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Daily Headlines for December 5, 2011

The Teacher Quality Conundrum: If They Are The Problem, Why Are Kids Gaining In Math?
New York Daily News, NY, December 5, 2011
How to improve our schools? Let’s start with what we know: Teachers are the most important factor in a child’s schooling, and many of our teachers are not very good.

STATE COVERAGE

New Alabama Education Policy Director To Push For Charter Schools
Birmingham News Blog, AL, December 3, 2011
Gov. Robert Bentley’s new education policy director has worked under some controversial regimes in high-profile efforts to turn around failing schools.

LAUSD’s Promise of School Freedom Is Progress, but No Panacea
Los Angeles Times, CA, December 3, 2011
Educators at campuses that would get more autonomy under a district-union deal must remember that what made upstart charters work is not fewer rules but more attention to student needs.

L.A. Teachers Union Drops Legal Challenge To Evaluation System
Los Angeles Times Blog, CA, December 2, 2011
The union for Los Angeles teachers has suspended its legal challenge to a pilot evaluation program that includes using standardized test scores as part of a teacher’s performance review. The union also reserved the right to reactivate the case should talks with the district sour.

State Board to Consider Charter School Dispute in D-49
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO, December 4, 2011
A drawn out process over whether or not Falcon School District 49 will be home to a new charter school is expected to come to a conclusion Tuesday afternoon.

Tangi Board: Charter Could Hurt Desegregation
Washington Examiner, DC, December 4, 2011
Tangipahoa Parish school officials say creating a charter school in Hammond could jeopardize the public school system’s progress toward desegregation.

Education: Big Reforms Haven’t Yet Produced Big Results
Sun Sentinel, FL, December 4, 2011
After two years of hammering away on a K-12 education agenda designed by conservative think tanks, legislators have checked off a number of goals: merit pay, heightened graduation standards and an expanded voucher program.

New Teacher Evaluations Look At Administrative, Student Input
Gainesville Times, GA, December 3, 2011
School systems want to hire quality, effective educators they can retain.
Before, teachers were evaluated by administrators on their classroom demeanor, teaching methods and professional development. Pay was based on years of experience and college degrees.

What’s Working And What Isn’t In Public Schools
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, GA, December 4, 2011
Some good news on Georgia’s effectiveness in tracking student progress might be bad news for bad teachers. That could be good news for the rest of us, but not unless it also means good news for good teachers.

Being A Charter Doesn’t Make School Good or Bad
Chicago Sun-Times, IL, December 5, 2011
Surprise, surprise: Chicago’s charter schools aren’t doing much better than those in the Chicago Public School system.

Charter Schools Facing More Scrutiny
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 4, 2011
If the past decade was defined by a remarkable expansion of charter schools in Chicago , the next 10 years might ultimately be about accountability.

More Classroom Time Viewed As Vital For Student Teachers
Des Moines Register, IA, December 5, 2011
Prospective teachers would spend more time observing veteran educators and honing their craft in the classroom under a proposal designed to make Iowa’s schools the best in the nation.

Up Next, After School Vouchers
Journal & Courier, IN, December 3, 2011
Thanks to Gov. Mitch Daniels, state Superintendent Tony Bennett and our state legislators, Indiana families now have a chance to enroll their children in the schools that meet their unique learning needs. Now, it’s time to take the next logical step forward by bringing more transparency to the system.

9 Recovery School District Charter Applications Go to BESE With State Recommendation
Times-Picayune, LA, December 2, 2011
Nine different nonprofit groups passed muster this year with the Department of Education to open new charter schools in the state-run Recovery School District , part of an annual process that is slowing transforming New Orleans into an all-charter school system.

Honor the Real Education Reformers
The Daily Advertiser, LA, December 4, 2011
Some teachers have expressed concern that, in this time when education reform is at the top of policy agendas, they’re bearing the burden and the blame. They’re not entirely wrong.

Jefferson Parish Parents Pushing For Foreign Language Charter School
Times Picayune, LA, December 2, 2011
Worried that the Jefferson Parish public school system’s foreign language immersion program might be on the chopping block again, parents are rallying to support one of the 10 organizations seeking to open a charter school in Jefferson next year.

Legislature Should Fix Charter School Law
Portland Press Herald, ME, December 4, 2011
It makes no sense to ask families to commit to new schools that haven’t been approved yet.

In Lawrence, Relief and Regret
Boston Globe, MA, December 4, 2011
Parents, teachers, and city officials see state’s takeover of the troubled schools as a chance to change course

Lowell Residents To Mull Bid For Charter School
Lowell Sun, MA, December 5, 2011
The next step in the move to establish the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell happens Wednesday, as the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a public hearing on the proposal at Pollard Memorial Library.

