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Daily Headlines for May 28, 2013

NEWSWIRE IS BACK! Click here for the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.


Caution and the Common Core
New York Times, NY, May 28, 2013

The rigorous Common Core learning standards that have been adopted by 45 states represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the United States to improve public schools nationally, bringing math, science and literacy education up to levels achieved by high-performing nations abroad.

Some States Push Back Against New School Standards
Associated Press, May 28, 2013

Some states are pushing back against a set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math that have been fully adopted in most states and are being widely put in place this school year.



‘Miracle’ L.A. School Board Triumph: She Thought Of Her Students
Los Angeles Times, CA, May 27, 2013

‘Fifth-grade teacher’ was underdog candidate Monica Ratliff’s ballot designation. It resonated with voters, who propelled the 43-year-old to victory over heavily favored Antonio Sanchez.


New Magic Johnson Dropout Recovery Program Opens In Savannah
Savannah Morning News, GA, May 26, 2013

A new charter school program designed to get dropouts to graduate has opened in Savannah.


Legislation Requiring Younger Students To Attend Class Clears House
Southern Illinoisan, IL, May 28, 2013

Students would be required to start school sooner under a proposal endorsed by the Illinois House Monday.

How to Save UNO
Chicago Tribune, IL, May 28, 2013

The United Neighborhood Organization, one of the most influential community groups in Chicago and one of the largest charter school operators in the city, has been lurching through a crisis of its own making.


After Voucher Ruling, Online Course Plan Pared
The Advocate, LA, May 27, 2013

A state program to offer public school students online courses provided by colleges or private companies is being scaled back.


Middle-Class Parents Closely Watching Changes In Prince George’s Public Schools
Washington Post, DC, May 26, 2013

With Maryland’s second-largest school system poised for a leadership overhaul and a reconfigured school board next week, one of the major challenges facing County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) is how to convince the county’s middle class that his approach to fixing the schools will be successful enough to lure their children back into the public schools.

New Report Card System Frustrates Montgomery County Parents
Washington Post, DC, May 27, 2013

Montgomery County sent home a new elementary school report card this year, with ES as the top mark, officially representing “exceptional” work. But parent Chuck Thomas thinks there is a different meaning for ES. “Elusive Secret,” he said. “That is probably more accurate.”

School System May Override Charter’s Hiring Picks
Frederick News-Post, MD, May 28, 2013

Frederick County Public Schools officials may force a new charter school to hire teachers of the county’s choosing instead of the school’s preferred candidates, according to the school’s president.


Common Core Education Is Uncommonly Inadequate
Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2013

Unfortunately, Massachusetts dropped its own standards in 2010 to join 44 other states (and the District of Columbia) in adopting the flawed standards of the Common Core.

School Choice A Boon For Local Districts
Metro West Daily News, MA, May 26, 2013

With the cost to educate students steadily rising every year, several area school districts are utilizing School Choice funds to make improvements in their districts and avoid cuts to staff and programs.


Michelle Rhee’s Message Is Kids Come First, But Is Michigan’s?
Detroit Free Press, MI, May 26, 2013

Depending on whom you ask, Michelle Rhee is either the Joan of Arc of the education reform movement — a relentless warrior whose inspiration is divinely and exclusively about the kids — or the devil.


Perseverance At A Newark School Following Midyear Teacher Turnover
Hechinger Report, May 28, 2013

More than half the instructional staff of 66 was new in the fall at Quitman, a long-struggling school in Newark’s impoverished Central Ward.


Praise For Charter Schools
Albuquerque Journal, NM, May 28, 2013

There is an old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is the case, then charter schools in Albuquerque have a lot to be proud of.

Data Show Why N.M. Needs Education Reform
Albuquerque Journal, NM, May 25, 2013

Nationally, the education establishment has loved to hate the federal No Child Left Behind act since it was adopted in 2001. More than a decade later, the same attitude unfortunately applies to New Mexico implementing the necessary reforms to make NCLB’s rigid standards go away in favor of new ways to boost and measure student achievement.


Teacher Evaluations, Down The Rabbit Hole
New York Daily News, NY, May 26, 2013

The New York City public schools and the United Federation of Teachers have been locked for months in a battle over the design of a new teacher evaluation system. The main bones of contention: the role that student test score improvement, or lack thereof, will play in evaluating individual educators, and what the consequences of those evaluations will be.


Let’s Help Parents Open School Doors
Fayetteville Observer, NC, May 28, 2013

When it comes to who should be the ultimate decision maker and most accountable for a child’s education, the answer is not only obvious, but has been reaffirmed year after year: a strong majority of voters believe parents should ultimately have the decision-making power regarding how to best educate a child, according to a recent Survey USA poll. That’s accountability at its best.

Support Rural Charter Schools
Durham News, NC, May 27, 2013

Public charter schools in rural North Carolina present an opportunity for more school choice options and economic development in the state’s 85 rural counties.


