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Daily Headlines: March 5, 2012

Education Must Move Center Stage in the Presidential Election
Washington Post, DC, March 5, 2012

Until former senator Rick Santorum called President Obama “a snob ” last month for wanting all Americans to attend college, education had been practically invisible in this presidential campaign. Only 1 percent of the time and questions in Republican debates have touched on schools since an education forum I co-moderated in New York in October.

A Better Chance to Succeed
New York Times, NY, March 3, 2012

To help achieve those goals, the community college systems that enroll about 11 million students need to end the practice of shunting students who are prepared for college into non-credit remedial classes that chew up financial aid while making it far less likely that they will ever graduate.

The Wrong Approach to Fixing No Child Left Behind
Huffington Post, March 4, 2012

If Congress were actually capable of passing significant legislation, the futures of millions of school children would have been severely harmed by what happened in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, when the House Committee on Education and the Workforce debated legislation to renew No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

FROM THE STATES

School Choice: Good For Students And The Community
Juneau Empire, AK, March 4, 2012

This past week I had the opportunity to testify before the Alaska State House Finance Committee in their hearing on House Joint Resolution 16. This piece of legislation is proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to state aid for education.

Arizona Lawmakers Want To Give Parents Control Of A School’s Fate
East Valley Tribune, AZ, March 4, 2012

Education leaders are raising questions about how a proposed plan to give Arizona parents the power to shut down or change a failing school would work — or if it would even make a difference.

Clayton Valley Charter Plans Starting To Take Shape
Contra Costa Times, CA, March 4, 2012

There is an adage about being careful what you wish for. The supporters of Clayton Valley High’s conversion to charter school status know it well.

SECA Still Fighting For Independence
Stockton Record, CA, March 4, 2012

Refusing to yield in their fight to establish independent governance, board members of academically rigorous Stockton Early College Academy sent a forceful three-page letter recently to the school’s parents and students.

New Director of San Bernardino Charter Schools Getting Bearings
San Bernardino Sun, CA, March 3, 2012

Chris Tickell is the second director of charter school operations since the school district first appointed someone in June, shortly after high-profile complaints against two charter schools.

School Officials Worry State Is Taking Too Much Control
Connecticut Post, CT, March 4, 2012

Efforts to provide a legislative fix to retain the state appointed school board in Bridgeport have school officials in several districts and some lawmakers concerned the state may be grabbing too much control over education from local districts.

What D.C.’S School Funding Commission Accomplished
Washington Post, DC, March 2, 2012

The District has embarked on two major structural education reforms: creation of one of the largest public charter school sectors in the nation, and a mayoral takeover of D.C. Public Schools. Yet little attention has been paid to the financing needed to make these ambitious makeovers successful.

It’s Time D.C. Council Funds Charter Schools Fairly
Washington Examiner, DC, March 4, 2012

Each year, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranks the public charter school laws on the books in 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

Senate Panel OKs Parent Trigger; Dems Cry Foul
Miami Herald, FL, March 3, 2012

Critics of a bill that would let parents at struggling schools demand changes, including turning the school into a charter, argue the move only benefits for-profit

Charter Schools Get Merit Pay Break
Florida Times-Union, FL, March 3, 2012

Over the vocal opposition of Democrats, the House passed a bill Friday that, among other things, clarifies that charter schools have wiggle room in complying with a controversial “merit pay” law signed during a 2011 ceremony at KIPP Jacksonville

Lawmakers Hold Off On Plan For Charter, Public Schools To Share Maintenance Funds
Miami Herald, FL, March 3, 2012

A proposal to have school districts share maintenance dollars with charter schools is on life support in Tallahassee.

Charter School Dangers on Display in Scientology Case
Tampa Bay Times, FL, March 5, 2012

The Life Force Arts and Technology Academy in Dunedin, a charter elementary school serving low-income children, has sold area parents a bill of goods. It promised an enriching arts and technology program and delivered a school stripped of resources by its management company and laden with Church of Scientology teaching methodology. The school’s actions raise serious questions about fiscal control and church-state separation.

Time Is Running Short On Charter School Legislation Decision
Newman Times-Herald, GA, March 4, 2012

Though the constitutional amendment clarifying the state’s power to approve charter schools and make other educational policy has stalled in the Georgia Senate, the “enabling legislation” is making its way through the state House of Representatives.

State Education Reform Focus Delays Federal Waiver Request
Honolulu Star Advertiser, HI, March 5, 2012

The state has postponed its plan to request a waiver to key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law while it works to put high-profile education reform efforts back on track.

Emanuel Announces Bonus Plan to Bring Top Principals to Chicago
Chicago Tribune, IL, March 3, 2012

Mayor says city will conduct nationwide search, offer each new principal a $25,000 incentive

Grading Teachers
Chicago Tribune, IL, March 3, 2012

A value-added system will help Illinois educators do a better job identifying and rewarding the most highly effective teachers with, we can hope, markedly higher salaries. The information also can help schools replace educators who simply aren’t advancing their students’ academic performance.

