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Daily Headlines: March 23, 2012

Education Secretary Duncan Defends Big Increase In School Funding
Washington Times, DC, March 22, 2012

Education Secretary Arne Duncan used Thursday’s appearance before a key House subcommittee to not only defend the Obama administration’s request for a $1.7 billion increase in school funding for fiscal 2013, but also to rip the GOP budget proposal laid out by Rep. Paul Ryan earlier this week.

Bad Schools Threaten National Security
Detroit News, MI, March 23, 2012

A report from the Council on Foreign Relations makes a strong case for more school choice, competition

Democrats and Teacher Tenure
National Review Online, March 23, 2012

A recent weeknight found me among a group of about a dozen unhappy parents meeting with the principal of our kids’ high school. The issue: An incompetent teacher who we had been promised would not be returning to the school had shown up unexpectedly, and an administrator had told the students that he might indeed be returning in September.

FROM THE STATES

GOP Leader Opposes Current Charter Schools Bill
Montgomery Advertiser, AL , March 23, 2012

The chairman of the House Rules Committee said Thursday he opposes the current version of legislation that would authorize charter schools in the state, joining a handful of Republicans who have publicly expressed doubts about the measure.

Locals Nix Charter School Plans
Troy Messenger, AL, March 22, 2012

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow for the creation of charter schools in Alabama , but local educators believe charter schools could be detrimental to educational institutions already in place.

Education Topics Among Hot-Button Issues So Far This Legislative Session
East Valley Tribune, AZ, March 23, 2012

Arizona lawmakers have brought a number of education bills to the Legislature this year. But as the bill-making part of the session nears a close, and the focus turns to the budget, it’s becoming more clear what bills survived and what didn’t.

California Should Revamp Teacher Layoff Process, Analyst Says
Los Angeles Times Blog, CA, March 22, 2012

California school districts issue more pink slips than necessary and the state should consider alternatives to seniority-based layoffs, according to a report from the state legislative analyst’s office.

Charter Schools: A Question of Choice
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA, March 23, 2012

Does offering school choice inevitably lead to fewer opportunities for the majority of public school students? The latest debate over a Santa Cruz charter school brings up just those issues.

Charter Schools Not Just For The Elite
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA, March 23, 2012

The Montessori charter school debate is full of misinformation and misguided fears about charter schools.

Inglewood Charter School Wins 2 Victories In Battle With School District
Daily Breeze, CA, March 22, 2012

The students and principal at City Honors College Preparatory Charter High have scored a double victory in their battle with the Inglewood Unified School District.

Colorado Schools No Longer Will Conduct Annual Count Of Kids On Holy Days
Denver Post, CO, March 23, 2012

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed into law a bill that will stop schools from taking official enrollment counts on religious holidays.

Hartford Schools, Union Agree To Teacher Evaluation System
Hartford Courant, CT, March 22, 2012

The school system and Hartford Federation of Teachers have agreed on a teacher evaluation system that calls for more classroom observations and training for educators, including a districtwide plan to improve how supervisors do the evaluating.

No Backsliding On Education Reform
The Day, CT, March 23, 2012

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed education reform package is not without its problems. The legislation calls for more aggressive intervention by the state in turning around troubled school systems, but the details of exactly how that would work remain a bit murky. And many of the proposals are underfunded, the result of a lack of political will to set priorities and sacrifice other budgetary sacred cows to invest in education.

Boehner, Lieberman Ask Obama to Fund D.C. Scholarship Program
Washington Post Blog, DC, March 22, 2012

President Obama did not request any funding for the District’s Opportunity Scholarship Program in his fiscal 2013 budget, and the program’s biggest backers on Capitol Hill want the White House to know that they took notice.

DCPS Paying $2.2 Million For Buildings It Doesn’t Use
Washington Post Blog, DC, March 22, 2012

Like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know quite what you’re going to get when you open up the DCPS operating budget. Pots of money materialize and disappear, names of spending categories change from year to year, making it difficult to follow which dollars go where.

Florida Summit To Focus On Teacher Evaluations, Students Gains
News Press, FL, March 23, 2012

Abigail Adams once said, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” For those charged with educating our future leaders, it can often be difficult to know where to find innovative ideas and new ways to measure success.

Bill Opens School Clubs To Charter School Students
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, March 22, 2012

Georgia students attending charter schools would be able to play on sporting teams and join extracurricular clubs at traditional public schools under a bill the House Education Committee passed Thursday.

Parent With Choice Best Kind Of ‘Local Control’
Cherokee Tribune, GA, March 23, 2012

In the coming battle on amendment 1162 the anti-charter special interest groups will assail the for-profit management services contracted by our non-profit public charter school.

Big Island Charter School To Get $2.9M Loan For More Classroom Space
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HI, March 22, 2012

Big Island charter school will get a $2.9 million federal loan to add more classroom space. The Innovations Public Charter School in Kailua-Kona will use some of the money to build a soccer field and a covered basketball court, in addition to refinancing existing debt.

