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Daily Headlines: March 19, 2012

High School Graduation Rate Rises In U.S.
Washington Post, DC, March 19, 2012

More high school students across the country are graduating on time but dropouts continue to be a significant national problem, creating a drag on the economy, according to a report to be issued Monday by a nonprofit group headed by former secretary of state Colin L. Powell.

Hopes and Fears for Parent Trigger Laws
New York Times, NY, March 18, 2012

The laws — which have been passed in various forms in California, Connecticut, Mississippi and Texas — have generated controversy and even inspired a movie to be released this fall. Do these laws give parents the first real power over their children’s education? Or do they put public schools in private hands and impede real improvements?

Wishon: For Public Schools – And Teachers
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, March 18, 2012

In recent memory, academic testing and holding educators accountable for students meeting academic achievement standards have been the cardinal impulse of public schools. Teachers and administrators continue to face increasing pressure to respond to a high-stakes accountability movement that often forsakes much of what else is worthwhile in the curriculum

Teach for America’s New Partnership With Largest For-Profit Charter Network
Washington Post Blog, DC, March 19, 2012

Teach for America loves to expand its reach, and so it has again, this time partnering with the controversial Imagine schools, the nation’s largest for-profit charter school network.
That’s an interesting pairing.

Surprise: Teachers Crave Evaluation
Christian Science Monitor, MA, March 16, 2012

A survey of teachers shows that most say student progress can used to evaluate their job performance, but they’re wary of using standardized tests. As for tenure? It shouldn’t be used to protect ineffective teachers, they say.

FROM THE STATES

A Chance for a Change
Huntsville Times, AL, March 18, 2012

Legislation that offers a chance for a change for students and parents who have had no options to failed Alabama schools will probably become law before the school year ends in May.

Charter School Bill Signals Start of Battle
Daily Home, AL, March 18, 2012

Gov. Robert Bentley and Republican legislative leaders this week held a press conference announcing the introduction of a bill that would allow the creation of charter schools in the state and allow traditional public schools to apply for waivers exempting them from state laws and regulations and local system policies.

Granada Hills Charter Wins State Academic Decathlon
Los Angeles Times, CA, March 19, 2012

Los Angeles Unified schools take five of the top 10 spots in the California Academic Decathlon, even as the preliminary budget approved for next year slashes the program.

Class Division
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, CA, March 18, 2012

A generation into the era of school choice, local families are making decisions that are turning Santa Rosa into a city of segregated schools.

Santa Rosa Kids Spurn Neighborhood Campuses
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, CA, March 19, 2012

Given a green light by federal law, state exemptions and local transfer policies, hundreds of students are flocking from neighborhood campuses in the Santa Rosa City Schools to surrounding districts as far away as Sebastopol, Kenwood and beyond.

UNC Prep School at Lowry Puts Future Teachers in Classroom
Denver Post, CO, March 19, 2012

Umberger is one of more than 400 alumni of the Center for Urban Education, a University of Northern Colorado teacher-prep program on the Lowry campus in Denver .

Malloy Touts Education Proposals Amid New Data
Associated Press, March 19, 2012

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says his proposed education overhaul will address Connecticut’s fluctuating four-year graduation rate by improving the state’s low-performing schools.

Fallacies About Teachers
Star-Banner, FL, March 18, 2012

According to a report in Florida Today, the Florida Legislature, supported by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), plans on portraying teachers as “overcompensated underachievers” in an apparent effort to continue dismantling Florida’s public school system, replacing it with corporate-run, for-profit, public charter/virtual schools.

Duval Charter School Struggling To Survive
Florida Times Union, FL, March 19, 2012

One of Jacksonville’s oldest charter schools faces potential closure because of chronic problems including failure to meet state and federal student academic proficiency standards.

State Pushes Charter School Change
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, March 18, 2012

When supporters speak passionately about charter schools, they often talk of the neighborhood schools where assignments are tailored to students’ needs and devoted parents are fixtures as much as the light switches and blackboards.

Double-Speak’ On Charter Schools
Athens Banner-Herald, GA, March 18, 2012

A couple of passages in a Wednesday Banner-Herald column by Tony Roberts, CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, headlined “No private charter schools in Georgia,” need a closer look.

Charter Schools Are About Money, Not Choice
Columbia County News-Times, GA, March 18, 2012

A survey last week of Georgians’ opinions regarding several issues before the state Legislature determined that just 16 percent strongly favor the attempt to amend the state constitution to allow charter schools without local oversight.