Charting Next Course
Boston Herald, MA, December 3, 2011
Charter school advocates helped score a victory for education with the passage of the 2010 reform law, which lifted the cap on charter schools in struggling school districts.

Be Bold; Raise Charter School Limits
Detroit Free Press, MI, December 4, 2011
Now is the time to break the silence about things that matter. The emperor has no clothes. Our current government K-12 public school structure has failed. It is on life support. It exists because people are forced to contribute their hard-earned dollars to sustain the same old structures, whether traditional public or public charter.

With Charter Package, Michigan Will Lead Nation In School Reform
Detroit Free Press, MI, December 4, 2011
In today’s competitive global economy, it is imperative that every student graduates high school prepared for college or a career. The success of these students will determine the destiny of Michigan and the nation.

Minneapolis Teacher’s Union Approved To Authorize Charter Schools
Minnesota Public Radio, MN, December 2, 2011
The Minneapolis teachers’ union has become the first in the nation to win the right to authorize charter schools.

Time to Reassess Charter Schools
Asbury Park Press, NJ, December 3, 2011
With the state Legislature back in session after a five-month vacation, the temperature is rising again as school reform proponents and opponents resume squaring off.

Moran: Perth Amboy Superintendent Takes On Fight Over Teacher Tenure
Star Ledger Blog, NJ, December 4, 2011
Only one word can explain this insanity: tenure. And while the Legislature is mulling reforms that will chip away at this fortress, Caffrey has a bolder idea: Get rid of it altogether.

Charter School Thrives On Data
The Record, NJ, December 4, 2011
Walk through the doors of Bergen Arts & Science Charter School in Garfield and you’ll see a computer kiosk that lets parents see all their kids’ test mistakes so they can practice more at home.

From Brawls to Charter Challenges, They All Cross the Commissioner’s Desk
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 5, 2011
But other challenges may prove a little more discretionary, including a couple of charter school cases headed to his docket.

Why School Choice Fails
New York Times, NY, December 5, 2011
IF you want to see the direction that education reform is taking the country, pay a visit to my leafy, majority-black neighborhood in Washington. While we have lived in the same house since our 11-year-old son was born, he’s been assigned to three different elementary schools as one after the other has been shuttered.

Where Schools Fall Short
New York Times, NY, December 5, 2011
New York is not alone in having to deal with the problem of mass remediation. Many states are adopting rigorous new academic standards for high schools, but those improvements could take years to put into place. In the meantime, states need to provide the resources to help the unprepared succeed after high school.

We Need Alternatives To Poorest Schools
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, NY, December 4, 2011
There’s no disputing that standardized test scores at the Genesee Community Charter School are higher than the City School District averages. But because the school’s population doesn’t mirror the district’s racial and economic profile, skeptics say the results don’t mean much.

Mayor Ignites a New Debate on Class Size
Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2011
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s remarks this week that he would, in an ideal world, “cut the number of teachers in half,” weed out the bad ones and double their salaries has reignited a debate about class size.

Charter School Proposed for Newburgh, N.Y.
Times Herald-Record, NY, December 5, 2011
Tom Fitzgerald has worn almost every possible hat in the Newburgh School District .
He taught Latin at Newburgh Free Academy , worked as an elementary school assistant principal, sat on the school board and worked as a consultant for the district.

New Charter Schools Squeezing White Hat
Columbus Dispatch, OH, December 3, 2011
The company that helped launch the charter-school movement in Ohio now faces so much competition that its founder told employees they are “in a fight for our lives.”

Phila. Sustainability Workshop Tries To Reinvent The High School
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 4, 2011
High school feels different in the big white mansion at the edge of the Navy Yard – no desks in rows. No 47-minute class periods. No warnings to remove the hat, put the cellphone away, take the exam seriously.

School-Voucher Debate Is Underscored By Opinions, Circumstances of Parents In Failing School Districts
The Patriot-News, PA, December 4, 2011
The vouchers debate polarizes political opinion. Lawmakers have spent the year clashing over bills to provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to help parents move their kids to better schools. The issue provokes arguments from teachers unions and school boards associations that vouchers undermine public education.

State House to Take Up Vouchers, Economic Furloughs In Schools
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, December 4, 2011
Republican State Sen. Jeffrey Piccola wants to see students in Pennsylvania’s lowest-achieving school districts qualify for taxpayer-funded vouchers that would allow them to attend private schools.

Pushing Vouchers: For Some, It’s About Tax Dollars for Church Schools
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, December 3, 2011
No one should be surprised that leaders in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh want families served by its schools to push for passage of a tuition voucher bill in Harrisburg. The legislation is in the schools’ interest, and it’s the right of parents to speak out.

