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Daily Headlines for February 28, 2012

Will Business Boost School Reform?
Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2012

Elected officials from both parties are so fed up with the status quo of failing schools that they’re challenging the entrenched power of teachers unions.

State Waivers Leave Uncertainty In Federal School Reform Law
Washington Times, DC, February 27, 2012

But that still leaves a confusing, patchwork system in which schools in Montana, New Hampshire and other states and other states will be operating under the No Child Left Behind blueprint for the foreseeable future.

In Defense of No Child Left Behind
Washington Times, DC, February 28, 2012

The 2001 reauthorization of the Education Act, dubbed “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), got battered around pretty good in the last week’s GOP debate, and has been lambasted by Democrats and their liberal union allies since its passage. Attacks usually rely on misrepresentations of the most demagogic sort.

How to Treat Bad Schools
New York Times, NY, February 28, 2012

“Shuttering Bad Charter Schools” (editorial, Feb. 21) holds up a study claiming that “only” 6.2 percent of charter schools are closed annually as evidence of the need to close additional charters. However, a far lower percentage of traditionally organized schools are closed every year despite high dropout rates, low levels of student achievement and a refusal to change in the face of repeated failure.

FROM THE STATES

Should District Get Back Into The Business Of Authorizing Charter Schools?
Washington Post Blog, DC, February 27, 2012

Last week’s disclosure that Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson may seek to regain the District’s status as a charter authorizer received a tepid response, including this from D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D):

Don’t Pull ‘F’ Trigger
Miami Herald, FL, February 27, 2012

The Florida Board of Education meets Tuesday to decide new rules to rank public schools and make them more accountable. The focus is in the right place but Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson wants to move too quickly and too broadly to institute the new rules.

Florida House Panel Rejects Bill To Share Construction Money Between Public, Charter Schools
Florida Times-Union, FL, February 28, 2012

For a third time this legislative session, a House panel killed a provision Monday requiring that traditional public schools and charter schools share a pot of construction money. After a heated hearing, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Janet Adkins, said the fourth time will be the charm.

Jeb Bush Foundation Helps Shape Florida Education Policy
Miami Herald, FL, February 27, 2012

Ex-Gov. Jeb Bush Bush and the Foundation for Florida’s Future play a role in influencing state education policy.

Rest of the Story on Charter Amendment
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, February 27, 2012

The issue is simple: Should Georgia voters be asked to approve a constitutional change this November? That change would result in the revival of a now-defunct, Atlanta-based commission of political appointees empowered to approve charter schools in local communities without the approval of local boards of education.

Legislators Take ‘Cut-And-Run’ Approach To Public Schools
Macon Telegraph, GA, February 28, 2012

Dear public school teachers: The “school choice” crowd in the General Assembly is after you again. I am beginning to think this is all your fault.

House Votes To Lift Charter School Cap
Coeur d’Alene Press, ID, February 27, 2012

The Idaho House voted 49-19 to lift the state cap on charter schools while also allowing more than one to open within the boundaries of a traditional school district each year.

Ex-Wayne Principal, Sons, Seeking Charter
The Journal Gazette, IN, February 28, 2012

A former Fort Wayne Community Schools principal and his two sons are in discussions they hope will lead to the creation of a new local charter school that would open next fall.

Another Break for Private Schools
The Journal Gazette Blog, IN, February 27, 2012

Looking for a new tax deduction as April 17 draws closer? If you’re an Indiana parent who home-schools or sends your child to a private or parochial school, you’re entitled to one, thanks to the General Assembly.

Indiana Schools Test Merit-Based Teacher Pay
Indiana Public Media, IN, February 28, 2012

Two Indiana school corporations are testing out a way of paying teachers based in part on their performance evaluations. The pilot programs announcement comes ahead of the statewide implementation of performance pay next school year.

Parents List Concerns, Fear Des Moines Charter School Will Close
Des Moines Register, IA, February 28, 2012

Parents of students at Des Moines ’ only charter school said they fear it will close, in part because of what they see as the incompetence of the administrator and unprofessional behavior by an office manager.

