILLINOIS

Race to the Top Results ‘Baffling’ to Illinois Education Advocates
Chicago News Cooperative, IL, December 29, 2011

Illinois finally crossed the finish line first in the latest “Race to the Top” competition for federal education grants, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s reform agenda.

New Look At Chicago School Buildings Finds Half Underused
Chicago Sun Times, IL, December 28, 2011

Half of all Chicago public schools are underused, based on a new building utilization formula unveiled Wednesday. The new formula is a critical one for many CPS schools as underuse can make a school vulnerable to closure or to sharing its building with another school, such as a charter. Both options triggered opposition in the past.

KENTUCKY

2012 Kentucky Legislative Preview | Dropout Bill and Charter Schools to Return
Louisville Courier-Journal, KY, December 29, 2011

With Kentucky’s student dropout rate hovering around 3 percent, Gov. Steve Beshear, lawmakers and education officials all expect raising the dropout age to remain a key issue in the 2012 legislative session.

LOUISIANA

Jindal Wants Bold Changes to K-12 Education
WWL, LA, December 28, 2011

The 2012 Legislative Session doesn’t begin until March 12, but already the debate over K-12 education is on. Wednesday, Governor Bobby Jindal met with roughly a dozen legislators at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.

Time La. Look At Real Education Reform
Shreveport Times, LA, December 29, 2011

The recent elections and subsequent influx of freshman legislators and BESE members provides Louisiana with the opportunity to address some of the most significant issues facing our state, particularly the pressing matter of reforming our public education system.

MASSACHUSETTS

School Committee Considers Strategic Plan
Boston Globe, MA, December 29, 2011

Tilton Elementary School would be transformed into one of the state’s first innovation schools. Haverhill’s youngest students would have access to free, full-day kindergarten classes. And high school students would have an opportunity to explore different career paths in structured academies.

MICHIGAN

Districts Worry Charter School Law Could Cost Them Students
Lansing State Journal, MI, December 29, 2011

Michigan’s new law that removes a cap on the number of charter schools by 2015 won’t have an instant effect, local school district officials say.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Republicans Seek To Gut Public Education
Nashua Telegraph, NH, December 18, 2011

A bill to come later in the term would give tax credits to businesses that they would then use to fund scholarships to private schools. The bill would, in other words, take taxpayer money away from public schools to send students to private schools.

NEW YORK

Better to Lose $60 Million Than Have A Weak Rating System
New York Daily News, NY, December 29, 2011

Now is the time for Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to stand firm for city children in the battle to create an effective, streamlined program for evaluating teacher performance.

City Schools Missing Out on Aid for Special Needs
New York Times, NY, December 29, 2011

New York City has failed to recover tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements for services it provided to special-needs students in recent years, as the Education Department has struggled to adapt to new rules imposed after a devastating federal audit forced the city to return money it received for claims it could not properly document.

TENNESSEE

Student Performance To Factor Into School Chief’s Job Evaluation
Oak Ridger, TN, December 28, 2011

The Oak Ridge School Board of Education has changed its model used to evaluate the school superintendent’s annual job performance.

Cut Down Red Tape In Teacher Evaluations
Daily News Journal, TN, December 28, 2011

The Tennessee Legislature acted rashly when it adopted a new teacher evaluation system as part of an education reform effort and application for federal funds.

TEXAS

The History of an IDEA
Austin Chronicle Blog, TX, December 28, 2011

The Austin ISD board of trustees may be trying to put a happy face on after the PR pummeling it took over the IDEA Public Schools debacle. But if its latest attempt to rewrite history is any measure, they should prepare for more heavy hits.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

New Bronx Charter School Will Use Technology To Expose Kids To International Cultures In The Classroom
New York Daily News, NY, December 29, 2011

The creators of a new charter school opening in the Bronx next fall couldn’t be more different, but they have a shared vision: exposing underprivileged kids to international cultures through technology.

Three School Districts Here Will Merge Teaching Efforts
Intelligencer Journal, PA, December 28, 2011

Imagine a high school where students can take classes as early as 7 a.m. or as late as 9 p.m.
Some of the courses are taught face-to-face in the school, with others delivered online and still others taught through a mix of classroom and computer-based instruction.

School Board Again Denies Charter School Application
Chattanooga Times, TN, December 28, 2011

Mr. Henderson said the school would focus on online learning and the students would have computers instead of textbooks.

