The Charter Blob: Jeanne Allen with John Stossel (Video)

“The Charter Blob”
by John Stossel
Fox Business News
December 6, 2012

 
Please jump to the 21:00 mark to see “Charter Blob” story.

Daily Headlines for December 31, 2012

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

The Flaws In The NRA’s School-Security Proposal
Washington Post, DC, December 30, 2012

Politicians, political commentators and many others greeted with derision the National Rifle Association’s proposal that armed security guards be posted in all U.S. schools.

Charter Schools Now Big Business Nationwide
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, December 30, 2012

The early charter schools in Pennsylvania were largely the product of passionate parents or community groups, who sometimes planned their dream schools around the kitchen table.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

California Misses School Improvement Opportunity
San Francisco Chronicle, CA, December 31, 2012

It is now almost certain that more than half of California’s low-income schools will be labeled “failing” by the U.S. Department of Education. Federal officials have signaled in a conversation that the agency will reject the state’s bid for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirements.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

DC School Documents Reveal Expulsion Gap In Charter System
Washington Post, DC, December 29, 2012

An analysis of documents by the Washington Post shows the District’s charter schools expel dramatically more students than its traditional public schools.

FLORIDA

Education in 2013: Merit Pay Outlook Unknown
Tallahassee Democrat, FL, December 30, 2012

Next year could be the year teachers in Leon County Schools get a raise. The district and the Leon County Classroom Teachers Association, the local teachers union, are negotiating the details now, schools superintendent Jackie Pons said.

INDIANA

Charter School Won’t Take Bank Building
Post-Tribune, IN, December 30, 2012

A local charter school operator has turned down the donation of the former Gary State Bank building at 504 Broadway.

During 2012, School Districts Work To Developing Marketing Plans
Evansville Courier Press, IN, December 28, 2012

Something different this year for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. was developing a marketing strategy to promote the school district. It was in response to Indiana’s school voucher program, which allows parents to receive tax money to supplement the cost of sending their children to private schools.

MICHIGAN

Unfunded Mandates Could Cripple State
Detroit News, MI, December 31, 2012

State lawmakers are rightfully proud the state enters 2013 relieved of about one-third of an estimated $45 billion in unfunded liability for post-retirement benefits it has promised to teachers and other public school employees.

MISSISSIPPI

Charter School Column Misleading
Clarion Ledger, MS, December 31, 2012

Jackson Public Schools teacher Darien Spann wrote an opinion article recently (“Governor’s plan bold first step, but certain ideas questionable,” Dec. 17) in which he made the vague claim that statistics he had seen “show that only 17 percent of charter schools in the country work.” Mr. Spann went on to insinuate that 83 percent of charter schools nationwide are failing.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

School Choice Tax Credits: Scrap Or Expand?
New Hampshire Public Radio, NH, December 29, 2012

On January 1st businesses can start getting tax breaks for donating to organizations that give public school students money toward going to a private school. But before that law has even taken effect, there are proposals to change it.

NEW YORK

Staten Islanders Concerned As UFT, City At Impasse In Negotiations
Staten Island Advance, NY, December 30, 2012

The so-called fiscal cliff isn’t the only big deadline facing government. If the city’s teachers’ union and the Department of Education don’t come to an agreement on teacher evaluations by Jan. 17, city schools could lose $250 million in state education aid.

Teachers Union Spends Millions From Membership Dues On Parties And Conferences
New York Post, NY, December 31, 2012

At least their union dues are working overtime. While city public-school teachers have gone without a new contract or regular pay raises for three straight years, their union, its staffers and political cronies have been living large off their union dues, a Post review found.

NORTH CAROLINA

Wake Continues To Weigh Role Of Year-Round Schools
News & Observer, NC, December 30, 2012

Year-round schools were the most controversial part of the last Wake County school-construction bond referendum and will likely be just as contentious in the proposal that could go before voters in late 2013.

NORTH DAKOTA

Let Massachusetts Be Model For N.D. School Reforms
Grand Forks Herald, ND, December 30, 2012

North Dakota schools remain very good. But once upon a time, North Dakota schools ranked more often than not as America’s best. They no longer occupy that top spot; in a number of other states, achievement has surged, while in North Dakota, students’ performance has remained relatively flat.

OHIO

A Waiting List? Catholic Schools Shout Hallelujah
Cincinnati Enquirer, OH, December 28, 2012

The revelation struck Sister Anne Schulz last year on a day she had to turn away 90 students who wanted to attend Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School.

OREGON

Charter Schools Can Be A Welcome Alternative
The Oregonian, OR, December 29, 2012

“More than anything, it’s taking the resources that are already so meager and spreading them to other places,” said Ellen Joslin for a November story in The Oregonian. She’s a critic of Washington’s new charter school law and the president of the Battle Ground Education Association. Initiative 1240 just authorized formation of 40 pilot charter schools in the state.

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia School District Plans to Close Dozens of Schools
New York Times, NY, December 31, 2012

Facing deep financial problems, Philadelphia’s school district proposed an unprecedented downsizing and other changes that would affect 17,000 students.

Catholic School Year Of Transition
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 30, 2012

Janet Dollard was a few months into her first year as president of Conwell-Egan High School in Fairless Hills when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced in January it planned to close the school as part of a broad restructuring of Catholic education.

Pittsburgh Schools Readying Teacher Evaluation Plan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, December 31, 2012

Pittsburgh Public Schools is poised to become the first district to seek state approval for its teacher evaluation plan under a new state law.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Lead Charter Making A Difference
Greenville News, SC, December 28, 2012

Charter schools are one way our government gives parents free educational choices for their children. Unlike a “typical” neighborhood public school, a public charter school is organized around certain key principles, and parents who embrace those values support the school by enrolling their children and volunteering their time, and maybe even donating money.

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20121231/OPINION/312310010/Lead-Charter-making-difference?gcheck=1

TENNESSEE

Education Tops 2012 Newsmaker List As State, Metro Grapple Over Schools
Nashville City Paper, TN, December 30, 2012

Between high-stakes elections, an epic brawl over a charter school and a never-ending battle with state education officials, the Metro Nashville school board at the center of the city’s politics this year.

ONLINE LEARNING

Education Collaborative Exploring Idea For Virtual School
Metro West Daily News, MA, December 29, 2012

With a new law on the way opening the door for more virtual schools in the state, a local education collaborative could be among the first to try to start one.

Info Sessions Planned About Lake Virtual School
Central Florida News 13, FL, December 30, 2012

School leaders in Lake County are reaching out to homeschool families with information about online classes.

More Schools Add Online Courses
Dayton Daily News, OH, December 28, 2012

More Miami Valley school districts are offering blended learning, a combination of traditional classes and online learning.