North Chicago Victory
Chicago Tribune, IL, March 17, 2012

Come fall, hundreds of kids in North Chicago School District 187 — one of the worst-performing districts in the state — will have a terrific chance at a better education. They owe that opportunity to Illinois schools Superintendent Christopher Koch.

Indiana School Vouchers Case To Go Before State Supreme Court
Indianapolis Star, IN, March 16, 2012

The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday said it will decide a lawsuit over private school vouchers.

Vouchers Place Public And Private Schools In Unfair Competition
South Bend Tribune, IN, March 18, 2012

Indiana’s new school voucher program is not complicated. With certain income restrictions based on a sliding scale, it allows current public school students who enroll in state-certified private schools to receive a voucher of up to $4,500 to help cover the cost of attending these schools.

Teachers Still Upset, Prepare for Round 2
The Daily Advertiser, LA, March 18, 2012

State teachers are still upset about happenings of last week, first at having the majority of those who showed up to protest Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education package locked out of the State Capitol and then having their attempts to slow down administration education reform bills rebuffed.

Let’s Give Vouchers A Try
Houma Today, LA, March 18, 2012

If you are a conservative, you should already be convinced that vouchers are a good idea for improving Louisiana’s education system.

Adult Accountability
Monroe News Star, LA, March 18, 2012

Senate Bill 603, which has been described by opponents as the bill that would do away with teacher tenure, made it through the committee and is headed for the floor of the state Senate.

School Reform Legend Prepares To Take Over Wayward John McDonogh High School
Times Picayune, LA, March 18, 2012

Barr’s new nonprofit group, Future Is Now Schools, will begin converting the struggling campus into a charter school this summer, and job No. 1 is figuring out how to get his starting lineup in place under the salary cap.

Portland Hasn’t Fully Considered The Ramifications Of A Charter School
Portland Press Herald, ME, March 19, 2012

There is much debate about the creation of a charter school in Portland . Quite simply, Maine already has a charter school for students interested in focusing on math and science. It’s in Limestone.

Renaissance Charter Making Gains In Academics Through Innovation
WBUR, MA, March 19, 2012

Creating “innovation schools” is a pivotal part of the Patrick administration’s education agenda. Last month the state announced $281,000 in grants to 29 potential innovation schools across the Commonwealth. Governor Patrick said the funding would give local communities “the flexibility to be creative in their approach to helping all students achieve at high levels.”

DPS Gets U.S. Millions For 6 Troubled Schools — But Has Trouble Spending It
Detroit Free Press, MI, March 17, 2012

Despite having some of the most urgent needs in the state, the Detroit Public Schools district has failed to spend a large portion of $6.3 million in federal grant money it received in 2010 to help turn around six of its lowest-performing schools.

Charter-School Operators: Skimming Cream, Or Spending Wisely?
Bridge Magazine, MI, March 17, 2012

When Vickie Markavitch discusses the finances of traditional public schools vs. charter schools, she starts with a table of expenses, taking care to note the figures her analysis uses come from the state Senate Fiscal Agency, a reliable, nonpartisan source.

County Schools Getting Calls About Transfers
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, March 17, 2012

While parents and educators await a judge’s decision in the landmark student transfer case tried this month, many continue to inquire about sending their child to an accredited district.

Bidders For Four Closed KC Schools Ready Their Pitches
Kansas City Star, MO, March 18, 2012

For several neighborhoods, Kansas City Public Schools’ effort to repurpose its closed schools is reaching an exciting, but nerve-racking, stage. Prospective buyers for four schools will make their public pitches in a series of presentations beginning this week.

Grading New Jersey’s Educators Not An Easy Task
Asbury Park Press, NJ, March 19, 2012

It was a big day for Sherwood. Schools Superintendent Laura C. Morana was there to evaluate her under a new state pilot program. New Jersey , like many other states, is working to come up with a new way to do what hasn’t been done on a broad scale before: Grade the teachers.

Teacher Ratings Face New Union Obstructions
Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2012

School districts around New York state are discovering new challenges in creating teacher-evaluation systems, clashing with unions over details after a broad statewide deal announced to great fanfare last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Syracuse Schools To Use New Teacher Rating System
Syracuse Post-Standard, NY, March 18, 2012

For a teacher, it is one thing to be rated on your own students’ test scores. That will happen soon around New York state and that’s a sea change for teachers.

