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Daily Headlines: December 16, 2011

Closing The Achievement Gap, But At Gifted Students’ Expense
Washington Post, DC, December 15, 2011

President Obama’s remarks on inequality, stoking populist anger at “the rich,” suggest that the theme for his reelection bid will be not hope and change but focus on reducing class disparity with government help. But this effort isn’t limited to economics; it is playing out in our nation’s schools as well.

Teachers Union Leads Effort That Aims To Turn Around West Virginia School System
Washington Post, DC, December 15, 2011

The American Federation of Teachers, vilified by critics as an obstacle to school reform, is leading an unusual effort to turn around a floundering school system in a place where deprivation is layered on heartache.

Charter Schools: Wave of the Future?
CNN Blog, December 15, 2011

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools recently released a report saying that more than 2 million children are enrolled in public charter schools this year. The nonprofit resource for charter schools said that more than 500 charter schools opened their doors across the country in the 2011-12 school year.

Focus on Producing Best Teachers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, December 15, 2011

The United States ranks between the middle and bottom on international assessments of student achievement. On a per-capita basis, the U.S. spends more than any other country except the tiny principality of Luxembourg. And, as the years go by, one country after another surpasses us in the proportion of the workforce that has a high school diploma or a four-year college degree.

9 States To Win Early Learning Grant
Associated Press, December 16, 2011

Nine states will share $500 million in grant money won in a high-profile competition intended to jump-start improvements in often-overlooked early childhood programs, The Associated Press has learned

STATE COVERAGE

Strange Wants To Focus On Charter-School Legislation, Believe It Campaign
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, December 16, 2011

Barring a veto override, it appears that Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange has successfully steered the conversation on public education away from the possibility of a city-run school system.

Yuba Prep Officials Reject Call To Close Marysville Charter School
Appeal Democrat, CA, December 16, 2011

A Marysville charter school is one of 10 in the state that the California Charter Schools Association says is underperforming and should close, but Yuba County Office of Education officials disagree.

UTLA Overwhelmingly Approves Landmark Labor Agreement With LAUSD
Contra Costa Times, CA, December 15, 2011

The Los Angeles teachers union overwhelmingly ratified a landmark agreement that gives the district’s individual campuses the freedom of charter schools, but also holds them accountable for how well students perform.

State Charter Group Says Richmond School Should Close
Contra Costa Times, CA, December 15, 2011

A charter school advocacy organization is calling for the closure of a Richmond school, asserting the school is underperforming academically.

Colorado Charter School Chief Leaves for Post in Washington, D.C.
Denver Post, CO, December 15, 2011

Mark Hyatt, executive director of the Colorado Charter School Institute for the last two years, will leave to become chief operating officer of the Character Education Partnership in Washington , D.C.

Stone Creek Is a Special School
Vail Daily News, CO, December 16, 2011

As a parent with experience in both the traditional public school and the charter school, Stone Creek Charter School more closely aligns with my family’s educational expectations. I am a strong proponent in school choice — not special programs, but real choice that may include a different curriculum with leeway for teachers to teach.

Officials Introduce New Method to Evaluate Public Charter Schools
Washington Informer, DC, December 15, 2011

Some officials associated with the District’s public charter schools are lauding an initiative that will streamline the way these schools are evaluated.

Charters Schools Enroll Low Number of Poor Students
Miami Herald, FL, December 16, 2011

Demographic imbalances between charter schools and traditional public schools have led experts to ask if charter schools are open to all students.

Lake Wales Charter Schools Trustees Consider Expansion of Bok Academy
The Ledger, FL, December 16, 2011

Charter School trustees in Lake Wales are moving to find loans to expand Edward W. Bok Academy .

Two Districts Part of New Charter School Law
News Chief, FL, December 15, 2011

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

Charter School Set To Enroll For Kindergarten; Principal Says There Are Openings For Fifth- Through Seventh-Graders
Cherokee Tribune, GA, December 16, 2011

Cherokee Charter Academy conducted an enrollment meeting Thursday evening for all interested applicants for the current school year and beyond.

Charter School Petition Terminated by Bibb BOE
Macon Telegraph, GA, December 16, 2011

What would have been Macon’s first charter school won’t open in 2012, but its governing board isn’t giving up on the school.

Audit Blasts Hawaii Charter School System
Honolulu Civil Beat, HI, December 15, 2011

Hawaii’s charter school system received a scathing report from the state auditor’s office Thursday. The Charter School Review Panel, which is the agency charged with overseeing charter schools, “has misinterpreted state law and minimized its role in the system’s accountability structure,” the report states in its summary. It adds that the panel has delegated too much of the monitoring and accountability to the boards of individual schools.

CPS: Poorer-Performing Schools Less Likely To Get Funds
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 15, 2011

Inside Chicago Public Schools, the joke long has been that when a school gets a fresh coat of paint and new windows, you can expect the central office to shut it down and open a charter in the building.

Never Too Early
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 16, 2011

Illinois should learn on Friday if it has snagged up to $70 million in the latest Race to the Top competition. Keep your fingers crossed.

Illinois Working On New Rules To Measure Schools
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 16, 2011

On Thursday, state leaders affirmed their plans to seek a waiver early next year from the most onerous restrictions of the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires all students to score at grade level in reading and math by 2014.

Principal-Teacher Evaluation System Gets Test Run
WBAL Baltimore, MD, December 15, 2011

It looks like Maryland still has a ways to go before it can roll out a new principal-teacher evaluation system.