Using Public Money To Pay For Private School Vouchers Is Approved By State Education Board
Times Picayune, LA, February 27, 2012

Louisiana’s new superintendent of education, John White, took a first step Monday toward opening the spigot of state and local tax dollars to expand the use of private school vouchers statewide.Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing to expand a small pilot voucher program that’s already up and running in New Orleans , hoping to offer aid to pay private or parochial tuition for low-income families across the state.

State Senate Strikes Down Teacher Tenure
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 28, 2012

A bill to end the tenure system that protects older teachers and makes newer teachers the “last hired, first fired” was passed 36-26 by the Minnesota Senate on Monday, moving it a step closer to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk.

Seniority-Only Policy Should Go
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 28, 2012

Both the Minnesota House and Senate have now passed teacher tenure law revisions that would scrap the state’s “last in, first out” rule. Under the legislation, the seniority-only provision that applies when school districts lay off staff would be replaced with a system based on a combination of seniority, licensure and performance.

School Board Turns to Founder of Harvest Prep
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, February 27, 2012

Eric Mahmoud has proven he can produce high test scores with low-income black elementary students on the North Side. He’s done it at a private school. He’s done it at charter schools.

Filling The Learning Gap Helps Close The Achievement Gap
Minneapolis Post, MN, February 28, 2012

When discussing how to close the achievement gap, typically the focus is on what happens in the classroom. But a narrow focus will not succeed. It ignores reality, which is that: a) youth spend twice as much time outside of the classroom as they do in the classroom; and b) learning occurs outside of the classroom as well as inside the classroom. We have more than an “‘achievement gap.” We have a “learning gap.”

Charters Would Segregate Weak
Clarion Ledger, MS, February 28, 2012

The charter school bill before the Legislature is less about choice than it is about segregation. It will segregate our children into those who are at high risk to fail and those who are not.

Charter Schools Beyond The City?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, February 28, 2012

A school choice advocate says he’s preparing to open three charter schools in the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District and possibly two in St. Charles County if legislation passes allowing for charter school expansion in Missouri .

Downtown KC Charter School Clears A Big Hurdle
Kansas City Star, MO, February 28, 2012

A longtime goal of opening a downtown charter school is nearing fulfillment following state approval and a sweetheart lease that will house the venture for a buck per month.

Top-down Model
Salt Lake Tribune, NV, February 28, 2012

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, would eliminate the present system, which bases teacher raises on years of service and academic degrees, and replace it with one based 60 percent on student improvement and 40 percent on several other criteria.

Teacher Union Compensation
Las Vegas Journal-Review , NV, February 28, 2012

As it turns out, the leaders of the union are part of a problem they’re quick to condemn. The Review-Journal’s Trevon Milliard reported Sunday that administrators with the Clark County Education Association have been raking in big bucks themselves.

Will NJ Go Public With Teacher Ratings?
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, February 28, 2012

When New York City last week posted the performance ratings for thousands of its public school teachers online, it raised concerns about the fairness of the data and the accuracy of the ratings themselves.

Booker Endorses Christie’s School Reforms
Asbury Park Press, NJ, February 28, 2012

Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker said Monday that he backs Gov. Chris Christie’s education reform measures — including school choice and teacher tenure changes — but he is critical of the new plan for higher education.

State Eyes Shielding Teachers
Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2012

As New York City parents and teachers struggled Monday to make sense of recently published schoolteacher rankings, education officials considered whether future releases should be illegal to protect a fragile truce on a new statewide system.

Grades Spur Parents’ Revolt
New York Post, NY, February 28, 2012

At PS 89 in The Bronx — which had the highest number of teachers who were rated poorly in 2010 — several parents returning to school yesterday after last week’s mid-winter recess said they plan to pull their kids out.

Legislative Proposal Cuts Many At-Risk Children Out of Pre-K
Winston Salem Journal, NC, February 18, 2012

Differences between conservative and liberal attitudes toward public education may have never been in sharper contrast than they were last week when Gov. Bev Perdue and legislative Republicans offered proposals on pre-Kindergarten programs for “at-risk” children.

