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Daily Headlines for May 3, 2013

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

Charter Advocacy Organization Calls for Independent Authorizers
Education Week Blog, May 2, 2013

A charter school advocacy organization has laid out its case for state lawmakers to pass policies that support using independent authorizers of those schools, an approach that it says is the best one for bringing both accountability and autonomy to the sector.

Common Core A Common Enemy For Some Conservatives, Liberals
Daily Caller, DC, May 2, 2013

The implementation of the Obama administration’s national education standards are being met with increased opposition from both conservative and liberal activists — albeit it for very different reasons.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Private Concerns: Alabama Accountability Act Hits Another Snag
Anniston Star, AL, May 2, 2013

The premise behind the tax-credit portion of the Alabama Accountability Act is offering educational alternatives to children stuck in “failing schools.”

CALIFORNIA

West Contra Costa School District Rejects Charter Application
Mercury News, CA, May 3, 2013

West Contra Costa school district trustees Wednesday evening denied a petition for sponsorship from the backers of Caliber Schools for a K-8 charter school.

COLORADO

Colorado Education Overhaul Clears Legislature
Denver Post, CO, May 2, 2013

A monster makeover for K-12 school funding in Colorado has cleared the Democratic Legislature and await the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper. But a big question remains: How will the state pay for it?

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

City Closes Door On KIPP DC Charter High School
Washington Post, DC, May 2, 2013

MAYOR VINCENT C. Gray (D) has pretty much shut the door on plans by KIPP DC to build a new high school on public land in Southwest Washington.

Critics: Charters Cheated Out Of Funds
Washington Examiner, DC, May 2, 2013

Public charter schools do not get the same amount of funds as their traditional public school counterparts, which severely affects their ability to acquire buildings and pay competitive wages, charter school leaders told members of the D.C. Council on Thursday.

Charter School Waitlists Hit 22,000
Washington Examiner, DC, May 2, 2013

The District’s public charter schools saw a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of children on schools’ waitlists this year, with roughly 22,000 students vying for seats, the Public Charter School Board announced Thursday.

FLORIDA

Judge Dismisses Challenge to Teacher Law
The Ledger, FL, May 2, 2013

A circuit judge has tossed out a lawsuit challenging a law requiring merit pay for teachers and ending tenure for new hires.

Florida’s Largest Teachers Union Lost Tax-Exempt Status
FCIR, FL, May 3, 2013

What happened to the Florida Education Association’s tax-exempt status? There’s a story there, but the fact is that the state’s largest teachers union has been operating since January without its coveted 501(c)(5) tax exemption. The organization with $31 million in revenue in 2010 had its tax status revoked for failing to file a tax return for three consecutive years.

Pruitt To Lead City’s Charter School System
Pine Island Eagle, FL, May 2, 2013

Instead of just one school to handle, Dr. Angela Pruitt will have four to care for. Pruitt, who has been the principal of Trafalgar Middle School for nine years, has been named the new superintendent for the Cape Coral charter school system and will begin work next month.

State Lawmakers Take On ‘Unsatisfactory’ Teachers
Bradenton Herald, FL, May 3, 2013

Two days after the Florida Senate killed the parent trigger bill, one of the proposal’s more controversial provisions found new life in the Florida House.

Charter School Bill Passes (Takes Aim At Northstar High Problems)
Orlando Sentinel Blog, FL, May 2, 2013

The House this morning passed charter school legislation that aims to deal with the problems at the now-shuttered NorthStar High School in Orange County — but also looks to make it easier for charter schools to expand.

LOUISIANA

School Districts Move Forward With Merit Pay Plans Despite Constitutional Challenge
Times-Picayune, LA, May 2, 2013

School districts statewide are moving forward with plans to tie teacher salary bonuses to the results of proposed new evaluations despite a constitutional challenge to the law that mandates both those evaluations and the bonus system itself.

Use A Year For Compass
The Advocate, LA, May 2, 2013

After a couple of years of pilot projects, a tough teacher evaluation system is finally becoming effective. As it is still causing concern among many teachers, its penalties should be deferred for this year, as a bill before the Legislature proposes.

Grading The Teachers’ Teachers
Hechinger Report, May 2, 2013

Gerald Carlson’s heart sank when he received word several years ago that a controversial statistical analysis had decreed his program one of Louisiana’s weakest in preparing educators to teach English language arts.

MAINE

Grading Quality, Or Incomes?
Portland Press Herald, ME, May 3, 2013

Education experts say it’s no surprise that Maine’s new A-to-F school grading system shows schools in wealthier communities generally have higher grades while those in poorer communities have more D’s and F’s.

