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Daily Headlines for February 13, 2012

Bills Prod Schools to Hold Back Third-Graders
Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2012

Lawmakers in at least four states are considering legislation that would make students repeat third grade if they can’t pass state reading exams, reviving debates about whether retaining students boosts achievement or increases their odds of dropping out.

Charter School Teachers Fear IRS Rules Change
Washington Times, DC, February 12, 2012

A little-noticed proposed change in Internal Revenue Service regulations could have devastating effects for charter school teachers by making them ineligible for state retirement plans, and they could stand to lose much of the money that they already have accrued.

Patt Morrison Asks: Hard lessons with Michelle Rhee
Los Angeles Times, CA, February 12, 2012

In the name of reforming public schools, the onetime Teach for America teacher, depending on your viewpoint, either trailblazed or bulldozed her way through Washington, D.C. ‘s school system. Now she is extending her agenda nationwide with StudentsFirst.

FROM THE STATES

State, Local Educators Leary of Legislature’s Charter School Bill
Andalusia Star News, AL, February 11, 2012

Gov. Robert Bentley and Republican leaders of the House and Senate is asking Alabama ’s Legislature to create a limited number of charter schools that would be publicly funded and operate outside the rules and regulations of regular public schools.

Charter School Gets D Grade, Implements Improvement Plan
White Mountain Independent, AZ, February 11, 2012

After receiving a “D” grade from the state, public charter school Jefferson Academy has submitted an improvement plan to the Department of Education. The move was part of a process required by state law.

Teachers Want Moratorium On Layoffs And A New Evaluation System
Los Angeles Times, CA, February 11, 2012

Los Angeles teachers have approved a much-watched initiative that calls for a moratorium on layoffs as well as a new teacher-evaluation system.

Graduated, Not Educated
Denver Post, CO, February 12, 2012

Too many students are graduating from Colorado high schools without the skills or knowledge to succeed in college.

Connecticut Approves Teacher Evaluation Reform Tied To Student Achievement
Post-Chronicle, CT, February 12, 2012

Connecticut Friday became the 14th state to adopt an evaluation system for teachers and principals tied to student achievement, a milestone that will lay the foundation for a waiver from No Child Left Behind mandates and advance a major educational reform agenda.

Hebrew, Arabic Among 11 Proposed New Charter Schools
Washington Examiner, DC, February 11, 2012

District students soon could be learning their lessons in Hebrew or Arabic, under two proposals to open new public charter schools.

Charter Officials Wary Of Convicted Students
News Chief, FL, February 12, 2012

Charter School officials charge that students with criminal records are being dumped on them by the School District, and the district will not take students with severe behavioral problems as required by state law.

Charter Schools Lack Socioeconomic Diversity
Panama City News Herald, FL, February 10, 2012

For all the people who use the Bay Haven lottery as defense against the skewed numbers in racial diversity and test scores, how about checking socioeconomic diversity?

Parents Blast Pines Plan For Stadium At Charter School
Orlando Sentinel, FL, February 13, 2012

They say all they want is a level playing field. So some parents and supporters of Flanagan and West Broward high schools are fuming over the city’s plans to build a $3.3 million football stadium at its charter high school using money from a bond for citywide public improvements.

How One Charter School Bucks Trend, Serves The Disabled
Miami Herald, FL, February 12, 2012

An Orlando campus is proving that charter schools can serve students with disabilities.

DOE Studying Charter Schools Model
The Ledger, FL, February 10, 2012

Most school systems assign administrators specifically to manage each federal grant program.
Lake Wales Charter Schools has a team of school principals and teachers doing all of it, in addition to their daily duties.

Proposed Bills Would Allow Parents To Propose Changes To Under Performing Schools
TC Palm, FL, February 12, 2012

Treasure Coast parents could pitch sweeping changes to their children’s under performing schools, like turning them into charter schools, and local school boards would have to consider those plans under a proposal gaining traction in Tallahassee.