More Creative Thinking About Oklahoma’s A-F Grading System For Schools
The Oklahoman, OK, December 31, 2012

RELEASE of A through F grades for state schools has led to some creative thinking. Sadly, much of that creativity has been expended explaining away bad grades rather than improving school performance.

Online Academy Classes To Be Tested In ID Schools
KTVB, ID, December 29, 2012

A worldwide online education academy may soon be offering classes in a few select Idaho public schools.

Your Gift of Education and Choice Makes a Difference

donation_button

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your generous support of CER’s nearly two decades of real education reform work. Working together, you have made a difference by putting choice back into thousands of parents’ hands this year.

We truly can’t do all this without you.

Together, with your help, CER influenced and enabled more laws and reform policies this year so schools have freedom to meet student needs and so equal money follows students – ultimately, giving parents more options and providing students with the quality education that they deserve. If you have already made your year-end gift – thank you. If not, there’s still time to send a gift now.

Please Remember CER in Your Year-End Giving

You can make your secure donation today by clicking the Donate Now button below, sending a check to The Center for Education Reform, 910 Seventeenth Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20006, or by calling 800-521-2118.

Your generous year-end support will help us continue to make sure equal money follows students and parents continue to have the power of choice in their hands.

Best regards,
Jeanne Allen
President

P.S. Please make your year-end, tax-deductible gift by December 31, 2012 so we can keep education choices for parents and students at the forefront of our education reform work in 2013 – thank you!

Daily Headlines for December 28, 2012

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

Reforming American Public Education in 2013: The States to Watch
Dropout Nation, December 27, 2012

There will be plenty of talk in Washington in the coming year about the unlikely possibility of reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as about the consequences of sequestration-related reductions in spending increases based on assumed — and not actual — rates of inflation (also poorly characterized breathlessly as “budget cuts”).

FROM THE STATES

ALABAMA

Alabama Lawmaker Plans Bill To Put Guns In Schools
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, December 27, 2012

A state lawmaker plans to introduce legislation that would allow schools to arm certain employees.

CALIFORNIA

Face of Los Banos School District Changing
Los Banos Enterprise, CA, December 27, 2012

Los Banos became home to Merced County’s first independent Waldorf inspired public school in 2012 and parents can expect another traditional public school to open next year as educational opportunities expand in the city.

COLORADO

Denver Schools Seek Restorative Solution To Age-Old Truancy Problem
Denver Post, CO, December 28, 2012

In typical truancy hearings, there isn’t much time for the “why” of school-skipping. But, typically, the hearings take place in a court, not in a school library. Both the off-site location and the off-the-record counseling sessions are part of a new program, launched this fall by Denver Juvenile Court and DPS to combat the old, often-intractable problem of truancy.

DELAWARE

3 Charter Schools Won’t Open In 2013
News Journal, DE, December 27, 2012

Three new charter schools have opted not to begin classes next year, citing challenges related to finances, finding a suitable location and a school leader.

IDAHO

Otter Sets Ed Reforms Target Date as 2014
Idaho Statesman, ID, December 27, 2012

Idaho StateGov. Butch Otter asked the state Board of Education to shepherd a statewide discussion about improving schools after voters rejected the Students Come First laws touted by the governor.

ILLINOIS

Chicago Charter School Prepares Students For Legal Studies
State Journal Register, IL, December 27, 2012

The school principal has a law degree. There are field trips to law firms. And a biology class is inspired by the science of crime scene investigations.

INDIANA

Charters Given Warning On Performance
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, December 28, 2012

Two recent developments could spell bad news for the future of three local charter schools.

MASSACHUSETTS

City Should Move Cautiously On Added School Funds
Gloucester Daily Times, MA, December 28, 2012

It’s understandable that the Gloucester Public School District will need some additional dollars to cover costs from an influx of students from the sadly doomed Gloucester Community Arts Charter School.

MISSISSIPPI

State Superintendent Not Ready To Give Up On Public Schools
Sun Herald, MS, December 27, 2012

Let’s compare this ancient story to the pledge Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Gov. Phil Bryant and leaders in the Legislature have taken, insisting that charter schools legislation will pass in Mississippi in 2013.

MISSOURI

Francis Howell Denies Teacher Unpaid Leave To Serve In Legislature
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, December 28, 2012

Bryan Spencer, who has taught in the Francis Howell School District for 22 years, embarks on a new career next month as a state legislator.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

School Choice A Tricky Equation
The Hooksett Banner, NH, December 27, 2012

With Hooksett looking for a new high school arrangement after declaring the city in breach of its high school contract, one of the most discussed and debated proposals is the so-called choice or multi-school option.

NEW YORK

UFT Won’t Sign New Teacher Evaluation Agreement Without Wage Increase Guarantee, City Officials Claim
New York Post, NY, December 27, 2012

The teachers’ union has refused to sign a long-awaited agreement with the city on a new teacher evaluation system unless it gets a guarantee of wage increases in the next contract, Department of Education officials charged today.

PENNSYLVANIA

No Double Standard For Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 28, 2012

Auditor General Jack Wagner claims that Pennsylvania’s charter schools, which educate more than 105,000 students across the commonwealth, are overfunded. Is he right?

ASD Gets Input On Charter School Plans From Proponents
Tribune-Review, PA, December 28, 2012

Armstrong School District had plenty of questions about Everlasting Elderton Charter School but few were met with direct answers during a hearing Thursday night at Lenape Elementary School.

Elderton Charter School Grilled by ASD Admin
Kittanning Paper, PA, December 28, 2012

If Everlasting Elderton Charter School is approved by the Armstrong School District in less than two months, founding board members may have a lot more work to do.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Teaching Every Child, Every Day
The State, SC, December 28, 2012

Despite stacks of research that show poverty’s negative impact on student achievement, many school districts in South Carolina are proving that success is possible amid challenging circumstances.

TEXAS

What Education Doesn’t Need Is More Tax Dollars
Seguin Gazette, TX, December 28, 2012

With the current state budget short fall, liberal state legislators are asking for money to keep education funding at the highest levels or increase it.

ONLINE LEARNING

Online Classes Skyrocket In Popularity For Montana Students
KBZK Bozeman News, MT, December 27, 2012

More high school students are taking online courses, so the Montana Office of Public Instruction is asking for more funding to help meet the growing demand for internet instruction.

Maryland Charter Opening Finally Near

“‘Classical’ charter school closer to reality”
by Margarita Raycheva
Maryland Gazette
December 27, 2012

It took one rejection by the school board, one unexpected delay and almost three years of planning and advocacy, but the Frederick Classical Charter School is finally starting to take shape.