The Hand of A Teacher Is Important — Even Online
Evansville Courier Press, IN, December 29, 2011

Indeed, online learning has become very popular and I wholeheartedly agree with the viewpoint that it can be very beneficial to students and that it can be a method of concern if not administered effectively.

Daily Headlines: December 28, 2011

States Hit Turbulence in School Overhauls
Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2011

The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on states to make good on their commitments under its Race to the Top competition, after all 12 winners either scaled down plans or pushed back timelines to overhaul their public-education systems.

Battling Anew Over the Place of Religion in Public Schools
New York Times, NY, December 28, 2011

It has been nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court ruled that officially sponsored prayer in public schools violated the separation of church and state.

Teacher Quality Matters
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 27, 2011

Excellence in teaching is a continuum, and campus-based training programs are only the beginning of the journey to master teacher.

STATE COVERAGE

Legislature Must Make Wise Decisions About Education
The Anniston Star, AL, December 28, 2011

For the Alabama Legislature newly under Republican control, 2011 was split between a winter and spring of triumph only to be followed by a summer and fall of turmoil.

Gov. Jerry Brown Says He Will Increase Education Funding
Los Angeles Times, CA, December 28, 2011

The governor’s 2012-13 spending plan, to be released in January, assumes billions in additional revenue from his tax increase initiative. If the measure fails, Brown says, more drastic cuts would be needed.

Public Schools Take All
Miami Herald, FL, December 27, 2011

The Dec. 22 letter Charter-school family says that Gibson Charter School offers sailing with Shake-a-Leg. Public schools can also offer this activity, as the sailing is funded by a grant and not the school. The grant is available to public and charter schools.

Hebrew Charter School to Open on Temple Beth El Campus
Sun Sentinel, FL, December 28, 2011

Former Congressman Peter Deutsch is opening one of his Ben Gamla Hebrew language charter schools on the Temple Beth El campus in East Boca. The school will start as a kindergarten through fifth grade for 200 students.

Three Vie For District 187 Charter School
Chicago Sun Times, IL, December 28, 2011

The Illinois State Board of Education and North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 announced Tuesday they have received three applications to run a charter school on the Naval Station Great Lakes.

Race To Top Tough, But Strong Schools Worth It
Rockford Register Star, IL, December 28, 2011

There’s good news and bad news for state residents as 2011 winds to a close. Good news first: Illinois discovered it was one of seven states to share a $200 million prize in the federal government’s Race to the Top competition.

Steuben Exploring New Public School Options
Bangor Daily News, ME, December 27, 2011

Try, try again. Steuben Selectman David Glass is eager to form a committee to explore new options for providing quality public education for the Washington County community’s elementary and high school students.

Grading Teachers Takes More Than Test Scores
Baltimore Sun, MD, December 27, 2011

Speaking as a retired independent middle school principal with 32 years of service, it was most disturbing to read The Sun’s editorial that appeared to search for satisfactory criteria that would “tie a teacher’s pay to performance rather than seniority” (“Baltimore schools’ uncharted waters,” Dec. 21).

Study Finds Many Would Leave St. Louis District
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, December 27, 2011

Nearly one-third of St. Louis students would change schools if they were allowed to take advantage of a contested state law that allows them to transfer to better-performing districts, according to a study conducted as part of a lawsuit. If that happened, the district would have to pay millions in tuition and transportation costs.

City Schools Risk Losing Federal Funds
Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2011

New York state warned city officials Tuesday that they are just days away from losing nearly $60 million in federal funds that hinge on an agreement with the teachers union to use test scores in evaluations.

King Draws a Line
New York Post, NY, December 28, 2011

Teachers unions are playing chicken with State Education Commissioner John King over some $105 million in federal funds — about $58 million for New York City alone — and King’s not blinking.
Good for him. He shouldn’t.

Charter Schools Get Win in White Hat Suit
Columbus Dispatch, OH, December 28, 2011

The 19-month fight over whether Ohio’s largest for-profit manager of charter schools must share detailed financial records could be coming to a close.

Private Schools See Enrollment Swell
Middletown Journal, OH, December 27, 2011

Middletown Christian Schools is experiencing explosive growth with 530 students at the school and one strong reason is the state-supported voucher program.

School Reform Takes Time
Steubenville Herald-Star, OH, December 28, 2011

It may well be that Kasich and his advisers — after emphasizing they wanted to improve public schools, not just change how they are funded — are concerned about how the state can use its power better to reform failing schools. That and the funding issue go hand in hand.

