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Daily Headlines: December 15, 2011

Failure Rate of Schools Overstated, Study Says
New York Times, NY, December 15, 2011

When the Obama administration was seeking to drum up support for its education initiatives last spring, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told Congress that the federal law known as No Child Left Behind would label 82 percent of all the nation’s public schools as failing this year. Skeptics questioned that projection, but Mr. Duncan insisted it was based on careful analysis.

Record Numbers Fail To Clear No Child Bar
Washington Times, DC, December 14, 2011

The numbers keep getting worse for the nation’s education system. In the 2010-11 academic year, 48 percent of public schools – a record high – failed to meet the “adequate yearly progress” benchmarks established by the No Child Left Behind act, according to a new study by the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan think tank.

STATE COVERAGE

Charter Network Wins Approval To Expand By 20 Schools In San Jose Area
Peninsula Press, CA, December 15, 2011

A Palo Alto-based charter school network recognized for its innovative teaching of low-income students won approval late tonight to open 20 additional K-5 schools in the San Jose area within five years.

Fairfax’s ‘Priority Schools Initiative’ Provokes Debate, Shows Mixed Results
Washington Post Blog, DC, December 14, 2011

Fairfax schools officials last week offered a first look at how 30 struggling schools have fared under a new program called the “priority schools initiative.”

Nationally-Recognized Charter School Hopes To Open In Cutler Bay
Miami Herald, FL, December 14, 2011

A boarding school for underprivileged kids wants to open in Cutler Bay . But a land-use dispute will have to be settled first.

Miami-Dade School Board Delays Charter School Vote
Miami Herald, FL, December 14, 2011

The board voted to move to next month a vote on approving applications for 14 new charters, in light of a Miami Herald series raising questions about potential conflicts of interest at the schools.

Herald Investigation Into Charter School: Cozy Connections = Taxpayer Paid Profits
Miami Herald Blog, FL, December 14, 2011

Cozy political connections, favorable tax treatment and little public oversight has allowed Miami charter school chain Academica to exploit Florida’s laws, build a successful chain of schools, and profit off taxpayer dollars, a Miami Herald investigation has found.

Charter School Mess Is No Surprise
Miami Herald, FL, December 14, 2011

Unrestrained conflicts of interest. Little accountability. Slip-shod ethics. Lax oversight. Add landlords and developers and for-profit management companies to the formula. Tempt them with $400 million dollars of public money. Who couldn’t see the charter school mess coming?

Polk Sues Over Charter Schools Opening Without Approval
The Ledger, FL, December 14, 2011

Arguing that a new charter-school law could violate their constitutional rights, the Polk and Seminole county school districts are trying to temporarily block the state Board of Education from ruling in a pair of disputes about proposed charter schools.

Fla. Judge Knocks Religious Funding Question Off Ballot; Attorney General Could Put It Back On
Palm Beach Post, FL, December 14, 2011

A Leon County judge Wednesday knocked a proposed constitutional amendment off the November ballot that was aimed at lifting a 126-year ban on state money going to religious institutions.

Rogers To Propose Creation Of State Charter System
Cherokee Tribune, GA, December 15, 2011

Georgia ’s Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers plans to introduce a constitutional amendment during the 2012 legislative session that would create a state charter school system.

Charter School Opening In Bibb County Unlikely
Macon Telegraph, GA, December 14, 2011

Bibb County students may not have the chance to attend a local public charter school, at least for now.

CPS Hands Out Capital Dollars To Schools Slated For Turnaround
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 14, 2011

Critics of CPS’ school closing and turnaround policies have long maintained that rather than investing in failing schools, the district has instead put resources in schools slated for turnaround or privately run charter schools.

Protesters Shut Down Chicago School Board Meeting Over Closings, Turnarounds
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 15, 2011

More than 50 protesters took command of Chicago Public Schools’ board meeting Wednesday, shouting down board members in a dramatic show of force against proposed school closings, consolidations and turnaround projects.

Sposato’s Decision
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 14, 2011

It’s unfortunate that that Chicago Tribune has again chosen sides with politically connected charter schools because of a fastidious commitment to privatization, even when this position is clearly a bad deal for the children of Chicago.

Where One Rural Public School Closes A Charter School Opens
NPR StateImpact , IN, December 14, 2011

What happens when a small town — a VERY small town — in southeastern Indiana loses its public school and residents attempt against all odds to replace it with a charter school. To find out, StateImpact went to Canaan , Ind. (Population 90), where residents are trying to do just this.

Governor Visits Gary School That’s Tops In Vouchers
Post Tribune, IN, December 15, 2011

Religion and politics may not mix well at parties, but they co-existed famously Wednesday as Gov. Mitch Daniels visited the Ambassador Christian Academy , the private school that leads the state in education vouchers.

City Supports Charter School
Opelousas Daily World, LA, December 14, 2011

The leader of a local charter school movement stopped by the Opelousas Board of Aldermen meeting to thank the city for its support of J.S. Clark Leadership Academy , which will open this summer.

College Park Chartering Closer To Bringing New School To The City
Maryland Gazette, MD, December 15, 2011

College Park has taken the first step toward bringing a charter school to the city by submitting preliminary plans for the school to the Prince George ’s County public school system.

Leadership And Flexibility, Not Buses, Improve Schools
Boston Globe, MA, December 15, 2011

But the 200-student Samuel Mason elementary school, housed in a 106-year-old, gently decaying Victorian brick structure on Norfolk Avenue, is in demand, with parents rushing to apply for one of its highly coveted kindergarten slots.

