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Daily Headlines for April 17, 2012

NATIONAL

Why Education Department May Be Safe For Now, Even Though It’s A GOP Target
Christian Science Monitor, MA, April 16, 2012

In remarks overheard by reporters Sunday night, Mitt Romney says he would keep the Education Department, although he’d reduce its budget.

Five Minute Primer: School Funding
CNN Blog, April 17, 2012

Buses, salaries, building maintenance…the costs add up. It should come as no surprise that a free public education is hardly free. An estimated $1.15 trillion will be spent in public elementary and secondary schools this academic year to educate almost 50 million students throughout the U.S. Where does the money come from? Here are some major sources of funding for public school districts and some challenges to that funding.

PTA’s Strength Is Local
Standard Examiner, UT, April 16, 2012

The National Parent Teacher Association, better known as the PTA, has suffered a bit of a membership slump in the past generation. It has fewer than 5 million members today, a 20 percent drop in a decade. In order to stem that drop and restore prominence to the 115-year-old iconic institution, the PTA needs to put its emphasis on local issues.

FROM THE STATES

Charter School Bill Needs Amending
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, April 17, 2012

Alabama has many fine public schools and excellent teachers, but too many of our children from low-income families are relegated to poor-quality schools that have low expectations of students and unfair stereotypes of them and their families.

Malvern Parents Challenge Race-Based School Choice Law
Fox 16, AR, April 16, 2012

Should race play a factor in deciding where your child should attend school? State law says “yes” but a group of parents from Hot Spring County are challenging that state law in federal court.

Havasu Preparatory Academy Enrollment Increases By 70 Percent
News-Herald, CO, April 17, 2012

Student enrollment at Havasu Preparatory Academy has increased 70 percent before its first year of operation has ended.

Teachers Union Battles Powerful Interests
Hartford Courant , CT, April 16, 2012

“There is something awful going on in America . It has to do with scapegoating teachers, demonizing unions, and undermining education.” That commentary is from former U.S. Assistant Commissioner of Education Diane Ravitch. Ravitch, who today is a professor and author, also is concerned about excluding teachers through top-down reforms. But that’s exactly what anti-union forces are trying to do in Connecticut .

Norwich City Council Backs Malloy’s School Reform Plan
Norwich Bulletin, CT, April 16, 2012

Norwich officials on Monday said the city became the first in Connecticut to publicly back Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s sweeping education reform package, after the City Council unanimously endorsed a resolution urging lawmakers to restore Senate Bill 24 to its original form.

Luck of Draw Won’t Cut It for Newark Charter
Delaware News Journal, DE, April 17, 2012

In her letter to the State Board of Education, Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery has recommended the approval of the Newark Charter School application for expansion while establishing, after a thorough but overdue analysis, that Newark Charter’s student body is not demographically consistent with the public school population it serves.

Charter High School Would Be to Christina’s Detriment
Delaware News Journal, DE, April 17, 2012

The Delaware Department of Education is currently considering a request by Newark Charter School to extend its classes to the high school grades. Granting this request would mean department Secretary Lillian Lowery and Gov. Jack Markell would be removing significant resources from other high schools in the Christina District and thus degrading the education offered by those schools.

District: Freezing Charter Pay Never The Plan
Washington Post Blog, DC, April 16, 2012

The administration of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has told charter schools that it absolutely, positively never intended to freeze the $100 million dollar plus April quarterly payment until the D.C. Council passed the smaller supplemental spending bill that will come up for consideration Tuesday.

The Agenda Behind Private School Vouchers
Washington Post, DC, April 17, 2012

Kevin Chavous and Donald Hense wrote [“Why is Mayor Gray jeopardizing aid for school choice in the District?”, letters, April 14] that “progressive, forward-looking public officials” support vouchers for private schools. Which progressive officials might those be? The authors cite legislators in Alabama and Mississippi , hardly citadels of progressivity.

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown Wants 10-year Lease For Troubled Charter School
Florida Times Union, FL, April 17, 2012

A Jacksonville City Council member wants the city to grant a 10-year lease to a charter school that faces potential closure because of chronic problems including failure to meet student academic proficiency standards.

