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Daily Headlines for December 13, 2011

Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools
New York Times, NY, December 13, 2011
By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is failing. Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading.

From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model
New York Times, NY, December 13, 2011
Dr. Sahlberg puts high-quality teachers at the heart of Finland’s education success story — which, as it happens, has become a personal success story of sorts, part of an American obsession with all things Finnish when it comes to schools.

STATE COVERAGE

CALIFORNIA

2 Charter Schools Allowed Some Families To Bypass Lotteries
Los Angeles Times, CA, December 13, 2011
L.A. Unified will weigh a ban on preferences like those at Larchmont and Los Feliz, which admitted some students in return for special services or volunteering by parents.

SD Unified Ranks High In School Choice
San Diego Times-Union, CA, December 12, 2011
Hers is an extreme commute, one that illustrates the lengths some students will go to attend a school that boasts better tests scores or more innovative programs than those offered at their neighborhood campus.

COLORADO

Community Group Sets Up Goals For Education Reform
Denver Post, CO, December 13, 2011
The Denver education compact, a group of community leaders focused on reforming education, settled on three initial goals Monday.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Treat D.C.’s Charter School Students Fairly
Washington Times, DC, December 12, 2011
A critical component of Mr. Gray’s “One City ” campaign was for the District’s publicly funded charter schools, which are independent of D.C. Public Schools (DCPS), to receive the same amount of public funds per student as the traditional public school system

Hebrew Language Charter Proposal In The Works
Washington Post Blog, DC, December 12, 2011
A local group is preparing an application to open the District’s first Hebrew immersion charter school in 2013.

D.C. Charter Schools Succeed With Poor Kids
Washington Examiner, DC, December 12, 2011
Two years ago Shantelle Wright started the Achievement Preparatory Academy public charter school in Congress Heights, certainly one of the roughest neighborhoods in the nation’s capital.

ILLINOIS

CPS to Add 12 Charter Schools
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 12, 2011
Chicago Public Schools announced plans Monday to add 12 new charters, including more campuses for networks with less-than-stellar scores.

INDIANA

Many Oppose Proposed Charter School
The Journal Gazette, IN, December 13, 2011
Opponents of a proposed charter school had a clear message Monday for the Indiana Charter School Board: We’re doing just fine with our existing schools, thank you very much. There may be a need for more charter schools somewhere in Indiana but not here.

LOUISIANA

Desoto Teachers Get Incentive Checks This Week
Shreveport Times, LA, December 13, 2011
Checks ranging from $600 to over $5,000 are going out to most DeSoto Parish teachers this week as part of their incentive pay for participation in the Teacher and Student Advancement system better known as TAP.

MARYLAND

Teachers Say Frustration Marks First Year Of Landmark Contract
Baltimore Sun, MD, December 12, 2011
Pointing to an unprecedented partnership between Baltimore’s school district and union leaders, officials signed a new teacher contract last year that they said would revolutionize the city’s teaching profession by implementing a pay-for-performance plan.

MASSACHUSETTS

School-Assignment Plan – A Relic In Need of a Full Overhaul
Boston Globe, MA, December 13, 2011
Yet whenever officials begin to reassess the Boston schools assignment plan, the busing crisis remains the touchpoint. Segregation was the original sin of the Boston schools – the failure to properly invest in schools in poor, black neighborhoods – and it remains, today, the most oft-cited reason why the city should resist proposals to return the school system to its neighborhood roots.

Judge Weighs Charter Case
Gloucester Times, MA, December 13, 2011
Friends and foes alike of Gloucester ‘s Community Arts Charter School will have to wait a little longer to get any new word regarding its future.

MICHIGAN

Charter School Decisions Should Be Data-Driven
Grand Rapids Press, MI, December 13, 2011
It strikes me as odd that leaders in Lansing herald the virtues of data-driven decision making but press forward with legislation like Senate Bills (SB) 618 and 619. SB 618 lifts the cap on university-authorized charters in the state and allows for unfettered expansion in a time when lawmakers urge consolidation.

MINNESOTA

Teachers, Charters Are Natural Allies
Star Tribune, MN, December 12, 2011
Conventional wisdom suggests that the interests of teacher unions and charter schools are at odds. I believe that’s wrong.

Minneapolis, St. Paul Schools: Learning What Not To Do From NCLB Tutoring Program
Twin Cities Daily Planet, MN, December 12, 2011
Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind waiver application is in, and school districts are positioning nails over the coffins of some of the legislation’s onerous requirements. One target: a federally required tutoring program.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Politics Poison Efforts To Reform N.H. Education
Portsmouth Herald, NH, December 13, 2011
In response to the Joey Cresta story in the Dec. 4 edition of Seacoast Sunday titled “Parties divided over future of education,” I write in support of rational legislative initiatives that enhance local control over our children’s education and foster school choice for parents.