Politics Of Education Filled With Complexities
Savannah Morning News, GA, February 13, 2012

Two of the biggest issues to emerge in this legislative session both involve education, the HOPE Scholarship and charter schools.

Funding Private Interests With Public Dollars
Rockdale Citizen, GA, February 11, 2012

HR 1162 is not about school choice. There is choice within local systems approved by local boards. HR 1162 is about funding private interests with public dollars.

Charter-School Amendment A Dangerous Power Grab
Atlanta Journal-Constitution , GA, February 10, 2012

In what may prove its most important vote this year, the House of Representatives this week voted to reject a constitutional amendment that would vastly expand the power of state officials over local school districts.

Spoken Like A True Winner
Gainesville Times, GA, February 13, 2012

Academy students earn national honor for their video on the importance of learning a second language

Wraga: Charter Schools Aren’t Working
Athens Banner-Herald, GA, February 13, 2012

Charter schools have not lived up to the results their advocates have promised. Freed from cumbersome bureaucratic regulations, charter schools were supposed to promote instructional innovation and improve student achievement.

Parental School Choice: The Civil Rights Issue of The 21st Century
Macon Telegraph, GA, February 12, 2012

Georgia ranks at the bottom nationally in education, with a 65 percent graduation rate statewide. Simply put, this is not only a very serious issue, it is unacceptable. Steps must be taken to improve our education system, increase student performance, and help our children find success in school so they can find success in life.

New Statewide Project To Improve Idaho Schools Aims To Build Leadership, Relationships And Student Achievement
Idaho Statesman, ID, February 12, 2012

More than 170 schoolteachers, administrators, board members, parents and students gathered Friday in Boise to draw ideas, energy and know-how from experts and from each other.

The Real Discrimination
Chicago Tribune, IL, February 13, 2012

The Chicago Teachers Union and some local school council members have joined in a lawsuit to try to block Chicago Public Schools from closing and overhauling 17 of the city’s worst-performing schools.

Consulting Firm With Ties To Mayor Rahm Emanuel Bolsters Education Agenda By Backing Community Groups With Money, Expertise
Chicago Tribune, IL, February 13, 2012

Resolute Consulting CEO Greg Goldner says mayor, CPS have not asked for his involvement to organize community groups, faith leaders in support of longer school day, charter schools

School System Should Be Run Like A Business: Letter
Times-Picayune, LA, February 12, 2012

I feel that the plight of education in Louisiana can only be improved when the Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and Gov. Bobby Jindal can agree on policy mattes.

Aiming To Make An Impact
Monroe News Star, LA, February 13, 2012

Wright and his church, New Tabernacle Baptist, are ready to join the state’s education reform movement by opening an arts and performance focused charter school in Monroe .

More Aid Accountability Sought
The Advocate, LA, February 13, 2012

Louisiana’s superintendents are asking the Jindal administration to require that private and parochial schools that accept students who get state aid also receive an annual letter grade like public schools.

School Choice Hinges On Reversing A Longtime Funding Ban
Portland Press Herald, ME, February 12, 2012

Religious schools applaud the governor’s idea; public educators worry that their students – and revenues – could be diverted.

Baltimore Schools’ Pay For Performance System Won’t Work
Baltimore Sun, MD, February 11, 2012

Baltimore’s new pay for performance model for teachers will be unsuccessful in improving student performance due to a serious built-in flaw: cut-throat competition (“Large number of city teachers receive unsatisfactory evaluations,” Feb. 7). Americans may believe that “competition” makes this country great, but when it comes to education, competition among educators will cost the students dearly.

Evaluating Teachers’ Professional Performance Is A Serious Business
Eastern Shore News, MD, February 12, 2012

Anxiety almost always accompanies change. Thus, with big changes just around the corner concerning the way teachers in Maryland and Delaware will be evaluated on their job performance, there’s plenty for public school teachers to feel nervous about, regardless of how experienced, skilled and competent they may be.

