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Daily Headlines for July 17, 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.

NATIONAL COVERAGE

The Charter School Vs. Public School Debate Continues
NPR, June 6, 2013
Charter schools turn 21 this year. In that time, these privately run, publicly funded schools have spread to 41 states and enrolled more than 2 million students.

Republican House leaders visit D.C. charter school to tout education bill
Washington Post, July 16 2013
Republican House leaders gathered at a high-performing D.C. public charter school Tuesday to promote their vision for a new federal education law to replace No Child Left Behind.

GOP divided on rewrite of ‘No Child Left Behind’
Associated Press, July 17, 2013
Conservative Republicans don’t think a GOP rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law does enough to reduce Washington’s influence. Moderates are warily eying proposals that would expand charter schools’ role. Those intraparty differences appear to be blocking the bill’s momentum.

Better Teachers and Better Tests
Letters, New York Times, July 17, 2013
Re “The Trouble With Testing Mania” (editorial, July 14): The country’s fixation on high-stakes testing is a failure.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

No choice in ‘school choice’ at Brookhaven
Editorial, Decanter Daily, July 17, 2013
During the legislative session, Alabamians heard all sorts of claims from lawmakers about the wonders of the Alabama Accountability Act.

ARIZONA

Charter school funding loophole could create budget crisis
KPHO, July 16, 2013
Arizona public schools have taken a hit over the years with some big-time cuts in state funding. But a number of school districts have found a new way to generate more revenue, and if the trend continues, it could bankrupt the entire state, lawmakers say.

COLORADO

An education reform victory
Editorial, Denver Post, July 17, 2013
A recent court decision will allow more school districts to create “innovation schools,” freeing them from rules restricting reform.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. teachers cast a vote against teamwork
Editorial, Washington Post, July 16, 2013
RECENT DEBATE about the future of school reform in the District has focused on a series of legislative proposals being championed by the chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee.

FLORIDA

Another reprieve for school grades as officials question validity
Miami Herald, July 16, 2013
Many Florida schools that struggle under the state’s polarizing A through F grading system will again get a reprieve this year after the state Board of Education narrowly agreed Tuesday to keep rankings from dropping more than one letter, regardless of performance.

Hillsborough School District creates job to oversee charters
Tampa Bay Times, July 16, 2013
As part of a $1 million reorganization, the Hillsborough County School District will hire a charter schools director, a new position.

GEORGIA

New APS charter school: Why our students are thriving. And learning Latin.
Atlanta Journal Constitution Blog, July 17, 2013
Eric Wearne is the chair of the Latin Academy Charter School, a middle school that opened in Atlanta Public Schools last fall. He writes today about how the school is faring, based on the newly released school-level CRCT scores. Wearne is an assistant professor at the Georgia Gwinnett College School of Education.

ILLINOIS

Nearly half of CPS students miss tougher ISAT cutoff
Chicago Tribune, July 16, 2013
With state officials raising the bar on what it takes to pass, the number of Chicago Public Schools students who met state standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test plummeted this year.

LOUISIANA

Accountability for vouchers?
Daily Comet, July 16, 2013
How many ways can we screw it up and still pretend like it’s working? State Superintendent John White has realized that at least one of his vaunted voucher schools is a sham.

Teacher reviews spark new flap
The Advocate, July 17, 2013
A decision by state Superintendent of Education John White to delay final action on the evaluations of some public school teachers points to bigger problems with the new reviews, an official of a teachers’ union said Tuesday.

MINNESOTA

St. Paul school board OKs groundbreaking racial equity policy
Pioneer Press, July 16, 2013
After much revision and hours of impassioned debate, the St. Paul school district adopted an uncommon policy Tuesday night enshrining a commitment to battle racial inequities.

MISSOURI

Evaluating performance, transferring students
Commentary, St. Louis Beacon, July 17, 2013
Of the 521 school districts in Missouri with recorded accreditation status reported by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 97.4 percent are fully accredited. That’s all but 14. Of those, 11 have received provisional accreditation, and three are currently unaccredited. Those three – in the news for the last couple of weeks on account of the June Missouri Supreme Court ruling regarding student transfers from unaccredited districts – are Normandy and Riverview Gardens in the east, and Kansas City in the west.

