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Daily Headlines: February 17, 2012

House Republicans Call For States To Have More Control Of NCLB Law
The Hour, February 17, 2012

House Republicans on Thursday pushed ahead with a plan to update the federal No Child Left Behind education law by shifting more control to states and school districts in determining whether children are learning.

FROM THE STATES

House Approves Arizona Tuition Tax Credit Program
Yuma Sun, AZ, February 16, 2012

Arizonans may soon be able to divert more of what they owe in income taxes to instead help students attend private and parochial schools.

Bill Would Let School Districts Deny Charters
San Francisco Chronicle, CA, February 17, 2012

Now a measure proposed in Sacramento would make it easier for districts to say no to charters. It would change a provision in the law that dictates that charter school applications must be considered without regard to the strain it might put on a school district’s finances.

The Devil Is In The Details Of Merit Pay
Morgan Hill Times, CA, February 16, 2012

Let’s talk about teacher evaluation. This is one of the most complex topics in education, and I cannot say that I have the answer. What I do have, however, is the perspective of a teacher who cares deeply about the success of the public schools, the reputation of the profession and of my own school, and the experiences that students have every day.

Denver Turnaround Schools Show “Unreal” Improvement In Students’ Math Scores
Denver Post, CO, February 17, 2012

Denver’s largest school turnaround effort is already producing student achievement that has surprised even early supporters of education reform in the city’s far northeast.

Choice Still Not A Guarantee
The Community News, DE, February 16, 2012

The Red Clay Board of Education approved the motion for School Choice, in which over 2,500 applications were received.

Two Charter Schools Receive 5-Year Extensions From Board
News Journal, DE, February 17, 2012

Two charter schools on Thursday won approval from the state Board of Education to remain open for another five years.

DCPS Enrollment: Missing The Mark By $18 Million
Washington Post Blog, DC, February 16, 2012

So is the refund check to the D.C. treasury in the mail? Not likely. DCPS routinely–some critics say systematically– overestimates enrollment projections built into its annual operating budgets.

Education Bills Get Mixed Reviews from D.C. Schools Officials
Washington Times, DC, February 16, 2012

A long line of education advocates and high-achieving students testified Thursday in favor of legislation that requires D.C. high school students to take college entrance exams and apply to at least one college.

Parents Battle Flagler Superintendent Over Charter School Closing
Daytona Beach News Journal, FL, February 17, 2012

Tension filled the air during a Thursday night meeting between Flagler County school officials and about 20 parents whose children attend Heritage Academy , which is slated to close this spring.

LHS Faculty Favor Becoming Charter School in Straw Vote
The Ledger, FL, February 16, 2012

With 116 eligible to vote, 97 faculty members voted 76-21 Thursday afternoon to move forward with plans to become a conversion charter school.

Change To Charter School Bill Could Bring It More Support
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, February 16, 2012

A change in the hotly debated charter schools legislation could improve its prospects in the state House of Representatives, where last week it fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage.

Bill To Redistrict School Board Posts Submitted
Cherokee Tribune, GA, February 17, 2012

The much anticipated legislation to redraw the Cherokee County Board of Education posts was dropped in the hopper Wednesday by local state representatives and appears to effectively remove the county’s elected school board chair and vice chair from their positions by January 2013.

School System Declines $50,000 Charter School Grant
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, February 16, 2012

Advocates for a proposed charter school to be called the STEM Inventors Academy suffered a setback this week when the Cobb County School District turned down a $50,000 planning grant.

About That Charter Schools Report
Atlanta Journal Constitution Blog, GA, February 16, 2012

Yesterday, as I was writing my column for Thursday’s AJC print edition, the state Department of Education released its annual report about charter schools. The headline resulting from that report — that charter schools are performing worse than other public schools based on the federal measure of Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP — is misleading.

Charter School Ranking Shows Improving State Laws
Heartlander, IL, February 16, 2012

Eliminating number limits, strengthening authorizers, and equalizing funding and facilities for charter schools caused several states to shift to the top of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ annual ranking in 2012. The NAPCS judges states by laws that support charter growth and hold them accountable without stifling them.