School Districts Hire Superintendents’ Relatives
Chicago Tribune, IL, March 23, 2012

At a packed and emotional meeting of a school board that normally draws one or two spectators, Lansing District 158 Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger on Wednesday defended how her niece and nephew landed jobs in the district.

School Vouchers System Raises Useful Questions
South Bend Tribune, IN, March 23, 2012

I have no inherent opposition to school vouchers. The idea that parents should be able to choose what schools their children attend is fine with me, within limits. That the state should pay for education stirs no primitive animosity in my soul.

Catholic Schools Drop Finder’s Fees
The Journal Gazette, IN, March 23, 2012

Schools in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese have been told that, for now, they cannot offer financial incentives to those who recruit new students.

House Passes Jindal’s Tenure Changes In After-Midnight Session
Times Picayune, LA, March 23, 2012

A wide-ranging restructuring of teacher tenure and compensation rules is halfway to becoming law after the House of Representatives early Friday morning approved Gov. Bobby Jindal’s initiative 64-40. The new framework would go into effect for the 2012-13 school year.

Jindal School Voucher-Charter Bill Clears Louisiana House After 12-Hour Debate
Times Picayune, LA, March 22, 2012

A sweeping expansion of charter schools and establishment of a statewide program to pay private school tuition for certain low-income students moved one step closer to reality Thursday, as the Louisiana House of Representatives tinkered with and then gave wide approval to a key piece of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s primary and secondary education overhaul.

Setback for LePage’s School Choice Plans
Kennebec Journal, ME, March 23, 2012

Gov. Paul LePage’s proposals to expand school choice in Maine were dealt a blow in a legislative committee meeting Thursday

An Education In Choice
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, MA, March 23, 2012

The Patrick administration last week announced that Massachusetts has received a $12.1 million, three-year grant from the federal Department of Education to expand public charter schools in the state. The news was welcomed by top education officials, and why not?

Michigan’s Educational Achievement Authority — Long On Promise, But Short On Transparency
Detroit Free Press, MI, March 23, 2012

The launch of Michigan’s Educational Achievement Authority next fall holds much promise. Its leaders, starting with Chancellor John Covington, espouse some of the most up-to-date practices and technologies for helping all students reach their potential.

Bill On Education Reform Worries Ozarks Lawmakers, School Officials
Springfield News-Leader, MO, March 23, 2012

Education reform was a high priority for lawmakers heading into this year’s legislative session amid questions about ways to change how public education is funded and to fix public schools in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Charter Reform
Las Vegas Review, NV, March 23, 2012

In a state awash with pointless panels, where badly needed government reforms are focused on streamlining redundant and inefficient bureaucracies, is it a good thing to create yet another appointed board with oversight of public business? In the case of the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority Board, the answer is a resounding yes.

Don’t Leave Charter-School Choice To Voters
Courier News, NJ, March 23, 2012

In the recent “Let voters decide on charter schools” editorial, this newspaper’s editorial board is advocating for legislation that will halt the growth of all public charter schools in New Jersey, whether they are in South Orange or Newark, as not one of the 5,367 public charter schools in operation in our country has been approved through a voter referendum. This is unacceptable and not what is best for our students — just ask the parents of 27,000 students currently in charter schools, or 20,000 on waiting lists to attend.

Pandering Helps No One
Buffalo News, NY, March 22, 2012

Raise your hand if you think the State Assembly’s bid to cut funding for charter schools is a pitiful effort by the chamber’s Democrats to placate teachers unions who are livid over teacher evaluations and pension changes. True or not, it’s a bad idea.

Charles Barron, the Most Anti-Charter-School Candidate
‎Capital New York, NY, March 22, 2012

In his second bid to unseat longtime Representative Ed Towns, Councilman Charles Barron has started a new group called “Parents for Charles Barron 2012,” which touts his advocacy on behalf of public schools.

The Relationship School
New York Times, NY, March 23, 2012

Usually when you visit a school you walk down a quiet hallway and peer in the little windows in the classroom doors. You see one teacher talking to a bunch of students. Every 50 minutes or so a chime goes off and the students fill the hallway and march off to their next class, which is probably unrelated to the one they just left.

After a False Start, a Progressive School Gets Ready to Open
New York Times SchoolBook, NY, March 22, 2012

A year after city education officials made the controversial decision to take the space allotted to a planned progressive elementary school and hand it to a KIPP charter school instead, the jilted school has found a home.

Charter Jitters Over New Chief
New York Post, NY, March 23, 2012

A college faculty honcho and union man has been tapped to head the powerful State University panel that approves charter schools — setting off alarm bells from advocates who fear charters will face more resistance.