In Education, Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again
Courier Times, PA, December 28, 2011

It is simple math to see how Opportunity Scholarships will not only allow students in under-performing schools to escape the monopoly of public education but will allow those same under-performing schools to spend more money on the students who remain in those schools.

Nathan Benefield | Santa Has Misplaced Corbett’s Wish List
Tribune Democrat, PA, December 28, 2011

For Christmas this year, Gov. Tom Corbett hoped the Legislature would gift wrap three things he could tie a bow on: An education reform package that included school vouchers, state liquor store privatization and legislation addressing gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Gist Approves City-Union Plan For Providence School Reform
Providence Journal, RI, December 27, 2011

State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist has approved a ground-breaking collaboration between the Providence schools and the teachers’ union to implement wide-ranging reforms in three of the district’s struggling schools.

Charter School Critics Blast Graduation Claims
Go Local Prov , RI, December 28, 2011

An anti-charter school group is questioning the attrition rates at the Connecticut high school run by Achievement First, the nonprofit charter management organization that hopes to open schools in Providence beginning in 2013.

Governor Orders Review of Teacher Evaluations
The Tennessean, TN, December 28, 2011

Gov. Bill Haslam is calling for a five-month study of Tennessee’s new process for evaluating teachers, in a move to head off legislative action spurred by recent complaints over the system’s fairness and practicality.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

The Choice On How To Educate Our Children Belongs To Parents, Not The State
Heritage Newspapers, MI, December 26, 2011

As a mother with three children enrolled in a full-time virtual public school, I am constantly explaining to folks that we are not home-schoolers. My children are “anywhere schoolers.”

GOP Lawmakers Want More Cyber Schools In Michigan
Michigan Public Radio, MI, December 27, 2011

There may soon be more online schools allowed to operate in Michigan . Republican leaders in the Legislature say they want to allow more so-called cyber schools for K-through-12.

Cyber School Cap Could Go
Port Huron Times Herald, MI, December 28, 2011

Another education-altering bill could go before the house in the next few weeks.

Daily Headlines for December 28, 2011

States Hit Turbulence in School Overhauls
Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2011

The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on states to make good on their commitments under its Race to the Top competition, after all 12 winners either scaled down plans or pushed back timelines to overhaul their public-education systems.

Battling Anew Over the Place of Religion in Public Schools
New York Times, NY, December 28, 2011

It has been nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court ruled that officially sponsored prayer in public schools violated the separation of church and state.

Teacher Quality Matters
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 27, 2011

Excellence in teaching is a continuum, and campus-based training programs are only the beginning of the journey to master teacher.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Legislature Must Make Wise Decisions About Education
The Anniston Star, AL, December 28, 2011

For the Alabama Legislature newly under Republican control, 2011 was split between a winter and spring of triumph only to be followed by a summer and fall of turmoil.

CALIFORNIA

Gov. Jerry Brown Says He Will Increase Education Funding
Los Angeles Times, CA, December 28, 2011

The governor’s 2012-13 spending plan, to be released in January, assumes billions in additional revenue from his tax increase initiative. If the measure fails, Brown says, more drastic cuts would be needed.

FLORIDA

Public Schools Take All
Miami Herald, FL, December 27, 2011

The Dec. 22 letter Charter-school family says that Gibson Charter School offers sailing with Shake-a-Leg. Public schools can also offer this activity, as the sailing is funded by a grant and not the school. The grant is available to public and charter schools.

Hebrew Charter School to Open on Temple Beth El Campus
Sun Sentinel, FL, December 28, 2011

Former Congressman Peter Deutsch is opening one of his Ben Gamla Hebrew language charter schools on the Temple Beth El campus in East Boca. The school will start as a kindergarten through fifth grade for 200 students.

ILLINOIS

Three Vie For District 187 Charter School
Chicago Sun Times, IL, December 28, 2011

The Illinois State Board of Education and North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 announced Tuesday they have received three applications to run a charter school on the Naval Station Great Lakes.

Race To Top Tough, But Strong Schools Worth It
Rockford Register Star, IL, December 28, 2011

There’s good news and bad news for state residents as 2011 winds to a close. Good news first: Illinois discovered it was one of seven states to share a $200 million prize in the federal government’s Race to the Top competition.

MAINE

Steuben Exploring New Public School Options
Bangor Daily News, ME, December 27, 2011

Try, try again. Steuben Selectman David Glass is eager to form a committee to explore new options for providing quality public education for the Washington County community’s elementary and high school students.