Energized by last month’s appointment of their first principal, the school’s founders are finally ready to recruit teachers, move forward with the construction of their building and gear up to hold their first student-selection lottery in March.

If everything goes as planned, the school — which will be the first in Frederick County to teach a “classical” curriculum — should be ready to welcome its first 280 students in kindergarten through sixth grade in the fall, according to Suzanne Middleton, a parent and community outreach director at the school.
The Frederick Classical Charter School borrows ideas from the classical education movement by using the Socratic method, in which the teacher raises questions for students to discuss, keeping up a disciplined class discussion.

Students will be taught grammar, logic and rhetoric in different stages of a child’s development. In kindergarten to fourth grade, they will learn grammar, not just in terms of linguistics but the fundamental knowledge and skills of all subjects. In grades five through eight, students focus on logic, using reasoning to understand previous learning and acquire more knowledge.

Initially, the charter school was slated to open in the fall of 2011, and last year founders received 430 applications for 280 available slots. Middleton expects to get at least as many when the school holds its student selection lottery this year.

Although charter schools are a part of the public school system, they are typically run by parents and receive taxpayer funding.

In Maryland, charter schools are required to hold an admissions lottery to ensure that every student has an equal chance of getting in. Charter schools are allowed to reserve a small number of seats for the children of founders.

The date for the lottery has not yet been set, but organizers expect to know soon when local families can sign up to participate in the process, Middleton said.

“It feels more real than ever,” she said.

The Frederick Classical Charter School will be run by Frederick Classical Charter School Inc., a nonprofit organization created by a group of local parents who came together in 2009 because of shared concerns with the direction and focus of Frederick County Public Schools.

The group’s leaders questioned why the school system does not teach history chronologically and were the first to fight the use of TERC math, a disputed curriculum that takes the emphasis away from standard algorithms and encourages students to use a variety of methods to reach a solution.

By the time county schools decided to drop the controversial curriculum, the group had started plans for a charter school that would have a traditional, fact-oriented approach to math.

The Frederick Classical Charter School ultimately aims to educate 360 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

It will teach Spanish classes, use Latin to explain the origins of the English language and, unlike public schools, teach reading based on phonics, in which students learn to “sound out” letters and connect them into words.

The school would also teach history chronologically and use it as the basis for teaching other subjects. For example, students will learn biology while they study ancient history, astronomy and science while learning about the Middle Ages, chemistry while studying the Renaissance and physics while learning modern history.

When the school opens, it will be the third charter school in Frederick County, which is also the home to the Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School in Frederick — the first charter school in Maryland. The county’s second charter school, the Carroll Creek Montessori Charter School, opened in Frederick this fall.

A rocky road

Although plans for the Frederick Classical Charter school have been in the works since 2009, the school founders ran into one setback after another as they worked to get school board approval and set up a building.

In November 2010, the Frederick County Board of Education denied the charter school application based on concerns with the school’s curriculum and proposed building, which at the time was based in an industrial zoning area.

But just a month later, a newly elected school board member majority reversed the decision of their predecessors and gave the school conditional approval, based on finding a new building.

Charter advocates then tried to partner with the Frederick Alliance for Youth, a group dedicated to improving conditions for youth in the west side of Frederick and developed plans to lease a 45,000-square-foot building that the group was supposed to build on the south side of U.S. 40, off Hillcrest Drive.

That agreement fell through because the alliance could not get money for the building, leaving advocates for the Frederick Classical Charter scrambling to find a new space.

In November 2011, the school board approved a new building plan that aimed to locate the school at 8420 Gas House Pike in Frederick. But in March, after advocates asked again to change their building plans, the board decided to delay the school opening for another year, until the fall of 2013.

After years of those struggles, advocates now say they are making progress toward that goal and finally feel confident that the school will become a reality.

The group now has an agreement with St. John’s Properties to construct a 30,000 square feet building at 8445 Progress Drive in Frederick, Middleton said. A small part of the building is already completed, and the company is set to start construction of the rest of the building in February, she said.

Headmaster hired

The group also reached a major milestone this year, when the school board on Nov. 14 approved the appointment of Jacqueline Piro as principal for the school, where she will be known as the headmaster.

A former chairwoman of the history department at Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Piro has experience with both charter schools and classical curriculum, Middleton said.

Among other teaching positions, Piro has worked at the Academy of Detroit, an inner city charter school in Detroit, Mich., and at a private classical elementary school in Germantown.

“She has taught at every level in the gamut,” Middleton said. “She is very qualified and very energetic.”

Piro, who was one of 12 educators who applied for the position, impressed both charter school founders and school system officials who had to approve her appointment with her credentials and experience, according to Middleton.

Since her appointment, Piro was able to meet all of the school founders and their families and is ready to start the process of building the new school, from selecting teachers to creating a class schedule and making sure that it has the needed equipment to serve its future students.

Piro said she became interested in the Frederick Classical Charter School because of her own experiences with classical education.

“I knew that the families of our growing community needed an educational choice such as this,” said Piro, who lives in Middletown with her 4-year-old son, Max.

“Of course, I was motivated by my own desire to have this choice for my son’s education.”

Although starting a school is a daunting task, Piro said she is not intimidated and plans to focus her efforts on selecting the best possible teachers for the school and creating positive relationships with parents in the community.

Over the next few months, she will also work on developing the school’s handbook, creating her schedule and ensuring that she has all the instruction materials necessary for the success of students, Piro wrote in an email.

The jobs for teachers at the school, which include 14 classroom positions, have already been announced internally, and the school system will give preference to any current teachers who are interested, according to Middleton.

Once internal candidates are selected, the school system will post the remaining positions to external candidates, she said.

“A lot of young teachers have either studied the classical approach or are excited about it,” she said.

Under current plans, the school founders plan to open with 280 students in kindergarten through the sixth grade. The school hopes to add seventh grade students next year and eighth grade the year after, Middleton said.

In the meantime, Middleton said she is confident about the future of the school now that Piro has met the new school community and is starting to generate support for the project.

“Her appointment has given us a way more favorable attention,” Middleton said. “They (school officials) are really very supportive of her.”

Daily Headlines for December 27, 2012

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

Securing America’s Schools
Washington Times, DC, December 26, 2012

Though the benefits of creating maximum-security schools is questionable, the negative impact on young minds is undeniable.

FROM THE STATES

ALASKA

State School Board Wants Teacher Evals Based On Student Performance
Homer Tribune, AK, December 26, 2012

A controversial move by the Alaska State Board of Education last week to incorporate student performance into teachers’ job evaluations has educators bristling at what feels to them to be an attempt to fit unstandardizable qualities into a standardized system of evaluation.