Great Bay eLearning Charter School Remains A Good Neighbor
Portsmouth Herald, NH, December 13, 2011
We are writing as parents and taxpayers. Our children are students at the Great Bay eLearning Charter School — an award-winning public charter school founded in 2004 by the Exeter Region Cooperative School District.

NEW JERSEY

Administration Reveals Which Charters Have Made the First Cut
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 13, 2011
With every detail of its process under scrutiny, the Christie administration said yesterday that 17 of 42 applications for new charter schools in the state have made the first cut in the latest review, while the remainder have been eliminated, at least for now.

Newark’s First Foray into Teacher Evaluation Pilot, with Teachers Front and Center
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 13, 2011
By the district’s last available count, only about 1 percent of Newark’s teachers – or 32 of them — got unsatisfactory evaluations in 2009-2010, while better than 90 percent were deemed proficient or distinguished.

NORTH CAROLINA

NAACP Opposes Charter School
News Observer, NC, December 13, 2011
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP says a new charter school proposing to help black students will actually hurt them.

OHIO

Dems Hope Union Victory Spurs Ohio House Takeover
Associated Press, December 12, 2011
Unionized teachers and retirees, local government officials, and veterans are among public workers running for office in an effort by Ohio Democrats to take control of the state House after a successful fall campaign to repeal a collective bargaining overhaul championed by Gov. John Kasich and fellow Republicans.

School Voucher Extension Bill To Get Light Trim
Columbus Dispatch, OH, December 13, 2011
A House Republican pushing to expand a program that gives parents tax dollars to pay their child’s private-school tuition has agreed to scale back his plan, but the proposal still could double the number of Ohio students receiving education vouchers.

Unified Response
Akron Beacon Journal, OH, December 12, 2011
The boards and superintendents of Ohio’s public schools rarely raise a protest as unified as their response to House Bill 136.

OKLAHOMA

Navigating The Crossroads
Edmond Sun, OK, December 13, 2011
As we approach the end of 2011, Oklahoma is on the cusp of significant and positive change for our education system.

OREGON

Salem-Keizer Might Sponsor New Charter High School
Statesman Journal, OR, December 12, 2011
Salem-Keizer School District is on track to sponsor its first charter school in six years and its first ever for high school students.

PENNSYLVANIA

Charter School Plans Leave Many Questions
Reading Eagle, PA, December 13, 2011
The Hamburg School Board did not get many of its questions answered at a public hearing Monday night on the Medical Academy Charter School’s request to operate a charter school in the former Hamburg Elementary School .

Moorestown Family Seeks District Coverage For Autistic Son In Private School
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 13, 2011
The family of an autistic teenager and the Moorestown School District are on opposing sides of a long and costly court battle that experts say could have an impact on children’s access to special education in states beyond New Jersey.

TENNESSEE

Metro School Board To Decide Drexel Charter’s Future
The Tennessean, TN, December 13, 2011
Leaders of Drexel Preparatory Academy, a Whites Creek charter school, could learn their fate next week.

Hamilton County’s Teachers Union Targets School Boards
Chattanooga Times Free Press, TN, December 13, 2011
The leader of Hamilton County’s teachers union wants only those who have worked in the education field to serve on state and local school boards.

KIPP Memphis Charter School Lands $3M To Expand
Commercial Appeal, TN, December 13, 2011
KIPP Memphis will tell the city today what it has quietly known for weeks: The school received $3 million from a venture-capital fund focused on expanding high-test charter schools.

TEXAS

AISD Board Postpones Vote On Charter
KXAN, TX, December 12, 2011
The Austin school board decided to call it quits at 1:00 a.m. and pick up where they left off next Monday for a final vote on the in-district charter school plan with IDEA Public Schools.

UTAH

New Utah Charter School Hopes To Serve Refugees, Immigrants
Salt Lake Tribune, UT, December 12, 2011
Granite School District has approved a charter for a new public school that plans to serve refugees, immigrants and students interested in an education with a “global perspective.”

WISCONSIN

Wis. School Districts Giving Merit Based Pay Trial Runs
Badger Herald, WI, December 12, 2011
School districts across Wisconsin have made strides toward reforming the state’s teacher evaluation process by implementing new merit-based salaries for teachers under new powers provided by the budget repair legislation.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

State Rejects Application For Virtual Charter School In Teaneck
The Record, NJ, December 12, 2011
The Garden State Virtual Charter School, which has drawn fire from hundreds of protesters in Teaneck , will not be approved in the current round of charter applications, the state Education Department said Monday.

Cheating By Online Students A Concern
Tucson Citizen, AZ, December 12, 2011
Cheating occurs in every school, but the freedom and lack of monitoring in online classes sharply increases the potential for cheating and plagiarism.