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Daily Headlines for April 18, 2012

New Study Identifies ‘ Opportunity Gap’ for Students
New York Times Schoolbook, April 17, 2012

Educators have long studied the achievement gap, in which black and Hispanic pupils and low-income students of all races perform at much lower levels than their white, Asian and better-off peers. A new study released on Tuesday by a group that supported efforts to attain for more money for city schools looked at the educational opportunities available to poor and minority students and found the choices lacking.

Are Our Schools Really Failing?
St. Charles Journal, MO, April 18, 2012

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires every student to be “proficient” in math and English by 2014. Webster defines proficient as expert. If every student isn’t an expert, the state can come in and fire the entire staff and administration.

FROM THE STATES

Charter Schools Bill Gets Panel Hearing
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, April 18, 2012

The charter school debate officially entered the state Senate on Tuesday as the body’s Education Committee held a public hearing on the proposal.

State School Chief: Let’s Suspend No Child Left Behind
Anniston Star, AL, April 17, 2012

Alabama’s state school superintendent says he will ask the Alabama Department of Education this month to support him in an attempt to freeze benchmark provisions in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

LAUSD Considers Lowering The Bar For Graduation
Los Angeles Times, CA, April 18, 2012

The district could face a flood of dropouts if it doesn’t ease its policy that all students pass college-prep classes

Proposal Would Turn Elementary School Into K-8
Press Enterprise, CA, April 17, 2012

The Banning Unified School District is looking at adding grades to Cabazon Elementary School, which has just 200 students, and infusing it with technology.

More Colorado Districts On Board With School-Bus Ads
Denver Post, CO, April 18, 2012

As Colorado school districts draft and finalize next year’s budgets, a handful are looking at school-bus advertising as a new income source.

To Take Away Or Not Take Away — That Is The Question Senate Bill 103 Hopes To Answer
Greeley Tribune, CO, Aril 17, 2012

A bill in the Colorado Senate that would have taken millions of dollars away from charter schools is being redrafted after opponents complained it would cripple already-underfunded charter schools.

Colorado Bill Would Make It Easier For Teachers To Quit Union
Denver Post, CO, April 18, 2012

Imagine being stuck paying hundreds of extra dollars for a service you no longer want, or can no longer afford. It’s a little-known rule affecting thousands of Colorado educators who may wish, like me, to opt out of their teacher union dues.

Teachers Need Full Input Into Legislative Process
Norwich Bulletin, CT, April 18, 2012

Good laws are the fruit of full and fair debate; a process where all parties with a stake in an issue are heard and given a chance to shape reform.

D.C. Council’s Killing Of Mayor’s Plan Is A Sign Of Tension Between Government Branches
Washington Post, DC, April 17, 2012

Amid increasingly dour relations between Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, a unified council on Tuesday rejected Gray’s plan to spend a $79 million budget surplus.

Schools Still Suffer In The Latest Budget
Tallahassee Democrat, FL, April 18, 2012

Amid a flurry of TV ads and a media event at an elementary school in St. Augustine , Gov. Rick Scott signed the state’s budget Tuesday. The message he’s trying to convey is about his commitment to our public schools.

School District: Becoming a Conversion Charter School Costs Money
The Ledger, FL, April 18, 2012

There’s a cost to pay to separate.
That’s the message district leaders were driving home to parents of Lakeland High School and Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts students at a public meeting Tuesday led by Superintendent of Schools Sherrie Nickell.

Dade School Board To Consider New Deals With Cities, Charters
Miami Herald, FL, April 17, 2012

The deal-making with Homestead, Cutler Bay, Doral and others is driven by the district’s bleak capital finances, depressed tax revenue and, at the same time, demand from parents for more school choices.

Hawaii Board of Education Approves Evaluation Plan
Hawaii News Now, HI, April 18, 2012

The Board of Education voted in favor of creating new educator evaluations at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The members unanimously approved three policies tied to performance evaluation systems for teachers and principals. This comes after the state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association failed to reach a contract deal that included a new evaluation system and performance-based pay.

