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Daily Headlines for March 10, 2013

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.



D.C.’s elected leaders have an important role to play in education
Opinion, Washington Post, DC, March 8, 2014
I was interested to read the Feb. 25 op-ed by former Washington Post publisher Donald E. Graham on the District of Columbia Public Schools and the D.C. Council education committee’s recent hearing on DCPS [“Has D.C. learned its lesson?”].

Test scores point to school reform success in the District
Editorial, Washington Post, DC, March 8, 2014
SCHOOL REFORM in the District is working. That is the unassailable message of test scores released Thursday by federal education officials. Students at every level improved in reading and math, and the improvement exceeded the national average.


Expand scholarship
Editorial, The Tampa Tribune, FL, March 10, 2014
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford puts it well when he says, “No child’s future should be dictated by their ZIP code.”

Expanding school choice must empower the poorest students
Editorial, Palm Beach Post, FL, March 9, 2014
The push to give Palm Beach County’s public school students some semblance of “full choice” in the school they attend is fading, amid skepticism from school board members and district officials. Instead, officials are talking about expanding the district’s current, more limited choice program, in which students can attend a public school other than their neighborhood school only by applying to a magnet program or career academy.

Palm Beach County School Board member urges marketing to combat charter exodus
Palm Beach Post, FL, March 9, 2014
With the footsteps of children leaving traditional schools for charters in Palm Beach County growing from a pitter patter to a thundering stampede in recent years, school district officials say they need to fight for the hearts and minds of students and their parents by doing what charter schools do — spending money on marketing to sell their school.


School Funding Fight Far From Over
Topeka Capital-Journal, KS, March 9, 2014
The Kansas Supreme Court has settled some immediate issues over public school funding, but it left for another day the biggest issue — how much more money, if any, legislators must spend on education.


Parents weigh in on education legislation
The Advertiser, LA, March 8, 2014
Common Core standards and a related standardized test are top issues for parents as Louisiana lawmakers convene Monday.


Momentum for new charter schools stalls
Boston Globe, MA, March 9, 2014
Four years after a wave of support for charter schools swept through the State House, fueled by a competition for federal dollars, the momentum appears to have faded.

Parker School turnaround plan changes teachers’ pay
South Coast Today, MA, March 8, 2014
State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s four-pronged plan to turn around the “chronically underperforming” John Avery Parker School will change the way teachers are compensated, basing their pay on more than just experience and education.


Panel takes up teacher evals.
Albert Lea Tribune, MN, March 8, 2014
Minnesota has a popular teacher bonus program and a new teacher evaluation law that educators insist needs dedicated funding to work properly. How the two will co-exist has long been in question. Members of the state House Education Policy Committee began that debate Friday by examining four bills that would help merge the two systems.


Few families file for transfers out of Kansas City school district
Kansas City Star, MO, March 9, 2014
Twelve families, 23 children. Amid all the anxiety over the damage Missouri’s student transfer law may bring on the Kansas City area, that is the number of transfer requests Kansas City Public Schools says it received for the coming school year.

Lawmakers compromise as they address school transfers
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO, March 10, 2014
Missouri legislators are moving closer to addressing a political riddle that has baffled them for years: how to temper a law that has sent thousands of students in troubled districts to other schools in the St. Louis region.


The turnaround: Butte high’s dropout rate on par with state average for first time in years
Montana Standard, MT, March 9, 2014
Thanks to special intervention programs and students like Edwards who are sticking with school, Butte High’s dropout rate is on par with state averages for the first time in years. Only about 3.6 percent of students who enroll in the fall quit by the end of the school year.


OPS officials want to revisit talks about Skinner Elementary focus program
The Omaha World Herald, NE, March 10, 2014
The Omaha school board wants to revive talks about creating a focus program at Skinner Elementary.


Camden superintendent: A ‘dramatic lack of rigor’ in district schools
South Jersey Times, NJ, March 9, 2014
Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard offered three anecdotes to illustrate the kind of situation he walked into when Gov. Chris Christie appointed him to the job six months ago.

