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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.