MARYLAND

Grading Teachers Takes More Than Test Scores
Baltimore Sun, MD, December 27, 2011

Speaking as a retired independent middle school principal with 32 years of service, it was most disturbing to read The Sun’s editorial that appeared to search for satisfactory criteria that would “tie a teacher’s pay to performance rather than seniority” (“Baltimore schools’ uncharted waters,” Dec. 21).

MISSOURI

Study Finds Many Would Leave St. Louis District
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, December 27, 2011

Nearly one-third of St. Louis students would change schools if they were allowed to take advantage of a contested state law that allows them to transfer to better-performing districts, according to a study conducted as part of a lawsuit. If that happened, the district would have to pay millions in tuition and transportation costs.

NEW YORK

City Schools Risk Losing Federal Funds
Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2011

New York state warned city officials Tuesday that they are just days away from losing nearly $60 million in federal funds that hinge on an agreement with the teachers union to use test scores in evaluations.

King Draws a Line
New York Post, NY, December 28, 2011

Teachers unions are playing chicken with State Education Commissioner John King over some $105 million in federal funds — about $58 million for New York City alone — and King’s not blinking.
Good for him. He shouldn’t.

OHIO

Charter Schools Get Win in White Hat Suit
Columbus Dispatch, OH, December 28, 2011

The 19-month fight over whether Ohio’s largest for-profit manager of charter schools must share detailed financial records could be coming to a close.

Private Schools See Enrollment Swell
Middletown Journal, OH, December 27, 2011

Middletown Christian Schools is experiencing explosive growth with 530 students at the school and one strong reason is the state-supported voucher program.

School Reform Takes Time
Steubenville Herald-Star, OH, December 28, 2011

It may well be that Kasich and his advisers — after emphasizing they wanted to improve public schools, not just change how they are funded — are concerned about how the state can use its power better to reform failing schools. That and the funding issue go hand in hand.

PENNSYLVANIA

In Education, Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again
Courier Times, PA, December 28, 2011

It is simple math to see how Opportunity Scholarships will not only allow students in under-performing schools to escape the monopoly of public education but will allow those same under-performing schools to spend more money on the students who remain in those schools.

Nathan Benefield | Santa Has Misplaced Corbett’s Wish List
Tribune Democrat, PA, December 28, 2011

For Christmas this year, Gov. Tom Corbett hoped the Legislature would gift wrap three things he could tie a bow on: An education reform package that included school vouchers, state liquor store privatization and legislation addressing gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

RHODE ISLAND

Gist Approves City-Union Plan For Providence School Reform
Providence Journal, RI, December 27, 2011

State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist has approved a ground-breaking collaboration between the Providence schools and the teachers’ union to implement wide-ranging reforms in three of the district’s struggling schools.

Charter School Critics Blast Graduation Claims
Go Local Prov , RI, December 28, 2011

An anti-charter school group is questioning the attrition rates at the Connecticut high school run by Achievement First, the nonprofit charter management organization that hopes to open schools in Providence beginning in 2013.

TENNESSEE

Governor Orders Review of Teacher Evaluations
The Tennessean, TN, December 28, 2011

Gov. Bill Haslam is calling for a five-month study of Tennessee’s new process for evaluating teachers, in a move to head off legislative action spurred by recent complaints over the system’s fairness and practicality.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

The Choice On How To Educate Our Children Belongs To Parents, Not The State
Heritage Newspapers, MI, December 26, 2011

As a mother with three children enrolled in a full-time virtual public school, I am constantly explaining to folks that we are not home-schoolers. My children are “anywhere schoolers.”

GOP Lawmakers Want More Cyber Schools In Michigan
Michigan Public Radio, MI, December 27, 2011

There may soon be more online schools allowed to operate in Michigan . Republican leaders in the Legislature say they want to allow more so-called cyber schools for K-through-12.

Cyber School Cap Could Go
Port Huron Times Herald, MI, December 28, 2011

Another education-altering bill could go before the house in the next few weeks.

Daily Headlines for December 27, 2011

Teacher Evaluation Reform Spreading Across The Nation
The Oklahoman, OK, December 25, 2011

Oklahoma is not the first state to adopt a teacher evaluation system based in part on student test results, but is part of a growing trend across states and schools to move to the growth or value added evaluation models.

