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Daily Headlines for April 16, 2012

Reform School on the Bayou
Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2012

Governors of both parties have promoted education reform, but so far no one has delivered more than Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal. This week he’ll sign two bills that offer a national model for competition and parental choice.

Federal Teacher Evaluation Requirement Has Wide Impact
Hechinger Report, April 15, 2012

Elliott Elementary in Lincoln, Ne., struck off on its own last year when it became the only school in the city to win money through the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Winning wasn’t something to be proud of, though: It meant the school qualified as one of the worst in the nation. About a third of fifth-graders at Elliott were proficient on state reading tests when the reforms began, compared to 80 percent in Lincoln as a whole.

FROM THE STATES

Editorial Writer Insists Charter Schools Plan Not A Good Proposition
Decatur Daily, AL, April 15, 2012

An editorial in The Daily last week did not attack state Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, but it did criticize her for supporting a bill — House Bill 650 — that will hurt public schools.

BOE: Planned Bill Unfair To City Students
Athens News Courier, AL, April 15, 2012

Athens City school board members unanimously approved a resolution Thursday that opposes the creation of charter schools in Alabama.

Supporters Anticipate Close Vote On Charter School Proposal In Alabama
Press Register, AL, April 16, 2012

As the House sponsor of a bill that would allow charter schools in Alabama predicted “very close” votes for the legislation, the Senate sponsor has revamped his version of the proposal with an eye toward winning over opponents.

Cole Promise Revealed Lapses
Denver Post, CO, April 15, 2012

A majority of students at Cole Middle School never reached “escape velocity,” proving education reform has a long way to go.

Demand High For D.C. Private School Vouchers
Washington Examiner, DC, April 15, 2012

More than 1,150 District students applied for vouchers to attend private school next year, on top of the 1,650 who are already participating in the federally funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, city officials say.

D.C. Should Make Surplus Schools Available To Charters
Washington Post, DC, April 15, 2012

THE BENNING ROAD campus of KIPP DC , the network of high-performing college-preparatory charter schools, is home to three academies serving children from preschool to eighth grade.

I Went To Some Of D.C.’s Better Schools. I Was Still Unprepared For College.
Washington Post, DC, April 13, 2012

Even though I attended some of the District’s better schools — including my high school, the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy, at the Parkside campus near Kenilworth — the gap between what I can do and what my college classmates are capable of is enormous.

Why Is Mayor Gray Jeopardizing Aid For School Choice In The District?
Washington Post, DC, April 13, 2012

The emerging centerpiece of education reform in the United States is parental school choice. All over this country, progressive, forward-looking public officials are supporting legislation that expands quality educational options for the children of working-class parents. It is finally sinking in that more quality options lead to improvements in traditional school districts.

Converting Schools: Charter Effect on District Schools
The Ledger, FL, April 16, 2012

This final part in the series “Converting Schools” addresses several of the more contentious issues that exist between charter schools and public school districts.

Two New Charter Schools Yet To Secure Buildings, Although St. Paul’s, Montessori Say They Are Getting Close
St. Augustine Record, FL, April 15, 2012

With a new school year just four months away, neither of the two charter schools planning to open in St. Johns County have buildings yet.

Charter System Invests In Students
News Chief, FL, April 15, 2012

Lake Wales Charter School System is not typical of charter schools, and Donna Dunson is not typical of principals — witness the recent addition of an International Baccalaureate program.

Savannah Gateway To College Dropout Recovery Program Hits Roadblock
Savannah Morning News, GA, April 16, 2012

Savannah’s Gateway to College Charter School was supposed to get dropouts back in school and inspire them to complete diplomas and go on to college. But things haven’t worked out as planned.

The Next Teachers Contract
Chicago Tribune, IL, April 15, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school team is locked in a tense negotiation with the Chicago Teachers Union over a new teachers contract.

Schools Chief To Set Rules For Subsidies
The Advocate, LA, April 16, 2012

Louisiana’s state superintendent of education will decide what tests and other scrutiny private and parochial schools face if they accept students who get state subsidies.

Vouchers Will Drain Public Schools
The Advocate, LA, April 16, 2012

The current “scholarship” program (aka vouchers) is nothing more than a student “cherry picking” program and private school funding program wrapped up in the disguise of saving public education.

The Time To Choose Reform Is Now
The Advocate, LA, April 16, 2012

I’m a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge , recently retired and have a long perspective on the destructive consequence our public school system has on the African-American community specifically.