Fresh Thinking For City Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 27, 2013

The headlines coming out of the School Reform Commission meeting a couple of weeks ago were predictable: five charter-school renewals approved, one denied; protesters urging the SRC to halt charter-school expansion; others decrying the closing of public schools. All this against the backdrop of another multimillion-dollar funding shortfall and the specter of a “doomsday” budget.

A Tough Sell For Tax Increases To Help Phila. Schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, May 26, 2013

Mayor Nutter and City Council are about to enter the backstretch of the budget season debating a menu of tax increases, offered to bail out the struggling schools, that are both unpopular and politically challenging.

Blame The Charter Schools
North Penn Reporter, PA, May 27, 2013

In response to a recent Sound Off attempting to explain how charter school funding will not impact the North Penn School District, the author’s theory sounded good in principle, but contains a flaw.

Pittsburgh Student Allowed To Transfer Schools For AP Courses
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, May 28, 2013

Policy provides students the opportunity to take advance classes elsewhere


Williamson County-Created Bill Gives Top-Rated Schools Flexibility
The Tennessean, TN, May 27, 2013

The next step in the implementation of the High Performing School Districts Flexibility Act — a bill drafted by Williamson County Schools to free Tennessee’s top-performing school districts from certain statewide mandates — is for Williamson and other such districts to formally declare their status.


Legislature Oks Bills Expanding Texas Charter Schools, Cutting High-Stakes Tests
Dallas Morning News, TX, May 26, 2013

Opening the door to a new wave of independent charter schools in Texas, the Legislature voted Sunday to gradually lift the longtime limit on the number of charter school operators in the state and to give the Texas Education Agency new authority to clean up troubled schools.

Logjam Breaks On Texas Education Reforms
Star-Telegram, TX, May 27, 2013

With just hours to spare, a political logjam that threatened to block Texas’ biggest education reform in years appeared to break late Sunday to allow its passage.

Charter School Bill Is Step In Right Direction
Austin American Statesman- TX, May 26, 2013

On May 17th, the Texas House passed Senate Bill 2, a massive charter-school reform bill that will, among other measures, increase the number of public, open-enrollment charter schools in the state by 10 per year, starting in 2014-2015.


Utah International Charter School Seeks Diverse Students For Inaugural Year
Deseret News, UT, May 27, 2013

For three years, advocates for education reform and underserved populations have been quietly plowing the ground for the Utah International Charter School.


Mom Launches Effort To Open A Charter School In Tacoma
KING 5, WA, May 27, 2013

Calyn Holdaway of Gig Harbor wants to open a charter school in Tacoma.
“I recognize that there is a lot of opposition and I am not afraid of that.” said Holdaway.


We Must Resist Private School Voucher Expansion
Sheboygan Press, WI, May 28, 2013

Voucher advocates mask their reasons for expansion with statements such as, “parents should have greater choice” or “we want reform from the status quo.” On the surface, it is difficult to argue against those premises, but if you peel back the voucher onion, there are many issues to make your eyes water.


Bill Would Revise Charter School Law
New Castle News, PA, May 28, 2013

A state lawmaker has proposed that all special education services for cyber school students be funneled through the state’s regional educational intermediate units.

School Districts Save Money Through Cyber School
The Sentinel, PA, May 27, 2013

In the constant battle to balance budgets, school district officials often identify one particular cost they believe should be addressed through reform — cyber school funding.

Online Learning Needs A Statewide Focus
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, May 26, 2013

Take for example the Virginia Virtual Academy. As a program of Carroll County Public Schools, the Virginia Virtual Academy offers Virginia students in grades K-8 an exceptional learning experience with individualized learning approaches online.

Charter Class Of Seniors
Augusta Chronicle, GA, May 27, 2013

Congratulations to the Class of 2013! “Lucky 13” is our first graduating class of seniors from Georgia Connections Academy, our state’s free public virtual charter school.

Georgia Parents, Students And Teachers Get Access To 70,000 Online Resources
Athens Banner-Herald, GA, May 27, 2013

The Internet age came a step closer to education in Georgia this month as the state put online its catalog of 135 digital courses and 20,000 instruction resources.

State Bans New Online Charter Schools For 1 Year
Chicago Tribune, IL, May 27, 2013

New law follows rejection by several school districts in western suburbs of nonprofit’s proposal for online program

Move Cautiously On Virtual Teaching
Mississippi Daily Journal, MS, May 27, 2013

More and more parents choose to home school their children. National statistics show the number of home schooled children grows about 7 percent each year.

Legislature OKs Expanding Virtual Course
My Fox FW, TX, May 28, 2013

The state Legislature has passed a wide-ranging overhaul of high school standardized testing and curriculum standards, while also dramatically increasing the number of charter schools in Texas.