CALIFORNIA

Five Local Schools Earn Statewide Excellence Awards
Vail Daily, CA, December 26, 2012

Five Eagle County schools are being recognized as among the state’s best. Brush Creek Elementary School and the Eagle County Charter Academy are two of 151 Colorado schools tabbed for this year’s John Irwin Award.

Upfront: Un-chartered Territory
Pacific Sun, CA, December 26, 2012

It’s been easy to get lost in the weeds during the debate over a proposal to open a new charter school in Novato. The issues that touch Novato parents have a visceral resonance. They also echo larger issues that affect the education system throughout the state.

‘F’ for ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act
Press Telegram, CA, December 26, 2012

The federal government last week denied California’s request to get a waiver from the increasingly impossible-to-meet goals of the old No Child Left Behind Act. That means a really lousy grade for education throughout the Golden State.

INDIANA

Charter Schools Will Succeed, Show Public System’s Failure
Evansville Courier & Press, IN, December 27, 2012

I am writing this in response to Michael J. Kuhn’s comment on Nov. 28, “Conflict of interest colors Neal’s opinion.”

IOWA

Iowa Business Leaders Will Target Education Reform At Summit
Des Moines Register, IA, December 27, 2012

Education reform could get some high-powered lobbyists next session: the state’s top CEOs.

KANSAS

Rural Life Fuels Kansas School’s Revival
Wichita Eagle, KS, December 26, 2012

In 2007, it re-established itself as a charter school focused on agriculture and project-based learning, one of only 17 charter schools in Kansas. Since then its enrollment has more than doubled, and the Walton Rural Life Center – “Fresh eggs for sale,” says a sign near the entrance – has become an example of charter school success.

MARYLAND

‘Classical’ Charter School Closer To Reality
Maryland Gazette, MD, December 27, 2012

It took one rejection by the school board, one unexpected delay and almost three years of planning and advocacy, but the Frederick Classical Charter School is finally starting to take shape.

Dorchester BOE Denies Application For Charter School
Star Democrat, MD, December 26, 2012

By a 4-0 vote Thursday, the Dorchester County Board of Education accepted Dorchester School Superintendent Dr. Henry Wagner’s recommendation to deny the application to create the Dorchester Preparatory Public Charter School.

MASSACHUSETTS

Starkly Different Views On Charter School’s Demise
Boston Globe, MA, December 27, 2012

Two starkly different views are emerging from proponents and critics of a Gloucester charter school set to close at the end of the school year.

Education Reform: The Battle Ahead
The Boston Phoenix, MA, December 26, 2012

Five years ago, as George W. Bush was pushing No Child Left Behind, his younger, even sleazier sibling Neil was picking the initiative’s pockets. Before Dubya left office, his brother’s education-software company, Ignite, sold more than $1 million worth of products to schools, encouraging districts to make the purchases with NCLB funding.

Schools Seek Cash For Exiting Charter Kids
Gloucester Times, MA, December 27, 2012

The Gloucester School District has requested their own chunk of cash from the city’s pot of leftover fiscal 2012 dollars, seeking help not only with repairs and upgrades, but also for “unanticipated special education expenses and plus tutoring,” with the school noting that “coming changes” could increase the district’s financial needs.

Mass. Lawmakers OK Bill Allowing “Virtual Schools”
News Times, CT, December 27, 2012

Some Massachusetts children could begin attending virtual schools under a bill approved by state lawmakers and sent to Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk.

MICHIGAN

Verizon, Samsung Donate 60 Tablets To Detroit School
Detroit News, MI, December 27, 2012

The Milky Way Galaxy just got a little closer for some students at one Detroit charter school. Earlier this month, 60 seven-inch computer tablets were delivered to students at Washington-Parks Academy, a K-8th grade school operated by Cornerstone Schools. The portable computers came compliments of the Verizon Foundation and Samsung.

MISSOURI

Parent Trigger Is Not The Answer
St. Louis American, MO, December 27, 2012

It is disappointing that Senator-Elect Jamilah Nasheed wants to bring the parent trigger law to Missouri. It is interesting that she did not explain what parent trigger does. Parent trigger laws are the fad du jour of right wing enemies of public education. It is another scheme for expanding the tentacles of charter schools in our community.

NEVADA

‘Teacher Evaluations’ Won’t Help In Classroom
Las Vegas Review-Journal, NV, December 27, 2012

Having taught in Clark County School District high schools for 25 years, I read the Review-Journal’s Dec. 24 story about new teacher evaluations with bewilderment.

NORTH CAROLINA

Outgoing Senator Wants Charter School Process Reviewed
News & Observer, NC, December 27, 2012

Republican State Sen. Wes Westmoreland, a Shelby businessman, served one year in the legislature. He was appointed to replace the retiring Sen. Debbie Clary and didn’t seek re-election. But before he left, the Republican lawmaker made sure to get one more pet cause on a legislative study list.

NORTH DAKOTA

Make Sure Teachers’ Grades Matter
Grand Forks Herald, ND, December 26, 2012

Congratulations to the Grand Forks School District for setting up a stronger evaluation system for teachers. Now, the challenge for the district will be to make sure the evaluations count.

PENNSYLVANIA

Philly Shows How Charter, Public Schools Can Collaborate
Erie Times-News, PA, December 27, 2012

Committed to improving American education and competitiveness, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $25 million in grants to encourage additional cooperation and collaboration between traditional public schools and charter public schools.

Increasing Number Of Students Opting For Charter Schools
Tribune-Review, PA, December 26, 2012

A growing number of Western Pennsylvania students attending taxpayer-funded charter schools is changing public education, as parents take advantage of school choice.

TENNESSEE

Charter Wants To Talk
Commercial Appeal, TN, December 27, 2012

The Achievement School District is a statewide initiative committed to improving the education of every student, regardless of ZIP code, race or family income. Its goal is to transform the bottom 5 percent of schools into the top 25 percent.

TEXAS

Clash Over Vouchers Comes Down To Vastly Different Views On Texas Schools
Dallas Morning News, TX, December 26, 2012

The brewing fight between conservative legislators and education groups over efforts to send tax dollars to private schools offers a sharp contrast in the debate over how best to fund Texas’ public schools.

WYOMING

Test Scores Improving Quickly at Charter School
KGWN, WY, December 26, 2012

Cheyenne’s charter school is proving to be beneficial to students when it comes to test scores.

ONLINE LEARNING

The Hidden Revolution in Online Learning
Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2012

Few people believe that online instruction will ever completely replace the college campus experience or substitute for the social, psychological and recreational benefits of a K-12 education. But the current thrust of academic innovation is clearly in the direction of “blended learning,” where a student taking five courses in a semester might take one, two or even three of them online.