STATE COVERAGE

Charter School Becomes A Success Story
Anchorage Daily News, AK, December 26, 2011

Turning berry picking into a math lesson is one example of an approach that is helping students at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School make remarkable gains in achievement scores.

Arizona School System Braces For Biggest Shake-Up In Decades
Tucson Citizen, AZ, December 24, 2011

Arizona is putting in place some of the biggest changes in public schools in two decades. Over the next three years, the reforms will shake up what students learn and when they are promoted, as well as how teachers are evaluated and schools are graded.

Charter School Plans Filed With City
North County Times, CA, December 26, 2011

Santa Rosa Academy in the last few weeks has taken another step toward building its new school in the heart of Menifee.

Teachers Union Sues Sacramento City Schools Over Seniority Rights In Layoffs
Sacramento Bee, CA, December 25, 2011

The Sacramento City Unified School District is fighting a civil lawsuit filed by its teachers union over teacher seniority rights in rehiring after layoffs.

STEM Charter High School Planned at DSU
News Journal, DE, December 26, 2011

The model they saw in action on their visits is known as “Early College High School .” And if the state approves its charter school application, DSU will open the first school of that type in Delaware on its Dover campus by the fall of 2013.

Keep a Watchful Eye on High Cost of School Reform
Washington Times, DC, December 25, 2011

There’s a nasty little trend coursing throughout America , and while I hardly want to toss a bucket of cold water on your warm holiday spirits, a warning is in order as federal, state and local governments broach the inevitable passionate debates about education funding in 2012.

Parents Trying To Bring Charter Schools To Unincorporated Boynton Beach
Palm Beach Post, FL, December 24, 2011

Parents who are trying to bring their own charter middle school to the unincorporated Canyons area of western Boynton Beach are also trying to create a charter high school, saying the available option the district has given them is simply too far away.

Education Will Be A Hot-Button Issue in Florida Primary
Tallahassee Democrat, FL, December 25, 2011

No matter which presidential candidates survive the early eliminations in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina next month, Florida Republicans will have an opportunity to register their feelings on federal education policy — and whether there should even be a national policy — next month.

New Evaluations For Teachers Ready In Collier And Lee, But Some Say It’s Rushed
Naples News, FL, December 26, 2011

Teachers and administrators want more time. More time to test out the system. More time before observations and a complicated equation determines how effective a chemistry, physical education or fifth-grade teacher is at his or her job.

Area Schools Bracing for Change in 2012
Gainesville Times, GA, December 26, 2011

The first major change involves a bill passed under former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s term. By 2013, all school systems must convert to either a charter system or an Investing in Educational Excellence, or IE2, system, according to the bill.

Glass Says Iowa Education Reforms Will Take Time
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 25, 2011

The director of the Iowa Department of Education said he’s willing to be patient with his plan to overhaul the state’s public school system, acknowledging that many people aren’t ready for changes he thinks are essential.

Michigan School Bill Boosts For-Profits
South Bend Tribune, IN, December 27, 2011

The passage recently of Michigan Senate Bill 618 by a vote of 58-49 has proven once again that the Republicans in Lansing are more concerned with profit for corporations than they are for providing for the future education of our children and the will of their constituents

Add Count Dates For Fair Support
Northwest Times, IN, December 26, 2011

The launch this year of Indiana’s school voucher program — the biggest debut of any voucher program so far — has been a success. Nearly 4,000 students are in private schools as a result.

Urban League Begins Search For Charter School Leader
News Sentinel, IN, December 27, 2011

For Fort Wayne Urban League President Jonathan Ray, now the hard work begins. Ray said that with the approval of the Urban League’s proposed charter school, his top priority is finding a strong leader for the school, which supports the Urban League’s goal of educating all students regardless of race and economic status.

Thurgood Marshall’s Mission: Success for All
News Sentinel, IN, December 27, 2011

The charter school movement is a lightning rod of controversy for many in the education community, while the debate over charter schools often appears to be driven by theory and ideology, with little information on how the reform itself is affecting students.

Charter School Grades Lagging Traditional Schools
The Daily Advertiser, LA, December 26, 2011

The present governor wants to expand the use of charter schools throughout the state by seeking the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s approval instead of gaining the approval of local school districts. Charter schools may not be the miracle we’ve been lead to believe.

You’ll Hear More On School Reform In Coming Year
Opelousas Daily World, LA, December 26, 2011

Education reform. Those two words are likely to be the hottest political issue of 2012. “Why?” you ask. “Who wouldn’t favor improving education? Aren’t we at or near the bottom when it comes to a national comparison of student performance?”

