Home » Newswire Weekly » Newswire: December 13, 2011

Newswire: December 13, 2011

Vol. 13, No. 49
December 13, 2011

20 PEOPLE A RALLY IS NOT. The Garden State Virtual Charter School, a proposal by New Jersey residents looking to provide more personalized learning for their children, was attacked by educrats and denizens in their little hamlet of Teaneck and beyond, for trying to do something, well, different. They lied about the school’s impact, packed backpacks with propaganda and then filed a lawsuit to block the charter. Then they attempted to rally to ensure that Gov Christie heard the woes of all the people against the charter. But their roar turned into a squeak when a mere 20, that’s right two-oh, showed up to protest. It would be laughable if not for the misinformation about virtual and charter schools tossed about by this small group of malcontents. And, in the end, these malcontents were given a win, as the New Jersey Department of Education rejected the application; no doubt a political move aimed at calming suburban discontent. So much for all the talk, Guvner.

NEW JERSEY ZERO, MICHIGAN SCORES. Digital Learning Now! produced a digital report card that puts our friends in the Wolverine state ahead of the class. The Michigan Virtual School tops the nation in digital access and personalized learning. The state also is the first in the nation to require high school students to take an online course. Learning online is the wave, not of the future, but of today. Hopefully, Teaneck will take a page out of Michigan’s virtual book.

IN THE KNOW WITH D.C. CHARTERS. Performance-based accountability is the hallmark of charter schools, we’ve long said. Here’s another great example. The D.C. Public Charter School Board just released the results of its new assessment system and ranking of its public charter schools. Schools are assessed on numerous criteria including targets met and missed, student growth in reading and math, school mission and personnel. Schools also are grouped into three tiers, with Tier I (22 schools) being the top schools and Tier III (15) needing the most help. Thirty-four campuses made it to Tier II. While Tier 1 schools win exemption from further in-depth monitoring by charter board staff, their Tier III counterparts will get more eyes on campus, with the possibility of closing weighed in the balance.

INDIANA’S BEST INNOVATION 2011: Politico features the opinions of many movers and shakers on the Best Policy Innovations 2011 and CER’s Jeanne Allen’s pick was profiled in the publication. Her top innovator is Indiana’s sweeping enactment of a meaningful education reform agenda. From expansion of charter schools and broad eligibility for vouchers to limiting the scope of collective bargaining and performance pay tied to student achievement, Indiana is way ahead of other states when it comes to offering families and students top-notch education options.

HOW HARD IS IT… really, to do a balanced job of reporting on online learning? Apparently, the NY Times finds it a tremendous challenge. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter does a hatchet job on for-profit online learning company, providing only worse-case scenarios. Investigative journalism means you investigate…both sides of an issue. Check out Edspresso’s Jeanne Allen who “counts the ways” the NY Times piece went wrong.

JOE Joe. We ask you to join us in offering love, prayers and grateful appreciation for a man who understood school failure first hand, but overcame it to become a world-renowned business leader, and yet despite his success, his elite status, he put his social, human, financial and political capital into saving children in the District schools — and literally through his medical contributions. Joe Robert created and saved DC school choice, contributed to hundreds of programs like that one, and dared to challenge anyone who’d suggest that all children shouldn’t have the same options. A true philanthropist and good soul. He died last week. He will be missed. Would that we all learn from his example and put politics aside in the pursuit of great opportunities for all children. Thank you, Joe.

ARE YOU IN? Heads up for National School Choice Week coming your way 22-28 January 2012.