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Daily Headlines: March 28, 2012

My View: How Much Parent Power Is Too Much?
CNN Blog, March 28, 2012

Should parents who are unhappy with their local school have the power to replace the entire staff, turn it into a charter school or shut it completely – even if just 51% of the school’s families agree?

Fed Grant Program A Winner
Post Tribune, IN, March 27, 2012

The federal government wants to see results quickly. The turnaround grants call for schools to replace the principal and 50 percent of the teaching staff. The changes are drastic, aimed at overturning years of decline and neglect. It’s a significant and needed federal intervention.

FROM THE STATES

Power To The Parents Of School Children
Los Angeles Times, CA, March 28, 2012

There’s a problem with California ‘s groundbreaking “parent trigger” law. But it isn’t what you might think. The law, which I wrote, passed in 2010, and it sought to give parents genuine power and control over their children’s educational destiny by allowing them to force staff changes at failing schools or even to convert such schools to charters.

Parents’ Effort To Fix Failing Adelanto School Comes To A Head
Los Angeles Times, CA, March 28, 2012

After weeks of controversy, school officials are expected to decide whether to approve the parents’ petition for dramatic changes at Desert Trails Elementary under a landmark California law.

Office of Education Plans To Open Charter School By This Fall
Auburn Journal, CA, March 28, 2012

The Placer County Office of Education is moving forward with plans to open a charter school in South Placer County in time for the 2012-2013 school year.

Saugus Union Denies Charter School
Santa Clarita Valley Signal, CA, March 27, 2012

Citing concern with finances and an overall demand for the school, Saugus Union School District board members voted Tuesday 4-1 to deny a home-schooling-based charter school from opening this year.

Bill Would Ensure Free Meals For Needy Charter School Students
California Watch, March 28, 2012

At the Blue Oak School in Chico, where 60 percent of the charter school’s student body comes from low-income households, it’s a source of school pride that the soft tacos and chicken pot pies served at lunch are made from organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Vernon Parents Push For More Say In School District Reform
The Hartford Courant, CT, March 27, 2012

Talk of reforming the town’s school district brought more than 100 parents to Monday night’s board of education meeting, with many asking why they haven’t been asked to join the conversation.

Expulsions, Suspensions Could Face More Scrutiny In D.C. Charters
Washington Examiner, DC, March 28, 2012

D.C. charter schools could be shut down for failing to report student suspensions and expulsions each month to the D.C. Public Charter School Board, under a new policy being considered by the board.

Waiver Means Changes In School District
Jackson County Floridian, FL, March 28, 2012

A waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) granted to Florida and nine other states will change state improvement standards, sparking changes in school districts.

Charter Plan Change Sparks Tension
The Ledger, FL, March 27, 2012

The Harrison arts school and Lakeland High School are in a complicated, controversial charter debate that has the schools in a tug-of-war for control.

More Teachers Targeted For Firing
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, March 28, 2012

Atlanta Public Schools is taking steps to fire five teachers implicated in a widespread test-cheating scandal, joining 11 others targeted for termination earlier this month.

CPS Budget For 2013 Has Huge Shortfall
Chicago Tribune, IL, March 27, 2012

Despite severe cost cutting, scores of layoffs and wholesale restructuring last year, Chicago Public Schools faces a budget deficit estimated at $600 million to $700 million in 2013, with the cost of a longer school day still unknown, officials said.

ASPIRA Charter School CEO Fired
Chicago Sun Times, IL, March 28, 2012

The controversial president of ASPIRA charter schools was fired late Monday evening during a stormy board meeting that included a chorus of community protests about ASPIRA’s management.

Some CPS Students Want A Voice In Grading Their Teachers
Chicago Sun Times, IL, March 28, 2012

A group of Chicago Public School students Tuesday demanded that student opinions about the effectiveness of their teachers be slowly folded into a new teacher evaluation process due to start this fall.

Charter School Add-On Dooms Kentucky Education Reform Bills
WKU Public Radio, KY, March 27, 2012

An attempt to piggyback charter school legislation on another bill has likely killed two plans for education reform in Kentucky . The state Senate Education committee Thursday added language legalizing charter schools to a charter alternative plan sponsored by Representative Carl Rollins, who chairs the House Education Committee. Charter supporters hoped Rollins would allow the amendment in order to see his alternative become law, but it’s unlikely the plan will work.

House Approves Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Proposal Rewarding Donations For Private-School Tuition
Times-Picayune, LA, March 27, 2012

The second of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s two proposals for taxpayer-financed private school tuition cleared the Louisiana House of Representatives on Monday, marking the legislative halfway point for the administration’s proposed overhaul of primary and secondary education.

Proposed Expansion of School Voucher Program Needs Thorough Accounting of Results
Shreveport Times, LA, March 28, 2012

Education reform apparently is a rush job until it comes to something the administration doesn’t like. Then the rule is, let’s slow this down, talk to some stakeholders and figure out what is the best course.

Experience Elsewhere Speaks To Vouchers’ Effects
Alexandria Town Talk, LA, March 27, 2012

The state of Louisiana is trying to do the right thing for its young people, which is why state lawmakers are deliberating the governor’s plan to expand Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence. You know — vouchers.

Founders Find Home For Charter School
Frederick News Post, MD, March 28, 2012

Frederick Classical Charter School founders believe they have finally found the right fit to house the charter school scheduled to open this fall.

Talks Collapse Between Union and Boston Public Schools
Boston Herald, MA, March 28, 2012

After 21 months of bargaining, the Boston Teachers Union and the school district saw contract talks break down last night, forcing the two sides to turn to a mediator.