Bill Would Allow Charter Schools to Purchase Property From School Districts
Peoria Journal Star, IL, March 4, 2012

In one view, two local government bodies and the board of Quest Charter School didn’t have to enter into a three-party arrangement for the charter school board to buy two Peoria School District 150 school buildings.

Bill Would Return Local Control To Schools
Des Moines Register, IA, March 3, 2012

I recently filed a bill, SF 2241, to eliminate the Iowa Department of Education. Many individuals and entities have called my proposal extreme or unrealistic. While eliminating the Iowa Department of Education may be a radical change from the status quo, is it necessarily a bad thing? Some would still argue that it is, while others would argue the merits that the legislation highlights.

Gov. Bobby Jindal Education Overhaul Legislation Introduced
Times-Picayune, LA, March 3, 2012

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s legislative allies unveiled details of the governor’s ambitious overhaul of primary and secondary education in Louisiana, with competing legislation highlighting what is likely to form some of the major fault lines in the legislative session that begins March 12.

Changing the Education Landscape
Shreveport Times, LA, March 4, 2012

Nearly 53,000 students are attending a C-, D- or F-rated school in northwest Louisiana, according to figures from the state Department of Education. If Gov. Bobby Jindal has his way, many of those students would be eligible to receive a voucher to attend a private, charter or high-performing public school as early as next school year.

Charter School Takes Applications
Opelousas Daily World, LA, March 3, 2012

More than 100 parents and students interested in the new J.S. Clark Leadership Academy packed into the South City Park recreation center Friday night.

Maine Charter Schools Move Closer To Reality
Portland Press Herald, ME, March 5, 2012

Groups planning such schools, including one in Portland, prepare to fill out applications as soon as the state has them.

A Sobering Situation in Highland Park Schools
Detroit Free Press, MI, March 5, 2012

The fixes will get students through to June, but they don’t really solve anything. For small districts like Highland Park, the problems go beyond the steps even an emergency manager can take.

Effort To Retain Great Teachers In Sudden Death
Duluth News Tribune, MN, March 3, 2012

Minnesota is one step closer to ensuring our greatest teachers stay in the classroom. The recent initial passage of H.F. 1870 proves state lawmakers agree with the majority of Minnesotans, from every corner of the state, who contend that teacher performance should be the number-one factor in a layoff decision — not seniority.

Outside Firms Could Be Among Suitors For Charter Schools
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS, March 5, 2012

A Turkish foundation that has drawn praise for excellence and scrutiny for spending could be among those seeking to operate charter schools in Mississippi if state lawmakers clear the way.

Are Charter Schools Worth Higher Taxes?
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS, March 3, 2012

Interesting question in the Feb. 23 online poll: “Is allowing charter schools for any district good for the state?” 82 percent answered yes. A vital follow-up should be: “Are you willing to increase taxes to fund charter schools being built all around the state?” I suspect the answer to this one would be over 82 percent no.

Charter Schools Backers Say New Approach Needed
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS, March 4, 2012

While state lawmakers debate how best to make allowances for charter schools in Mississippi, some people are still questioning why traditional public schools can’t be given the same freedoms.

Efforts To Fix Missouri’s School Aid Formula, Transfers Appear Knotted — Again
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, March 4, 2012

Public school leaders across the state have implored the Missouri Legislature to fix a knotty student transfer law and an underfunded school aid formula.

County Court Set to Hear Landmark Case on School Choice
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, March 5, 2012

A long-running battle over the state’s school transfer law is set to unfold today in a St. Louis County courtroom with potentially sweeping implications for the St. Louis area and its schoolchildren.

Blaine Amendment Brings Challenges To Private School Parents
Kansas City Star, MO, March 4, 2012

Religious education backers are making a hard run this year at trying to force a statewide election to ask voters to eliminate Missouri ’s “Blaine Amendment,” which blocks all manner of public funding from any religious-based entity.
It is a politically volatile battle, with many public education backers fearing that a change in the constitution would open the door to private school vouchers.

Charter School for Deaf Signs Off in Bankruptcy
Las Vegas Review-Journal, NV, March 5, 2012

The Las Vegas Charter School of the Deaf, in the northwest valley, went bankrupt this summer after just three school years, said Bass, who’s on the board of the school that took 10 years of planning to open.

Fine Print: Charters Not Renewed
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, March 5, 2012

The Christie administration has gone out of its way to show how tough it can be on charter schools that aren’t performing. It has been a sensitive topic, as the administration has been a big cheerleader for the alternative schools since Gov. Chris Christie took office and angered communities where the schools are seen as a financial drain.