MARYLAND

Six Out Of 10 Montgomery County High Schoolers Flunk Algebra Final
Washington Examiner, DC, May 2, 2013

Almost two-thirds of high school students in Montgomery County who took Algebra I last semester failed their final math exam, causing parents and school officials to search for answers as to what went wrong.

MASSACHUSETTS

Town Charter School Steps Up Profile
Barnstable Patriot, MA, May 2, 2013

The Barnstable Public Schools’ last remaining Horace Mann charter school is standing its ground and looking to renew its charter with the state for another five years.

MICHIGAN

Roberts: DPS Fixed, ‘Time For Me To Go’
Detroit News, MI, May 3, 2013

Two years after taking the helm of the Detroit Public Schools, emergency manager Roy Roberts said he is stepping down in two weeks.

NEW YORK

Figuring Out How to Give Teachers Useful Feedback
New York Times, NY, May 3, 2013

When Texas lawmakers rolled out a framework for evaluating public schoolteachers more than 15 years ago, they intended to identify ways to strengthen the state’s teaching corps.

NORTH CAROLINA

NC Won’t Find Any School Miracles To Copy In Florida
News & Observer, NC, May 2, 2013

As a Florida mom, I find it hard to watch states with veto-proof majorities push and pass the same education reforms that have hurt our children and harmed our public schools.

Update: NC Charter School Board Bill Delayed In Senate
Greensboro News & Record, NC, May 2, 2013

Debate on a bill that would create a new panel for managing North Carolina’s growing number of charter schools has been delayed until early next week.

OHIO

Law On Charters Still Needs Work
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 3, 2013

A decade after Ohio’s first charter schools opened, state law still falls short of ensuring full accountability for private parties using tax dollars to operate public schools. A recent report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute gives lawmakers a clear picture of some changes that need to be made.

Protesters March On Statehouse Against District-Takeover Proposal
Columbus Dispatch, OH, May 3, 2013

Protesters marched to the Statehouse today to oppose a provision in the proposed state budget that would allow mayors to take over school districts with the help of the state school superintendent.

End The State-Supported Charter School Boondoggle:
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, May 3, 2013

Charter schools and vouchers take money from public school districts. Almost $800 million in state funding went to charter schools last year. Why increase public tax dollars to charter schools when most earned a failing grade in the last year?

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma School Testing Troubles Show Need For Better Preventive, Contingency Plans
The Oklahoman, OK, May 3, 2013

FINDING a silver lining among a week of testing troubles at Oklahoma schools isn’t easy. We can think of only one: The contract with the company responsible for the debacle expires in June.

WASHINGTON

Panel Wants MAP Exam To Be Optional For Seattle High Schools
Seattle Times, WA, May 2, 2013

A committee formed to evaluate the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests given in Seattle Public Schools plans to recommend the exams be optional in high schools.

WISCONSIN

Feds Order More Oversight Of Voucher Schools
Wisconsin Radio Network, WI, May 2, 2013

The US Department of Justice is ordering state education officials to make sure disabled students in the Milwaukee school choice program are not being discriminated against.

Public, Private Schools In Madison Consider The Impact Of Voucher Program
Madison Commons, WI, May 2, 2013

If school vouchers expand to Madison, as Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposes, Wingra School Principal Paul Brahce would have to say “no.”

ONLINE LEARNING

Cyber Schools Hope One Day The Focus Will Solely Be On Learning
WHPTV, PA, May 2, 2013

Our state’s charter and cyber charter schools have made headlines recently. Some state lawmakers are questioning whether these public schools are making the grade when it comes to our tax dollars.

Florida Attorney General Sides With Virtual Charter School Over Who Has To Pay For Student Testing
Palm Beach Post Blog, FL, May 2, 2013

When the Florida Legislature in 2011 authorized virtual charter schools, it created a whole new realm in the education world — one that school districts are finding themselves trying to understand and navigate as virtual school operators begin to open across the state.

Florida Public Online School Gets Small Budget Increase
Miami Herald, FL, May 2, 2013

School districts, teachers and parents are celebrating the $1 billion addition to the state’s education budget.

New Lafayette School Program Would Target New Students
The Advocate, LA, May 2, 2013

The Lafayette Parish School System is considering the launch of a virtual school option for students in the fall to recapture students who have left the system for home schooling or virtual charter schools.

Auburndale, Stratford Join Virtual Education Program
Marshfield News Herald, WI, May 3, 2013

The Auburndale and Stratford schools districts have joined the Rural Virtual Academy consortium to provide a new option for students who might benefit from nontraditional education.