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.
Grading Charter Schools Isn’t as Easy as It Would Appear
Valley News, VT, May 23, 2013
Numerous studies have used this lottery method to analyze the impact of charter schools on standardized test scores, and by and large they report similar findings: Charters in rural or suburban areas don’t do any better than public schools, while in urban areas they are associated with greater test score improvements in math and language.
Parent Trigger Laws Are Likely to Fire Blanks
Huffington Post Blog, May 22, 2013
If turning around a persistently low-performing school were easy, we would not have persistently low-performing schools. In truth, schools that languish at the academic bottom are more often an ongoing source of frustration for the hard-working teachers, parents and students who attend them and the districts that manage them.
Goldwater Report Says Red Tape Could Be Holding Back Arizona Charter Schools
Arizona Business Journal, AZ, May 22, 2013
Charter school advocates warn against government red tape in a report released today by the Goldwater Institute.
Monica Ratliff’s Election To L.A. School Board Is ‘Huge Upset’
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 22, 2013
The fifth-grade teacher’s low-budget effort defeats Antonio Sanchez, who had $2.2 million spent on his behalf and was endorsed by the mayor’s reform coalition.
Refining ‘Parent Trigger’
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 22, 2013
Under California’s “parent trigger” law, parents at underperforming public schools can force dramatic changes in management if half or more sign a petition. It’s a well-intentioned law that school reformers have applauded, but it is desperately in need of certain fixes. The most recent example involves a rule that was intended to bring more openness to the process — but which in practice appears to disenfranchise some parents.
Delaware Budget Writing Panel Approves $2M In New Spending For Charter School Programs
Washington Post, DC, May 22, 2013
Members of the legislature’s budget writing committee have approved $2 million in new spending for Delaware charter schools.
Rowlett Charter Plan Opposed By District Officials
Bradenton Herald, FL, May 23, 2013
Dozens of parents, teachers and administrators gathered Wednesday at Rowlett Magnet Elementary School to debate the merits of becoming a charter school.
Palmetto Bay Will Reconsider 1,400-Student Charter School
Miami Herald, FL, May 22, 2013
The Palmetto Bay Village Council has agreed to reconsider a proposal for a charter school at Franjo Road and Southwest 180th Street.
CPS Approves Largest School Closure In City’s History
Chicago Tribune, IL, May 23, 2013
Months of argument and anguish over Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push for sweeping school closings came to a climax Wednesday as his hand-picked Board of Education voted to shut 49 elementary schools and transfer thousands of children to new classroom settings.
Charter Schools: Another Option
WIFR, IL, May 23, 2013
In tonight’s “Classroom Victories” report, 23 News Education Reporter, Lauren Kravets takes us to a Rockford Charter school to show us how kids are preparing for their future.
Broken Schools Or A Broken System?
Des Moines Register, IA, May 23, 2013
So now it appears that Iowa may finally be pushed to enter the school reform race, due to public exposure of failing public schools and falling achievement scores that are a threat to our national reputation. The statistics reflecting student performance in the Iowa are alarming and indicate that performance on all fronts is grim.
Iowa’s Top Education Official To Leave The State
Des Moines Register, IA, May 23, 2013
Iowa’s top education official and a leading advocate for school reform is leaving the state.
Department Of Education’s Fairness, Impartiality And Intent Brought Into Question
American Press, LA, May 22, 2013
News that the state Department of Education did not properly monitor certain accountability measurements of charter schools for the past four years should raise a red flag.
Test Results Up Overall; Voucher Schools Flat
Alexandria Town Talk, LA, May 23, 2013
A state Education Department analysis of the latest standardized test results for public school students in grades three through eight shows the state continues to make incremental overall improvement with a long way to go.
Recovery School District’s New Orleans Schools Are Top Gainers In Test Results
Times-Picayune, LA, May 22, 2013
The Recovery School District’s standardized test scores in New Orleans grew faster than any other public school system in Louisiana this spring, according to data released Wednesday. The percentage of third- through eighth-graders who scored at or above their grade level rose six points to 57 percent.
Help Maine Charter Schools Succeed Before Adding More
Bangor Daily News, ME, May 23, 2013
Gov. Paul LePage is correct that public charter schools have the potential to become a new tool to engage teachers, students, parents and community members in finding innovative ways to improve public education in Maine.
Federal Audit Finds City Schools Misspent Stimulus, Title I Funds
Baltimore Sun, MD, May 21, 2013
The Maryland State Department of Education may have to pay back up to $540,000 in federal money intended to help the state’s poorest schools after a scathing audit found that Baltimore City was one of two school districts that misspent the funds, using the money for dinner cruises, makeovers and meals.