Charter School Principal Suspended for Tampering with FCATs
Miami Herald, FL, April 16, 2012

When the school’s governing board members learned what was going on, they alerted the Miami-Dade school district and the state Department of Education. School system officials collected the compromised test materials from Ramz late Friday.

Talks Continue, But Teachers Union Takes First Step Toward Strike
Chicago Tribune, IL, April 16, 2012

Chicago Public Schools officials and the city’s teachers union have failed to reach an agreement after several months of contract talks, setting in motion the first of several steps that must be taken before a strike can be called.

Charter School Files Suit Against Gary
Southtown Star, IL, April 16, 2012

Lead College Preparatory has filed a lawsuit and preliminary injunction against the Gary Community School Corp. in an attempt to force the district to lease the former Ernie Pyle elementary school building to the charter school.

Royko Would Have Loved Rahm
Southtown Star, IL, April 16, 2012

The scenario of a former suburbanite and D.C insider, whose campaign was well funded by charter-school lobbyist money, destroying the Chicago Public Schools and the careers of dedicated teachers for political gain, would be prime grist for Royko’s journalistic mill.

Indianapolis Schools’ Reform Plan Further Raises Stakes of Debate
Indianapolis Star, IN, April 17, 2012

Four months after The Mind Trust released its ambitious reform proposal for Indianapolis Public Schools, the district released its own school reform report Monday, adding further fuel to what is likely to be a raging election-year debate over the district’s future.

State Pensions Battle Follows Education Reform
Opelousas Daily World, LA, April 17, 2012

The legislative session began with hordes of teachers descending upon the State Capitol to oppose Gov. Bobby Jindal’s aggressive education reform package. The dust had barely settled after those two historic bills were passed when a new battle began brewing over the administration’s efforts to reform the state’s retirement system.

Jindal’s Tough Education Reforms
National Review Online, April 17, 2012

Smart, comprehensive, innovative: Louisiana’s education changes represent the best of conservative thought.

City Schools With Federal Turnaround Grants Have Mixed Results
Baltimore Sun, MD , April 16, 2012

The seven Baltimore schools were chosen to receive $25 million over three years in the School Improvement Grant program, with much going to technology and teacher training. In the program’s second year, the schools have showed varied results: Some have gotten worse, and others are slowly showing progress.

Time To Take A Hard Look At Charter Schools
Kalamazoo Gazette, MI, April 17, 2012

I am not in the least surprised to hear that charter schools spend more on administration than they do on instruction. Here in Michigan, I would expect that result since 80 percent are for-profit charters.

Charter Schools Not Affordable
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS, April 17, 2012

The problem with charter schools, particularly charter schools not limited to failing school districts, is that Mississippi simply cannot afford them.

Future of Imagine Schools in State Officials’ Hands
St. Louis American, MO, April 16, 2012

The Imagine charter schools in St. Louis that have not been told they would close at the end of this school year have a new sponsor, but they still don’t know how much longer they will be operating.

Upset Over Education Bills, Teachers Pass on Endorsing John Oceguera
Las Vegas Sun, NV, April 17, 2012

If Assembly Speaker John Oceguera gets into Congress, he’ll have to do it without a letter of recommendation from the teachers.

Exeter Charter School Is ‘Poster Child’
Portsmouth Herald, NH, April 17, 2012

The Great Bay eLearning Charter School was invited by the New England Secondary School Consortium to represent the state of New Hampshire at a regional conference in Norwood , Mass. recently on effective strategies for improving teaching and learning in the 21st century.

Merrimack Charter School Holds Lottery For Admission, Parents Hold Their Breath
Nashua Telegraph, NH, April 17, 2012

Numbers pulled from a spinning bingo cage Saturday will determine the educational fate of dozens of local students.

Mayoral Fight Seen in N.J. School Race
Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2012

A school-board election on Tuesday that most years would be sleepy is shaping up to be a hotly contested affair in Jersey City , as some see the race as a proxy war between mayoral candidates in the state’s second-largest city.

Much At Stake As NY Tests Students In Its Schools
Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2012

Never before has so much been riding on the annual standardized tests that New York ‘s elementary students are about to confront. Under new state law, students’ test performance will now account for as much as 40 percent of annual performance reviews for certain teachers.

