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Daily Headlines for February 24, 2011

Obama Sits Out State Fights

Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2011

President Barack Obama, after initially lending his support to organized labor, has stepped back from the fights spreading in state capitals from Wisconsin to Tennessee, leaving union officials divided about his tactics.

Michelle Rhee, Kevin Johnson Take On Teacher Seniority
Sacramento Bee, CA, February 23, 2011
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was in Washington Wednesday with education reformer Michelle Rhee, his fiancee, for the launch of a national campaign aimed at eliminating “last in, first out” policies that base teacher layoffs on seniority.

FROM THE STATES

Colorado

Douglas County School-voucher Access Wouldn’t Be Uniform
Denver Post, CO, February 24, 2011
If the Douglas County School District offers vouchers for private schools next year, the opportunities will vary greatly based on the tuition those schools charge.

Florida

Senate, House Advance Merit Pay Bills
St. Augustine Record, FL, February 23, 2011
Key committees in both legislative chambers gave yes votes Thursday to a proposal to partially base teacher salaries on their students’ test scores, a proposal shot down last year after teachers around the state protested that the merit pay system would penalize them.

Illinois

Charter Schools To CPS: We Need More Space
Chicago Tribune, IL, February 23, 2011
A month after Chicago Public Schools approved two new charters and several new campuses for charter schools, the charter community was back before the school board Wednesday asking for space.

Massachusetts

Extreme Makeover
Boston Globe, MA, February 24, 2011
Just five years ago, Haverhill ’s Silver Hill School was told to improve. Now, others seek to learn how it did so.

New Jersey

The Facts Are These, OSA Makes Sense
NJ Spotlight, NJ, February 23, 2011
The Opportunity Scholarship Act (S-1872/A-2810) gives students who meet the poverty criteria and live in a district with a chronically failing school the choice to attend another public school or a nonpublic school using a scholarship.

New York

Poll: New Yorkers Do Not Favor Seniority-based System For Teachers
Buffalo News, NY, February 24, 2011
As schools statewide threaten teacher layoffs, voters have little regard for a longstanding state law that dictates that teachers get pink slips based on seniority rather than on job performance, a new poll finds.

North Carolina

Charter School Bill Approved By NC Senate
Greenville Daily Reflector, NC, February 23, 2011
A bill eliminating North Carolina’s long-standing cap of 100 charter schools received tentative approval Wednesday in the state Senate, although it failed to gain broad bipartisan support after amendments Democrats said were designed to help at-risk children were defeated.

Wyoming

Wyoming Education Accountability Bill Grows
Billings Gazette, MT, February 24, 2011
The “education accountability” bill grew into an omnibus bill Wednesday, including merit pay for teachers and other proposals that previously were separate bills.

Gates Foundation Throws $2 Million to Florida Virtual School
Tampa Bay Tribune, FL, February 23, 2011
Florida Virtual School has landed a grant of more than $2 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop four college-prep courses in English and math. Two of the courses are aimed at ninth graders, and the other two will be for seniors.

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