Extended Time Doesn’t Guarantee A Better School Day
Boston Globe, MA, May 23, 2013
I AGREE with Scot Lehigh that with “longer charter [school] days come impressive academic results” (“Will the city’s new mayor be pro-charter?” Op-ed, May 10)
Taxpayers To Get Bill For Pontiac School Mess
Detroit News, MI, May 23, 2013
The meltdown of the Pontiac School district is about to show up on the tax bills of property owners in several Oakland County communities.
Gordon Parks School Must Prove It Merits Staying Open
The Kansas City Star, MO, May 22, 2013
Gordon Parks Elementary School won a reprieve Tuesday in Cole County Circuit Court from a state order to abruptly close this week.
New York’s Public School Paradox
City Journal, May 22, 2013
When he came into the mayor’s office in 2002, Michael Bloomberg made reforming New York City’s schools one of his principal goals.
The Arrival of the Rockland Academy of Excellence Charter School to East Ramapo in Rockland Sparks Debate
Rockland Times, NY, May 23, 2013
The arrival of the Rockland Academy of Excellence to East Ramapo in Rockland has sparked debate from the community of East Ramapo. They say you can tell the strength of a person by the way they love their children and Rockland loves their children.
New Charter School Opening In Downtown Brooklyn
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, NY, May 23, 2013
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School said on Tuesday that it will open its first elementary school this September in Downtown Brooklyn (District 13). Starting with kindergarten, the school will take up the upper three floors of 80 Willoughby Street, alongside St. Joseph High School for girls.
Passions High Around School Voucher Bill
WRAL, NC, May 21, 2013
In a packed room, the House Education Committee heard Tuesday from supporters and opponents of a plan to give taxpayer-funded scholarships for low income students that attend private schools.
Voucher Debate Must Start At Accountability
Fayetteville Observer, NC, May 23, 2013
Applause, please, for the N.C. House Education Committee, which did what a legislative committee should do – on Tuesday, it listened to both sides of a hot issue and jumped to no conclusions.
LESSON PLANS: Teachers Must Face The Part They Play In School Problems
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, May 23, 2013
CONTENTIOUS contract negotiations, like those involving the School District and the teachers’ union, are usually at heart a battle of narratives – between management, which is often in financial crisis, and labor, whose narrative is about protecting beleaguered workers from being exploited. They are rarely a celebration of hard data and facts about hiring, compensation and policies.
Gist by the Numbers: Achievement Gap Failing to Improve
Go Local Pov, RI, May 23, 2013
Test scores are up. So are graduation rates. But the gap between white students and those who are minorities, have disabilities, or are not native English speakers has either stagnated or worsened in the four years that Deborah Gist has been at the helm of the Rhode Island Education Department.
SC Senate Defeats Tax Credits For Private School Tuition
The State, SC, May 22, 2013
A proposal to give tax breaks to parents of students who are home-schooled or go to private schools was defeated in the S.C. Senate Wednesday, despite predictions from Republicans that the vote would be close.
Smithson Craighead Middle School Won’t Get Reprieve, Will Close
The Tennessean, TN, May 23, 2013
U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp released a 19-page memorandum Wednesday dissolving a class-action lawsuit filed by two parents after Metro Nashville Public Schools decided in November to close the school because of lagging academic performance.
Charter School, Testing Bills Will Pass Or Die Together
Austin Statesman, TX, May 22, 2013
The fates of two major education bills that would reduce standardized testing and allow more charter schools have become inextricably linked, and it appears they will either cross the legislative finish line together or not at all.
Mayor Disbands School Reform Task Force
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, May 23, 2013
A little more than 16 months after chiding Richmond schools Superintendent Yvonne W. Brandon for “celebrating mediocrity” and, two months later, berating the School Board for passing an unbalanced budget, Mayor Dwight C. Jones has disbanded his school reform task force.
Expansion Of School Vouchers Will Dismantle Public Education
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, May 23, 2013
According to Murphy’s Law, if you tinker around with something long enough, it will eventually break. That describes the governor’s and certain legislators’ proposal to expand school vouchers in Wisconsin.
Michigan’s Charter Options To Grow
Detroit News, MI, May 23, 2013
Thirty-two new charter schools plan to open this fall in Michigan, including three cyber academies as well as “blended-learning” schools in Novi and Beverly Hills, where charters are making their first appearance.
Kobler To Lead Shift Toward ‘Technology-Rich’ Classrooms
Lawrence Journal World, KS, May 23, 2013
The Lawrence school district is gearing up for the next phase of its venture into a new kind of classroom teaching, in which students rely as much on computers and online material as they do on textbooks and teachers to guide instruction.