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Daily Headlines for March 7, 2011

PTA Wars
TIME, March 6, 2011
School budgets are so strapped these days that parent groups are not only battling to keep basics in the classroom, but some parents are even fighting one another.

Tight Budgets Mean Squeeze in Classrooms
New York Times, NY, March 7, 2011
Millions of public school students across the nation are seeing their class sizes swell because of budget cuts and teacher layoffs, undermining a decades-long push by parents, administrators and policy makers to shrink class sizes.

New School Reform Empowers Parents, But So Does ‘No Child’
Chicago Sun-Times, IL, March 7, 2011
Just as the nation is looking toward Wisconsin to discern the future of collective bargaining in that state and beyond, so the eyes of the nation are fixed on Compton, Calif. , where the future of parents’ will in their child’s education is playing out.

Pressure Mounts To Ax Teacher Seniority Rules
National Public Radio, March 6, 2011
Last week, the New York state Senate passed a bill that would end the use of seniority as the sole factor for deciding which teachers get laid off. The bill faces long odds in the state Assembly. But the vote is a sign of growing frustration with what’s known as “last in, first out” – a rule that says the last teachers hired get dismissed first when there is a layoff.

FROM THE STATES

California

‘Trigger’ Troubles
Los Angeles Times, CA, March 7, 2011
Attempts to evade the ‘parent trigger,’ such as those by the Compton Unified School District, show the need for reforms to the process.

Connecticut

Danbury Takes A Lesson At Amistad Charter School
Danbury News Times, CT, March 4, 2011
That kind of philosophy led Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to attend the school’s visitors’ day, one of several the school holds each year to showcase its programs.

Colorado

Another Choice
Pueblo Chieftain, CO, March 6, 2011
PARENTS FRUSTRATED by the poor performance of their children’s schools would be afforded the chance to have them converted to charter schools or closed outright under legislation introduced last week in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Delaware

A New Map To Get Schools On Course
The News Journal, DE, March 7, 2001
Over the next four years, Seaford High will roll out three more academies: Seaford Military Academy, the Leadership/Dual Enrollment Academy and the International Baccalaureate Academy. Each of the academies will be aligned with an outside group to provide additional resources to the school.

Indiana

Bold Legislation For Better Education
Indianapolis Star, IN, March 5, 2011
Under the bold leadership of Gov. Mitch Daniels, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and courageous leaders in the state legislature, Indiana is transforming education for the 21st century.

Louisiana

Charter Schools Join In The Beat Of New Orleans Marching Band Tradition
The Times-Picayune, LA, March 6, 2011
Many members just started playing their instruments last fall, when KIPP Renaissance High School opened its doors with an inaugural class of ninth-graders. There were no upperclassmen to lead by example, no established traditions to draw on. The 50 or so students were a marching band cooked up from scratch.

Maryland

KIPP in Limbo
Baltimore Sun, MD, March 6, 2011
The KIPP school and the Baltimore teachers union have reached an impasse over salaries and overtime; if all else fails, lawmakers in Annapolis should step in and break the logjam.

New Hampshire

Better Schools: Charting A New Course
Union Leader, NH, March 7, 2011
As the Legislature prepares for this year’s big education fight — whether to pass a constitutional amendment restoring legislative authority over education funding — it can make a small change that will help public school students statewide.

New Jersey

Testing Teachers
The Record, NJ, March 6, 2011
IT’S CLEAR that New Jersey’s current teacher tenure system isn’t working. Just 17 educators have lost tenure due to poor performance in the past decade, according to Governor Christie. We need a finer instrument to identify and nurture good teachers and rehabilitate or weed out poor performers. The question is, what?

New York

Analysis: Cuomo Wins Silence Of Powerful Unions
Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2011
Candidate Andrew Cuomo told fed-up voters last fall that public worker unions were among the special interests that had turned the Empire State from America’s progressive model run by titans of virtue into a boozy, bloated ” Jersey Shore ” run by insiders on the public’s dime.

North Carolina

Senator Defends Charter Schools Bill
Herald Sun, NC, March 6, 2011
The state senator who spearheaded work on his chamber’s version of a charter schools bill defended it Friday, arguing that complaints from Democrats and school boards about its provisions are a smokescreen for their true objections.

Parties Battle Over Charter School Funding, Oversight, Diversity
Carolina Journal, NC, March 4, 2011
Democrats are calling Republicans’ bill to lift the cap on charter schools racist, elitist, undemocratic, and “a direct assault” on traditional public schools. Senate Bill 8 will “create two separate and unequal school systems,” Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, said at a press conference March 3. She also claimed that increasing funding to charter schools would “bankrupt” traditional schools.

Oregon

Bills Aim To Add Education Options
The Register-Guard, OR, March 6, 2011
Supporters say the proposals give parents more choices; critics say they divert money from public schools

Pennsylvania

State Official Says Phila. District Illegally Capped Charter School’s Enrollment
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 5, 2011
In a decision that could have major ramifications for the Philadelphia School District ‘s fiscal woes and the city’s charter schools, a state official has found that the district illegally capped enrollment at a city charter school.

Tennessee

Question on Ballot Misses The Point: School Choice Empowers Children, Parents And The City
Commercial Appeal, TN, March 6, 2011
Ever since the Memphis City Schools board voted to surrender the district’s charter, we have been inundated with rhetoric from both sides of the school merger argument.

Wisconsin

School Choice Programs Get Boost in Walker Budget
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, March 6, 2011
Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal calls for deep cuts in most areas of public education with one notable exception – public school choice programs.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Florida Poised To Make Big Splash In Online Education
Tampa Tribune, FL, March 7, 2011
Supporters say expanding the Virtual School prepares children for college and work, eases teacher shortages in critical areas and helps kids learn at their pace.

Online Learning Extends Classroom
Chicago Sun-Times, IL, March 7, 2011
The Porter Township School Corp. is among the first to explore a new form of public “home schooling.” On a recent day, most of the students in the district weren’t in their classrooms. They were in their bedrooms and living rooms doing their classwork.

Sperry District to Offer Free Virtual School for K-8
Tulsa World, OK, March 5, 2011
Sperry Public Schools will partner with a Maryland company to offer full-time, free public school online next year for Oklahoma students in kindergarten through eighth grade, a Sperry spokesman said Friday.

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