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Daily Headlines for February 28, 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. 

NATIONAL COVERAGE

School districts look at extended school days, years
USA Today, February 26, 2014
Arranged to include frequent, shorter breaks, year-round calendars could help reduce “summer slide” — the loss of knowledge in the summer that disproportionately affects low-income students.

Teachers Wish More People Would Listen to Them
The Atlantic, February 27, 2014
A new survey asked 20,000 teachers for their views on everything from educational technology to teacher evaluations.

Who Sends Their Kids to Charter Schools?
Pacific Standard Magazine, OR, February 27, 2014
“It’s actually a little bit difficult to talk about because I’m very resentful,” says Mari Mejor, who met with me at a Portland coffee shop to talk about her experiences at Trillium Charter School, which she attended the first two years after it opened.

STATE COVERAGE

CALIFORNIA

Charter schools aren’t necessarily more effective
Letter, Los Angeles Times, CA, February 27, 2014
Re “Teacher tenure comes at expense of children’s education” (Commentary, Feb. 21): Richard Riordan’s and Tim Rutten’s praise of how much better charter schools are than traditional public schools is misleading.

COLORADO

Charter school OK’d, with conditions
Cortez Journal, CO, February 27, 2014
A reluctant Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 school board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a local charter school application, pending four provisions.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Henderson faces D.C. Council questions about achievement gap, middle schools
Washington Post, DC, February 27, 2014
D.C. Council member David A. Catania recited a litany of data Thursday to illustrate the city’s large and persistent student achievement gaps, using an annual oversight hearing for the school system to ask whether officials are moving quickly enough to improve outcomes for poor and minority children.

Should we fix schools by fixing poverty or fixing teaching?
Washington Post Blog, DC, February 27, 2014
Turnaround for Children aims to improve low-performing schools by addressing the effects of poverty both inside and outside the classroom. This year the organization is working in five DCPS schools and hopes that the school system will incorporate its approach on a broader scale in the future.

FLORIDA

Twin Bills in Florida Legislature Attempt to Halt Common Core
Sunshine State News, FL, February 28, 2014
The State Board of Education may have unanimously passed nearly 100 proposed changes to Common Core State Standards last week, but Florida legislators in both chambers have bills that would stop the implementation of the new standards entirely.

Two Steps Back for Modernizing the Teaching Profession in Florida
Huffington Post, February 27, 2014
The growing national movement to elevate the teaching profession had the rug pulled out from under it this week when Florida released a portion of individual teachers’ performance evaluations to the public as a result of a lawsuit filed by a newspaper. As an educator and an education advocate, we are appalled and find this to be degrading to teachers and the teaching profession.

Vote no on MacDill charter school
Editorial, Tampa Bay Times, FL, February 27, 2014
At every stop so far, the proposal for a charter school at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base has been rejected. But organizers now are appealing to the state Board of Education, and why not?

GEORGIA

Georgia House passes several bills to help charter schools
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, February 28, 2014
Getting the money to start a charter school in Georgia could be a bit easier if a bill recently passed by the Georgia House of Representatives becomes law.

Let teachers lead reform
Column, Savannah Morning News, GA, February 27, 2014
What’s the difference between an innovation and a fad? Don’t ask America’s education policymakers, because they don’t know. For the answer, you’ll need to look much closer to home.

ILLINOIS

CPS warns employees on testing
Chicago Tribune, IL, February 27, 2014
With a group of parents and some teachers threatening to boycott a state assessment test students are supposed to be given starting Monday, Chicago Public Schools warned principals that employees could face disciplinary action if they interfere with the testing process.

Lawndale should welcome Legacy charter school
Editorial, Chicago Tribune, IL, February 27, 2014
Over the past nine years, Legacy Charter has attracted more and more students to its Lawndale campus. No wonder. Legacy offers a challenging college prep curriculum, teachers who engage students and a reputation for success.

Rock River Valley charter schools see success
Rockford Register Star, IL, February 27, 2014
ROCKFORD – It is a celebratory time for Rockford’s three charter schools. Two are coming up on the renewal of their charter certificates, and two are enjoying expanded facilities after moving into abandoned public schools.