CPS Principals Plan For Longer School Day, Budget Constraints
Chicago Tribune, IL, April 18, 2012

Changes to the length of next year’s school day, a continuing budget deficit and ongoing teacher contract talks are providing a challenge for Chicago Public Schools principals as they prepare for next fall, several school leaders said.

Louisiana Senate Bill Criticized As Discriminatory Is Deferred
Times-Picayune, LA, April 17, 2012

A bill that critics charge would tacitly approve state contracts that discriminate based on sexual orientation and other factors was dealt a setback in the Louisiana Senate Thursday. Though Sen. A.G. Crowe agreed to amend Senate Bill 217 to clarify that it would not, as opponents charged, allow public schools and charter schools be able to turn down students, the measure was deferred by a 24-9 vote.

Darryl Kilbert Resigns As Superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools
Times Picayune, LA, April 17, 2012

Darryl Kilbert, who for the past six years has led the small group of public schools in New Orleans left standing after most were swept into state hands after Hurricane Katrina, resigned Tuesday evening. He cited health concerns that he said have hampered his ability to fulfill his duties as superintendent.

BESE Panel Supports Teacher Score Change
The Advocate, LA, April 18, 2012

A committee of Louisiana’s top school board voted Tuesday to change the performance scale that will be linked to the job performance of public school teachers.

Former Rochester School Board Member: Scrap Tenure
Post-Bulletin, MN, April 17, 2012

A former Rochester School Board member traveled to St. Paul on Tuesday to urge the governor to sign a bill scrapping the state’s teacher seniority system.

State Calls It Quits On Imagine Schools
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, April 18, 2012

The Missouri Board of Education put underperforming charter schools statewide on notice Tuesday by voting to close all Imagine charter schools in St. Louis

54 New Schools Will Open This Fall, Bloomberg Says
New York Times, NY, April 18, 2012

Brushing aside criticism of his longstanding policy to close poorly performing schools and replace them with new ones, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Tuesday that the city would open 54 new schools in the fall, many of them in spaces vacated by schools being closed.

City Set To Open Record-High 80 New Schools In Fall
New York Daily News, NY, April 17, 2012

The city will open a record-high 80 new schools in the fall — but a portion of them are in dispute.
“Students and parents deserve top-quality school choices, and we’re going to continue to ensure they have even more of them,” Mayor Bloomberg said Tuesday.

Who’ll Run NY’s Schools?
New York Post, NY, April 18, 2012

Is New York’s experiment with mayoral control of the schools nearing an end? Time will tell, but the anti-reformers — the teachers unions and assorted education corruptocrats — seem to have gotten their lackeys in Albany to ratchet up efforts to kill it. And shift control back to . . . them.

Classroom Transparency
New York Observer, NY, April 17, 2012

Governor Cuomo and other top policymakers and legislators are in the process of negotiating a deal that would give parents of public school children full access to teacher evaluation data. That’s good, but there’s the not-so-good part: The data will not be released to the general public.

Fixing Education: The Problems Are Clear, but the Solutions Aren’t Simple
The Atlantic, April 17, 2012

Panelists at the New York Ideas forum on public education agreed on one thing: Our schools need help. But they couldn’t agree on much else.

Hopkins Group Gives Turnaround Ultimatum
Buffalo News, NY, April 17, 2012

An internationally acclaimed school turnaround group is threatening to pull out of efforts to assist two troubled Buffalo high schools because of an unresolved dispute involving the district, the teachers union and state officials over a new system to evaluate teacher performance.

School-Voucher Programs Prove Popular
Columbus Dispatch, OH, April 18, 2012

More than 17,400 applications for students to attend private schools using taxpayer-funded vouchers were filed for next school year, a slight increase over last year.

CPS To Lose Fewer Students To Private Schools
Cincinnati Enquirer, OH, April 18, 2012

Cincinnati Public schools will lose fewer students than expected next year to private schools and state-funded vouchers, a school official said Tuesday.