Warren: Charter’s Discipline Fines Crude, Misguided
Chicago News Cooperative, IL, February 17, 2012

As Newt Gingrich urges putting students to work as paid school janitors, a Chicago charter network may one day mull having them pay to sweep and clean toilets.

Quest Charter Academy Applications Approach 50
Peoria Journal Star, IL, February 16, 2012

Nearly 50 parents have applied for a chance to enroll their children into the limited openings for Quest Charter Academy ‘s fifth-grade class next year.

Chicago Teachers Asking For 30% Raises Over Next 2 Years
Chicago Tribune, IL, February 17, 2012

The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for raises amounting to 30 percent over the next two years, the opening salvo in heated contract negotiations with school officials who are implementing a longer school day across Chicago Public Schools next school year.

Tenure Changes Debated
The Advocate, LA, February 17, 2012

A Democratic leader Thursday criticized Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to revamp job protection laws for public schoolteachers.

Somerville Charter School’s Application Is Denied
Boston Globe, MA, February 17, 2012

The state’s education commissioner rejected the applications of a controversial charter school in Somerville and a second school in Springfield yesterday, but approved four other schools.

Delay in State Aid Blamed as Minneapolis Charter School Closes
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 16, 2012

Academy of North Minneapolis officials blamed the delay in state aid payments and last May’s tornado.

House Votes To Jettison Teacher Seniority System
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 17, 2012

The Minnesota House voted Thursday to scrap teacher tenure in the state and replace it with a plan that gives administrators the authority to consider performance when making decisions about layoffs.

Task Force Recommends Greater Oversight, Guidance For School Integration Efforts
Minnesota Public Radio, MN, February 17, 2012

How best to integrate Minnesota schools has confounded many, from the school officials themselves, on up to the state legislature and the governor.

Charter School Overhaul Pushed
Clarion Leger, MS, February 17, 2012

A new bill in the Mississippi Senate would let students cross district lines to attend charter schools.

Putting School Choice To Rest Is Best For Our City’s Students
Portsmouth Herald, NH, February 17, 2012

We support the Portsmouth School Board’s vote of Feb. 14 “to no longer offer non-Title-1 schools in need of improvement as a school choice option in the Portsmouth School District, in accordance with the N.H. Department of Education’s December 2011 Technical Advisory.”

New York Joins Obama-Backed Movement Tying Teacher Reviews to Test Scores
Bloomberg, February 17, 2012

An agreement between New York (STONY1) and its largest teachers union on evaluations makes the state part of a movement backed by President Barack Obama to hold educators responsible for student performance.

Teacher Evaluation Deal Reached
Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2012

New York’s long-stalled effort to start holding teachers responsible for the academic performance of their students cleared major hurdles on Thursday, with the state resolving a legal battle and the city appearing to move closer to ending a labor dispute.

A Sound Deal on Teacher Evaluations
New York Times, NY, February 17, 2012

Thanks to an agreement brokered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York has moved a step closer to carrying out the statewide teacher evaluation system it promised two years ago in return for $700 million from the federal Race to the Top education program. Ending the impasse between the teachers’ unions and education officials will help improve instruction across the state.

Cuomo’s Teacher Evaluation Deal Is A Big Win For Schoolchildren
New York Daily News, NY, February 17, 2012

A healthy application of gubernatorial muscle produced for New York the fundamentals of performance evaluations that promise to remove the worst teachers from classrooms.

Huge Turnout Over New Williamsburg Charter School
New York Times Schoolbook, NY, February 17, 2012

A public hearing on a proposal to co-locate a new Success Academy charter school with Junior High School 50 John D. Wells in Williamsburg, Brooklyn , drew hundreds of people Thursday night, with both supporters and opponents reacting heatedly to the plan.

Mooneyham: Spelling Education Disaster
Greenville Daily Reflector, NC, February 17, 2012

Those conflicting, heartfelt visions of public education hit each other head-on this past year. The new Republican-majority in the North Carolina legislature decided to lift a cap on charter schools and allow the parents of disabled children to receive tax credits when sending their children to private schools.

