Home » Newswire Weekly » Newswire: January 15, 2013

Newswire: January 15, 2013

Vol. 15, No. 2

OHIO’S ON IT. Thanks to Governor John Kasich and his state board of education, the Buckeye state is moving on substantive education reform, including a teacher evaluation program that ties performance to clear state standards. While it remains to be seen whether the implementation will be as strong as the policy adopted (an issue we’ve seen elsewhere), according to news reports, “by next school year, each teacher will be rated based on students’ academic growth, usually measured on standardized tests, and on how teachers do in the classroom observations.” Accountability for schools being measured on an A-F scale so it’s clear to parents, money being driven to the school level, and a focus on making sure the performance evaluations result in consequences are on policymakers’ agenda.

Additional states are considering making more substantive changes in evaluation for all school players — from students to adults — including North Carolina and Tennessee. Who else is taking a serious look at real accountability? Tell us here.

HELP DC STUDENTS. Only 17 shopping days left to get a DC Opportunity Scholarship! One of the many choices available to students in the District that are most in need and whose families might be considering a private school choice, the DC OSP has helped thousands get out of their failed schools, achieve in school and improve their lives. Politics, as usual, has plagued the program since it’s inception, which has resulted in many people in the community not knowing whether or not the program is even available to them! The organizers are now trying hard to reach out to the community to notify people that this scholarship exists. Help people you may reach in your work or community learn about this great opportunity.

MICHIGAN SUCCESS. A new study finds that Michigan Charter Schools Outperform Traditional Public School Students. This is from CREDO, and we’ve been very critical before about their data. After close analysis of their work in New Jersey and Michigan, CER concludes that the state level reports more closely approximate ‘good research’ and employ better use and understanding of data than their flawed national study. As we say in our statement today, “Where the approach and data used in CREDO’s national study remains flawed, we believe that the current methodology used in the Michigan and New Jersey studies is more sound, and more closely approximates the level of research expertise we should be using to judge charter school achievement. In these studies, it appears that more and better demographic and school level data were used to identify and compare individual students to their ‘traditional public school’ counterparts, providing a more realistic view of students, and therefore, more credible results.” Read the report here. Read the debate over the methodology here and here.

ADVOCACY DAY, 2013. If you’re in New York and support charter schools, you can do more than honk; you can join the literally tens of thousands of happy parents and successful students who the Charter Parents Action Network are taking to Albany to tell legislators what they need to know — the truth, not the bloggers fantasies — about having the power to transform their own children’s lives. To RSVP or to follow up with questions, call 212-437-8394 or go to nyccharterschools.org/advocacyday. If you’re not in New York, you may want to learn how they do this, and take it to your own capital, or find out who already does. Get active!

HELP A LEGISLATOR. Or help thousands. This month new and veteran lawmakers started getting organized for the annual rite of legislative passage — the legislative session. Most of these people are just like you and me — they live in homes or apartments, sleep in beds, drive cars, have kids or dogs or cats or problems or debts, and they have a few ideas and they decided to run for office, and won. So they now have a vote, and guess what? Most of them don’t know where to start to learn about how – and why — to make education reform part of their program this year. Let’s all help out a legislator. First, make sure they know how their states actually work with regard to online learning, school choice, charters, teacher evaluations etc. Their state is ranked on these and other measures. Help them get into the top ten! They may need model legislation or talking points. Use these here, or create your own. But call, visit, educate and push. You know the Blob is.

LOOKING GOOD FOR LOUISIANA. A preliminary review of the state’s voucher program looks good for parents and children who most need options. While the full court hearing has yet to occur, this week an “appellate court panel ruled that the state has a ‘strong likelihood’ of winning its appeal on those grounds and granted a stay of [the court’s initial] ruling, pending a final determination in the case.” The program has continued to operate and that the unions may suffer another blow to their well-funded, but poorly-contrived challenge to school choice. Let’s hope.