Fractured Future
The Advocate, LA, April 15, 2012

Breakaway districts, charter schools, vouchers pulling more students and resources away from EBR Parish school system.

Holding Parents Accountable
Houma Courier, LA, April 15, 2012

One suggestion a lot of people have offered during the ongoing debate over school reform in Louisiana is this: Hold parents accountable for proving the guidance and support their children need to get a good education.

Teacher Evaluation Bill Based On Total Fallacy
Morning Sentinel, ME, April 16, 2012

Commissioner Stephen Bowen tells half the truth and only half the story. Concerning the teacher evaluation bill just passed, Bowen said, “The research is clear that the effectiveness of teachers and education leaders is the most important school-based factor influencing student achievement and success.”

Maine Reading Scores Drop Despite Above-Average Education Spending, Rise In National Scores
Bangor Daily News, ME, April 15, 2012

Experts say a child’s ability to read by the third or fourth grade — or not — is one of the strongest early indicators there is about his likelihood for success or failure in school and later in life.

Charter Schools Unlikely To Flood Michigan
Lansing State Journal, MI, April 16, 2012

Michigan won’t be flooded with a huge wave of new charter schools next academic year, despite a new state law that lifts restrictions on the number allowed in the state.

Does It Matter That Charters Spend More On Administration, Less On Instruction?
Flint Journal Blog, MI, April 15, 2012

In 2005, then-Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, R-Portage and one of the most conservative lawmakers in the Legislature, introduced a bill to mandate that at least 65 percent of schools’ operating dollars were spent on instruction.

Reading, Writing and Retirement Costs — How Education Legacy Costs Are Crippling Schools
Detroit Free Press, MI, April 15, 2012

It’s becoming a tired drumbeat, but if you want to know what’s crippling traditional public schools, the answer is relatively simple: legacy costs.

New Tool To Standardize Teacher Evaluations In Minn.
Minnesota Public Radio, MN, April 15, 2012

When Todd Marder changed careers from swim coach to science teacher, he wasn’t ready for kindergarteners. But he said things changed when he met with a seasoned teacher who modeled lessons, suggested reading materials and did in-class observations as part of the school district’s teacher evaluation process. The kindergarteners, he said, started listening.

Governor Bryant Is Hopeful About Charter Schools Bill
WDAM, MS, April 15, 2012

The state legislature has adjourned for the weekend but the politics continue.
Republicans are still trying to rally support in the House for the proposed charter school legislation.

New Teacher Evals Are Key to School Reform
Albuquerque Journal, NM, April 15, 2012

Note to the critics of Gov. Susana Martinez’s plan to move forward administratively with new teacher and principal evaluations that are based in part on student achievement:

Fight for Middle School Spots Benefits Tutoring Firms
New York Times, NY, April 16, 2012

Parents in New York City are paying hundreds and even thousands of dollars to give their elementary school children an edge on once-overlooked state standardized tests.

Charter Challenge
New York Post, NY, April 16, 2012

There’s trouble brewing for charter schools — and it’s up to Gov. Cuomo to make things right. When SUNY Chairman Carl McCall tapped Prof. Ken O’Brien to run the university panel that OKs charters, he put a member of New York’s largest teachers union in charge. Think henhouse-and-fox.

Taste Test
News & Observer, NC, April 15, 2012

The proof is in the pudding. So how’s that great big Wake County schools pudding – the one into which tens of thousands of families are dipping their spoons as they try to determine which specific schools kids will attend – coming together?

Charter Schools Enrollment Surges
Charlotte Observer, NC, April 14, 2012

Charter schools are expected to account for one-third of all public school enrollment growth in Mecklenburg County next year, and the charter boom could surge in 2013.

Two More Charters Look To Open In Durham
Herald Sun, NC, April 14, 2012

Two of the 52 applications posted by the state charter schools office Friday evening were filed with the intention of opening charters in Durham in 2013.

Career Academies Are Good Education Reform
Charlotte Observer, NC, April 15, 2012

Many high schools across the country and here in North Carolina are adopting an education model, known as “Career Academies,” which integrates rigorous academics with career technical education and real world work-based learning experiences.

Millions From Stimulus Went To Failing Schools
Dayton Daily News, OH, April 14, 2012

More than $4.8 million in stimulus funding went to charter schools in Ohio that have since closed their doors, and millions more went to schools that have been accused of mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money.

