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Daily Headlines for March 3, 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

Calling Arne Duncan
Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2014
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio carried through this week on one of his campaign’s “progressive” promises: his assault on charter schools. Mr. de Blasio announced that he would not allow Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy to open three new charter schools that had been approved by previous Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Bill would lift Alabama Accountability Act tax credit cap
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, March 2, 2014
The Alabama Accountability Act, whose passage and provisions engulfed lawmakers last year, is back for the stretch run of the 2014 legislative session.

Legislation that would change criteria used to lay off teachers hotly debated
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, March 2, 2014
Meadows spoke at a public hearing last Wednesday to support legislation that would no longer allow school boards in Alabama to use seniority as the primary factor in determining which teachers to cut when there are budget reductions or drops in student enrollment.

COLORADO

Documenting Colorado teacher effectiveness: How much is enough?
Denver Post, CO, March 2, 2014
Requirements for such evidence differ widely among districts — from those that demand just a few artifacts to those that expect teachers to mount an extensive case proving their effectiveness. Most districts use the state evaluation model advanced by the Colorado Department of Education, which grades teachers on 27 separate elements.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. mulling Common Core test switch
Washington Post, DC, March 3, 2014
The District is slated to begin administering new tests next year that aim to gauge students’ performance on the Common Core State Standards, new national academic guidelines that are designed to promote critical thinking instead of rote memorization.

Fla. considers best way to implement ed reforms
Washington Times, DC, March 1, 2014
Sweeping changes the Florida Legislature has made to education in recent years are likely to come to the forefront again during the upcoming session as lawmakers grapple with their implementation.

Nonpublic schools to rally for tax credit
Washington Post, DC, March 3, 2014
Maryland’s nonpublic schools are pushing for a business tax credit to encourage investments in schools.

FLORIDA

Ensure school choice leads to advancement: Editorial
Editorial, Orlando Sentinel, FL, March 1, 2014
It’s an educational fix long overdue. So give Florida Senate President Don Gaetz credit for insisting that private schools that receive state-supported vouchers administer the same accountability tests as their public-school counterparts.

Palm Beach County district foots bills for its students to take SAT for free, charter schools decline to pay
Palm Beach Post, FL, March 3, 2014
Thousands of juniors at public high schools run by Palm Beach County got to take their SATs at school for free this past Tuesday, with the school district picking up the tab.

Southwest Florida schools compete for good teachers
News-Press, FL, March 2, 2014
Finding teachers has become a complicated and competitive task for school districts. It’s become difficult to fill classrooms. Enrollment is growing at a rapid pace for Southwest Florida schools and many teachers are leaving the profession after just a few years. There aren’t enough education majors graduating from local colleges and the competition to employ those students is steep.

GEORGIA

Will charter schools work in Cobb?
Marietta Journal, GA, March 3, 2014
Being a charter school takes work. And not just on the part of the students, teachers and administrators.

LOUISIANA

Education plans could create a volatile mix
The Advocate, LA, March 3, 2014
While Common Core is expected to dominate legislative education debates, battles are shaping up on teacher tenure, educator job evaluations and an overhaul of Louisiana’s public-school leadership.

MASSACHUSETTS

Charting a pathway to stability in Lenox
Opinion, Berkshire Eagle, MA, March 3, 2014
The School Department’s strategic study committee is doubling down on charting pathways to financial stability for the district, zeroing in on the future of school choice.

Charter school, flooded with applicants, to hold lottery
Lowell Sun, MA, March 2, 2014
More than 300 families have submitted applications for their children to attend the Lowell Community Charter Public School in fall 2014. In January, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education granted an amendment to LCCPS’ charter allowing the school to become a K-8 school.

Global Learning Charter School determined to remove probation stigma
South Coast Today, MA, March 2, 2014
Across Massachusetts, there are 81 charter schools and over the past decade, nine of them have been placed on probation, state education officials said.

MICHIGAN

Suit seeks to prevent action against Novi teacher who refused to pay union dues
Detroit News, MI, March 3, 2014
The legal arm of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has filed a lawsuit to prevent the state’s largest education union from using a collection agency against a Novi teacher who refused to pay her union dues.

MINNESOTA

Education committee weighs charter school bills
Daily Planet, MN, February 28, 2014
Two charter school bills have been set aside for possible inclusion into an omnibus education bill. However, Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul), chair of the House Education Policy Committee, deemed one more problematic than the other.

MISSOURI

Alternative Education Center offers help to students with problems
Southeast Missourian, MO, March 3, 2014
Students who attend the Alternative Education Center usually wind up there because of several factors — attendance, behavior and academic performance. But once they’re there, principal Scott McMullen says, they want to stay.

NEW JERSEY

Moment of truth for Newark school reform
Editorial, Star Leger, NJ, March 1, 2014
The political meltdown in Newark over school reform has reached an alarming stage and now threatens to derail the entire effort.

School choice cannot survive on altruism alone
Editorial, The Record, NJ, March 3, 2014
We understand Pequannock officials’ exasperation that the additional aid they expected when they participated in the state’s School Choice Program was being offset with a reduction elsewhere, for ostensibly a net gain of zero.

NEW YORK

Charter schools axed by Mayor de Blasio: pro and con
New York Daily News, NY, March 2, 2014
De Blasio announced Thursday he was axing three planned charter schools operated by Success Academy, and charter school advocates plan to march in Albany to protest that move. A charter school principal argues de Blasio is working against kids’ education and safety. A Queens councilman responds that Success Academy’s CEO is using kids as pawns in her effort to privatize public schools and get rich.