Overlooked City School Creates A Buzz
Boston Globe, MA, December 25, 2011

The first time she brought her 4-year-old to Mendell Elementary School, Ellen Shattuck Pierce braced herself for disappointment.

Schools Spend Thousands on Marketing to Attract Students
Jackson Citizen Patriot, MI, December 25, 2011

With about $7,000 per student in state aid attached to every student, it’s easy to see why area school districts spend money on marketing and advertising their schools.

Schools of Choice Law Has Led to Massive Movement Across School District Lines
Jackson Citizen Patriot, MI, December 25, 2011

Last school year, the number of children who lived in the Jackson Public Schools district but attended other public or charter schools was more than the total student count at any other school district in the county.

The Pushback Against Charter Schools In The Suburbs
Star-Ledger, NJ, December 27, 2011

As charter schools begin to spread beyond the urban districts where they first took root, they are provoking a political backlash in the suburbs that could weaken support for the overall movement. We’ve seen the brush fires in Cherry Hill, East Brunswick, Millburn, Montclair and Princeton.

School Spending Under Microscope
Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2011

The New York City lawyer who helped win a landmark court ruling in 2006 that ordered billions of dollars more spent on schools has been quietly building a new case to show that even after more than a decade of litigation, the state still may be failing its most impoverished students.

Charter Schools Are Not The Solution: The Widow of Famed UFT Leader Albert Shanker Blasts ‘Reformers’
New York Daily News, NY, December 26, 2011

Are charter schools the answer for public education? If what you know about charters comes from last year’s ballyhooed film “Waiting for Superman,” you probably think so. But the answer is, in fact, much more complex.

After Split, New Charter School Group Forms
News & Observer, NC, December 27, 2011

Eddie Goodall, a former state senator, is forming a new charter school organization after a split a few weeks ago with the charter alliance he ran as president.

Teacher Evaluation System Retreats From Reform, Lawmaker Says
The Oklahoman, OK, December 25, 2011

Rep. Ed Cannaday, who served on the commission tasked with developing the state’s new teacher evaluation system said the state Education Board went against state law by allowing districts to select from three evaluation models.

NJ Education Chief: Be Tougher On Failing Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 26, 2011

As New Jersey ‘s acting education commissioner, Christopher Cerf is charged with carrying out Gov. Chris Christie’s plans to overhaul some aspects of the state’s public education system.

Real School Reform Finally?
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 26, 2011

But we can’t deny the power of the changes under way. Looking five years into the future, it is easy to imagine an educational system very different from today’s, and vastly changed from 2000′s.

Plans on Track for Charter School to Open in Jasper County in August
The State, SC, December 27, 2011

Jasper County’s first charter school is set to open in August, and its founders urge parents interested in sending their children there — whether they live in the county or not — to apply soon.

A Time Out for Teachers
Commercial Appeal, TN, December 26, 2011

Evaluating the way teachers are evaluated is the correct response to the flood of complaints.
A time out for teachers

Pflugerville School District Finds Success With Teacher Training, Performance Compensation Program
Austin American-Statesman, TX, December 25, 2011

The performance-based compensation program, which is based on a national version developed by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, offers performance pay, peer collaboration, classroom evaluations, campus-based professional development and opportunities for promotion while remaining a teacher.

Teens Say Challenge Academy Changed Their Lives
Fox 11, WI, December 26, 2011

Their military-style salutations are just one indicator of the changes they’ve made in the Academy. Liebenstein, 19, and Tetzlaff, 17, both from Wisconsin Rapids, graduate today from the 22-week program for at-risk teens.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Tough Times on Virtual Learning?
Boston Globe Blog, MA, December 26, 2011

Back at the start of December, I blogged on the need for both an open door to online learning and also a greater focus on accountability for those who would operate in that space.

Alexandria Debates Adult Education
Washington Post, DC, December 26, 2011

Alexandria’s schools chief aims to raise the city’s low graduation rate by offering struggling students a new education experience that is self-paced, flexible and largely online.

Teacher Warns of Failings of Cyberschools
Daily Press & Argus, MI, December 25, 2011

Aldecoa said that boy, nor any she taught during those years, would be good candidates for cyberschools — those in which students learn at home online through a teacher in another location.

Online Schools Play Essential Role
Denver Post, CO, December 25, 2011

There are few choices parents will make that are more important than how to educate their children.