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Daily Headlines: May 16, 2012

A Personal Commitment to Educate All Kids
Huffington Post, May 15, 2012

What do Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Juan Williams and Cory Booker have in common? Well, for one, they all spoke at the recent American Federation for Children (AFC) Summit in Jersey City , New Jersey . But, more significantly, at the summit, each openly and passionately shared their own personal stories through family reflections that led them to have a deep and abiding commitment to the education of our kids.

School-Test Backlash Grows
Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2012

The increasing role of standardized testing in U.S. classrooms is triggering pockets of rebellion across the country from school officials, teachers and parents who say the system is stifling teaching and learning.

Time for a Medicaid-Education Grand Swap
Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2012

Staring down steep tuition hikes, students at the University of California have taken to carrying picket signs. As far as I can tell, though, none has demanded that President Barack Obama accept a Grand Swap that could protect their education while saving them money. Allow me to explain.

Backer of Common Core School Curriculum Is Chosen to Lead College Board
New York Times, NY, May 16, 2012

David Coleman, an architect of the common core curriculum standards, will take over the education organization in October.

The National Teacher of the Year on What Makes A Great Teacher
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 16, 2012

Luther Burbank Middle School’s National Teacher of the Year talks about what makes a great teacher — and it’s not teaching to the test.

FROM THE STATES

Charter Schools Not Real Solutions
Shelby County Reporter, AL, May 15, 2012

Because of my interest in public education and what I see in Alabama schools, I was mystified at Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead’s recent article about public schools.

Arizona School-Choice Program Expands
Arizona Republic, AZ, May 15, 2012

A new Arizona law that will significantly expand a school-voucher-type program allowing students to attend private schools with public money has been signed by the governor.

Lawsuit Takes Aim At California’s Legal Protections For Teachers
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 16, 2012

A Bay Area nonprofit targets teacher tenure rules, seniority protections and the dismissal process. Foes say it wants to weaken public sector unions.

In Watsonville, Ceiba College Preparatory Academy In, Adult School Out
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA, May 15, 2012

Ceiba College Preparatory Academy will take over the downtown adult school for one year under an agreement with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

Key Court Battle On ‘Parent Trigger’ Law
Press Democrat, CA, May 15, 2012

A case under way in a nondescript Victorville courtroom lacks the trappings of a trial of the century — there’s no celebrity in the dock, no DNA evidence or CNN trucks broadcasting from the parking lot. But the case could have monumental consequences for California children.

Families, Teachers Stunned By Sudden Closure Of Oakland Charter School
Oakland Tribune, CA, May 15, 2012

Civicorps Elementary, a charter school in North Oakland, is slated to close in June, after more than a decade on Alcatraz Avenue.

Malloy Wins School Reforms, Accountability Standards In Place To Close Learning Gaps
Register Citizen, CT, May 15, 2012

After a legislative battle over education reform, which devolved into a fight over union rights, the legislature has passed and the governor will sign a law that should begin to improve student learning. The final legislation is an improvement over the bill that emerged from the legislature’s Education Committee in March, which had been a total victory for the teachers unions and a deep political embarrassment to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

10 Lessons Learned Along Road To School Reform
Hartford Courant , CT, May 15, 2012

It was an inspirational photo opportunity at the signing of the long-awaited education reform bill Tuesday at the Capitol when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared “the long debate is over and the new beginning has just begun.”

Hartford Creates ‘Turnaround’ Team For Milner School
Hartford Courant , CT, May 15, 2012

Assured that Milner Core Knowledge Academy will be part of the Commissioner’s Network, the board of education voted Tuesday night to form a “response team” that will work with the state on a turnaround plan for the city elementary school.

Teaching for All Levels — In One Class
Washington Post, DC, May 15, 2012

In Elise Carter’s second-grade class, some students still write their numbers backward or look at their fingers to add. Others race through multiplication tables or search the Web to teach themselves about negative numbers.

New Charter School Will Raise The Bar On D.C. Education
Washington Examiner, DC, May 15, 2012

There’s a new charter school opening in D.C. this fall, and if BASIS DC lives up to its flagship’s national reputation, public education in the nation’s capital will have a much higher bar to meet.

Environmental School’s ‘Green’ Record Enviable
Tampa Tribune, FL, May 16, 2012

Today’s children at Learning Gate Community School might disagree. Their school has won yet another award for its environmentally friendly campus and curriculum.

School Choice is What the Kids Like in Lee County
News Press, FL, May 16, 2012

Lee County students want the district to keep its open-enrollment school choice system. Parents, however, are mixed on the issue.

Sure, Follow The Private-School Model
Augusta Free Press, GA, May 15, 2012

You’re throwing money away. Bad money after good. Schools are failing, and all we’re doing is propping them up and pretending that it’s not happening. Here’s the solution: private-school vouchers. Yeah, sure. That’s the solution.

Poll Shows Support For Longer School Day
Chicago Tribune, IL, May 15, 2012

Rahm Emanuel’s push to extend the school day is overwhelmingly backed by Chicago voters, but far more of them side with the teachers union than the mayor on overall efforts to improve education, a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows.

New Test Shows Many Indiana Third-Graders Have Reading Troubles
Indianapolis Star, IN, May 16, 2012

The results from a new test to measure the reading skills of Indiana ‘s third-graders were released Tuesday. And they were decidedly mixed. Overall, 84 percent of third-graders passed the IREAD-3, given for the first time in March.

Edmunds Elementary School’s Year-Round Calendar Bid OK’d
Des Moines Register, IA, May 16, 2012

Teachers at Edmunds Elementary School in Des Moines hope that increased time in the classroom will help students boost their math and reading skills.