An MTA Misstep
Boston Herald, MA, February 11, 2012

The Massachusetts Teachers Association recently filed a lawsuit to invalidate a ballot initiative before it reaches voters in November. The union’s legal claims are meritless and no honest judge will rule otherwise.

A Waiver’s All The Rage, But Don’t Overlook The Value of NCLB
Pioneer Press, MN, February 11, 2012

Minnesota last week was among the first states to receive a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law. That’s a mixed blessing.

Scrap Seniority-Only Teacher Tenure Law
Star Tribune, MN, February 12, 2012

An excellent “Teacher of the Year” finds herself out of a job just months after receiving the honor — the victim of a layoff based solely on seniority. In another district, a highly respected teacher with more experience in a subject area gets bumped out of a position in favor of a more tenured instructor.

Bill Would Permit Virtual Charter Schools In State
Clarion Ledger, MS, February 11, 2012

A for-profit Virginia company has hired lobbyists to push for a virtual public school in Mississippi .

Sandoval Urges Charter School Panel To Expand Parent Choices
Las Vegas Sun, NV, February 11, 2012

Gov. Brian Sandoval called for members of a new board overseeing charter school education to provide more choices for parents and children who deserve the right to select the type of education that meets their personal needs.

N.H. Tax Credit Scholarship Bill Benefits The Few
Portsmouth Herald, NH, February 12, 2012

House Bill 1607 gives a tax credit of $2,500 to parents of non-public school children, reducing support for our public schools that serve nearly 90 percent of New Hampshire families. This bill is bad social policy and here’s why.

Final Week of School Duel
New York Post, NY, February 13, 2012

It’s high noon this week in Albany as Gov. Cuomo, playing the role of sheriff, faces off with teachers-union leaders — the outlaws.

A Big Test for Niagara Charter School
Niagara Gazette, NY, February 12, 2012

The first official day of classes at the Niagara Charter School is a day Pastor Jesse Scott will never forget.

DPS’s Charter School Challenge
Durham News, NC, February 12, 2012

The prospect of a charter high school in Research Triangle Park has the Durham School Board in a lather, and that’s good. The board and Superintendent Eric Becoats are getting an education in market-driven schools.

White Hat May Fight New Ruling
Columbus Dispatch, OH, February 11, 2012

Attorneys for White Hat, Ohio’s largest for-profit charter-school management company, are considering their options after a Franklin County judge ordered the company to turn over financial records showing how they have spent millions in tax dollars.

Cincinnati-Area Charter School Will Pay Students To Show Up, Work Hard
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, February 12, 2012

A charter high school near Cincinnati will begin paying students this week as part of an experiment to get more students to attend class.

What’s Best For Students Should Be Central To Debate Over School Control
The Oklahoman, OK, February 12, 2012

RUNNING individual schools isn’t a role state education officials have historically shown much interest in — until now. But it’s not clear how deep the interest is or what capacity the state thinks it has in terms of running local schools. All the cards should be on the table.

Pennsylvania Makes It Too Hard To Start Charter Schools
Patriot News, PA, February 13, 2012

While the headlines and dates might differ, we keep hearing the same old story.
Local school boards statewide, including Harrisburg School District, continue to deny their students quality educational options.

Audit Helps Clarify School/Church Funds
Pocono Record, PA, February 13, 2012

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner performed a valuable service by auditing the Pocono Mountain Charter School . Wagner’s findings that the school may have misused more than $3 million in taxpayer money lend credence to Pocono Mountain School District ‘s attempts to close the school by revoking its charter.

Springfield School District Committee Recommends Against Charter School
Times Herald, PA, February 12, 2012

A review committee appointed by Springfield Township School District Superintendent Wendy Royer told the school board Tuesday that it does not recommend approving the application of Whole Life Charter School .

Tax Credits For School Choice Would Pay Off For Everyone
Spartanburg Herald-Journal , SC , February 12, 2012

More than 15,000 low-income students attend private schools in South Carolina. Their parents scrimp and save. They make sacrifices. They’ve put their children’s education at the top of the family’s financial priority list.

