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Daily Headlines: April 9, 2012

NATIONAL

School Vouchers Spark Growing Court Fights In US
Associated Press, April 9, 2012

Students like Delano Coffy are at the heart of brewing political fights and court battles over whether public dollars should go to school vouchers to help make private schools more affordable.

Suspicious Test Score: Some Districts Probe Them, Others Mount Challenge
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, April 8, 2012

At least three large school districts and two state agencies say they will use an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of test scores to help them root out cheaters.

FROM THE STATES

Want To Fix Our Schools? Give Vouchers An Opportunity
Anchorage Daily News, AK, April 8, 2012

After flailing around for years, doing the same tired things and spending billions, does anybody today really believe Alaska produces the best-educated kids in the United States ? What was the tipoff? The dropout rates? Graduation rates? College entrance rates? We have a problem.

An Option For Failed Schools
Huntsville Times, AL, April 9, 2012

Voting mostly along party lines, the Legislature’s House Ways and Means-Education Committee has sent to the rest of the House a bill that might make a big difference to some Alabama school children in a few years.

Get The Charter School Law Right
Press Register, AL, April 8, 2012

IF PROPOSED charter school legislation passes the Alabama House, the state will be closer to claiming that it has the enabling law for these types of public schools. That’s fine, except that the measure — as it was amended in committee last week — will allow so few schools and on such a limited basis that the schools may not provide the needed opportunities and competition to make much of a difference.

No Magic Bullet For Schools
Los Angeles Times, CA, April 8, 2012

We’re a long way from knowing whether “parent trigger” can improve schools. No petition has yet been approved, and the options the law provides are not that effective.

New Compact Offers A Truce In Charter Wars
Sacramento Bee, CA, April 9, 2012

The Sacramento City Unified School District is among 16 across the country that have signed a compact to work with charter schools. This initiative, supported with $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to get beyond relationships of antagonism and isolation. It seeks to put contentious issues on the table, instead of sweeping them under the rug.

Charter School Owner Looks To Open In Deland
Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL, April 9, 2012

Another charter school is seeking to open in DeLand, but school district staff have numerous concerns with its application. The Volusia County School Board at its Tuesday meeting will discuss an application from an owner of a charter school in Ohio .

Converting Schools: ID Facts vs. Fiction With Charter Schools
The Ledger, FL, April 9, 2012

There are more than 154,000 students enrolled in Florida ‘s 459 charter schools. Of the more than 650 charter schools that have opened in Florida since 1996, approximately 25 percent (165) have closed for one reason or another.

Charter School Protests Enrollment Deadline
Tallahassee Democrat, FL, April 7, 2012

A charter school company that plans to break ground on a new school in Tallahassee next week is the first charter to balk at a Leon County Schools contract demand and is taking the disagreement to an administrative hearing later this month.

Charter School Vote Campaigns Planned
GPB, GA, April 9, 2012

Supporters and foes of a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to approve charter schools are gearing up for public campaigns. It was one of the most hotly-debated issues of this year’s legislative session, and both sides will pull out all the stops before the November referendum.

Why Do Boards of Education Fear Charter Schools?
Savannah Morning News, GA, April 8, 2012

When the public demands more charter schools, authorities will lose much of their monopoly power over our children’s education and educational outcomes will improve. For better schools, think school choice and charter schools.

School Reform Busters
Chicago Tribune, IL, April 8, 2012

This year? Not so proud. Some lawmakers are targeting Chicago Public Schools with a barrage of bills that would cripple long overdue reforms. They’re meddling on class size. They want to block school closings and consolidations. They’re even trying to tell charter schools how to discipline students. Talk about micromanaging from 210 miles away.

Questions Abound As Districts Shift To Merit Pay For Teachers
Indianapolis Star, IN, April 7, 2012

Education reforms now going into effect in Indiana, and similar ones sweeping the nation, are targeting something many Americans consider to be strictly off-limits: their paychecks.

JCPS Supports “Districts of Innovation” Bill
WFPL News, KY, April 9, 2012

A bill allowing Kentucky schools to be more innovative in the way kids learn has gained support from charter school opponents and supporters.

Charter Schools Worry That Louisiana Senate Bill Hints At Discrimination
Times Picayune, LA, April 6, 2012

Charter schools enter the mix because unlike traditional schools, many charters, including more than 50 in New Orleans , operate according to a public contract with the state. So the question has come up: If the bill passes, could a charter school expel or otherwise penalize a student for being gay or not speaking English well enough?

Louisiana’s Education Reform Is A Dramatic Plan For Schools And Our Children
Times Picayune, LA, April 8, 2012

Gov. Bobby Jindal talked Thursday about his education reform package in lofty terms. “This is about the next generation,” he said a few hours after legislators gave final approval to the bills.

It’s Time To Make Education Reforms Work
The Advertiser, LA, April 9, 2012

Early this week, Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to sign into law key elements in his proposals for education reform, including an expansive new system of school vouchers and changes in teacher tenure.

8 Of 15 Approved New Charter Schools Will Be In Detroit
Detroit News, MI, April 8, 2012

The first wave of new charter schools to be approved since a statewide cap was lifted last year includes eight coming to Detroit .

