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Daily Headlines: February 24, 2012

PCC Teachers Clean Up On Pay
Pasadena Sun, CA, February 23, 2012

More than 200 Pasadena City College teachers earned five-figure bonuses for extra work last year, with payments of as much as $70,000 raising some teachers’ incomes beyond those of top administrators, according to salary records released by the school.

‘Parent Trigger Law’ Efforts Hindered By Errors
abc7, CA, February 23, 2012

For the group of parents, the bad news came Wednesday night when the Adelanto School Board rejected their petition, saying there were a number of problems with the signatures, problems like errors in student names, inaccurate student grade levels and inconsistent spelling of parents’ names.

Charter School Gets Another Chance
San Bernardino Sun, CA, February 23, 2012

Casa Ramona Academy caught a break Tuesday when the San Bernardino city school board voted unanimously to extend the academy’s charter another five years – with one caveat.

Cherry Creek Teachers, Students Work Out Lesson Plan To Improve Latinos’ Graduation Rate
Denver Post, CO, February 24, 2012

Teachers talked about it. Principals talked about it. But Latino students and their families weren’t saying much — and may not have even been aware — about the fact that graduation rates among Latinos in Cherry Creek schools were lower than the district as a whole.

D.C. Mayor, Schools Chief Discuss Plan To Restore City Power To Create Charters
Washington Post, DC, February 24, 2012

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson are discussing a plan to restore the District’s power to create public charter schools as part of an effort to raise the quality of education in low-income communities.

Questions Abound For Cobb Senators On Charter School Amendment
Marietta Daily Journal, GA, February 23, 2012

State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb) was among those on the Senate Education Committee who voted in favor of an amendment that would give the state power to create charter schools over the objections of local school boards.

Fulton School Employees To Get Bonuses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, February 23, 2012

The Fulton County school board voted Thursday night to spend $9.4 million in surplus funds on employee bonuses to make up for missed raises.

Discovery Charter School Sets Enrollment Target at 436
Chesterton Tribune, IN, February 23, 2012

The Discovery Charter School in Porter, which opened its doors in 2010, expects to grow its student body by about 60 pupils next year.

Critics Of New Orleans School Charter Approval Process Have Voice On Task Force
Times-Picayune, LA, February 23, 2012

Seeking to defuse critics, the state agency that governs most public schools in New Orleans has convened a group of more than two dozen individuals from various education-related groups across the city to look at ways of improving the state’s process for approving new charter schools.

Federal City’s Military Charter School To Benefit From Latest Round Of Tax Credits
Times-Picayune, LA, February 23, 2012

A military-themed charter high school planned at Federal City will benefit from $3.6 billion in new markets tax credits the Obama administration announced Wednesday at the Algiers campus.

Legislature OKs $4M in Aid for Highland Park Students
Detroit News, MI, February 24, 2012

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected today to sign an emergency funding bill rushed through the Legislature to keep Highland Park students in school, though the $4 million measure provides no money to the cash-strapped district itself.

Tom Dooher, St. Paul, Column: Anti-Seniority Bill Helps Budgets, Not Students
Grand Forks Herald, MN, February 24, 2012

But two related bills moving through the Legislature that take aim at the job security of experienced teachers won’t bring us closer to that goal.

New School Rankings Unveiled With Much Fanfare, But Some Teachers Grumble
Las Vegas Sun, NV, February 24, 2012

Students are the ones often encouraged to “reach for the stars,” but now that mantra will also apply to Las Vegas schools after the Clark County School Board unanimously adopted a new school ranking system Thursday night.

Grading Teachers Sparks Conflict as U.S. States Compete for Federal Grants
Bloomberg, February 23, 2012

States are developing data systems to show how much individual teachers contribute to student achievement. The aim: measuring pupils’ improvement during their time in class, taking into account their skills when they enter.

Mississippi Charter Law Closes a Door for Online Schools
The Foundry Blog, February 23, 2012

Mississippi legislators are considering a proposal to strengthen the state’s charter school law. This is great news for a state with the weakest charter school policy among the 41 states (and D.C.) that have them.

Teacher Rankings Are Slated for Release
Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2012

New York City plans to release on Friday internal rankings of about 18,000 public schoolteachers who were measured over three years on their ability to affect student test scores.

With Teacher Ratings Set to Be Released, Union Opens Campaign to Discredit Them
New York Times, NY, February 24, 2012

The New York City Education Department will release the ratings of thousands of teachers on Friday, ending a nearly year-and-a-half-long legal battle by the teachers’ union to keep the names confidential.

Teacher Ratings Are A Vital Step Forward
New York Daily News, NY, February 24, 2012

Nobody would ever advocate making personnel decisions through public posting of evaluations in the newspaper. The public release of value-added scores for more than 12,000 New York City teachers, set for Friday morning, should not be taken as a model for how to run the human resource departments of the schools.