Class Size, Testing Worry Middle TN Teachers
The Tennessean, TN, February 13, 2012

Middle Tennessee teachers say changes to education coming from state lawmakers are making it tougher to meet the challenges they face in the classroom.

Virginia Lawmakers Debate Teacher Tenure
Washington Post, DC, February 12, 2012

Virginia lawmakers are debating whether to eliminate seniority-based job protections for public school teachers, making the commonwealth another front in a national fight over tenure laws that critics say protect ineffective educators from dismissal.

Virginia Can Grow Quality Charter Schools …
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, February 11, 2012

In the coming weeks, Virginia lawmakers will decide whether to change the state’s education laws to allow a new movement of high-quality public charter schools to open their doors.

House Should Pass Tenure Reform
The Virginian-Pilot, VA, February 13, 2012

Teachers, like employees in any profession, should be evaluated for their performance, with consequences for poor results and rewards for good ones.

Put Teeth Into Evaluations
Daily Herald, WA, February 12, 2012

Studies show that having good teachers is a greater indicator of student success than other factors, including poverty. Voters need to see meaningful steps that maximize teacher effectiveness. Only then, we suspect, will they be open to paying more for education.

Narrowing Gap Will Take More Than Money
State Journal, WI, February 12, 2012

Madison school chief Dan Nerad’s plan to close the district’s achievement gap is certainly bold about spending money.

Voucher Enrollment Jumps After Rules Are Relaxed
Journal Sentinel, WI, February 12, 2012

Voucher student enrollment grew significantly as a result of legislation signed by Gov. Scott Walker that relaxed income limitations and eliminated enrollment caps in the school choice program, according to a report to be released Monday by the Public Policy Forum.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Mooresville’s Shining Example (It’s Not Just About the Laptops)
New York Times, NY, February 13, 2012

Sixty educators from across the nation roamed the halls and ringed the rooms of East Mooresville Intermediate School , searching for the secret formula. They found it in Erin Holsinger’s fifth-grade math class.

Northampton County School Districts Want To Go Online
Express-Times, PA, February 12, 2012

A growing number of Lehigh Valley school districts are exploring starting cyber academies to lure students back from charter schools.

Aide Now Tracks Des Moines Charter School’s Laptops
Indianapolis Star, IN, February 11, 2012

An associate was hired by the Des Moines Public Charter School this school year to keep track of laptops issued to the school’s students, an official said.

Cyber Charter Schools Heats Up As Bill Moves Forward
Detroit Free Press, MI, February 12, 2012

A battle is heating up in Lansing over a proposal that would allow more students like the Girardots to enroll in cyber charter schools and allow far more of the schools to open in Michigan. State law enacted in 2010 allows only two cyber charters to exist and limits enrollment to 400 in the first year of operation and a maximum of 1,000 in subsequent years.

Online School Sounds Appealing At First …
Des Moines Register, IA, February 12, 2012

One of my sons thought a “virtual school” was pretty appealing. No more waking up at 6:30 a.m. and walking through the snow to catch a bus. No backpack of books to drag around. Sitting in front of a computer in his pajamas instead of heading to a school building sounds like a good idea to a 16-year-old boy.

Iowa Should Go Slow On Internet Schools
Des Moines Register, IA, February 12, 2012

In his State of the State address last month, Gov. Terry Branstad identified steps Iowa should take to make public schools “world class.” One of them was promoting online learning that “complements learning in traditional classrooms.”

State Laws Vary On K-12 ‘Virtual Schools’
Des Moines Register , IA, February 12, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of students are enrolled in full-time online schools across the United States . The for-profit schools providing this education are proliferating, funneling tax money to corporate offices. There are questions about the quality of education, cheating and accurate enrollment numbers in schools where students never have to set foot in an actual building.

Chandler Online Academy Popularity Explodes
Arizona Republic, AZ, February 11, 2012

Chandler Online Academy is growing so fast that a school district official’s presentation was outdated two days after it became public.