School Choice Doesn’t Mean School Profit
Southern Pines Pilot, NC, February 17, 2012

Last summer, John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, wrote eloquently about a conservative vision of public education, a vision in which parents of all income levels are given more choices about where and how to educate their children.

White Hat Fights Order For Financial Records
Columbus Dispatch, OH, February 17, 2012

Ohio’s largest for-profit charter-school management company is fighting a judge’s order to turn over financial records showing how it has spent millions in tax dollars.

Keep School Reform Moving Ahead – Toward Choice
Lake Oswego Review, OR, February 16, 2012

Oregon’s K-12 education is ranked 43rd in the nation. Shall Oregonians continue to support government education, a failed system, and expect it to fix itself? Admitting a 30 percent dropout rate, the Oregon Department of Education has had enough chances. Every day future opportunities for youth are compromised by failed bureaucracy.

Prayers Answered For 10 Catholic Schools
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, February 16, 2012

Students and staff at St. Gabriel School on Friday morning will do what generations of South Philly residents have done when they’re celebrating.

Consider AG’s Motives In Audit of Local Charter School
Pocono Record, PA, February 17, 2012

A frenzy of media attention has surrounded an audit of the Pocono Mountain Charter School performed by the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s office. Attorney General Jack Wagner generated that attention by grandstanding as he communicated findings from his nonbinding audit. However, it is important to move past Mr. Wagner’s theatrics and put the situation into perspective.

Memphis City Schools To Hire 23 Business Leaders
Commercial Appeal, TN, February 17, 2012

A year before the city and county schools are expected to merge, Memphis City Schools plans to spend nearly $1 million to hire 23 business managers to help run its schools.

Under New Rules, School Choice Enrollment Surges
Lakeland Times, WI, February 16, 2012

This year, state lawmakers liberalized rules for participation in the state’s school choice program after hearing many public voices tell them, “Change the rules and they will come.”

Wisconsin Republicans Refuse To Take Up Voucher Limits
Green Bay Press-Gazette, WI, February 16, 2012

Assembly Republicans refused to vote on a bill Thursday that would restrict the expansion of Wisconsin’s divisive school voucher program after Democrats tried to force them to take up the measure.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Just Asking, Should Students Use Virtual Schools And Do Lessons On Computer?
Flint Journal, MI, February 16, 2012

So Republicans want virtual schools where students stay home and do their lessons on a computer? What happens to the brick and mortar school buildings? Will they face the wrecking ball? Just asking.

MEA’s Hyperbole About Cyber Charter Schools
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, MI, February 16, 2012

The president of the state’s largest government employee union, the Michigan Education Association, recently said the for-profit education management companies that manage online charter public schools here will make “hundreds of millions of Michigan taxpayer dollars” if a bill is passed increasing the arbitrary cap on the number of students allowed to enroll.

Kentucky Virtual High School Decides to End Classes
WFPL, KY, February 16, 2012

Kentucky’s 12-year-old Virtual High School program will end later this year as state officials consider a new approach to online education.

District Considers Virtual Learning Program
Steubenville Herald Star, OH, February 16, 2012

Officials with Steubenville City Schools are looking to begin a pilot program for virtual learning.

State Relents; Online School To Stay Open
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 16, 2012

After years of acrimonious court battles, the Minnesota Department of Education has abandoned efforts to close the BlueSky Online School for alleged violations of academic standards and graduation requirements.

Concerns Sounded About Online Schools
Des Moines Register, IA, February 16, 2012

Jim Walters, a long-time reading volunteer in the Iowa City Community School District , sent a note to a Des Moines Register editorial writer this week about the entirely online schools that are setting up in Iowa . “When I think about students condemned by this pedagogy to sit all day (or even part of the day) in front of their computer screens, it makes me want to cry.”

Online Education Coalition Sues Over State Budget Cuts
Seattle Times, WA, February 16, 2012

An online learning coalition has filed a lawsuit claiming that state budget cuts violate the state constitution.