Daily Headlines for December 26, 2012

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

California Fails To Win Waivers From Restrictive No Child Left Behind Education Law
Marin Independent-Journal, CA, December 25, 2012
Signaling that California again is marching to its own drum — perhaps trailing the parade — the federal government has denied the state’s request for a waiver from a key U.S. education law, thus assuring that schools will have to keep striving to meet what’s generally accepted as unachievable goals, then be punished for missing them.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Charters Should Accommodate Students Of Closing DCPS Schools
The Washington Examiner, DC, December 25, 2012
A task force of city and school leaders is recommending that District charter schools reserve seats next year for students who attend neighboring DC Public Schools campuses that have been recommended for closure.

FLORIDA

Florida Schools To Adopt Common Core Standards
News Chief, FL, December 26, 2012
Common Core State Standards, which are designed to help American children compete with their peers around the world, are getting mostly high marks from Florida’s teachers, administrators and politicians alike. Forty-five states, the District of Columbia and three territories are adopting the standards, which cover kindergarten through high school.

GEORGIA

As Legislature Gets Ready To Convene, Education Leaders Offer Their Wish List.
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, December 26, 2012
Whenever the General Assembly makes decisions affecting schools, educators complain their views are overlooked.

INDIANA

Charter Schools Embrace Change
Evansville Courier Press, IN, December 25, 2012
The opportunity to make quick changes is an advantage charter schools have over traditional public schools, according to Evansville’s two charter school executive directors.

A Sensible Ruling For Public Schools
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, December 26, 2012
Allen Superior Court Judge Nancy Boyer restored some common sense to the state’s misguided and conflicting policy affecting how traditional public school districts treat closed school buildings. The policy had conflicted with other state laws, was bad for taxpayers and – in at least one case involving East Allen County Schools – had the opposite effect of its goal of broadening school choice for parents.

IOWA

Failure To Reform Means No NCLB Waiver For State
Press-Citizen, IA, December 26, 2012
Earlier this year, the Press-Citizen Editorial Board identified 10 issues to watch in 2012. Here is one in a series of editorials analyzing how those issues look nearly 12 months later.

MICHIGAN

Michigan On Right Track With Education
Detroit News, MI, December 26, 2012
Much like last year, education proved a topic of debate and action throughout 2012 — with the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder moving forward with their education agenda for Michigan.

Fewer Students Means More Money Woes For State’s School Districts
Detroit Free Press, MI, December 26, 2012
Swift declines in school enrollment across metro Detroit are increasingly driving school districts into debt and forcing administrators to sharpen their knives to make the cuts needed to avoid greater financial disaster — or a state takeover.

MINNESOTA

Bakk Wants Education Funding Overhaul
Duluth News Tribune, MN, December 26, 2012
A key Northland lawmaker is calling for changes in education funding that would make Minnesota school districts less reliant on local property taxes. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he thinks the current referendum system has driven up property taxes and created unequal funding for schools across the state.

MISSISSIPPI

State Board Adopts Charter School Principles
Sun Herald, MS, December 25, 2012
The state Board of Education believes only it should be allowed to authorize charter schools in low-performing (D and F) school districts.

MISSOURI

Hiring Practices In Fox Schools Upset Some Residents, Spark Interest In Union
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, December 26, 2012
Anger about recent hires in the Fox School District, including a school board member’s daughter-in-law who worked at McDonald’s and now heads the district’s food program, has prompted a union to push for broader employee representation.

NEW JERSEY

Cory Booker Releases Secret Emails On $100M Facebook Gift To Newark Schools
Star-Ledger, NJ, December 25, 2012
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, gave $100 million to the Newark public schools in hopes of encouraging contributions as small as $5 and $10 from everyday people, but that never happened.

NEW MEXICO

Replication Reforms Education
Albuquerque Journal, NM, December 25, 2012
One of the guiding tenets behind charter schools as education reformers has to do with the concept of replication. Replication means taking a model or program that has proven to be successful in a charter school, copying that model or program, and putting it back into the traditional schools.

NEW YORK

Catholic Schools Open Doors to Storm-Tossed Students
New York Times, NY, December 26, 2012
Over 200 public school students from the Rockaways were absorbed by Roman Catholic schools in Brooklyn after the storm, offering some semblance of normalcy and, so far, free tuition.

Residency Of Troy Charter School Students Questioned
Troy Record, NY, December 25, 2012
School District officials believe they have been overpaying for alleged district students that attend private, parochial and charter schools in the area. Due to this, an agreement has been extended to a firm to look into residency issues.

OHIO

Charter School On Move – Again
Cincinnati Inquirer, OH, December 26, 2012
A troubled charter school that was launched then offloaded by the Cincinnati Public Schools district a decade ago has moved back into a CPS-owned building.

Cooked Books
Columbus Dispatch, OH, December 26, 2012
For months, Columbus City Schools Superintendent Gene Harris and Board of Education members have said they want to get to the bottom of the allegations that employees rigged data to cheat on state performance evaluations.

PENNSYLVANIA

City Student Overcomes The Odds On His Way To College
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 25, 2012
Doors that Manuel Rosado never knew existed are now opening to him.
Manny – who dropped out of high school at 14 but now is a high-achieving student on track to be valedictorian of his class at Olney ASPIRA Charter School – was profiled in The Inquirer last month.

SOUTH CAROLINA

State Superintendent, Teachers Feud Over Evaluation Plan
The Herald, SC, December 25, 2012
State education superintendent Mick Zais and educators are fighting bitterly over a proposal to give letter grades to teachers based, in part, on how students improve on standardized testing.

TEXAS

UT, A&M Piloting Early High School Graduation Program
American Statesman, TX, December 25, 2012
Under a program thought to be the first of its kind in the nation, some of the highest-achieving students at Texas high schools will be able to graduate a year early with a very good chance of admission to the state’s two public flagship universities.

Editorial: Texan Of The Year Finalist YES Prep
Dallas Morning News, TX, December 25, 2012
Imagine this: A high school where every student earning a diploma has been admitted into a four-year college. You may think that would be possible only at some fancy prep school, but the students at Houston’s YES Prep high schools have proven that ZIP code is not destiny.

Choice Program Is A Suicide Pact For Schools
San Antonio, TX, December 26, 2012
Over and above the merits or demerits of “school choice,” Texas’ euphemism for “let’s abandon public schools,” there is a certain disconnect in purely fiscal terms.

ONLINE LEARNING

Really Alternative Schools Rising
New York Post, NY, December 26, 2012
Regardless, change is coming in the K-12 world. It’s a knowledge industry, after all — and how many knowledge industries are the same in the 21st century as they were in the 19th?

