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Daily Headlines for March 21, 2014

Click here for Newswire, 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

Maryland ranks near bottom in U.S. for charter school laws
Frederick News-Post, March 21, 2014
Maryland’s charter school laws are among the worst in the nation, according to two studies released this year. The Washington-based Center for Education Reform and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools evaluated the content and implementation of charter school laws in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

Spending more on Virginia students doesn’t mean they’re getting smarter
watchdog.org, March 21, 2014
More money doesn’t necessarily translate to more successful, college-ready students.

Wyoming ranks low on accommodation of charter schools
Casper Star-Tribune, March 21, 2014
Wyoming’s charter school laws are among the most stringent in the United States, a new national report from the Center for Education Reform says.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Alabama House approves bill that provides scholarships, tax credits to help move students from failing to private schools
Tuscaloosa News, March 20, 2014
The Alabama House late Wednesday approved alterations to a GOP-championed program that provides scholarships and tax credits to help move students from failing public schools to private ones.

CALIFORNIA

Race to lead L.A. teachers union headed to runoff
Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2014
The contest to head the nation’s second-largest teachers union will go to a second round, pitting incumbent Warren Fletcher against challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl.

FLORIDA

Op-Ed: Equalize Charter, District Schools
The Ledger, March 21, 2014
The three schools with the least similar demographics to the county also dismiss students for grades and low Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores.

School voucher expansion plan appears dead in Tallahassee this year
Sun Sentinel, March 20, 2014
A massive expansion of Florida’s education voucher program looks to be dead this year. Though it was a top priority of the House this year, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said Thursday his chamber essentially was done considering it.

IDAHO

Idaho education groups find common ground during legislative session
Idaho Statesman, March 21, 2014
They still are three separate groups, with distinct memberships – the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators and the Idaho Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union. But these three groups together pushed for a teacher pay raise and teacher leadership “premiums.”

ILLINOIS

CPS test change irks Catholic schools chief
Chicago Tribune, March 21, 2014
Changes in the standardized testing that Chicago Public Schools is requiring for entry to selective-enrollment high schools puts Catholic school students at a distinct disadvantage, the superintendent of the city’s Catholic schools says in a letter sent to the district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Elgin charter school officials not discouraged with delay
Chicago Daily Herald, March 20, 2014
An official with the proposed Elgin charter school says the group is not discouraged by the delay in getting the Elgin City Council’s approval for a lease of the former Fox River Country Day School property.

Letter: Charter school dangers
Chicago Tribune, March 20, 2014
I hope you printed the snippet from Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan (Editorial, March 15) in the “What others are saying” section as an example of the faulty, foolish thinking of even the most worldly and well-read among us.

KANSAS

GOP plan would hike aid to poor schools, expand public charter schools
Wichita Eagle, March 20, 2014
The Kansas Supreme Court gave the Legislature an ultimatum to fix inequalities in school funding by July. On Thursday evening, Kansas House Republicans presented their plan for a solution that would put more money into schools, but would also spur creation of more charter schools.

KENTUCKY

Charter schools proposal advances in Kentucky Senate committee
WAVE 3, March 20, 2014
A bill allowing parents and teachers to convert 18 low-performing Jefferson County schools into charter schools advanced in a Kentucky Senate committee Thursday.

LOUISIANA

East Baton Rouge superintendent lays out vision for restructuring district
Times-Picayune, March 20, 2014
Facing the prospect that state legislators could determine the future of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Superintendent Bernard Taylor presented his own vision for restructuring the district at a school board meeting on Thursday. His plan goes right back to a blueprint he proposed last year, to divide the district into “families of schools.”

Louisiana governor sidesteps questions about Common Core
Shreveport Times, March 21, 2014
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, once a supporter of Common Core State Standards but lately stepping away from the issue, sidestepped giving any direct answers Thursday when asked by reporters whether he supports bills to take Louisiana out of the multistate agreement.

MASSACHUSETTS

School-choice total doubles in Wareham
South Coast Today, March 21, 2014
The number of school-aged children residing in Wareham who opted to attend public schools in other districts this year nearly doubled from last year’s total, according to statistics provided to the School Committee Wednesday by Superintendent Kimberly Shaver-Hood.

MICHIGAN

Editorial: It’s too early to expand Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority
Detroit Free Press, March 21, 2014
The Michigan House of Representatives is taking a lot on faith. An expansion of the controversial Education Achievement Authority has passed the state House and is on its way back to the Senate, where we hope it will die a quick and painful death.