Future of Boston Schools Must Reflect City’s Transformation
Boston Globe, MA, December 16, 2011

The school-assignment process, with its legendary complications, transmits the wrong signals: that parents need to work hard to find good options; that close-to-home schools may not be viable; that a pupil’s fate can be determined by a lottery number, as if kids were mere ping-pong balls to be blown into holes.

Snyder Expected To Sign Bill Ending Restrictions On Number, Location Of Charter Schools In Michigan
Detroit Free Press, MI, December 16, 2011

The Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a measure that removes limits on the number and location of charter schools in Michigan, limits that had curtailed proliferation of the controversial schools for more than a decade.

More Charter Schools OK’d
Battle Creek Enquirer, MI, December 16, 2011

Educators at traditional public schools frowned while those at public charter schools cheered a move by Michigan lawmakers to allow more publicly funded charters as early as next school year.

Charter School Bill Fails To Safeguard Students
Detroit Free Press, MI, December 16, 2011

The mission of quality education in Michigan was not well served by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With the passage of Senate Bill 618, our Legislature and its majority has stated that lifting the cap off of new charter schools is ideal but we can wait to put into place measures that would ensure the quality of this novel learning “innovation.” We must seriously reflect on what we are inviting upon our state’s students.

Charter-School Funds Cut
Portsmouth Herald, NH, December 16, 2011

The Great Bay eLearning Charter School is facing a funding reduction of $130,000 from the Exeter Region Cooperative School District for the next school year, on top of an $80,000 reduction from the state.

Charter School Opponents Set for Protest at Department of Education
Courier News, NJ, December 15, 2011

More than 250 parents, teachers, school administrators, elected officials and concerned residents of Highland Park, New Brunswick , Edison and East Brunswick who oppose charter schools in flourishing districts will protest the state Department of Education on Dec. 16.

School Choice Program Working
Courier News, NJ, December 15, 2011

When Gov. Chris Christie signed the Interdistrict School Choice Program into law a year ago September, many school districts throughout the state jumped at the chance.

Highland Park Resists Opening of Hebrew-Language Charter School
Star-Ledger, NJ, December 16, 2011

Now, along with her daily routine of driving carpools and helping kids with homework, Cimarusti has a mission. She spends up to six hours a day working with a vigilant group of moms to block a charter high school specializing in Hebrew-language instruction from opening.

Charter School Leaders Hunt for Their Mayoral Candidate
New York Times Blog, NY, December 16, 2011

New York City’s mayoral election is two years away, but charter school leaders and advocates are already sizing up candidates to see whose feet fit the education reform loafers.

Tulsa Teacher Evaluation May Be State Model
Tulsa World, OK,December 16, 2011

The state Board of Education on Thursday voted to allow individual school districts throughout the state to use one of three teacher evaluation systems during a one-year test run.

Involved Communities Are Vital Resources For Schools
The Oklahoman, OK, December 16, 2011

THAT 15 metro-area school board seats drew only a single filer last week could mean residents don’t feel they have much to grumble about. Or it could mean that people simply aren’t that interested in school board service. Neither explanation is encouraging.

Providence Goes to War over Charter Schools
Go Local Prov, RI, December 16, 2011

Education reformers and traditional public school proponents are engaged in a battle over two proposed Mayoral Academies the city hopes to open in 2013 and 2014.

KIPP’s No-Brainer Move Yields Expansion Grant
Tri-State Defender, TN, December 15, 2011

The braintrust at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools learned last March that the Charter School Growth Fund was coming to Tennessee in March. So, KIPP did a smart thing, applying right away and not waiting for an invitation. The Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) had a rigorous application process, asking for each applicant’s academic and strategic business plan.

Rethink Charter Schools Now
The Chattanoogan, TN, December 15, 2011

I have seen no ground swell of demand for or support of this “top down” charter schools unfunded mandate that has been imposed on the local school districts in Tennessee .

Lots of Moving Parts to Metro Schools Reform Process
Nashville Public Radio, TN, December 16, 2011

Nashville’s school system is a pressure cooker of change these days.

School Voucher Legislation Put Off A Year; Haslam Creates Study Group
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN, December 15, 2011

Gov. Bill Haslam moved Thursday to block action in the 2012 legislative session on a bill to create a voucher system for school systems in Tennessee ‘s four biggest counties.

Richmond School Board Concerned About Patrick Henry
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, December 16, 2011

The Richmond School Board is expressing “fundamental concerns” about the city’s first charter school as it prepares to move into the former Patrick Henry Elementary School following about $500,000 in renovations.

Seattle Schools Fail Lesson On Money, Again
Seattle Times, WA, December 15, 2011

Ah, but here we are again. The school district is in the hole, the classrooms are swelling and, for the third time in less than a decade, we’re all wondering how those charged with nurturing young minds could be some of the thickest skulls in the city.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Internet Classes For K-12 Are An ‘Ominous’ Turn
Des Moines Register, IA, December 16, 2011

Department of Education Director Jason Glass and his boss, Gov. Terry Branstad, are pushing the idea of Iowa students getting some of their classes on the Internet (Dec. 9, “Internet-Based Learning Among Education Ideas”). This would be an ominous direction for state schools to go.

Experts: Online Schools In Dire Need Of Oversight
Arizona Republic, AZ, December 15, 2011

Two years after Arizona dropped its limits on the number of online schools, some educators and leaders say the state needs to regulate schools more closely to ensure quality.

Arizona May Be Overpaying For Online Classes
Arizona Republic, AZ, December 15, 2011

Auditors and researchers say the state may be overpaying public K-12 schools for their online classes.

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