INDIANA

House votes to void Common Core
The Journal Gazette, IN, February 28, 2014
The Indiana House voted 67-26 Thursday to void the Common Core academic standards for the state’s schoolchildren.

MASSACHUSETTS

New Worcester Teacher Evaluations Turn Focus on Student Progress
GoLocal Worcester, MA, February 28, 2014
The latest discussion in judging teacher performance in the state of Massachusetts revolves around so-called “district-determined measures” that evaluate student progress.

School Choice: Is it worth it for Frontier?
The Recorder, MA, February 28, 2014
Since the early 1990s, Frontier Regional School and its feeder schools have allowed out-of-town students to enroll. But now, school leaders are questioning whether participating in the School Choice program is really cost effective.

MICHIGAN

Michigan’s 4-year high school graduation rate rises to nearly 77%
Detroit News, MI, February 28, 2014
Graduation rates in Michigan are increasing, with the statewide four-year graduation rate for the high school class of 2013 reaching 76.96 percent, up 0.7 percentage points from 2012, according to the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information.

MISSOURI

School Officials Speak Out On CEI Tax Credits Proposal
The Missourian, MO, February 27, 2014
Local Catholic school officials are excited about the Children’s Education Initiative (CEI) and how it could benefit students in both private and public schools.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Majority of Nashua school board members back Nashua Teachers Union, support delay of new assessment test
Nashua Telegraph, NH, February 28, 2014
A majority of the members of the Board of Education are supporting a waiver that would allow the city to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the exam being rolled out next year to support new Common Core education standards.

NEW JERSEY

Evaluate teachers, not children’s parents
Editorial, Asbury Park Press, NJ, February 27, 2014
Everyone agrees that parental involvement is an important element in a child’s educational success. Parents asking to see homework and checking up on posted test scores online help keep kids on their toes.

NJ Senate approves school closing bill prompted by Newark school reorganization
Star-Ledger, NJ, February 27, 2014
The state Senate approved two measures today prompted by changes proposed by Newark School Superintendent Cami Anderson, including a bill requiring the local school board to approve any school closing.

NEW YORK

Bill slams Eva’s kids
Editorial, New York Daily News, NY, February 28, 2014
After painting charter schools as alien to public education, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña Thursday issued their first serious salvo against the independently run public schools.

Cheating poor kids by choking charters
Opinion, New York Post, NY, February 28, 2014
By unilaterally reversing co-location for several charter schools, including one that has existed since 2008, Mayor de Blasio just snatched the building blocks of upward social mobility from the hands of underprivileged children.

David Bloomfield: Charter school decisions aren’t payback, but good policy
Opinion, New York Daily News, NY, February 28, 2014
People will raise eyebrows that all three of the rejected charter proposals are sponsored by Success Academy. But each had obvious weaknesses: two are elementary schools that would have been housed with large high schools; the other would have resulted in classrooms split between two buildings.

De Blasio Seeks to Halt 3 Charter Schools From
New York Times, NY, February 28, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio, seeking to curb the influence of outside providers of education, said on Thursday that he would block three charter schools from using space inside New York City public school buildings.

New York Mayor’s Charter School Decisions Anger Both Sides
Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2014
City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday reversed plans to allow three charter schools to open in city buildings, though he said he would allow more than a dozen other charter schools to open in Department of Education space, in the most significant education policy decision to date from the new administration.

Sorry state of schools means proposal to take over district must be explored
Opinion, Buffalo News, NY, February 28, 2014
Mayor Byron W. Brown has made his strongest statements to date about the possibility of taking over the city’s troubled school district. It’s about time.

NORTH CAROLINA

University City charter school Carolina STEM Academy to focus on hard sciences
Charlotte Observer, NC, February 28, 2014
In fall, University City will become home to the Charlotte region’s first charter school specializing in science, technology, engineering and math, intended exclusively for high school students.

What next for proponents of education choice?
Editorial, Burlington Times News, NC, February 28, 2014
A Wake County judge last week blocked private school tuition grants — what state lawmakers called “Opportunity Scholarships” when the General Assembly approved the program last year.