Bill Would Hold School, Government Fiscal Officers Accountable
Columbus Dispatch, OH, April 18, 2012

School and government treasurers could be suspended or removed if they don’t keep proper records and spend taxpayer money appropriately, a bill introduced yesterday in the General Assembly says.

Muskogee Schools Pick Evaluation Methods
Muskogree Phoenix, OK, April 18, 2012

Muskogee schools will have a new way to evaluate teachers and principals next year.

19 Top Phila. Schools To Add Students In September
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, April 18, 2012

Nineteen top Philadelphia public schools will expand this year, offering 2,300 new seats to students citywide.

Bethlehem Area School District Urges Vitalistic Therapeutic Charter School To Begin Closure
The Express Times, PA, April 18, 2012

Bethlehem Area schools Superintendent Joseph Roy doesn’t want to waste taxpayer money fighting to close a troubled city charter school.

Open Enrollment Is A Good Idea
Greenville News, SC, April 18, 2012

A bill that would provide for open public school enrollment across district lines and ensure students have other choices such as single-gender schools, Montessori schools and language-immersion programs seems to be a reasonable way to provide students in South Carolina greater access to high-quality public schools.

Herenton Proposes Charter Partnership With Board
Commercial Appeal, TN, April 18, 2012

At this point, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has little hope of opening his seven charter schools by fall.

State Official Advises Against Charter School
Jackson Sun, TN, April 18, 2012

Connections Preparatory Academy Chairwoman Helen Owens said the proposed charter school’s board will not give up hope, despite a recommendation Tuesday from Tennessee Board of Education Executive Director Gary Nixon to deny the school’s application.

Legislating Parent Involvement In Schools Won’t Work
The Tennessean, TN, April 17, 2012

I react with great concern upon reading that the Tennessee legislature is considering two bills intended to support the parents’ participation in education. One appears to seek a signed contract that the parents will, among other things, help their children with their homework. The other allows teachers to give the parents grades.

Miss. Charter Schools Bill Smells
‎Memphis Commercial Appeal, TN, April 18, 2012

Why doesn’t the Mississippi Senate get the message? The people have spoken on the issue of charter schools. We’ve read the research, and we know that charter schools, nationwide, have a worse record than traditional public schools. Is it any wonder that we don’t want them messing up our good school districts?

Two School Board Veterans Get The Boot
Salt Lake City Tribune, UT, April 17, 2012

The process has been widely criticized for taking choice out of voters’ hands. Lawmakers have tried to change the system over the years but can’t agree on whether to make the elections direct and nonpartisan or partisan.

School Reforms Not Perfect, But Promising
Wausau Daily Herald, WI, April 18, 2012

These are not very bipartisan times, so the fact that a new set of education reforms signed into law this month by Gov. Scott Walker actually are bipartisan is no small thing. Walker signed the bills at Wausau ‘s Franklin Elementary School .

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Online Educator Adds Two Newark Charters to Portfolio
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, April 18, 2012

Two proposed Newark charter schools once in doubt of ever opening have gotten a second life with the nation’s largest provider of online education, K12 Inc.

Virtual High School
Frederick News Post, VA, April 18, 2012

Fairfax County, Va., is considering a major educational experiment — a totally virtual high school — according to a Monday Washington Post story.

Too Smart For School? Online Learning Offers Alternative
Twin Cities Planet, MN, April 17, 2012

Teaching can seem like an impossible task. You’ve got thirty, maybe forty students in your classroom, all at different ability levels. Somehow, you’ve got to teach them all — for the looming tests, but more than that, for their own journey.

With Enrollment Short, Tigard-Tualatin Online Academy Looks At Early Recruitment
The Oregonian, OR, April 17, 2012

Falling short on recruiting enough students to off-set costs this year, the Tigard-Tualatin Online Academy is hosting an open house on April 26 to kick-off enrollment for next fall.