On To Round Two, In Columbus, For Cleveland ‘S School Reform Plan
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, April 14, 2012

They did it. And they did it right. Now they need a strong assist from lawmakers and state school board members (that means you, former U.S. Rep. Mary Rose Oakar).

State To Target Achievement Gaps Among Students
Columbus Dispatch, OH, April 15, 2012

If nothing changes, black fifth-graders won’t be reading on par with white fifth-graders in Ohio for another 303 years, the state estimates.

Russell Byers Charter School Guides Students Long After They Graduate
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, April 16, 2012

The second graders who trooped into the Russell Byers Charter School when it opened 10 years ago are getting ready to collect their high school diplomas in June.

School Closure Decisions Signal Emphasis on School Quality
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, April 16, 2012

When the School Reform Commission voted to keep open two of the 10 schools recommended for closure ¬— E.M. Stanton and Isaac Sheppard elementary schools — parents, families and teachers rightfully celebrated. At the same time, the SRC made the tough decision to close eight schools.

A Punishing Racial Disparity In Suburban Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, April 15, 2012

Black public school students in Bucks, Chester, Delaware , and Montgomery Counties make up just 14 percent of the total student body in the 53 local suburban school districts surveyed by the Department of Education. And yet they accounted for more than half of all serious suspensions in the suburbs.

School Boards Group Offers Aid To Charters
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, April 16, 2012

Since the charter school law was passed 15 years ago, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association has been providing occasional help to charter schools as long as the chartering school districts approved.

School Turnaround Efforts Face Roadblocks In R.I., Nationally
Providence Journal, RI, April 15, 2012

In the two years since Rhode Island embraced a federal program to improve 13 of its weakest schools, two pressing problems have emerged — a dearth of school leaders experienced with turning around chronically struggling schools and a lack of federal money to pay for the local efforts.

Kids Come First In Charter Schools
Commercial Appeal, TN, April 15, 2012

Your April 10 editorial “Charter growth draws concern” unfairly upholds the notion that public charter schools unduly burden the financial health of the traditional public school system. This position, stated by the Shelby County Board of Education in their letter of denial for 17 public charter schools, and repeated by Memphis City Schools Supt. Kriner Cash, demonstrates a bias against school choice.

Nashville Schools Seek Millions To Start Teachers At $40,000
The Tennessean, TN, April 14, 2012

School officials hoping to raise Metro Nashville’s starting teacher pay from 27th highest in the state to third are asking the city and taxpayers for an extra $6 million next school year to do that. It’s part of a bigger spending plan school officials are asking Mayor Karl Dean and the council to approve.

Bill Pushes Parental Involvement In Schools
Daily News Journal, TN, April 16, 2012

Proposed legislation that would hold parents responsible for their level of involvement with their child’s education is moving closer to reality.

Austin School District Increases Proposed Budget By $1.3 Million, Plans Spanish Radio Show
Austin American-Statesman, TX, April 15, 2012

Austin school district administrators have increased the district’s proposed budget by $1.3 million to pay for several academic and facility plans for 2012-13, including services and utilities for IDEA Allan, the district-supported charter school that will begin in August.

Newport News School Board Approves New Teacher Evaluation System
Daily Press, VA, April 15, 2012

Beginning this fall, teachers in Newport News will be evaluated partly based on whether their students improve academically during the year. That factor is part of a new teacher evaluation system unanimously approved by the School Board at last week’s meeting.

Marketing Key To New Charter Schools
Wausau Daily Herald, WI, April 16, 2012

Newly opened local charter schools are spending thousands of dollars on marketing efforts in an effort to solidify their student base and raise their profiles in an increasingly competitive educational market.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Tradition is Out in Virtual Learning Academy
Port Huron Times Herald, MI, April 14, 2012

At traditional schools, Graduation Day comes once a year. The school sets the day. It’s a little different at the Virtual Learning Academy of St. Clair County.

Going To School By Computer: Minnesota’s Online Classes For K-12 Students
Twin Cities Planet, MN, April 14, 2012

As more of our daily interactions occur in cyberspace, so too Minnesota ‘s K-12 schools are looking to the internet for instruction and communication tools to fit the students’ different needs.

Virtual School Gives Real Boost To Special Children
Topeka Capital Journal, KS, April 14, 2012

Caleb and Micah are two of the 91 Lawrence Virtual School students in Shawnee County. The school, which was established in August 2004, is the largest virtual school in Kansas, currently serving 1,024 students.