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Daily Headlines: December 20, 2011

STEM and Urban Schools: Opportunities to Escape Poverty’s Cycle
US News & World Report Blog, December 19, 2011

Despite your problems–too many low income residents, too much crime–it is possible to help children in your communities break the cycle of poverty.

Teacher Tenure At Issue In Improving Education
Deseret News, UT, December 20, 2011

Now, more than four years later, the idea that firing bad teachers will make schools better is catching on. States like Idaho , Tennessee and Florida are all in the process of implementing reforms that would make public school employment contingent on some measure of teacher effectiveness.

STATE COVERAGE

Lodi’s Rio Valley Charter School Might Be A ‘Strange Bird’ — But Students Are Flocking To It
Lodi News-Sentinel, CA, December 20, 2011

Rio Valley began with 125 students on Lower Sacramento Road as a satellite of Heritage Peak Charter School in Sacramento four years ago. But in 2009, school staff wanted to expand their program and become their own school.

Up Next — Education Unions’ Plans To Reform Schools
Connecticut Mirror, CT, December 19, 2011

What students and parents didn’t know was that things were about to change. The teachers’ union had a plan, and the University of Connecticut’s highly regarded education college was there to help. That plan called for the school’s teachers and parents to vote to make the management decisions themselves so initiatives would no longer be stalled at the central office.

State’s Educators Are At The Forefront Of School Improvement
News Journal, DE, December 20, 2011

No community decision is more important than how we will educate our children. And the Delaware State Education Association practices the Delaware Way as we engage in the public arena on behalf of education and educators.

Emulate These Schools
Miami Herald, FL, December 19, 2011

Charter schools give parents another choice beyond public and private. Some of them perform poorly. That needs to be fixed. Others perform well. That needs to be encouraged and emulated. The public needs to be informed of the difference.

Ethical Conflict? What Ethical Conflict?
Tampa Bay Times, FL, December 20, 2011

Indeed, charter school connections are all the rage in Tallahassee . Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen, who chairs an education subcommittee, was more than happy to push legislation giving “high performing” charter schools a fast track to expand. What’s the definition of “high performing”? Well, having family members involved in the business, as Fresen did, is probably a critical benchmark to meet.

Fulton Charter School Insistent On Long Contract, Risks Closing
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, December 19, 2011

A nationally acclaimed Alpharetta charter school is at risk of having of its doors closed in June after it submitted an eight-year renewal petition on Monday, and the Fulton County school superintendent recommended it be denied.

Charter Schools’ ‘Glaring Concerns’ Raised at Briefing
Honolulu Civil Beat, HI, December 19, 2011

Higa’s main findings — that the Charter School Review Panel fails to hold schools accountable for student performance, and that school operation fail to comply with state law and regulations — only underscore a legislative task force’s recent recommendations that the system needs an overhaul.

Woodland School District Fights Loss Of State Money To Charter
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 20, 2011

After losing most of its share of state money to Prairie Crossing Charter School, Woodland Community Consolidated School District 50 officials said the state should fund the school directly.

A Push to Have Students Factor Into Teacher Evaluations
Chicago News Cooperative, IL, December 20, 2011

The Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union opened negotiations earlier this month on a state-mandated requirement about what should–and should not–be included in teachers’ performance evaluations.

Charter-School Group Sues
The News-Sentinel, IN, December 20, 2011

An Indiana charter school association is suing Fort Wayne Community Schools after the district apparently ignored state orders to let a charter school use one of its vacant buildings.

Constitutional Prohibitions Are Clear
Journal Gazette, IN, December 20, 2011

Many taxpayers across Indiana are deeply concerned about the new voucher law that allows public taxes to pay for a religious education. About two-thirds of all students in Indiana meet income requirements for vouchers if their parents want to choose a sectarian school.

Reform Plan Flawed, IPS Says
Indianapolis Star, IN, December 20, 2011

Superintendent Eugene White said Monday that a plan put forward to overhaul Indianapolis Public Schools exaggerated the size of the district’s central office and failed to give the district credit for making strides in some of the areas criticized in the plan.

State OKs Marshall Academy
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN, December 20, 2011

The Indiana Charter School Board on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a new charter school proposed for the southeast side of Fort Wayne .

Proposed Springfield Charter Schools Get Mixed Reception From School Committee
The Republican, MA, December 19, 2011

Two proposed charter schools, including one affiliated with Baystate Health, have received a mixed reception from the School Committee, with several members claiming the schools could drain state dollars from the city’s public school system.

Group At Work To Create “Evaluation Tool” For Michigan Teachers
Michigan Public Radio, MI, December 19, 2011

Governor Snyder has tasked a group of five people to develop a so-called “teacher evaluation” tool as part of the state’s new teacher tenure law. The law contains a lot about teacher evaluation, but doesn’t detail what the evaluation would look like.

Low-Income Quota Eyed For St. Paul Schools
Star Tribune, MN, December 19, 2011

St. Paul schools should reserve 20 percent of seats at the most sought-after elementary and middle schools for students from high-poverty neighborhoods, an advisory committee said Monday.

Sponsor Pulls Plug On 2 Imagine Charter Schools In City
St. Louis Post Dispatch, MO, December 20, 2011

The sponsor of the six low-performing Imagine charter schools announced Monday that two will close at the end of the school year and four are on probation due to academic, financial and leadership failure.

Charters’ Spending Varies
Charlotte Observer, NC, December 20, 2011

Per-pupil spending among Mecklenburg-area charter schools varied widely last year, with a handful reporting that they spent significantly less in local money than Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools forwarded to them.

A Federal Bailout
News-Record, NC,December 20, 2011

Manning’s long-running assignment from the state Supreme Court is to oversee compliance with its Leandro decisions, which spelled out the right of every child to have access to a sound, basic education and established guidelines for meeting that test. One of those guidelines is that all children should start school with an opportunity to succeed.

Hope Falters: State Board Upholds Blount’s Charter Denial
Blount County Daily Times, TN, December 19, 2011

The Tennessee State Board of Education upheld Monday the Blount County Board of Education’s denial of a charter to HOPE (Hands-On, Progressive Education) Academy.

Senator Files Proposal To Amend Teacher Evaluation Process
Daily News Journal, TN, December 19, 2011

State Sen. Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) announced Monday that he has filed legislation to allow teachers and principals with superior value added growth data scores to choose to use those scores to comprise 50 percent or more of their evaluations.

Austin School Board Debates Contract To Bring Indistrict Charter Operator To East Austin Schools
Austin American Statesman, TX, December 19, 2011

Five hours into a specially called meeting, the Austin school board continued to wrestle with a proposal to hire a South Texas charter school operator to run two East Austin campuses.

School Board Votes Down Madison Prep
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, December 20, 2011

The Madison School Board voted early Tuesday morning against a charter school geared toward low-income minority students.

Why I Can’t Support Madison Prep
Wisconsin State Journal, WI, December 19, 2011

I want to explain why I cannot support the proposal for Madison Preparatory School as it currently is before the Madison School Board.

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Chicagoquest Charter School Turns Learning Into A Game
Chicago Tribune, IL, December 20, 2011

This reinvention of the typical urban middle school plays down rote memorization in favor of collaborative learning, critical thinking and imaginative exploration in an effort to change how students learn. ChicagoQuest teachers use digital technology and gaming to teach students how to think about systems and solve problems.

Education Commissioner To Decide Fate of Bluesky Charter School
Pioneer Press, MN, December 19, 2011

Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius will hear arguments Thursday and will soon decide the fate of the embattled BlueSky Online charter school the state has been investigating since 2009.

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