CMS Should Support New Leaders Program To Combat Principals Crisis
Charlotte Observer, NC, March 19, 2012

As reported by the Observer on Feb. 16, we are facing a severe school leadership crisis in Charlotte. Not only do we have a high turnover of principals; we still have thousands of children not getting the education they deserve.

Wickliffe School Will No Longer Be Charter
Columbus Dispatch, OH, March 17, 2012

An Upper Arlington elementary school that was converted into a charter school to tap hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants will revert to a district school this fall now that the federal and state awards have dried up.

Springfield Schools Spent $360K In 2 Years To Attract Students
Springfield Sun News, OH, March 18, 2012

By the end of the year, Springfield City School District will spend $360,000 on marketing and communications over two years — a necessary expense in the competitive market of education, according to officials.

TPS Tutoring Costs Rise By More Than 50 Percent
Tulsa World, OK, March 19, 2012

The federal No Child Left Behind Act’s requirement for low-performing schools to offer tutoring services by outside companies is coming to an end, but not before it costs Tulsa Public Schools a record amount of money.

A Pledge to Help Camden
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 18, 2012

Camden school board president Susan Dunbar-Bey was thrilled when she received a call a couple of months ago saying millionaire businessman Lewis Katz wanted to talk about helping the district.

Inside Chester Community Charter: Drawing Praise, Money, Criticism
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 18, 2012

The charter school, it seems, is an island of order in a sea of troubles, surrounded by the struggling Chester Upland School District, which remains on life support through June.

Lawrenceville Charter School Awaiting Vote On Its Fate
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, March 19, 2012

When it was time for 10th-grader Nicholas Mar of Larimer to enter high school, he followed in the footsteps of his family to Career Connections Charter High School in Lawrenceville. His brother goes there; his cousins went there; and he hopes his sister will start next year. That depends on what the Pittsburgh Public Schools board decides.

Lawmakers, Charter School Leaders Push For Change To System
York Daily Record, PA, March 17, 2012

Seven states allow multiple organizations to approve and oversee charter schools. Pennsylvania isn’t one of them, but advocates have tried to change that.

Proposed Bill Must Beat The Clock To Benefit Home-Schoolers
Myrtle Beach Sun, SC, March 17, 2012

Home-schooled students and others educated outside of traditional school districts could be allowed to play sports at public schools, if state lawmakers work fast enough to pass a proposed measure that would change the current rules.

3 Metro School Board Seats Up For Grabs
The Tennessean, TN, March 19, 2012

Metro Nashville’s school board election isn’t until Aug. 2, but the group’s shakeup already has begun.

Thumbs Up and Down
Appleton Post-Crescent, WI, March 17, 2012

When a provision in the state budget bill that expanded the school voucher program to Racine was found at the last minute to potentially include many other school districts in the near future, legislative leaders promised to fix the problem if the budget bill was allowed to pass.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

Commission Hears Demand For Online Charter Schools
Morning Sentinel, ME, March 18, 2012

Demand for a virtual charter school emerged as a major theme at a public input session with the State Charter School Commission last week.

Local High School Students Experience Virtual Learning
My Central Jersey, NJ, March 18, 2012

Students at South Plainfield High School are taking courses online with students in other parts of the world. This virtual learning experience is due to a partnership with Virtual High School Global Consortium, a K-12 online learning and course design for teachers.

Brighton Moves To Launch Online Learning Academy
Daily Press & Argus, MI, March 18, 2012

The Brighton Area Schools district plans to launch a program providing online courses free of charge to homeschooled students.

Online Schools Are Gimmicks That Shortchange Children
Alexandria Town Talk, IA, March 18, 2012

Two national companies are setting up entirely online schools for Iowa children. Connections Academy and K12 Inc. have partnered with two small school districts. That allows them to use the state’s open enrollment law to sign up students from across the state. After a massive advertising campaign and informational meetings for parents, hundreds of families have sent in enrollment forms.

Overworked and Underpaid? Teacher Staffing at Colorado Virtual Academy
KUNC, CO, March 19, 2012

The school is free and promotes a more individualized approach to coursework and virtual interaction with Colorado teachers. But with an estimated 77 cents of every taxpayer dollar the school receives going to its for-profit management company, some teachers say they’re unable live up to the school’s promises.