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Daily Headlines for November 23, 2011

Evaluating Teacher Education Programs
News Leader, MO, November 22, 2011
After years of developing and implementing classroom teacher evaluation systems and holding schools accountable for student outcomes, an additional focus is beginning to emerge: the evaluation of teacher education programs.


Trial Scheduled For Arizona’s Voucher-Like Program
East Valley Tribune, AZ, November 22, 2011
The trial in the lawsuit against Arizona’s new empowerment scholarship account program begins 9:30 a.m. Monday.

California Teachers Association Opposes Think Long Committee’s
Sacramento Bee, CA, November 23, 2011
A sweeping tax overhaul unveiled this week by a billionaire-backed coalition of political leaders has drawn fire from the California Teachers Association, one of the most influential groups at the Capitol and on the campaign trail.

Justices Pave Way For Possible Showdown Between Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter
Palo Alto Daily News, CA, November 23, 2011
An appellate court this week refused to hear the Los Altos School District’s case against Bullis Charter School , setting up either a possible showdown in the California Supreme Court or an end to the long-running legal dispute.

New City Charter School In Doubt
Long Beach Gazette, CA, November 22, 2011
With a new regulation in effect that gives the state the authority to revoke a charter from a school after review, New City Public Schools is facing the possible elimination of its own charter, due to recent lower test scores.

Mt. Diablo School District Estimates Clayton Valley High Charter Conversion Could Cost Up To $4.2 Million A Year
Contra Costa Times, CA, November 22, 2011
The Mt. Diablo school district now estimates it would lose between $1.8 million and $4.2 million annually starting in 2012-13 if Clayton Valley High converts to a charter school.

Another Approach: Charter Schools
Colorado Spring Independent, CO, November 22, 2011
Nearly 20 years ago, the Colorado Legislature authorized the Charter Schools Act. Lawmakers declared that with it, they intended “to create a legitimate avenue for parents, teachers, and community members to implement new and innovative methods of educating children that are proven to be effective and to take responsible risks and create new and innovative, research-based ways of educating all children within the public education system.”

The Trouble With Tenure Reform
Republican- American, CT, November 23, 2011
And while tenure is as questionable as ever, the superintendents’ proposal risks distracting from the overwhelming problem in public education, which isn’t teacher quality at all but the collapse in parenting.

Enrollment in D.C. School Voucher Program Surges
Washington Examiner, DC, November 22, 2011
More than 1,600 low-income students have enrolled in District private schools using a federally funded voucher program this year, a 60 percent increase over last year.

Pasco County School Board Upholds Rejections Of Charter School Applications
St. Petersburg Times, FL, November 23, 2011
Pasco County School Board members on Tuesday upheld its staff’s recommendations to deny requests for four charter schools, though they expressed concern about the process not allowing those wanting to open the schools enough time to revise their applications based on district feedback.

Charter Schools USA Appeals Orange Charter School Rejection
Orlando Sentinel, FL, November 22, 2011
Orange County this week became the fourth school district to face an appeal from Charter Schools USA after rejecting one of its school applications.

Chicago Plans To Close Or Consolidate 20 Percent Of Schools, Teachers Union Predicts
Medill Reports: Chicago, IL, November 22, 2011
Chicago Public Schools will close, merge, or phase out up to 20 percent of all district schools in the next two years, Norine Gutekanst, organizing director of the Chicago Teachers Union, predicts.

Charter School Mystified After St. Francis of Assisi Leases Building Out From Under It
Times-Picayune, LA, November 22, 2011
The Lycée Français, a French immersion charter school that opened this year, announced Monday that it would rent out the school space owned by St. Francis of Assisi Church, but one important question was left unanswered. What would happen to the charter school that already rents out that very space near the corner of State and Patton Streets in Uptown?

Louisiana Voters Chose School Reform: An Editorial
Times-Picayune, LA, November 22, 2011
The public education landscape in New Orleans has improved so dramatically in the six years since Hurricane Katrina that it’s hard to fathom how bad so many schools were before the disaster. It is even more difficult to remember the lack of accountability that existed statewide before Louisiana launched its far-reaching education accountability program 15 years ago.

Education Requires Bipartisan Fixes
Detroit News, MI, November 23, 2011
Education decisions have always been political decisions. But they don’t have to be hyperpartisan political ones. Unfortunately, that’s become the norm in recent months.

Parent-Trigger Schools
WLBT, MS, November 22, 2011
Our Mississippi schools are doing better but they’re still consistently rated among the worst in the country. Parents haven’t been able to do much about it until now.

Early Childhood Education Holds Key To Improving Schools
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, November 23, 2011
Every committee that deals with education in the Missouri Legislature should invite the families who filed what became known as “the Liddell case” to speak about the future of urban schools.