Blended Learning Helps Students Prepare For The Real World, Educators Say
Streetsboro Gateway News, OH, December 26, 2012
Online learning is here to stay. So says Maureen Haska, the instructional technology specialist for Streetsboro City Schools

Virtual Schools: A Day In The Life
Contra Costa Times, CA, December 24, 2012
After hearing about virtual public schools, many may be left with questions. Do children still get recess? What about homework?

A Gift from CER — Redeem by Dec. 31

Attention all state and local education reform groups! Get in the Holiday spirit with a gift worth approximately $15,000 from the Center for Education Reform!

Want free access to the most complete news coverage on issues affecting your organization, regularly throughout the day AND on your website? Now you can have your own Media Bullpen — free. Keep reading…

One of the greatest single influencers of community opinion, legislative action, and public policy is news coverage and editorial analyses. That is especially true in the area of education policy.

Be it academic standards, student performance, teacher pay, funding, enrollment, testing or any of the dozens of other issues that make up education policy, the media, by and large, shape the debate. If you work in the education policy arena or are affected by education policy decisions, you can’t afford to be indifferent to, or unaware of how the media are looking at and reporting on education issues.

But how can you effectively monitor and improve an information environment as pervasive and vast as that of the news media?…

…By bringing The Media Bullpen to your organization! The only aggregator – and analyst – of education news in the country.

CER’s Media Bullpen is the largest aggregator of education news in the country. Each day, the Bullpen’s unique technology, which the Center spent considerable time and money developing, downloads all the education reform related media from throughout the nation and stories in the “Pundit” database in the backend. The news is available by source, state, issue title and more.

Each day, Bullpen editors look at how key education issues are being covered and provide the insight and analysis needed to help subscribers better understand those issues. Working in a virtual newsroom they monitor the dozens of stories and commentaries on education that appear day-in and day-out across the country and analyze them for accuracy, fairness, objectivity, context, and use of credible data – separating fact from fiction and opinion from analysis. They also identify omissions or other gaps in reporting.

The editors then post their findings on the Bullpen site, explaining the hows and whys of who got their stories right, who got them wrong, and who struck out completely. Using the vernacular of baseball, stories are graded as strikeouts, pop-ups, singles, doubles, triples or homeruns. The Media Bullpen also calculates on-going statistics from its analyses, maintaining “batting averages” for various categories and an “All-Time Batting Average” for media reliability.

Bullpen posts are sorted into national, regional, state, and local categories. The Bullpen has a database of thousands of stories, upon which readers can comment, email comments directly to reporters and, create their own personalized Bullpen news feed which alerts them when articles are waiting

Thanks to the technologists behind the Bullpen, we now can offer organizations a tailor-made feed on any issue or area they choose. That feed, once developed, can be emailed to a large or limited group of people at regularly scheduled intervals AND can also be made into an actual rolling feed on their website.

Imagine no longer needing to use people or resources to do Google, Cision or other searches for news each day? The Bullpen reduces the amount of time people must spend looking for pertinent media and frees those people or resources up to do more substantive work.

Having a Bullpen feed gives you access to ALL media coverage of education in your selected issue or state (or both!). Imagine not having to “clip” articles, subscribe to costly services or wait to learn what’s out in the press from your colleagues.

Because anyone involved with, or concerned about, education policy in America uses the Bullpen, we know that having your own feed will give new constituents and citizens a reason to come to your website more often. Lawmakers, school administrators, community leaders, parents, teachers, policy analysts – even members of the media themselves – have found CER’s Media Bullpen an invaluable source of news, information and insight and they will find your organization’s Bullpen as valuable.

To make it possible for us to produce the feed for any organization does cost us money, and this new effort is fee-based to cover our costs of the technology, the alterations in the search and the management and maintenance. Thanks to the services of an MBA-Education Pioneer this year, we have developed a plan for making the Bullpen and all its assets available to state based groups, for an approximate cost of $9,000 – $15,000 a year, depending on how extensive the organization’s needs are.

However, CER is offering a special, one-time, one year “gift” during this season of giving. We are seeking bold, dedicated organizations that provide great services to reformers in their state or community and want to provide cutting edge media coverage and access to citizens and policymakers. Upon selecting our two first customers, the Center will produce and maintain for a full year a robust, tailor-made Bullpen that is distributed to your staff and board, and available on your website.

The offer is good until December 31 so you must act quickly. Here’s how:

• Go to www.mediabullpen.com and explore the site. Keep in mind that what you see is only a fraction of the news coverage that the Bullpen stores in the backend and that would be part of the news feed we produce.
• Write us at khk@edreform.com and tell us what your existing media operations (if any) is like, how you currently get yours news and how your organization works to address reporters.
• Then, tell us how you think The Media Bullpen co-branded for your local purposes would advance our shared goals of helping the media get the issues right.

Note: Thanks to the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we will give priority to the applications of groups from our target states. You know who you are!

The Center’s leadership team will review all “applications” and make public a final decision by January 4, 2013. At that point, we will work with your team to develop your specifications and complete your own Bullpen feed by January 31st.

So get in the game, today! We look forward to hearing from you!

Daily Headlines for December 21, 2012

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

NATIONAL

Unions Lambaste Proposal To Arm More Teachers
Washington Times, DC, December 21, 2012

The nation’s leading teachers unions Thursday slammed the idea of arming more teachers, a proposal floated in the wake of last week’s Sandy Hook school shooting by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and others and already in place in some Texas schools.

Do School ‘Reformers’ Need to Keep Two or Three Sets of Books?
Huffington Post Blog, December 20, 2012

My old joke about No Child Left Behind (NCLB) always prompted groans. The only way that NCLB could work was if districts kept two sets of books — one for accountability reports and a private, accurate and meaningful set of data for decision-making purposes. The worst case scenario, however, would occur when districts convinced themselves that their NCLB numbers weren’t meaningless.

FROM THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

Education Reform Needs To Be Grounded In Reality
Venture County Star, CA, December 20, 2012

Thirteen years ago, the California Legislature — spurred by then-Gov. Gray Davis — made one of its periodic forays into educational reform, or so we were told.

San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School Board Approves New KIPP Middle School
Mercury News, CA, December 20, 2012

Another KIPP middle school, the high-achieving charter school, is coming to East San Jose.

County Rejects Portola Academy Bid
Livermore Independent, CA, December 21, 2012

The Alameda County Board of Education has voted down the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation’s request to start Portola Academy.

COLORADO

Firestone Charter School Has Its Own Marine Guard
The Longmont Times-Call, CO, December 20, 2012

As he stands by the Imagine Charter School flagpole, Jared Vejrostek collects a high-five from a student. A “thank you” from one parent. A smile from another.