PENNSYLVANIA

Allentown School Board rejects two proposed charters
The Morning Call, PA, February 27, 2014
The Allentown School Board rejected two proposed charter schools Thursday, saying neither application had a strong enough curriculum to pass muster under charter school law.

At Easton hearing, Pennsylvania official hears calls for tougher charter school scrutiny
Lehigh Valley Express-News, PA, February 27, 2014
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is done waiting for Harrisburg to tackle charter school reform.

School officials discuss charter problems with auditor general
The Morning Call, PA, February 27, 2014
By the letter and spirit of the law, Pennsylvania charter schools are intended to work in collaboration with school districts, experimenting with new ideas and sharing innovative concepts that are proven to produce positive results.

TENNESSEE

For-profit charters remain a nonstarter
Editorial, The Tennessean, TN, February 28, 2014
It’s very disheartening to see the way so much of the legislation that is introduced in the General Assembly this year shows little thought for the implications of the bill’s actions. This is especially egregious when it is legislation affecting the education of Tennessee’s children.

Nashville schools scrap pay tied to teacher evaluations
WBIR, TN, February 27, 2014
Perhaps sensing a backlash from teachers, Metro Nashville Public Schools has abruptly scrapped a preliminary pay plan that would have tied their salaries to scores on state-mandated evaluations.

UTAH

Bill gives enrollment preference to grandchildren of charter school founders
Deseret News, UT, February 27, 2014
Both chambers of the Utah Legislature have passed a bill that allows the grandchildren of a charter school’s founder to enroll in that school without participating in an enrollment lottery.

Lawmakers reject bill granting tax credit to home-school parents
Deseret News, UT, February 27, 2014
Lawmakers Thursday narrowly rejected a proposal to grant $500 in tax credits to parents who home-school their children.

VIRGINIA

Educators share ideas for expanding magnet schools
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, February 27, 2014
The theory of expanded and possibly even regional magnet schools sounded great, and the research to back it up looked even better.

WISCONSIN

New London changes charter school designation
Appleton Post Crescent, WI, February 27, 2014
The School of Enterprise Marketing will no longer be a charter school at New London High School, but rather a project-based learning program available to all students.

We need voucher-school accountability now
Appleton Post Crescent, WI, February 27, 2014
Wisconsin residents were promised, when the 2013-15 budget was passed in June, that voucher schools would be held to the same accountability standards as public schools.

WYOMING

Anti-Common Core bill is misguided
Editorial, Wyoming News, WY, February 27, 2014
The issue: A House committee last week approved House Bill 97. It would toss away the Common Core Standards.

ONLINE LEARNING

Brandon School District offers online classes at high school
Macomb Daily, MI, February 27, 2014
When the Brandon School District opened a virtual school this year, the decision was made to dedicate a computer lab where students could take online classes during the regular school day.

Greenfield school board to talk virtual school, superintendent transition
Greenfield Record, MA, February 28, 2014
The Greenfield School Committee has called a special meeting tonight to consider what administrative services to sell to the town’s independent cyber school and to discuss plans for its superintendent transition. The Greenfield School Committee has called a special meeting tonight to consider what administrative services to sell to the town’s independent cyber school and to discuss plans for its superintendent transition.

Jeffco Virtual Academy offering online school to K-6 for 2014-15
Denver Post, CO, February 27, 2014
Jefferson County Public Schools’ 21st Century Virtual Academy is offering its online learning courses for kindergarten through sixth grade for the first time beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

Mixed marks for Farmington’s flexible learning days
Farmington Independent, MN, February 27, 2014
Farmington’s first digital learning day wasn’t without its bumps and false starts. But the stay-at-home make-up day on President’s Day went well enough that snow days filled with game shows and video games are likely a thing of the past in the district.

State-run virtual school better choice for Maine
Editorial, Portland Press Herald, ME, February 28, 2014
Putting for-profit academies on hold allows time to design a system that puts students first.

Virtual school classes could give students more options
Aiken Standard, SC, February 27, 2014
Virtual school programs have been around for many years in various forms – but nothing quite like the initiative proposed by Aiken County School District administrators.