Christie Aims at School Aid
Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2012

The Christie administration proposed changes to the education funding formula for New Jersey public schools on Thursday that officials said will allocate money more efficiently.

Voucher Program Accepting Student Applications
Springfield News, OH, February 23, 2012

The Ohio Department of Education is now accepting applications for the Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship, the state’s voucher program for private schools.

White Hat Can’t Add Columbus Charter School, State Says
Columbus Dispatch, OH, February 24, 2012

The state has denied White Hat Management’s request to open four of six new charter schools it hoped to open, including one in Columbus.

Oklahoma Board Of Education Says It Aims To Help Low-Performing Schools, Not ‘Take Over’
Tulsa World, OK, February 24, 2012

Many members of the State Board of Education on Thursday fired back at opponents of possible takeover plans in Tulsa and Oklahoma City , insisting that involvement in low-performing schools by the state would be cooperative.

Penn Assist Will Aid Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, February 24, 2012

A $1.5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation is a welcome vote of confidence in the Philadelphia School District’s new managers, but it’s not the reliable source of additional annual funding that the system needs to thrive.

Four-Hour Hearing Opens Proceedings on New Hope Academy’s Charter
York Dispatch, PA, February 24, 2012

The York City School Board heard testimony from witnesses subpoenaed to testify at a hearing held Thursday concerning New Hope Academy’s charter status.

Throw Money At Schools? Let’s Pick Best Target
Morning News, SC, February 24, 2012

But … we also don’t think tossing $152 million education’s way is going to make a big dent in South Carolina’s educational woes. Money can make a difference, but it’s been shown time and again that throwing money at a problem — and in particular, at this problem — just doesn’t do much good.

S. Dakota Senate Panel Passes Teacher Bonus Plan
Rapid City Journal, SD, February 23, 2012

A bill that would give bonuses to top-performing South Dakota teachers was approved Thursday by a Senate committee, despite criticism from opponents who argue that the extra money should instead be put toward school districts’ general operating budgets.

Suburban Mayors Want Municipal School Districts In Plan
Commercial Appeal, TN, February 23, 2012

Relying on a disputed interpretation of state legislation, the six suburban mayors are asking the commission planning the transition to a unified Memphis and Shelby County School District to include municipal school districts in its plan.

KIPP Austin Charter District Opening New Middle Schools in Southeast Austin
Austin American-Statesman, TX, February 23, 2012

KIPP Austin Beacon Middle School will open in August, and Principal Katie Hayes envisions her future fifth-grade students performing community service projects, such as neighborhood cleanups in East Austin or organizing a toy drive for a local charity.

Education: Primary Concerns
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, February 24, 2012

Public school teachers across Virginia wore black last week to protest what they say is an attack on public education from Richmond. But there is scant evidence for the outlandish claim, which is based on faulty arguments about money and tenure.

Virginia Finalizes Waiver for No Child Left Behind Act
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, February 24, 2012

Virginia education officials on Thursday finalized the state’s waiver request for flexibility from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Appleton East Considers Change To Charter School
Appleton Post Crescent, WI, February 24, 2012

School district leaders are considering turning Appleton East High School into a charter school, but say rumors the idea is on a fast track toward approval are untrue.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Online Public Schools Gain Popularity, but Quality Questions Persist
PBS NewsHour, February 23, 2012

Full-time public cyber schools are now an option in 30 states, allowing some 250,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade to press buttons to raise their hands and message their teachers. John Tulenko of Learning Matters Television reports from Pennsylvania where the demand for online charter schools is high.

Georgia Senate Passes Virtual Learning Mandate
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, February 23, 2012

Online learning would become a requirement for graduation in schools across Georgia under a bill passed Thursday by the Senate, despite objections from some lawmakers who said it chipped away at local control.

Special Report: The New Home-Schooler
WDNT, OH, February 23, 2012

Learning crossed the line into the virtual world back in 2001 for the state of Ohio, and its popularity has exploded ever since.

On-Line Learning: School District To Sign Agreement With University
Barron News Shield, WI, February 24, 2012

The Barron Area School District is planning to sign an agreement with Brigham Young University (BYU) to supply materials and services for online learning for Barron area students.

Iowa’s State Senators Hear Cases For, Against Online Schooling
Des Moines Register, IA, February 24, 2012

Iowa educators on both sides of a divisive and controversial effort to expand Internet-based education supported the concept at a Senate committee hearing Thursday, but some also aired concerns about everything from funding to effectiveness in improving student achievement.

Yucaipa-Calimesa Board of Ed Hears Virtual Learning Pilot Presentation
Yucaipa News Mirror, CA, February 24, 2012

During a presentation on “Virtual Learning” at the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 14, Sue Christensen, teacher on assignment for Technology Sup¬¬port, said she has been re¬searching and attending training seminars on the subject. “It was fascinating,” said Christensen. “The research is really out there.”