NEVADA

In school reform, ‘caliber of the teacher matters,’ D.C. chancellor tells Nevada educators
Las Vegas Sun, March 21, 2014
The key to improving Clark County schools is to improve the quality of its teachers. That’s the message Kaya Henderson shared with educators and community leaders gathered at a Public Education Foundation event on Thursday.

NEW JERSEY

Letter: Camden superintendent wrong about charter school
South Jersey Times, March 21, 2014
I was concerned by statements made byCamden School Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard in the March 9 article, “Camden superintendent: A ‘dramatic lack of rigor’ in district schools.”

Monmouth County school to ‘virtually’ make up snow day over Easter break
NJ.com, March 20, 2014
Saint John Vianney High School prides itself on being innovative and because of that, its students will be able to avoid extending their school year due to the constant snow that battered the region this winter.

To close $10.5 million budget gap, Trenton school district plans to cut 77 positions, create 58
Times of Trenton, March 20, 2014
Duran said the deficit amounts to 3.5 percent of the district’s $302 million budget. It can be attributed to a reduction in state aid caused by two new charter schools set to open next year that will siphon available public funding. The budget and subsequent cuts would not be put in place until school board gives its approval.

NEW MEXICO

LFC panel calls remedial course ineffective
Albuquerque Journal, March 21, 2014
Remedial courses for college freshmen are expensive and often ineffective, according to a legislative panel, which is calling for the state and individual schools to adopt more rigorous requirements for high school students.

NEW YORK

Editorial: District’s latest frustratings tumble leaves Pinnacle Charter students hanging
Buffalo News, March 21, 2014
Maybe the Buffalo School Board is learning something. At its meeting Wednesday night it backed away from an unexpected and frustrating plan to hang students out to dry. Again.

Gov. Cuomo urging Mayor de Blasio to fix charter school issues before state gets involved: source
New York Daily News, March 21, 2014
The mayor must settle charter school issues including co-location, funding issues and lawsuits, a source said.

Letter: The Role of Charters in School Reform
New York Times, March 20, 2014
“A Saner Charter School Debate” (editorial, March 17) points to a fact that is often overlooked: New York City’s charter schools educate only about 6 percent of the city’s students. Yet charter schools continue to dominate public debate about reform in education.

Opinion: No Labels
City Journal, March 20, 2014
The truth is that students with special needs are actually less likely to leave New York City’s charter schools than they are to leave its traditional public schools.

Pols silent as thousands await charter spots in their districts
New York Post, March 21, 2014
The waiting lists to get into charter schools are around the block in the districts of state Assembly members who haven’t challenged attempts to limit the alternative schools, according to data obtained by The Post.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña hopes to fix problems in co-located schools
New York Daily News, March 20, 2014
Chancellor is sending out “campus squads” to work on problems in the buildings, with to “not be fighting each other” as the first protocol.

PENNSYLVANIA

Northwest Area told it has to pay cyber charters
Times Leader, March 20, 2014
Northwest Area school officials said Wednesday night they received a swift answer from the state Department of Education about paying cyber charter invoices. The answer: Pay or it’ll be deducted from your state subsidy.

RHODE ISLAND

Opinion: Rhode Island Parents Want Choice
Go Local Prov, March 21, 2014
The message is clear: Rhode Island parents want choice. After more than a decade since opening the first public charter school in Rhode Island, it’s important to recognize the contribution that public charter schools make to the educational offerings in RI and the opportunities they provide families.

TENNESSEE

Senate approves, sends state charter school authorizer bill back to House
Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 20, 2014
The state Senate on Thursday approved the controversial legislation that allows the State Board of Education to approve local public charter school applications that have been rejected by local school boards.

Senate OKs Harwell’s charter authorizer bill, Pinkston threatens litigation
Nashville Post, March 20, 2014
The bill is part of a long-running debate about the role of charter schools largely in Nashville, an at times heated discussion driven by the local school board’s repeated rejection in 2012 of a charter school favored by Mayor Karl Dean and state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.

Students who failed at traditional schools find refuge at storefront in Frayser
Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 20, 2014
After two transfers that turned out not to be safe, Walker is finishing school at Pathways in Education, a storefront school in Frayser’s Northgate Shopping Center, designed for students who couldn’t survive traditional high school.

WISCONSIN

Assembly passes limited school accountability bill
Wisconsin State Journal, March 21, 2014
Assembly Republicans backed down from pushing an expansive school accountability reform bill Thursday, instead passing the more limited Senate version approved with bipartisan support.

WYOMING

Letter: Charter school study biased
The Boomerang, March 21, 2014
The CER has nothing to say about improving public schools, only that private management or school vouchers should replace public schools.

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