Cap and Lose
The Record, NJ, March 3, 2012

GOVERNOR Christie is talking about education reform. Chief among his topics are private-school vouchers for parents with kids in failing public schools and the abolishment of lifetime tenure for teachers.

Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip
New York Times, NY, March 5, 2012

A teacher’s rating depends on how much progress her students make on state tests in a year’s time, and is known as the value-added score. Ms. Allanbrook, the principal, has another name for what’s going on. She calls the scores the “invalid value-addeds.”

Confessions of a ‘Bad’ Teacher
New York Times, NY, March 4, 2012

I AM a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers.

125G Pay, Low Grade For Charter Teacher
New York Post, NY, March 4, 2012

She has appeared on “60 Minutes,” starred in the documentary “American Teacher” — and makes $125,000 at an unusual Washington Heights charter school.

Charter Schools Aren’t The Answer
Albany Times Union , NY, March 4, 2012

John P. Reilly, KIPP Tech Valley Charter School board chairman, in his commentary (“A truce in the city school wars,” Feb. 21) suggests that the Albany School District be viewed as a “portfolio” district with district-operated and charter schools being treated more equally. This idea is without merit, as it ignores the substantial differences between public and charter schools.

New Charter School OK’d
Chapel Hill News, NC, March 4, 2012

The State Board of Education approved the Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School Thursday.

Ohio Puts Teachers on Notice
Cincinnati Enquirer, OH, March 5, 2012

Come September, Ohio will likely be the only state in the country to force thousands of teachers at low-performing schools to take special licensing tests.

Frustration at the Long, Slow Discussion of What Schools Need
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, March 4, 2012

From unauditable charter schools, to mid-school-year disruptions for students in closing charter schools, to an attempt to use taxpayer money for private profit, to schools going begging for students, to endless levies, to Mayor Frank Jackson’s big plan.

More Teachers Tell of Cheating at Philadelphia’s Cayuga School
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 5, 2012

Cheating at Cayuga Elementary School may date back to at least the 2007-08 school year, when, a teacher said, principal Evelyn Cortez directed teachers administering state achievement tests to “go through and make sure no questions are left blank.”

School Advocates Plead To Keep Schools Open
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 3, 2012

Students, parents, teachers and administrators are pleading their cases before the School Reform Commission as the committee holds its final hearings on the proposed closing of nine schools.

Gardner Decision Being Appealed As Students Enroll
Scranton Times-Tribune, PA, March 5, 2012

The Howard Gardner School for Discovery is now accepting applications for the fall, for its first year as a charter school. But the school’s future is not entirely clear, as officials from the Scranton and Abington Heights school districts have appealed a state decision that grants the school its charter.

School Gives Dropouts A Second Chance
Reading Eagle, PA, March 4, 2012

She quit dealing drugs and got a low-paying job. But without a high school diploma, her earning potential was limited. Then, she discovered the I-LEAD Charter School, which opened in the fall.

Bill Not A True Fix For Education In S.D.
Aberdeen News, SD, March 4, 2012

The passage Wednesday night of House Bill 1234 – Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s education reform and teacher merit pay bill – led to plenty of surprises. Chief among them:

Charter School Asks For Approval of Location
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, March 5, 2012

Officials with the Knoxville Charter Academy, Knoxville ‘s first charter school, have asked the Knox County school board to approve a former church for its location.

Would Alternative Teacher Certification Help West Virginia Schools, Students?
Charleston Gazette, WV, March 3, 2012

For a county that ranks near the bottom on a host of quality of life indexes — poverty level, high school dropout rate, teenage birth rate — a lack of teachers may not seem like the most pressing issue.

Assembly Should Fix Voucher Law Loophole
The Northwestern, WI, March 3, 2012

Republicans in the State Assembly have precious little time to prevent a further erosion of public confidence by failing to live up to their word and plunging public schools into a further financial crisis.

VIRTUAL LEARNING

A Cyber Cash Cow?
Milton Daily Standard, PA, March 3, 2012
Are the local taxpayers the new cash cow for cyber charter schools? It would appear that the current system, which allows choice for school options, also allows profiteering and no choice for taxpayers.

Charter Schools Coming, But Will Virtual Charters Make The Cut?
Laurel Leader-Call , MS, March 4, 2012
While the empowerment and expansion of the charter school concept in Mississippi seems a foregone political conclusion in the Mississippi Legislature, the central questions that remain are whether the House will try to limit charter schools in school districts rated “successful” and whether the House will seek to include “virtual” charter schools in the bill they send to conference with the Senate version.

Lawmakers Look At More Oversight For Online Schools
Denver Post, CO, March 4, 2012
Online school is helping Michelle Nuss catch up. The 17-year-old is a freshman in high school, falling behind a few years ago when she and her mother were homeless and living in a hotel.