Charter School Wins Right To Unionize
Amsterdam News, NY, March 23, 2012

Teachers at a Harlem charter school have won the right to unionize.
Last week, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruled in favor of the teachers and staff at the New York French-American Charter School (NYFACS), confirming their vote to join the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Harness the Power of School Choice
New York Daily News, NY, March 23, 2012

It is easy to find examples of dynamic innovation in the United States: the light bulb, the Model T, Broadway musicals, Disney, jazz, the polio vaccine, the personal computer, the Internet, Starbucks, eBay, Netflix, Google, the Human Genome Project, the iPod, Facebook — and the list goes on….

New Mapping Data Impacts Wake County Student Assignment Plan
News & Observer, NC, March 23, 2012

A previously unannounced change in the way the Wake County school system determines how far students live from school is affecting the ability of some families to get into the school they want for this fall.

Asheville City Schools Close To Settling Charter School Case
Asheville Citizen-Times, NC, March 23, 2012

The city school system is close to settling a lawsuit with three charter schools over past funding.

Audit Finds More Than $570,000 in Improper Spending at Greater Achievement Community School in Cleveland
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, March 23, 2012

The people who ran Greater Achievement Community School, a closed Cleveland charter school, misspent more than $570,000 provided by taxpayers, according to a state audit released Thursday.

Cleveland Teachers Union Proposes Concessions, Alternatives To Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s School Plan
Cleveland Plain Dealer Blog, OH, March 23, 2012

The Cleveland Teachers Union’s counter-proposal to Mayor Frank Jackson’s schools plan offers concessions in seniority rules and an alternative way to fix troubled schools, but draws a hard line on letting the district impose changes or toss out the existing contract.

Oklahoma Schools Need To Get Comfortable With The Idea Of Selling Themselves To Parents
The Oklahoman, OK, March 23, 2012

JUDGING by a recent hearing at the state Education Department, grading schools isn’t such a popular idea. But then again, that’s the sort of response one would expect from a public hearing.

Aaron Regunberg: Do Mayoral Academies Have Something to Hide?
GoLocalProv, RI, March 23, 2012

On Wednesday, advocates of “mayoral academies”—charter schools that operate under a series of specially granted exceptions—came out against SB 2709, or the “Mayoral Academy Accountability and Equity Act” as I’ve heard some refer to it, a bill at the State House amending the language of Rhode Island’s Mayoral Academies legislation.

Birds, Bees, School Reform In The Air
The Morning News, SC, March 22, 2012

It’s springtime in South Carolina and all the usual events are happening. The azaleas are blooming, the bees are buzzing and the state legislature is talking about school reform.

More Charter Schools for Camden Isn’t the Solution
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 23, 2012

New Jersey has approved six more charter schools for Camden in its ongoing misguided approach to reforming urban public education. Charter schools offer a viable option, but they also siphon desperately needed money from traditional public schools and the children left behind who still attend them.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg Merges 2 Schools Because of Dwindling Enrollment, Financial Losses
Patriot News, PA, March 22, 2012

Dwindling enrollment and financial losses led to the decision to merge Holy Family and Cathedral Consolidated schools in Harrisburg next year, forming Harrisburg Catholic Elementary, the Diocese of Harrisburg announced Wednesday.

Allentown School Board Renews Charter School Despite Its Ties To Church
The Morning Call, PA, March 22, 2012

The Allentown School Board renewed a five-year charter agreement with the Lincoln Leadership Academy Charter School on Thursday despite some directors’ concerns about the school’s operations and its ties to a church.

Integrity Report Card: A Biased Grade
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, March 23, 2012

State report cards have become quite the fashion in recent years. Those who receive good grades routinely boast about it — as Virginia leaders do when the commonwealth gets high marks for livability and business climate. States that fare less well are inclined to dismiss the report cards as shallow and ill-informed.

Making the Best Use of Teacher Evaluations
The Herald, WA, March 23, 2012

A few days ago, a report from the Center for Public Integrity on state government corruption and crime assigned a grade of “F” to the state of Maine. At least one Maine resident we know, who had previously lived and worked for substantial amounts of time in Boston, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia, found this surprising.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Are Virtual Schools a Sham?
Huffington Post, March 22, 2012

We are hearing a lot about online learning and virtual schools, a field that is growing fast — perhaps too fast. As educators we must be vigilant to distinguish between promising practices and flat-out corruption and greed.

Cyber-Charter Blues
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, March 23, 2012

WITH OVER 150 charter schools – nearly half of them in Philadelphia – and an additional 13 “cyber schools,” which operate online, Pennsylvania has a strong profile among states for embracing charters as a key part of education reform.

Frontier Cyber-School Students: All We Want Is To Learn
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, March 23, 2012

Carey’s quest for answers might soon come to an end. The state Department of Education is finishing an investigation into Frontier over numerous questions about financial and academic problems that were detailed last week by the Daily News.