County Wants Slowdown On New Charter Schools
Herald Sun, NC, February 27, 2012

Four of Durham’s five County Commissioners say the State Board of Education should deny new charter school applications until the N.C. General Assembly requires the independent public schools to provide basic student-support services.

Cleveland Teachers Should Be On The Same Reform Team
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, February 28, 2012

We in the Cleveland Teachers Union agree with Mayor Frank Jackson that every child in our city should attend an excellent school and every neighborhood should offer our families a multitude of great schools from which to choose.

Bill To Empower Oklahoma School Boards Clears Panel
The Oklahoman, OK, February 27, 2012

Oklahoma school districts would be able to ignore most statutory state requirements under a bill that has cleared a Senate committee and faced fierce resistance from public schoolteachers.

Schools’ Victory Is Fleeting
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, February 28, 2012

A welcome reprieve that saved four Catholic high schools from being closed seemed like a miracle to fearful students. But now they and their parents are looking for divine intervention to solve the archdiocese’s long-term budgeting woes.

York City School Board Rejects Two Charter School Applications
York Dispatch, PA, February 28, 2012

A large turnout of support, a track record of success and a long relationship with the district weren’t enough to convince York City School Board members to approve Helen Thackston’s charter high school application.

State of Tennessee Intervenes In Operations of Six Memphis City Schools
Commercial Appeal, TN, February 27, 2012

The state of Tennessee will run three Memphis City Schools in Frayser next fall. Three more, mostly in North Memphis , will convert to or co-exist with charter schools as part of a strategic effort to concentrate on pockets of town where schools chronically under-perform.

Dade County Students To Evaluate Their Teachers
‎Chattanooga Times Free Press, TN, February 28, 2012

Dade County students this week turn a critical eye on their teachers as the North Georgia school district pilots news ways to gauge teacher performance.

Austin School District, Charter School Partners Get Gates Foundation Grant
Austin American-Statesman, TX, February 27, 2012

Separately, traditional public school districts and charter school operators have bemoaned shrinking state funds, even as they sometimes competed for students and public and private education dollars. But a joint venture of the Austin school district and seven charter school operators sees greater advantage in working together.

Carver Academy Changes From Private To Charter School
KENS 5 TV, TX, February 27, 2012

Parents with students attending the Carver Academy are facing some tough decisions.
School officials, including former Spurs player and NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, who is also the academy’s founder, met with parents for an informational meeting Monday evening.

State Seeks To Improve Charter Schools
Beaumont Enterprise, TX, February 27, 2012

A state legislative committee recently discussed those same concerns at a meeting to determine best practices of how to better oversee and improve the state-funded schools.

Achievement Gap Needs Public’s Greater Scrutiny
Badger Herald, WI, February 27, 2012

You’ve undoubtedly read about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s recent initiative to close the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap that’s been plaguing the city for decades.

Wisconsin School Aid Up In The Air Under Voucher Program
Appleton Post Crescent, WI, February 27, 2012

Parents in 37 school districts across Wisconsin could become eligible for a program that would let them use state aid to offset the tuition costs of private schools.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

DCSS Entertains Idea of Virtual Classrooms
WFXL FOX 31, GA, February 27, 2012

Dougherty County school Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree held a forum Monday night to get parents and educators on board and in the know about the goals and possible changes coming to the system.

Virtual School Never Closes For Union County Students
WBIR-TV, TN, February 27, 2012

The closing does not impact one set of Union County students. 1,900 kids are enrolled in the district’s virtual school. The Tennessee Virtual Academy started this school year. It serves students in grades K-8.

Kudos On ‘Virtual’ Charter School
Monroe News Star, LA, February 28, 2012

As Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana Legislature and advocates for public education prepare to tackle his proposed education agenda, I would like to say “thanks” to all involved in chartering the first statewide online public school, Louisiana Connections Academy.

State Funding Changes Concern Ouachita Superintendent Webber
Monroe News Star, LA, February 28, 2012

Webber said the initial information the district received from the state Department of Education means the district could lose $1 million of funding to New Vision Learning Academy, a charter school, but the district is questioning the validity of the information.