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Daily Headlines for February 13, 2014

Click here for Newswire, 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. 


11 Million $2,100 ‘Scholarships for Kids’: A Real Answer to Inequality
Opinion, National Review Online, February 12, 2014
On the same day that the president discussed income inequality during his State of the Union address, I introduced legislation that would allow $2,100 federal scholarships to follow 11 million low-income children to any public or private accredited school of their parents’ choice.

House Democrats to Duncan: States are backsliding on help for low achievers
Washington Post, DC, February 12, 2014
House Democratic leaders are worried that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is not doing enough to hold states accountable for educating public school students who are low-income, minority, disabled or English-language learners.

The Pleasures Of ‘Teaching To the Test’
Opinion, Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2014
Is standardized testing anti-student? Many educators and commentators believe so, vehemently. No more “drill and kill,” some detractors demand. Kids are not robots goes another refrain.



State votes unanimously for takeover of Selma City School system
WSFA, AL, February 12, 2014
An intervention! The Alabama State Department of Education’s Board of Education voted unanimously to takeover the Selma City School district.


Huppenthal under fire for backing tax dollars to private schools
Arizona Daily Star, AZ, February 13, 2014
The state public schools chief is defending his effort to persuade parents to use tax money to send their children to private and parochial schools.


House panel moves school ‘voucher’ amendment, but fewer than half urge passage
Anchorage Daily News, AK, February 12, 2014
The proposed constitutional amendment allowing public funds to go to religious and private schools moved out of the House Education Committee on Friday, but fewer than half the committee members recommended the measure pass the House.


Stop Talking About the ‘Achievement Gap’
Opinion, Voice of San Diego, CA, February 12, 2014
San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten plans to take some bold steps to eliminate the achievement gap. Implied in her plan: She understands it’s time to rethink the “achievement gap” altogether.

Whirled class
Sacramento News & Review, CA, February 13, 2014
Sacramento city schools keep losing students and funding as teacher-contract negotiations kick off


Bill to delay new education standards heading to Senate committee Wednesday
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO, February 12, 2014
Leaders of two Colorado Springs charter schools came to the state Capitol Wednesday requesting lawmakers support a bill that would postpone implementation of new education standards and testing for a year.

Colorado Springs school could become apartments for charter school teachers
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO, February 12, 2014
The old Lincoln Elementary School at 2727 N. Cascade Ave. won’t become a hub for philanthropic work but it will be turned into housing for teachers of Atlas Preparatory School.

Denver Public Schools expands teacher leadership program
The Denver Post, CO, February 13, 2014
Denver Public Schools is tripling the size of a leadership program that boosts pay for teachers who serve as coaches and mentors to other educators.


Florida among leaders in charter school growth, shrinkage
Tampa Bay Times Blog, FL, February 12, 2014
One of the benefits that advocates attribute to charter schools is that they only last as long as they’re relevant. If parents aren’t satisfied with the schools, or if they don’t meet set standards, they don’t stick around.

Local leaders take issue with state proposal to simplify school grades
Tampa Bay Times, FL, February 12, 2014
School grades wield extraordinary influence over the perception and operation of schools across Florida. An A can cause a celebration, while a scarlet F can lead to a school closing. And while many agree that repeated tweaks to the grading system have created a flawed formula, local education officials said Wednesday that a state proposal to fix it falls short.

Panelist highlight school choice issues in spirited debate
South Florida Times, FL, February 12, 2014
It’s an increasingly common refrain: school choice is an extension of the civil rights movement. But two of the choice movement’s elder statesmen took exception to that description at a National School Choice Week event on Jan. 30.


Marietta School Board considering new immersion school
Marietta Daily Journal, GA, February 13, 2014
The Marietta City School Board is considering allowing for a new charter school to be built on Franklin Road, opening in fall 2015.


What Does it Take to Run a School District?
Honolulu Civil Beat, HI, February 13, 2014
A proposal to raise the cap on the Hawaii Department of Education superintendent’s salary by $100,000 has garnered support from key players ranging from school board members to local education advocacy groups.


Don’t slash teachers’ pensions
Opinion, Chicago Tribune, IL, February 13, 2014
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton wrote in the Chicago Tribune on Monday that the Chicago Teachers Union pension fund faces “a real crisis” because state law requires a $613 million payment to the fund by June 30, and the law caps Chicago Public Schools’ ability to raise property taxes.


School-Voucher Groups Declaring Victory, But Not Going Home
WIBC, IN, February 12, 2014
With Indiana’s private-school voucher and charter-school programs firmly established, school-choice advocates are turning their attention to other issues.


Lafayette school leaders seek help from legislators
The Advocate, LA, February 12, 2014
Lafayette Parish school system leaders asked local legislators Wednesday for help in the upcoming session to clear the way to expand preschool education and student health services and to address keeping local tax revenue that will go to three charter schools dedicated to their original purposes.


Town officials join anti-school choice cabal
Cape Cod Today, MA, February 12, 2014
The situation appears to be fueling the increased tensions between traditional public schools and charter schools


Bill to authorize EAA to operate 50 schools in House; no vote scheduled
Detroit News, MI, February 12, 2014
The Education Achievement Authority would become a freestanding school district and be authorized to operate up to 50 academically troubled schools across the state under a newly amended bill that surfaced in the House this week.