FLORIDA

Don’t Force Counties To Subsidize Charter Schools
Palm Beach Post, FL, December 21, 2012

How much do tax-cutting Republicans in Tallahassee love charter schools? So much that they might be willing to raise property taxes to help charter schools.

Board Gets Earful On Eval System From Stellar Teacher
The Pasco Tribune, FL, December 21, 2012

Teacher Eric Johnson was honored at this week’s school board meeting for two teaching awards he recently received. But he did not earn the top rating under new evaluation guidelines.

GEORGIA

Judge Bars APS From Withholding Funding To Charter Schools
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, December 20, 2012

Atlanta Public Schools must stop withholding local property tax revenue from charter schools it had demanded help from in paying for the district’s pension program, a Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled.

ILLINOIS

The Reckoning for CPS
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 21, 2012

Chicago Public Schools officials won a four-month reprieve from state lawmakers recently so they won’t have to produce a list of proposed school closings until March 31. That brings to mind boxer Joe Louis’ famous taunt aimed at challenger Billy Conn: He can run, but he can’t hide.

INDIANA

Report Says Our Charter Schools Are Delivering
News Sentinel, IN, December 21, 2012

Because they can dispense with many of the rules and regulations regular public schools must cope with, charter schools offer the promise of a better education to our children, especially the ones who would otherwise be stuck in poorly performing schools.

LOUISIANA

RSD Announces Latest Management Changes; Moves Toward All-Charter System
Times-Picayune, LA, December 20, 2012

New Orleans’ Recovery School District will become a nearly 100 percent charter system in the 2013-2014 academic year, with the district running only five or six schools directly, down from 12 this year, superintendent Patrick Dobard announced Thursday.

Debating Vouchers In Louisiana, Where Public Schools Are Already Devalued:
Times-Picayune, LA, December 20, 2012

Whether Tim Kelley’s ruling will be upheld remains to be seen, but it’s already clear that having a debate about private school vouchers in Louisiana begins with a different set of assumptions. Here private schools are routinely viewed as the natural choice, public schools the place for those who lack the means to go anywhere else.

MASSACHUSETTS

Mayor’s School Plan Upsets Union
Boston Herald, MA, December 21, 2012

The Boston Teachers Union fired back last night over Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s plan to strip the union of some of its powers as he moves to promote more charter schools in the city and push for longer school days as part of a plan to boost student achievement.

Charter School Would Take Money From Woburn District
Woburn Advocate, MA, December 20, 2012

Supporters say it will offer students and parents more opportunities and choices when it comes to schools, but at what cost?

MICHIGAN

Power Struggle Between Detroit School Board, Roy Roberts At Issue In Court
Detroit News, MI, December 21, 201
The resolution of a power struggle between the Detroit Board of Education and Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts is to be the focus of a court hearing Friday morning.

NEW MEXICO

Accountability, Results Justify School Spending
Albuquerque Journal, NM, December 21, 2012

That’s why Gov. Susana Martinez’s plan to ask legislators for $4.74 million in targeted funding for programs that train principals and district leaders to make data-driven decisions, that encourage businesslike efficiency and that have principals at higher-performing schools mentor those at lower-performing schools, makes sense.

NEW YORK

Closing The Socio-Economic And Racial Gaps In NYC Schools
Amsterdam News, NY, December 20, 2012

Explore Schools hosted a panel discussion last Thursday to discuss closing the achievement gap in New York City schools.

Teacher Union Flap Still Nails On A Chalkboard
New York Daily News, NY, December 20, 2012

The deadline that schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott set to settle a contentious dispute with the teachers union was expected to come and go Friday without progress.

Yonkers Teacher-Evaluation Deal Hits Deadline Today
The Journal News, NY, December 21, 2012

Time is about up for the schools chief and the teachers union to agree on a new evaluation plan tied to millions of dollars in desperately needed state aid.

NORTH CAROLINA

Morrison: New State Tests Waste Tax Dollars
Charlotte Observer, NC, December 21, 2012

The barrage of new state tests being rolled out this year is “an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars” that won’t help kids, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Heath Morrison said Thursday.

OHIO

Data Changes Raised Scores
Columbus Dispatch, OH, December 21, 2012

Columbus City Schools’ internal auditor confirmed yesterday that district officials changed student data and thereby improved the district’s state report-card results.

PENNSYLVANIA

Marchers Take Their Case To SRC
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 21, 2012

A shouting and chanting crowd of hundreds told officials Thursday night exactly what they thought of a Philadelphia School District plan to close 37 schools and change grades and shut programs at dozens more.

Bioscience School Presented To Millcreek School Board
Erie Times-News, PA, December 21, 2012

Supporters of the proposed Erie Biosciences Academy charter school made their case before the Millcreek School Board on Thursday night, saying the new school would provide students with a career pathway before finishing middle school.

Two Charter Schools Proposed In Chester
Delaware County Daily Times, PA, December 20, 2012

A county businessman is proposing to start two new charter schools within the Chester Upland School District, which already has lost more than half of its students to charter schools.

RHODE ISLAND

Unions Protesting New Teacher Evaluation System
Go Local Prov, RI, December 21, 2012

Thousands of Rhode Island teachers have signed an online petition calling for the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) to delay the implementation of the state’s new teacher evaluation system.

TENNESSEE

ASD Pay Plan Will Favor Best Teachers
Commercial Appeal, TN, December 21, 2012

The state’s Achievement School District is embarking on a teacher-pay schedule that has had teachers’ unions and their advocates at odds with school administrators for years.

TEXAS

With IDEA Resolved, Trustees Can Focus On Improving High School Graduation Rates
Austin American-Statesman, TX, December 20, 2012

Austin school district trustees opted for a quick divorce with IDEA Public Schools rather than a compromise that would have allowed mutual custody of the students.

Battle Brewing Over School Choice Option
KERA News, TX, December 20, 2012

The battle lines are already being drawn over proposed legislation that would help low-income Texas students pay for private schooling.

VIRGINIA

Virginia Delegate Wants Some School Personnel Armed
Washington Times, DC, December 20, 2012

A Virginia lawmaker who wants to arm teachers and school personnel in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., is one of many officials throughout the country who are calling for new laws to keep such a tragedy from happening in their home states.

WASHINGTON

State Supreme Court: Legislature Failing At Funding Of Education
Seattle Times, WA, December 20, 2012

The Washington Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state Legislature isn’t making enough progress toward finding more money for K-12 education in answer to the court’s decision in the McCleary school-funding lawsuit.