In Schools Cut by the City Ax, Students Bleed
New York Times, NY, April 17, 2012

The Bloomberg administration long ago determined that its education revolution would occur at the edge of an ax. So far, officials have closed 140 schools, which they routinely describe as failing, and replaced them with smaller schools and charters, which they routinely describe as making “historic gains.”

Bid To Nix Mike’s Control Of Schools Fails Big
New York Post, NY, April 17, 2012

Legislation aimed at repealing mayoral control of the city’s school system was dead on arrival in the Republican-led state Senate.

State Board of Education: Charter Schools Sought for Fort Bragg, Downtown Fayetteville
Fayetteville Observer, NC, April 17, 2012

Fort Bragg will have a high school and downtown Fayetteville will have a school focusing on the arts next year if the state Board of Education approves two applications for charter schools.

Three Proposed Iredell Schools Apply For Charter Status
Statesville Record & Landmark, NC, April 16, 2012

Three planned Iredell County schools were among dozens that have applied for a state charter designation. The N.C. General Assembly lifted the cap on the amount of charter schools in the state last summer and 63 schools applied before the April 13 deadline for the chance to open in August 2013.

Area Groups Push For Charter Schools
Star News, NC, April 16, 2012

Two local groups want to open charter schools in the Wilmington area in 2013, according to the state Board of Education.

Oklahoma City School Board Asks For More Details About Northeast Academy Request
The Oklahoman, OK, April 17, 2012

A group of educators and community volunteers asking for more control of an Oklahoma City high school was asked to hammer out more details of their plan to present to the school board.

Rhetoric, Power Struggles Can’t Get In The Way Of School Improvement
The Oklahoman, OK, April 17, 2012

A new process for identifying and turning around low-performing schools has been rocky from the get-go. Those involved should probably get their seat belts fastened.

Pressure Mounts For Teacher Furlough Days
Portland Tribune, OR, April 16, 2012

With just three weeks to go before the Portland School Board votes on Superintendent Carole Smith’s proposal to cut $10 million from the schools, a growing number of citizens – and now student representatives from each PPS high school – are urging the Portland Association of Teachers to agree to furlough days to reduce the impact of the cuts.

School Reform Commission To Decide Fate Of Three Charters
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, April 17, 2012

The School Reform Commission is expected to decide at its Thursday meeting whether to accept staff recommendations not to renew agreements with three Philadelphia charter schools.

National Advocate Could Be Local Parishes’ White Knight
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, xApril 16, 2012

But to some area Catholics, Peter Borre, a canon-law consultant based in Boston, has all the makings of one. The Harvard-educated Borre has been on a mission from Cleveland to Boston, fighting for fellow Catholics who seek to save their parishes and parochial schools from closure by their dioceses.

Proposed Charter High School Seeks Final State OK This Week
Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC, April 16, 2012

Organizers behind Coastal Leadership Academy are seeking final approval this week from the S.C. Public Charter School District for a proposed charter high school, which they hope to open in the area in fall 2013.

Bill Calls For Restricting Foreigners In Charter Schools
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, April 16, 2012

The House gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill that calls for restrictions on the number of foreigners employed by Tennessee charter schools and requires reporting of all funds they receive from outside of the country.

Four Incumbents, So Far, Survive Utah State School Board Process
The Salt Lake Tribune, UT, April 16, 2012

Four state school board incumbents have cleared the first hurdle toward re-election in a selection process that’s been widely criticized for taking choice out of the public’s hands.

Advise a Teacher Union and Be House Speaker?
Charleston Daily Mail, WV, April 16, 2012

House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, sought an advisory opinion from the state Ethics Commission on whether he could be general counsel for the West Virginia Education Association — apparently while continuing as speaker.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Kids Online: Best Practices For Teaching And Learning
Twin Cities Planet, MN, April 16, 2012

Minnesota is at the forefront of online learning, according to Amy Murin, a researcher from Evergreen Ed Group . “Minnesota is one of the more active states in terms of its approach to online learning,” Murin said.