O’Brien Says Lynch’s School Funding Plan Keeps Courts In Control
New Hampshire Union Leader, NH, November 23, 2011
Gov. John Lynch’s proposed constitutional amendment would continue the court’s control over public education and its funding, House Speaker William O’Brien told the House Special Committee on Education Reform

Four Jersey City Charter Schools File Petition Demanding Full Funding
Hudson Reporter, NJ, November 22, 2011
Four Jersey City-based charter schools filed petition Tuesday requesting that Acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf issue a ruling declaring, among other things, that the city’s charter schools are not being properly funded as required by the New Jersey Constitution and state statutes.

The Latest in School Reform — Ambition and Arrogance
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, November 23, 2011
New Jersey has joined 10 other states in taking U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan up on his invitation to be excused from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The state’s waiver application is a hefty 365-page tome written in reformist patois that melds ambition, acronyms, and arrogance.

Millman Carries Teachers Union’s Spear In Charter School Battle
The Brooklyn Paper, NY, November 23, 2011
A Cobble Hill assemblywoman is pushing a hastily drafted, teachers-union–backed plan to stop a charter school — oddly citing the neighborhood’s school-age population explosion as the reason to halt the non-union elementary school.

Two Things The School Board Got Right
News Observer, NC, November 23, 2011
The Wake County school board’s Democratic majority hasn’t yet warmed their seats, but I’m already sensing what former President George W. Bush termed the soft bigotry of low expectations for Wake’s poor, black and Hispanic kids.

Oklahoma Request for NCLB Waiver Should Benefit Students
The Oklahoman, OK, November 23, 2011
TEN years after schools began aggregating student test scores, attendance and graduation rates into performance reports to the federal government, Oklahoma has joined 10 other states applying for an exemption from the No Child Left Behind Act.

Gaston Board Says Yes To Open Enrollment
Forest Grove News Times, OR, November 23, 2011
A boon for two small, rural Washington County school districts could become the bane of neighboring districts when a law making it easier for students to transfer between districts takes effect across Oregon in 2012.

School Choice Ripe For Many Lawsuits
Lebanon Daily News, PA, November 22, 2011
Senate Bill 1, called “school vouchers” (or now “opportunity scholarships”), is the offspring of old-fashioned back-room wheeler-dealing! If passed, SB1 lawsuits will add another layer of legal costs to state taxpayers.

For Philly Public Schools, Barbarian Is Gates
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, November 23, 2011
Last week, Philadelphia became the latest in a long list of cities to be courted by Bill Gates, when his “Great Schools Compact” was presented for consideration to the School Reform Commission.

Charter School Seeking Shorter Bus Routes
Avon Grove Sun, PA, November 22, 2011
Getting students to the Avon Grove Charter School can mean a long winding bus trip, with a per student cost that is nearly triple what the Oxford Area School District pays to get students’ to its own campus.

Evidence Shows Voucher Programs Help
Lebanon Daily News, PA, November 22, 2011
Landing a job is tough enough in this economy. For those without a high school diploma, it is even tougher. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for dropouts is 13.8 percent, or 50 percent higher than the national average.

Schools Chart A New Journey
Commercial Appeal, TN, November 23, 2011
Experiment under way: Tennessee will learn whether skills honed in private and charter schools can be transferred to public institutions.

Unified School Board Denies 17 Charter Applications
Commercial Appeal, TN, November 22, 2011
The unified school board denied 17 charter applications Tuesday night, citing a new state law that says applications, even strong ones, can be denied if a school district can prove the new schools would cause it financial hardship.

AISD Parents, Teachers a Tough Sell
Austin Chronicle, TX, November 23, 2011
The Austin Independent School District’s hard sell of handing over Eastside schools to nonprofit charter school operator IDEA Public Schools is getting a highly skeptical reception from the community. So far, the district’s response seems to be simply to double down on the transfer.


District Studying Educational Options
Reading Eagle, PA, November 23, 2011
The Boyertown School District will continue to investigate creating its own online school and offering hybrid courses, administrators said at Tuesday night’s finance committee meeting.

15 Districts Blocked From Online Classes
Winston-Salem Journal, NC, November 23, 2011
Surging enrollment in North Carolina’s online class program for public high school students is creating a funding shortfall that means teens in 15 school districts have been blocked from signing up for spring classes.

Bluesky Online School Should Stay Open, Judge Recommends
Star Tribune, MN, November 22, 2011
A state administrative law judge on Tuesday recommended that the Minnesota Department of Education not proceed with its unprecedented plan to force a charter school to close.

The Device Is Not Ready
Colorado Springs Independent, CO, November 22, 2011
Young children, Tilch explains, learn through “observation and experience,” and trial and error. That’s why she doesn’t want computers here. If you give children a computer, she says, they don’t have to use their own problem-solving skills; they don’t have to imagine pictures in their head. The imagining is done for them.

Ballot Initiative Seeks To Expand Access To Online Education
California Watch, CA, November 23, 2011
Under the proposal, schools, districts and county education offices would be required to make available to all students the courses needed for admission to the state’s universities. Those courses, known as A-G requirements at the University of California and California State University, could be offered at a student’s school or district of residence or any other publicly funded school, and they could be classroom-based, online or a blended model of the two.

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