Pressure Builds For Teacher Tenure Reform
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, April 8, 2012

The Missouri Legislature is poised to join the growing number of states looking to fix public education by scaling back the lifetime tenure system for teachers.

Rush To Cut Tenure Wrong Way To Try To Improve Schools
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, April 9, 2012

A truly amazing thing happened in the Missouri Legislature last week: Democrats mattered.
The joke in the Capitol is that Senate Democrats caucus in a phone booth. There are but eight Democrats in the 34-member Senate, not even enough to uphold a veto if GOP senators vote in lockstep.

Trenton’s Emily Fisher Charter School Deserves Another Chance To Correct Problems
Times of Trenton, NJ, April 8, 2012

The state’s decision to close the Emily Fisher Charter School has inspired a passionate outcry. State lawmakers, community members, parents, students and graduates have joined in the refrain to preserve the school.

Education Alternatives Needed To Serve All
Asbury Park Press, NJ, April 8, 2012

For the last few decades, it has become very clear that our country’s system of education is faltering. It is completely inappropriate, if not for all, for at least more than half of our nation’s students.

Deal Near On ‘Secret’ Teacher Evaluations
New York Post, NY, April 9, 2012

Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers are closing in on a deal to give parents full access to the new teacher-evaluation report cards, while banning their general release to the public, The Post has learned.

Reform Supergroup To Take On Unions
New York Post, NY, April 9, 2012

Watch out, teachers unions. Groups backing charter schools, vouchers, merit pay for teachers and limits on teacher tenure plan to unite under a new, statewide supergroup, The Post has learned.

Downtown Charter School Fighting For Survival
Winston-Salem Journal, NC, April 8, 2012

Already beset with financial problems, plummeting enrollment and heavy teacher turnover, the STEAM Academy of Winston-Salem, formerly known as Downtown Middle School , now faces a do-or-die set of tests.

Clamp Down On Cheating Charter School Money Managers
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, April 7, 2012

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me — or so the old saying goes. That shame is multiplied when it comes to the state of Ohio, whose weak laws and spotty enforcement have let some charter school treasurers cavalierly abuse the public’s trust. The state must put an end to this scandal.

New Teacher Evaluation Process In Infancy
Wooster Daily-Record, OH, April 9, 2012

A new ranking system, new academic standards and new assessments are part of the ever-changing world that is public education. Added to the mix is the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System to be implemented in the 2013-14 school year. Schools that receive Race to the Top funds will be the pilot districts for the program.

Teacher, Administrator Evaluation System A Vital Piece Of Oklahoma School Reform Movement
The Oklahoman, OK, April 9, 2012

HARDLY a day goes by lately without some news coverage of changes coming to public education. At the Capitol, at the state Department of Education and in local schools, conversations are happening about reforms that either are under way or soon will be.

Gist, Union Leaders Work On Changes To New Evaluation System
Providence Journal, RI, April 9, 2012

In a move welcome to teacher union leaders, Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist plans to make changes to the statewide education evaluation system to make the process less cumbersome.

NY Dollars Flow Into SC School Choice Debate
The State, SC, April 8, 2012

More than half of the S.C. state representatives who voted in favor of a school choice bill that passed the House have received campaign donations from New York businessman and school-choice advocate Howard Rich and his affiliated companies.

Keep Charter Schools’ Operations In Public View
Jackson Sun, TN, April 9, 2012

The state of Tennessee has moved aggressively to expand the role of charter schools in public education, and we have been supportive of those moves. Now, additional legislation is being debated in the General Assembly to ensure that charter schools adhere to state open meetings and open records laws. These bills are an absolute must, as charter schools are paid for with public funds.

Innovation in Virginia’s K-12 Education
The Daily Progress, VA, April 8, 2012

One of the most important components of economic development is making sure that we have a well-educated, qualified workforce to fill the new jobs coming to and being created in Virginia . In order to encourage future economic growth, we must make sure we are preparing Virginia’s youth for the highly skilled and high-tech jobs of the 21st century.

Wyoming Getting Interest From Charter Schools
Casper Star-Tribune, WY, April 6, 2012

Wyoming is attracting a lot of interest from charter school organizations and needs to improve its charter school law to make sure such schools are of the highest quality, Kari Cline, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Public Charter Schools, said.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

NJ’s First Virtual Charter School a Screen Test for Online Learning
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, April 9, 2012

New Jersey’s first comprehensive charter school to hold all of its classes online is beginning to enroll students from across the state for next fall, even as questions persist to how exactly the new breed of schools will operate and be funded.

‘Flipped’ Classes Take Learning To New Places
Columbus Dispatch, OH, April 9, 2012

Since the start of the school year, many of Wayne Tsai’s math students have been watching his lectures at home or in the computer lab.

Bill Could Pave The Way For Virtual Charter Schools In Alabama
Press Register, AL, April 8, 2012

The “Education Options Act” could allow primarily online, virtual charter schools to be created on a limited basis in Alabama , according to people familiar with the legislation, and some advocates favor taking the idea further.

Green Bay To Discuss Charter School
Green Bay Gazette, WI, April 8, 2012

The Green Bay School District may boot up a new charter school to offer additional online options for students.