City Details After-School Expansion
Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to double the number of middle-school students in after-school programs would provide more than 95,000 slots in a total of 512 schools, according to a report to be released by city officials Monday.

Find these kids a home
Opinion, New York Daily News, NY, March 3, 2014
With the New York City school system serving more than 1 million students in hundreds of buildings, it defies belief that Mayor de Blasio cannot find room for the 210 children whose charter school in Harlem he is shuttering.

Senate GOP leader vows to fight for city’s charter schools
New York Post, NY, March 3, 2014
Charter schools under assault by Mayor de Blasio have found a political champion: state Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos.

NORTH CAROLINA

A good start on teacher pay, marred by politics as usual
Gaston Gazette, NC, March 1, 2014
Imagine this headline: “Democrats, public school ‘advocates’ oppose raising teacher pay.” Now that would be news. If it were true. It isn’t.

Black children stand to benefit from vouchers
Column, Fayetteville Observer, NC, March 2, 2014
North Carolina Democrats want to trap poor black children in low-performing schools. Their main opposition to a school-voucher plan, I suspect, centers on concerns about racial balance. However, underprivileged African-American children stand to gain the most from the Republican-endorsed private school tuition grants, and we all know it.

School choice is the new norm in North Carolina education
Fayetteville Observer, NC, March 2, 2014
The education landscape has changed in North Carolina over the past several years, which has given parents more school options for their children.

OHIO

Hit on charters was full of untruths
Letter, Columbus Dispatch, OH, March 1, 2014
I respond to Anita Beck’s letter to the editor last Saturday (“What took Yost so long to look at charters?”). It included so many unsubstantiated claims — and a clear disdain for all charter schools — that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

PENNSYLVANIA

Phila. district has covered $1.1M in 12 charters’ pension payments
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 3, 2014
When city charter schools don’t pay the state teachers’ pension system, the Philadelphia School District temporarily picks up the tab.

TENNESSEE

School board member asks for investigation of complaints at Nashville Prep charter school
The Tennessean, TN, February 28, 2014
Allegations paint the middle school’s culture as authoritative, inflexible and uniform — a climate Frogge called emblematic of a “no excuses” charter school model that she contends isn’t appropriate for young children.

TEXAS

New Texas graduation requirements are a change for the better
Dallas Morning News Blog, TX, March 2, 2014
One could argue the decision the state education board passed with new graduation requirements is not the best thing for high schools; however, if you set aside the mentality that everyone should go to college or that everyone should take Algebra II, the new graduation plan is a good thing for our state.

UTAH

Malodorous deals
Editorial, Salt Lake Tribune, UT, March 1, 2014
There is so much wrong with the way some Utah charter and district schools are siphoning tax money and their responsibility to educate children to private online providers, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

WASHINGTON

Less lecturing, more doing: New approach for A.P. classes
Seattle Times, WA, March 1, 2014
In an attempt to add depth to the curriculum in America’s most popular advanced high-school courses, some local teachers threw out most of their lectures and replaced them with a series of projects. Results so far are encouraging.

ONLINE LEARNING

Beaufort County schools look to grow ‘flipped’ classroom model
Island Packet, SC, March 2, 2014
Several teachers in Beaufort County schools are flipping education on its head. The traditional model of students listening to a lecture in class and doing homework at home is a thing of the past, said Hilton Head Island Elementary School teacher Mary Baker.

City, suburban schools grappling with common problem
Philadelphia Daily News, PA, March 2, 2014
ROUGHLY 15 miles apart, Overbrook High and Upper Dublin High are geographically close – but the two schools are virtually worlds apart when it comes to their academic realities.

Computers, Internet force more students to spend snow days on school work
Baltimore Sun, MD, March 3, 2014
When some kids hear the hallowed words “snow day” in advance of Monday’s storm, they’ll grab their coats and sleds and head outdoors. But Maryvale Preparatory School senior Elizabeth Piet, like a growing number of students across the Baltimore region, will power up her iPad to see what assignments her teachers have waiting.

Cyber School Not a Fix for Snow Days
Opinion, Arkansas Business, AK, March 3, 2014
Students may love nothing more than a snow day. Who wouldn’t want to stay home, maybe go sledding at the neighborhood park and sit around watching TV all day?

Decision day for three thorny charter school applications in Maine
Portland Press Herald, ME, March 3, 2014
A commission will vote on bids to open the state’s first virtual academies, and one with Turkey ties in the Lewiston area.

E-days might come to replace snow days
Connecticut Post, CT, March 2, 2014
Snow days are piling up this school year in Connecticut, and weekend forecasts said Monday might be another one, which would mean further mayhem for school calendars.

New All-Digital Curriculums Hope to Ride High-Tech Push in Schoolrooms
New York Times, NY, March 3, 2014
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio carried through this week on one of his campaign’s “progressive” promises: his assault on charter schools. Mr. de Blasio announced that he would not allow Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy to open three new charter schools that had been approved by previous Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Online classes multiply in state
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, March 2, 2014
Nicole Rizzitano practices pirouettes at ballet school in Seattle, but she expects to graduate 2,500 miles away in May from the North Hills School District.

Virtual school and Greenfield schools consider 30-day transitional agreement
Greenfield Recorder, MA, March 1, 2014
The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield is moving out on its own, and officials will work out an exit plan with the School Committee Thursday.