NEW JERSEY

A win and a loss in South Jersey teacher tenure cases
Editorial, South Jersey Times, July 17, 2013
But it’s tough to oust a tenured teacher in New Jersey. Credit the school board for sticking to its guns.

NEW YORK

District drags its feet while students face the loss of another year of education
Opinion, Buffalo News, July 16, 2013
Talk about a gang that couldn’t shoot straight. What is it that the Buffalo School District can do right?

Record number seeks school transfers
WIVB, July 16, 2013
News 4 has learned a record number of students are signing up to be transferred out of failing Buffalo schools.

Schoolyard bully
Opinion, New York Daily News, July 17, 2013
Wielding a political hatchet, state Controller Tom DiNapoli is abusing the power of his office with a campaign of harassment against charter schools.

NORTH CAROLINA

NC House and Senate approve charter school expansion bill
News & Observer, July 16, 2013
A bill allowing charter schools to expand without the State Board of Education’s permission is on its way to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk.

OHIO

Columbus City Schools: Board member proposes plan to circumvent aid to charter schools
Columbus Dispatch, July 16, 2013
Columbus City Schools should break up a proposed 9.01-mill tax issue for the November ballot into as many as five operating levies, a school board member proposed today. That, he said, would give voters a way to support the district even if they don’t want to give charter schools local property-tax money.

Plan would undermine Ohio schools further
Herald-Dispatch, July 17, 2013
Sen. Kris Jordan, a Republican who represents a district north of Columbus, is proposing that parents who home-school their children receive a property-tax reduction equal to what they pay for school levies in their local districts.

Teacher evaluations hitting snags
Mansfield News Journal, July 17, 2013
More than 100 public school districts in Ohio likely won’t be implementing a new grading system for teacher performance in the upcoming school year.

PENNSYLVANIA

Chester schools have a tireless advocate
Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2013
With a salesman’s charm and snappy patter, Gregory Shannon stood in the blazing sun Tuesday in Chester’s business district and pitched a product that customers have been shying away from in recent years: Chester Upland schools.

In city schools, signs of hope
Opinion, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2013
For some of us who call the Philadelphia area home, the education crisis may seem like a tragic but distant concern. The reality, though, is that our region depends on the success of Philadelphia’s schools and their ability to provide all students with a strong education.

RHODE ISLAND

Power to the parents would help R.I. schools
Commentary, Providence Journal, July 17, 2013
The greatest responsibility anyone could have is to be a parent. All parents know that the best way to ensure the well-being of their child is a good education. However, government makes it difficult for parents to choose what they think is the best school for their child.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Charter school organizers trying again after rejection
Times & Democrat, July 17, 2013
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. That’s what the would-be founders of the Garden City Preparatory Academy for Boys are doing.

TENNESSEE

6 Memphis suburbs approve school districts
The Tennessean, July 17, 2013
Voters in six Memphis suburbs decided Tuesday to start public school districts in the municipalities where they live.

ONLINE LEARNING

EC schools advance online program
The Herald-Palladium, July 17, 2013
Eau Claire schools students will soon have new opportunities to earn high school credits.

Lawmakers say virtual schools need accountability
Wyoming Public Media, July 16, 2013
Wyoming lawmakers are trying to make alternative virtual schools accountable for the students they serve.

Roundtable: Infrastructure, teacher training key to improving technology in classrooms
Washington Post, July 16, 2013
The future of digital learning in classrooms will require more than just getting tablets in the hands of students to be successful. Education leaders and policymakers must focus on investing on infrastructure and professional training for teachers and administrators to grow technology in education.

St. Tammany school district set for ‘virtual classroom’ program this September
Times-Picayune, July 16, 2013
Hoping to expand its reach, the St. Tammany Parish school district will embark on a “virtual classroom” in September for a small group of junior high school students. The online class offerings, assistant Superintendent Cheryl Arabie said, are aimed at bringing home-schooled students into the fold.

Virtual school board votes to add two new members
Greenfield Recorder, July 17, 2013
The new five-member Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School board of trustees voted to expand by two members at its nearly five-hour kick-off meeting Monday.