Busting the Unions
Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN, March 27, 2012

Once again another editorial by Editor Hansen has amazed and angered me. The editorial, “Students Need the Best Teachers” deals with teacher seniority — “the last in, first out” or, in other words doing away with seniority when it comes to layoffs. The real reason Republicans, including right wing editor Hansen, are supporting this proposed law is to bust the unions.

No Short-Cut To Success: How Harvest Prep Beats The Achievement Gap In Minneapolis
Twin City Daily Planet, MN, March 27, 2012

It’s hard not to pay attention to fourth grade teacher Fatou Diahame, even when she’s teaching a subject as dreary as math. She’s constantly moving — walking back and forth, hands gesturing. Her eyes are wide — they move from student to student like she’s really looking. She’s loud and demanding.

Making Case Against School Voucher Bill
Portsmouth Herald, NH, March 28, 2012

The N.H. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on HB 1607 (the voucher bill) today. This legislation would establish a business tax credit fund to provide vouchers for children K-12 who choose an alternative to public school, i.e. private, religious or home school. We believe that this bill, if passed into law, will weaken the entire public education system of New Hampshire, as well as the quality of life within our local communities, for the following reasons:

All-Boys Public School Coming to Newark
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, March 28, 2012

Superintendent Anderson announces single-gender school as part of reorganization plan for state’s largest district.

Private-School Busing Faces Fork In Road
The Journal News, NY, March 28, 2012

How far school buses will travel to bring students to private schools may become one of the next tugs of war in Albany as the region’s top education officials have suggested reducing the distance and some lawmakers want to increase it.

A Charter Network’s Emerging Imprint
New York Jewish Week, NY, March 27, 2012

While the longtime Jewish day school underwent its extreme makeover (the majority of its students and teachers then transferred to the charter school, joined by more than 100 additional students), Miami’s Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE-Miami), a federation agency, scrambled to create Shoresh, a Jewish after-school program that 56 Ben Gamla students now pay to attend.

An Education Success in Harlem
Huffington Post, March 27, 2012

Last month I visited the Harlem Success Academy Charter School in New York City . Led by former NYC Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, the school promotes a model of success based on individualized curriculum, merit-based teacher incentives, and specialized testing from day one.

Cuomo Backs Release of Teacher Evaluations
Wall Street Journal Blog, March 27, 2012

Weighing in on the fight over releasing teachers’ evaluations to the public, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he’s inclined to preserve open access for parents but willing to explore of shielding the records in some way.

Wake Delays Placing Students Under New Assignment Plan
News & Observer, NC, March 28, 2012

Wake County schools’ new choice-based assignment system continued to face pointed complaints Tuesday – from accusations that officials misrepresented some schools’ capacity numbers to a new two-week delay for some students to learn their assignment for next year.

Full Speed Ahead On Cleveland School Reform: Editorial
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, March 27, 2012

Mayor Frank Jackson’s school reform initiative is making clear progress toward a broad consensus — welcome news to anyone concerned about the future of this community and an incentive to keep working, full speed ahead.

School Voucher Law Ruled Unconstitutional By Tulsa District Judge
Tulsa World, OK, March 28, 2012

A Tulsa district judge Tuesday struck down a law allowing state funds to be used for private-school tuition for special-needs students, ruling it violates the Oklahoma Constitution.

Phila. Schools Had ‘bad Fiscal Policy,’ Src Chair Says
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 28, 2012

How did the Philadelphia School District get into its current financial bind, with $26 million left to cut by June and a gap of up to $400 million for next year?

Pft President: Halt Renaissance Charter Process
Philadelphia Inquirer Blog , PA, March 27, 2012

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan has called for an end to the district’s Renaissance charter process.

R.I. Teacher Union Wants Evaluations To Slow Down
Providence Journal, RI, March 27, 2012

Saying that teachers feel “frustrated” and “overwhelmed,” the National Education Association Rhode Island wants Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist to slow down her plans to expand the state’s new teacher evaluation system next year.

Broad Support Base Is Needed To Close Achievement Gap
The Tennessean, TN, March 28, 2012

In the meantime, as leaders work to get this element right, let’s not lose focus of the bigger, broader goals of reform in Tennessee and elsewhere: results that reduce the achievement gap.

IDEA Continues To Recruit Students
KXAN, TX, March 27, 2012

The Austin Independent School District appears to have given the IDEA charter school system an indefinite timeline to fill seats at what will soon be the former Allan Elementary School.

VSU Racked Up $138K In Teacher Strike Costs, Fees
Bennington Banner, VT, March 27, 2012

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union and its member districts have spent about $138,000 in taxpayer funds since November 2009 to negotiate and defend a new labor contract with teachers.

Keep Superintendent Search As Open As Possible
Seattle Times, WA, March 27, 2012

The search for the Seattle School Board’s next superintendent should not be compromised by fear of public scrutiny. Initial candidacies can be kept confidential; finalists must be vetted in the open.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Boyertown Lays Foundation For Cyberschool
Reading Eagle, PA, March 28, 2012

The Boyertown School Board approved a contract with Bridges Virtual Education Services to begin work on a charter school for the 2012-13 school year.

State Board Delays Decision On Volusia Online Charter School
Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL , March 28, 2012

A proposed online charter school in Volusia County will get another chance to fight its case before the state education board after a decision to deny its application was postponed Tuesday.

State Board of Education Takes Up Digital Learning
Lehigh Acres News Star, FL, March 27, 2012

As college presidents and school superintendents enthusiastically told state Board of Education members Tuesday about how technology is revolutionizing their classrooms, the superintendent of one of Florida’s poorest school districts described how his own schools are struggling to cross the digital divide.