House derails failing-schools district
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS, February 13, 2014
The House on Wednesday killed a move to create a separate, statewide school district for failing schools, amid concerns over loss of local control, taxes and expansion of charter schools.


NJ State Board of Education backs Common Core standards, again
Star-Ledger, NJ, February 12, 2014
The New Jersey State Board of Education passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to the Common Core curriculum standards at its monthly meeting this afternoon in Trenton.

School districts face challenges implementing new teacher evaluation process
Courier-Post, NJ, February 13, 2014
The change is designed to increase teacher accountability and improve the performance of New Jersey schools and students, officials say. Some districts are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement the program. Teacher tenure and job security also can depend on the results.


State school board is step backward
Opinion, Albuquerque Journal, NM, February 13, 2014
We are writing in response to a guest column that appeared in the Sunday Journal supporting passage of a constitutional amendment to eliminate the secretary of education and return to a state Board of Education.


Making Charter School Kids
Video Opinion, Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2014
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Stephen Eide on why forcing New York City charter schools to pay rent will impact educational outcomes. Photo credit: Associated Press.

Relationship with schools questioned
Albany Times-Union, NY, February 13, 2014
For the fourth time since October, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is saying the financial relationship between the nonprofit Brighter Choice Foundation and two city charter schools it supports is too murky.


Guilford tenure dispute may be decided in court
Greensboro News & Record, NC, February 13, 2014
Guilford County school board members say a new law abolishing teacher tenure violates constitutional rights.

School hopes for voucher onslaught
Winston Salem Chronicle, NC, February 12, 2014
As the debate about the viability, fairness and effectiveness of a state-supported school voucher plan rages, at least one local private school is preparing to welcome what it hopes will be an influx of new students.


Yost examining three charter-school sponsors
Columbus Dispatch, OH, February 13, 2014
State Auditor Dave Yost is investigating three charter-school sponsors, including two that oversaw schools that spent millions and then abruptly closed last fall. It’s the first time the state has examined charter sponsors.


Superintendent Janet Barresi urges lawmakers to raise teacher pay, ease shortages
Tulsa World, OK, February 13, 2014
State Superintendent Janet Barresi is urging state legislators to approve several bills that would raise teacher salaries and remedy teacher shortages.


Change sends school in a new direction
Register Guard, OR, February 13, 2014
He enrolled two years ago at Kalapuya High School, a small alternative school in west Eugene’s Bethel School District for students who struggle in the traditional high school setting.

Portland Public Schools accuses teachers union of illegal strike
Oregonian, OR, February 13, 2014
If teachers go on strike next week, will class size be one of the reasons? The question matters because state law lists issues that unions and employers are allowed to bargain over. Employees can strike over only some of those issues.


Disappointed but not deterred
Letter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, February 12, 2014
Recently, the Homewood Children’s Village was disappointed with the recommendation by Pittsburgh Public Schools administration to deny approval for our charter school application, but we are not deterred.

Schools: Why the runaround on turnarounds?
Opinion, Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, February 13, 2014
AMID extensive coverage of the very real challenges facing our public schools, we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s actually working. Right now, outstanding educators are working closely with families of all backgrounds to transform Philadelphia’s lowest performing schools into some of the best schools in the city. Yet, not enough people are talking about Renaissance schools.


Free and equal education – public or private?
Column, Winona Daily News, WI, February 13, 2014
Wisconsin is struggling with a process of redefining the basic principles of “public education” in their state. This same struggle is coming to a state near you – and soon.


Digital classrooms
Editorial, Baltimore Sun, MD, February 11, 2014
Our view: Baltimore County is gambling laptops and iPads will revolutionize classroom instruction, but the technology has yet to be proven to raise student achievement

Franklin Regional to offer unlimited online classes through Learning Academy
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, February 13, 2014
Learning doesn’t have to be confined to the four walls of a school – at least not at Franklin Regional.

Legislators back moratorium on Maine virtual charter schools
Bangor Daily News, ME, February 12, 2014
The Legislature’s Education Committee on Wednesday kicked off what is sure to be a spirited debate about virtual charter schools when its members voted 11-2 in favor of a bill that would place a moratorium on the approval of virtual charter schools while the state attempts to create its own.

Program offers school without the schoolhouse
Muscatine Journal, IA, February 12, 2014
It’s no secret that technology has changed the way we educate students, but what isn’t as widely known is the existence of virtual public schools — schools that swap the bricks and mortar of traditional education for a mouse and keyboard.

The flip side of learning: New method lets teachers give students more attention
Kansas City Star, MO, February 12, 2014
In Burkett’s “flipped” classroom, these Olathe South High School students burrow back into what, in a typical classroom, would be their “homework.” Instead of plying away at problems alone at home, they are working together, sharing ideas, team-solving at times. And Burkett ranges around the room dropping in to help groups and individuals who are stumped.

YUHSD board approves expansion of online school
Yuma Sun, AZ, February 13, 2014
The Yuma Union High School District voted to expand their online school to K-8 students at a board meeting Wednesday.