ONLINE LEARNING

Online Schooling Drawing Contentious Reviews Across State
South Coast Today, MA, December 21, 2012

Students at a privately operated online school that is costing Massachusetts taxpayers almost $2.5 million a year are falling far behind other students in the state based on their assessment-test scores, and half of them are quitting during the academic year or failing to return the next year.

Daily Headlines for December 20, 2012

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

FROM THE STATES

COLORADO

3 New Charter Schools OK’d Within D-11 Boundaries
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO, December 19, 2012

The board of the state Charter School Institute gave the green light to three new schools in Colorado Springs.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. Charter Schools Band Together To Form New High School With Focus On Foreign Language
Washington Post Blog, DC, December 19, 2012

The D.C. Public Charter School Board offered support this week for a plan to open a new middle/high school that would offer International Baccalaureate programs and intensive foreign-language instruction.

D.C. Charter Schools Eye City’s First Pre-K-12 Language Immersion
Washington Examiner, DC, December 19, 2012

D.C. charter schools are set to offer students language immersion from prekindergarten through graduation for the first time, as four schools join forces to create an international secondary school.

School, In
Washington City Paper, DC, December 19, 2012

In late October, D.C. officials proudly announced that enrollment in nonprivate schools had ticked up 5 percent over the course of a year, putting the overall number of students in public schools at a level not seen in more than a decade.

ILLINOIS

A Charter Gut Check
Chicago Sun-Times, IL, December 19, 2012

The Chicago Board of Education earned some credibility points on Wednesday. At the request of Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the board approved only three of five recommended charter school proposals for fall 2013. The other two were deferred to an unknown date.

CPS Insists There Is No School-Closings List
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 20, 2012

Chicago Public Schools officials on Wednesday again said they don’t have a list of schools slated for closing, but board President David Vitale acknowledged the district has completed significant analysis of the issue.

LOUISIANA

Board Makes Charters Participate
The Advocate, LA, December 20, 2012

At the year’s final meeting for the sitting New Orleans Parish School Board, the board approved multiple amendments, including items requiring charter schools to participate in the universal enrollment process and adding stricter policies on bullying.

Neville Turns Again to BESE
The News Star, LA, December 20, 2012

Neville High School will apply to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for its charter after the Monroe City School Board failed to approve its application Tuesday night.

MASSACHUSETTS

Surgis Ranks 3rd In National Charter School List
Cape Cod Times, MA, December 20, 2012

Sturgis Charter Public School was ranked third in a U.S. News & World Report list of best charter schools in America.

MICHIGAN

Flint School Board Launches Committee To Explore Charter School Approval
Flint Journal, MI, December 19, 2012

The Flint school board Wednesday approved launching a committee to further explore the possibility of the district authorizing a charter school to open.

MISSISSIPPI

Charter Schools Will Help Mississippi Students
Hattiesburg American, MS, December 20, 2012

It’s good for Mississippi kids that lawmakers are gearing up to consider allowing charter schools in the state.

MISSOURI

KC Lawmakers, Educators Hope To Break Out Of Divisive Reform Issues
Kansas City Star, MO, December 19, 2012

Inevitably, Kansas City teachers and principals turn to anxious talk of a state takeover.
It’s an understandable phenomenon when the state’s regional education supervisor is in the room.

NEVADA

New Electronic-Based Teacher Observation Program Unveiled
Reno Gazette Journal, NV, December 19, 2012

With legislation from the 2011 Nevada Legislature requiring a new formal evaluation component, the Lyon County School District has been working toward compliance, and a recent report by Deputy Superintendent Wayne Workman focused on the electronic-based tool the district has chosen to use for its evaluation model, “iObservation.”

NEW JERSEY

Newark Teacher Wins First Contested Case Under Tenure Law
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 20, 2012

State arbitrator cites glaring contradictions between ratings by school’s principal and written comments

NORTH DAKOTA

More In-Depth Evaluations for Grand Forks Teachers
Grand Forks Herald, ND, December 19, 2012

Grand Forks teachers will now be assessed under a more rigorous evaluation system, marking its first significant change to the approach in at least 20 years.

PENNSYLVANIA

Western Pennsylvania Charter School Commemorates Diverse Traditions
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, December 20, 2012

Although the school opened only 15 months ago, students at Young Scholars of Western Pennsylvania Charter School have found time to establish a holiday tradition — one that honors other holiday traditions.

School Lane Wants to Merge Bensalem and Neshaminy Charters
Courier Times, PA, December 20, 2012

School Lane Charter School and School Lane Charter School-Neshaminy are looking to create a regional charter school.

TENNESSEE

Honoring Christina McDonald and Adam Taylor — A Charter-School Teacher And A District-School Teacher Who Represent The Best Of Both Worlds
Nashville Scene, TN, December 20, 2012

Nashville already has 14 charter schools in operation, and the role of charters in the public school system deserves careful consideration and measured implementation.

TEXAS

Report: Irving Charter School Funds Benefited Superintendent, Family
Dallas Morning News, TX, December 19, 2012

At an Irving-based charter school, taxpayer dollars flowed freely to benefit the superintendent and her family while needy students received a subpar education, a state investigation alleges.

Powerful Push in Austin for More Charter Schools
MyFox Houston, TX, December 19, 2012

Close to half of Texas’ ninth graders could not pass the state’s end of course exam for basic writing. It’s a fact worthy of alarm and a figure certain to draw legislative action in the months to come.

Choice Key in Senate School Plan
San Antonio Express Times, TX, December 19, 2012

Texas Senate leaders outlined a public education reform plan Wednesday that emphasizes school choice and more competition but stops short of pushing controversial private school vouchers.

WASHINGTON

Planning for Washington State Charter Schools
Seattle Times, WA, December 19, 2012

I read, with mounting frustration, the sanctimonious and often misinformed op-ed “Getting charter schools right” [Opinion, Dec. 12].

District Won’t Expand K-5 Charter Enrollment
Ripon Commonwealth Press, WI, December 19, 2012

After several discussions over the past few months — and 45 minutes of closing arguments to boot Monday — the Ripon Area School Board opted not to allow K-5 charter schools to grow according to demand.

ONLINE LEARNING

Board Amends Virtual School Contract
The Record, MA, December 19, 2012

The Greenfield School Committee voted Tuesday night to clarify its agreement and amend its three-year contract with K12 — a Virginia-based online company that provides teachers, curriculum, online learning tools and physical course materials for Greenfield’s Massachusetts Virtual Academy.

Board Backs Online Tutoring
The Advocate, LA, December 19, 2012

The West Feliciana Parish School Board approved a one-year contract Tuesday with a company that provides online tutoring and other services designed to keep students from dropping out of school.