Providence School Leader Chooses Reform Models
Providence Journal, RI, December 3, 2011
Interim Supt. Susan Lusi has revived a ground-breaking plan to reform some of the district’s chronically low-performing schools — a joint labor-management pact between her office and the Providence Teachers’ Union.

Teacher Evaluations Essential To School Reform Momentum
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, December 4, 2011
When it comes to public education, Tennessee has gone from being an average state in the below-average Southeast to being the national leader in education reform and improvement efforts.

A Testament To Single-Gender Education
Austin American-Statesman, TX, December 4, 2011
No choices. No decisions. Public education long ago parted ways with the one-size-fits-all approach, particularly in urban or suburban school districts large enough to design schools focused on particular areas of student interest.

WA Teacher’s Union Endorses Inslee For Governor
Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA, December 4, 2011
The state’s largest teacher’s union endorsed U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee for governor after Attorney General Rob McKenna backed out of plans to speak to the organization’s leadership on Saturday.

District Officials Oppose Madison Prep Academy Proposal
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, December 4, 2011
The Madison School District’s administration does not support the current proposal for Madison Preparatory Academy because it would have little accountability to the School Board and would violate the district’s contract with its teachers union, according to an analysis released Saturday.

How Mercer Middle School Soared After Struggling
Seattle Times, WA, December 4, 2011
The remarkable turnaround at Asa Mercer Middle has School Board members paying close attention. The school’s success could significantly influence policies across the district.

Declaring Victory on School Issues Is Premature
The Oshkosh Northwestern, WI, December 4, 2011
To date, nothing’s happened on the educational front with Democrats or Republicans in charge that represents any large-scale change or reform worth trumpeting.

Don’t Divert Public Funds to Madison Prep
Capital Times, WI, December 5, 2011
I remain in inalterable opposition to Madison Prep. I remain in inalterable opposition to alienating already scanty public funding from our publicly administered public schools.

Bad Schools Still Manage To Navigate The System
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, December 3, 2011
Nobody is forced to go to Dr. Brenda Noach Choice School. The 87 students enrolled this September were there because their parents chose the school.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Online Learning, Personalized
New York Times, NY, December 5, 2011
This semester, at least 36 schools nationwide are trying out Mr. Khan’s experiment: splitting up the work of teaching between man and machine, and combining teacher-led lessons with computer-based lectures and exercises.

Virtually Educated
New York Times, NY, December 3, 2011
I always thought that the only kids getting their entire public schooling online were in the hospital, living in the Alaskan tundra, or pursuing a career as a singing orphan in the road company of “Annie.” Not so. There are now around 250,000 cyberschool students in kindergarten through high school and the number is growing fast.

Technology Keeps Up School, Social Contacts
Pittsburgh Tribune Review, PA, December 5, 2011
Every weekday, Jonathan Moisey looks forward to seeing his teacher, talking with his classmates and learning his favorite subject, math. For the past several weeks, he’s done all that without setting foot outside his Port Vue home.

Pa. Cyber Charter Schools Not Passing Test
Reading Eagle, PA, December 4, 2011
Their proponents say growth of individual students is not being assessed accurately

Competing in Marketing Tough for Local School Districts
Reading Eagle, PA, December 4, 2011
In recent years, charter schools, particularly cyber charter schools, have launched marketing campaigns across Pennsylvania. Offering an alternative to traditional public schools, their ads encourage parents and students to investigate other educational options.

York County Students Will Have New Cyber Option Designed To Keep Them In Their Districts
York Daily Record, PA, December 4, 2011
Students in York County will soon have a new cyber school option, aimed partly at helping districts reclaim students who left for cyber charter schools.

Lakeville Schools Betting On Digital Emphasis In Classrooms
Pioneer Press, MN, December 3, 2011
Mattia is part of a Lakeville schools pilot program that uses the Internet to integrate computer technology into the classroom. Mattia’s teacher Jason Just puts all lectures, homework and course information online where it is accessible to his class anywhere, any time.

Virtual School An Idea That Really Works
Shreveport Times, LA, December 3, 2011
Four years ago, I got involved with several other parents and educators from across Louisiana to try to charter the first statewide online public school, or what is known as a “virtual” school.

Online Learning Keeps Evolving
San Diego Times-Union, CA, December 4, 2011
Driven by student demand, technology, a troubled economy and roiling demographic changes, the continued growth of online and distance learning has become a force that is not only forever changing how education is delivered but will also drive economic change by preparing today’s workers for the technology-based jobs of tomorrow.