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Daily Headlines: 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

ALASKA

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

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.

CALIFORNIA

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.

DELAWARE

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.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

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.

FLORIDA

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.

GEORGIA

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.

INDIANA

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.

IOWA

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.

LOUISIANA

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?”

MASSACHUSETTS

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.

MICHIGAN

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.

NEW JERSEY

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.

NEW YORK

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.

NORTH CAROLINA

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.

OKLAHOMA

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.

PENNSYLVANIA

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.

SOUTH CAROLINA

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.

TENNESSEE

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

TEXAS

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.

WISCONSIN

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.