House Vote Moves Michigan A Step Closer To Unlimited Charter Schools
Detroit Free Press, MI, December 15, 2011

The state House narrowly approved legislation Wednesday night that was long sought by Michigan charter school advocates: removal of the cap on their number.

Choice and Segregation
Huffington Post, December 14, 2011

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to open schools around the state to students regardless of where they live in an important step toward breaking down this artificial barrier to opportunity.

Would Waiver From Federal Law Help Students In Minnesota?
Pioneer Press, MN, December 14, 2011

Minnesota education officials want a waiver to replace some requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind Act with a new system they say is a better, fairer way to measure how our schools are performing.

Springfield School District Now The Largest In The State
News-Leader, MO, December 14, 2011

Springfield now has the largest school district in Missouri because of an emphasis on academics and an investment in center-city schools, a state official said Wednesday.

Suburban Schools Could Run Unaccredited KC Schools
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, December 14, 2011

Lawmakers are drafting legislation that would allow suburban districts to operate Kansas City schools that are about to lose their state accreditation after years of dismal test scores and administrative churn.

Charter School Approved for Affluent Brooklyn Enclave
New York Times, NY, December 15, 2011

The panel that oversees education policy in New York City approved the first charter school for brownstone Brooklyn on Wednesday night, backing a plan to give it space inside a building already shared by three other public schools.

Virgo’s Charter Plan Gets Denied
Star News, NC, December 14, 2011

The fast-track application to turn Virgo into a charter school was denied by the N.C. Public Charter School Advisory Council on Wednesday, according to a press release from New Hanover County Schools.

Proposed Chapel Hill-Carrboro Charter School Clears One Hurdle
News Observer, NC, December 14, 2011

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board will discuss a proposed charter school that emphasizes closing the school district’s achievement gap during the work session portion of its meeting Thursday night.

Even In Cherry Hill, Schools Fall Short
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, December 15, 2011

In the heated debate surrounding Regis Academy Charter School , which is slated to open in Cherry Hill next fall, one important point is often overlooked: No school works for every student. That’s why all families, no matter where they live, deserve a choice of publicly funded schools.

York City Board Hears Pitch From Two Proposed Charter Schools
York Dispatch, PA, December 14, 2011

Officials from two proposed charter schools in York City made their best sales pitch at public hearings Wednesday. They were two of four charter school hearings the city school board has this month, as the district continues to be inundated with charter applications for a district already third in the state with the number of charter schools at five.

School Vouchers, Shale Bills On Hold
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, December 15, 2011

Half of the General Assembly is done with its legislative work for the year, leaving two major policy issues — school vouchers and Marcellus Shale fees — unfinished and their fates murkier than ever.

State House Rejects School-Voucher Proposal
Patriot News, PA, December 14, 2011

Gov. Tom Corbett wanted a school voucher program in his Christmas stocking this year, but the legislators decided against giving it to him.

Charter School Could Help Lincoln School System
Valley Breeze, RI, December 15, 2011

The Lincoln School Committee’s Charter School Subcommittee should not be concerned about competition from the Blackstone Valley Prep Charter School .

Utah Democrats, Republicans Spar Over Public Education Funding
Desert News, UT, December 14, 2011

Public education funding has Democratic and Republican lawmakers squabbling as they gear up for the annual battle over the state budget.

Grading Teachers
The Columbian, WA, December 14, 2011

Only in recent years have legislators and educators started moving effectively toward a long-overdue system of evaluating teachers.

Nerad to Unveil Plan to Help Low-Income Minority Students
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, December 14, 2011

Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad said Wednesday he will unveil next month a new plan for improving the achievement of low-income minority students.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Two Families, Two Takes on Virtual Schooling
Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2011

With all the talk about online education lately, it’s clear that the vision evoked by the words “home schooling” is changing. The image of Mom and kids sitting at the kitchen table has given way to a child logging onto a virtual class from the home office.

10 Parents Respond to the New York Times
Huffington Post Blog, December 14, 2011

The New York Times ran a tabloid-style hit piece on K12, the online learning provider. They apparently didn’t speak to many parents that appreciate full time virtual schools as an option. Follow are excerpts of 10 notes I received from parents this week with a different story.

Cabarrus School Board Hears Proposal For Virtual Charter School
Kannapolis Independent Tribune, NC, December 14, 2011

The Cabarrus County Board of Education heard about and discussed a potential virtual charter school at its business meeting on Monday that, if approved, would be based locally.

Online School Rescued Rose Reimann In Her Senior Year
Arizona Republic, AZ, December 14, 2011

Rose Reimann was in her senior year at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, and she was miserable. She was tired of the immaturity of some of her classmates. She just wanted her senior year over.

Arizona Online Schools: Merits Of Online Learning Are Unclear
Arizona Republic, AZ, December 14, 2011

Many families view K-12 online schools with skepticism. They question how a computer could possibly replace discussion and debate in a classroom. Or the passion conveyed by a teacher. Or the experience of working in teams.

Teaching Online Presents Challenges
Arizona Republic, AZ, December 14, 2011

Kristina Valles’ day starts like that of any worker in a cubicle: She arrives, dons a telephone headset and starts answering e-mails.

Attacking Online Education: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
Desert News Blog, UT, December 14, 2011

The value of online education is also a hot topic in Utah, or should be, since this state has pioneered state support for online courses.

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