Orleans Parish School Board Approves Property Tax Increase
Times Picayune, LA, May 15, 2012

The Orleans Parish School Board voted Tuesday evening to raise its property tax rate for 2013, install district Chief Financial Officer Stan Smith as interim superintendent and elevate the head of the district’s charter office to the level of deputy superintendent. The voting came during a long, contentious meeting, extending months of acrimony on the board over a host of issues.

Teachers Unions Accused of Working to Restore the Status Quo
‎Pelican Post, LA, May 15, 2012

As an alternative to the “draconian Jindal approach” to education reform, the state’s teachers unions have offered up legislation that would revoke value-added teacher assessments, reinstate tenure and allow for school boards to have the final say over personnel matters.

Algiers Charter School Executive Wrapping Up Three-Year Tenure
Times Picayune, LA, May 15, 2012

The chief executive officer of the Algiers Charter Schools Association, Andrea Thomas-Reynolds, will leave her post when her contract expires in June. An announcement from the group said she first alerted its board in February that she would not seek a renewal after concluding that most of her goals in leading the organization are complete.

Central Schools Opt Out of Voucher Program
The Advocate, LA, May 16, 2012

Central schools won’t be offering vouchers to children in lower-performing public schools in other school districts to attend Central schools this fall, the Central School Board decided this week.

School Choice Advocate Touts Voucher Possibilities
Shreveport Times, LA, May 16, 2012

There’s a rift in K-12 education as the push for expanded charter school offerings and vouchers has picked up pace in Louisiana, but Howard Fuller said change is necessary for a better education system.

As Many As Five Groups May Apply
Kennebec Journal, ME, May 16, 2012

At least five organizations, including an unexpected one, are applying to open charter schools in Maine this fall. State education officials had anticipated letters from four groups — proposing a statewide virtual charter school, a primary school in Cornville, a high school in Portland and a conversion of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Fairfield to a charter school — but they weren’t expecting one that came in for a school in the Piscataquis County town of Monson.

Mo. Lawmakers Approve Expansion of Charter Schools
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, May 16, 2012

A bill that could expand charter schools statewide while making it easier to weed out underperforming ones is headed to the governor’s desk.

National School Voucher Group Makes Push in Concord
Union Leader, NH, May 15, 2012

The nation’s preeminent school voucher advocacy group is seeking to influence a vote this week on legislation that would set up a scholarship fund for students to attend private and religious schools.

A Small Step For NH, A Big Step For Our Kids
Union Leader, NH, May 16, 2012

A very small step for the state will be a huge leap for individual students if the Legislature decides to adopt a modest school choice scholarship act today. Despite misleading accusations flying around from people who resist any change, the debate comes down to whether you want to provide hundreds of poorer students greater choice with little impact on the current system.

Hearings on Teacher Tenure Reform Delayed — For Now
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, May 16, 2012

The drama over a teacher tenure reform in New Jersey continues to twist and turn, as legislators jockey for position and Gov. Chris Christie makes clear his opinion, if not his precise intentions.

Pleasantville Schools Registration Draws Few Pleasantech Parents
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, May 16, 2012

Garnell Bailey told parents of students from PleasanTech Academy Charter School on Tuesday night that they are welcome to come visit the city’s public schools to see for themselves the education being offered there.

Costs of Cheating
News & Observer, NC, May 16, 2012

The Wake County school system is in the midst of a debate over whether behavior should be a factor in students’ grades. First, the concept of “behavior” needs to be sharpened. Are we talking about goofing around in class? Fighting? Or cheating on a test?

Legislator Refuses To Rush Changes To School-Grading System
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 16, 2012

Revamping how the state measures schools and district performance on annual report cards is too important and too complex to do on the fly, a state legislator says.

Parents Pitch In
Tulsa World, OK, May 16, 2012

A group of Jenks parents gave $1.1 million of their own money Tuesday to Jenks Public Schools so the district can hire more teachers and reduce class sizes.

School Plan Widely Misunderstood, SRC Officials Say
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 16, 2012

Appearing before City Council for another day of grilling on the Philadelphia School District ’s budget and proposals to transform operations and close dozens of schools, officials Tuesday said there were widespread misunderstandings about a plan to revamp the district.

Penn to Team Up With KIPP Charters
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 16, 2012

The national network of KIPP charter schools last spring announced plans to more than double the number of its low-income students who graduate from college, by partnering with colleges and universities that encourage KIPP students to apply and support those who enroll.

Rally Urges Keeping Teachers Based On Ability, Not Seniority
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, May 16, 2012

With an unprecedented number of teacher layoffs expected in Pittsburgh Public Schools, A+ Schools — along with support from nine other community organizations — led a rally Tuesday demanding: Keep Pittsburgh’s best teachers.

New Online Tool Tracks School Progress
WPRI, RI, May 15, 2012

The Rhode Island Department of Education launched a new online tool Tuesday that allows families to track the progress and proficiency of their children’s schools.

Up to 150 Memphis City Schools Teachers Face Firing
Commercial Appeal, TN, May 16, 2012

Terminations based on poor evaluations; dozens register complaints with union over process

Nashville Schools’ Rezoning Trial Turns Focus To Charters
The Tennessean, TN, May 16, 2012

Charter schools became a point of contention Tuesday in Metro Nashville’s school rezoning trial, with attorneys arguing they’re another sign that the district is headed toward resegregating its black and white students.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Debate Over Cyber Schools Heats Up
WLNS, MI, May 15, 2012

Governor Rick Snyder signed some bills into law Tuesday aimed at improving the state’s education system.

Keep Public Education Money in Iowa
Des Moines Register, IA, May 16, 2012

The whole thing is a world class example of maintaining the status quo.
But there is a provision in the education legislation that is worth a nod. It caps the number of students who can enroll in two full-time, online schools at 900.