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Daily Headlines for March 18, 2011

NATIONAL

The Search For A New Way To Test Schoolkids
USA Today, March 18, 2011
By all accounts, George Washington Elementary School is the very model of a modern urban public school. Tucked into an up-and-coming neighborhood west of downtown, the school has produced impressive results on annual Maryland School Assessment (MSA) math and reading tests over the past several years. By 2007, scores had improved so steadily that the U.S. Department of Education made it a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. First lady Laura Bush came to town to hand out the award.

Next US Education Reform: Higher Teacher Quality
Christian Science Monitor, MA, March 17, 2011
A new study shows teacher quality is the most important lesson that America can learn from top-ranked education countries such as Finland and Singapore. Teacher unions and states will need to work on this together.

FROM THE STATES

California

Second Round Of Charter Bidding Shows Board Is Serious About Reform
Los Angeles Daily News, CA, March 18, 2011
It was a bit of a stunner when the Los Angeles Unified School District board adopted the Public School Choice program in 2009. After years of fighting off attempts to break up the district or diminish its size or scope, here was the board itself offering to give control of some of its schools to charters, to teachers, to the mayor, to anyone, really, with some credibility and a plan.

Colorado

School Vouchers Spell Choice in Douglas County
Denver Post, CO, March 18, 2011
We support Douglas County schools’ bold pilot program to offer parents vouchers to send children to private schools.

Connecticut

Lawmakers Consider Speeding Up Dismissals For Poorly Performing Teachers
Hartford Courant , CT, March 17, 2011
School districts could move more quickly to dismiss poorly performing teachers, a process that now can drag on for two years, under a teacher evaluation bill aired Thursday by the legislature’s education committee.

District of Columbia

Evaluation of D.C. Teachers Is A Delicate Conversation
Washington Post, DC, March 17, 2011
Grading D.C. teachers: The District’s new teacher evaluation system is becoming a national model, even as unions and some experts question the wisdom of staking careers on it. And in the moment when school reform meets the teachers expected to carry it out, master educators, such as Eric Bethel, observe teachers, such as Clay Harris, in class – and then have a conference that can end careers.

Indiana

Democrats Split On Education Reform
Indianapolis Star, IN, March 17, 2011
The education reform waves keep rolling to shore, even as House Democrats try to figure out a face-saving way to come home from Illinois. Although the Republican right-to-work proposal prompted the walkout, the protest was expanded to include education reforms.

Massachusetts

Schools Must Put Up Or Shut Up
Boston Globe, MA, March 18, 2011
PAUL REVILLE, the state secretary of education, has an unvarnished message for the Commonwealth’s traditional schools.

Businesses Push Use of MCAS in Teacher Reviews
Boston Globe, MA, March 18, 2011
Business leaders, worried that Massachusetts is falling behind other states in boosting teacher quality, are pushing for teacher evaluations to be based at least 50 percent on their students’ MCAS scores and other student achievement data – a move strongly opposed by teacher unions.

Winning A Charter School Lottery
MetroWest Daily News, MA, March 17, 2011
It’s not cool to be excited about school, so it was refreshing to see a group of youngsters exchanging whispered cheers and high-fives Tuesday upon hearing the news about their sixth grade assignments. They were acting like they had won the lottery – and they had.

Michigan

Budget Woes Bring New Ideas to Detroit Schools
Kiowa County Signal, MI, March 17, 2011
States are beginning to connect the dots between necessary spending and needless spending. As they work to come up with sustainable budgets the status quo is no longer affordable.

Minnesota

Chamber President: The Next Step In Improving The State’s Public Education System
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, March 17, 2011
The quality of teachers, second to parents, is the top predictor of student success. Minnesota’s new alternative teacher licensure law represents one piece of the puzzle to ensure we have effective teachers in every classroom — and more must be done.

New York

Cuomo: School Aid Advocates Making Bogus Threats
Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2011
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo snapped back Thursday at union-backed school aid advocates, saying they’re making bogus threats that children would face larger classes, massive teacher layoffs and the loss of sports and the arts under his proposed cut to school aid.

Ohio

Charter Schools Speak Out On New Budget
WTOL, OH, March 17, 2011
Governor John Kasich showed a lot of support for charter schools while discussing the new state budget. Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Community Schools, Darlene Chambers, said the budget is all about free market, competition and efficiency.

Tennessee

Ramsey Rejects Deal On Teachers Unions
Chattanooga Times Free Press, TN, March 18, 2011
Senate Republican leaders stood their ground Thursday on stripping teachers’ unions of collective-bargaining rights, rejecting a House.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

LEUSD Will Offer Virtual School In The Fall
The Friday Flyer, CA, March 18, 2011
The Lake Elsinore Unified School District governing board wants parents and students to think Southern California Virtual Academy when considering educational choices.

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