State’s ‘One Newark’ plan may be facing tough audience in Trenton
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, March 10, 2014
Some legislators have already made displeasure known — critics, union members, community organizers to be on hand


A charter school space solution
New York Daily News, NY, March 9, 2014
The state should offer rent money to charters, and then they should pay it directly to their co-located schools.

Charter school battle lines hardening
Troy Record, NY, March 9, 2014
It was the best of times for charter schools. And it was the worst of times for charter schools.

Cuomo Steps Up for Charters
Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2014
The New York battle over charter schools deserves national attention, and not only for the fate of the Big Apple’s 70,000 children who attend these non-traditional public schools. The fight is also forcing Democrats to declare themselves on the defining civil-rights issue of our time, and so far Governor Andrew Cuomo is choosing the children over the teachers unions.

De Blasio faces three new charter-school lawsuits
New York Post, NY, March 10, 2014
Mayor de Blasio is getting hit on Monday with three new lawsuits by charter-school supporters, his traditional enemies — just as his pals who despise the popular institutions are threatening him with legal action for offering a compromise.

In Rent Plan for Charters, Mayor Faces a Hard Road
New York Times, NY, March 10, 2014
As a candidate for mayor, Bill de Blasio electrified crowds of parents and education activists with a pledge to charge rent to charter schools, one of the starkest policy departures from his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

New York Clash Over Charter Schools
Letter, New York Times, NY, March 9, 2014
The conflict in New York over public charter schools and their host districts brings into sharp and painful relief the core flaw in the charter law. It was unwise to create a parallel system designed to compete for dollars and success.

Parents and children get caught between charter school feud with teachers union and pro-charter forces
New York Daily News, NY, March 8, 2014
Parents and children of charter schools are caught between two well-funded interests. As of last week, the political action committees of the United Federation of Teachers and the four major charter backers were fairly evenly matched financially, a Daily News review found.


State panel to ponder fate of StudentFirst charter
Charlotte Observer, NC, March 9, 2014
State charter officials will discuss Monday whether to stop paying for the deeply indebted StudentFirst Academy or let the board keep trying to save the Charlotte charter school that foundered after opening in August.


Third-graders using vouchers need not pass reading test
Columbus Dispatch, OH, March 9, 2014
Third-graders in traditional public schools and charter schools will be held back if they can’t pass a state reading test, but those who receive taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools will not be.


Charter schools vow challenge to state order to close
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 9, 2014
Officials and parents at two charter schools that the state has ordered to close at the end of June said the action came before changes instituted this school year could be proven effective, and vowed a challenge.

New Hope Charter School set for hearing on school’s fate
York Dispatch, PA, March 9, 2014
Monday afternoon, attorneys for New Hope and the York City School District will present their final arguments at a courtroom hearing in Harrisburg. The stakes are high.

West Chester charter Sankofa in disarray, district says
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 9, 2014
WEST CHESTER When West Chester’s Sankofa Academy opened in 2005, its founders touted it as an African American charter school where students would excel under a curriculum infused with their history and culture.


Charleston County schools succeed, fail in efforts to attract white families to mostly minority schools
Charleston Post Courier, SC, March 8, 2014
It also is the exception rather than the norm. Fifty years after the first black students walked through the doors of Charleston County schools, the district still struggles to offer racially balanced learning environments. Of the district’s 81 schools, 19 percent are made up almost solely of black students. Two percent are composed mostly of white students.


Unlocking Doors to Education
Column, Memphis Daily News, TN, March 9, 2014
George Washington Carver is quoted as saying that “Education is the key to unlock the golden door to freedom.” In our community, there are many education doors; however, there is not a master key that opens all the doors.


Issaquah district may close alternative high school
Seattle Times, WA, March 9, 2014
The Issaquah School District is considering closing Tiger Mountain Community High School, which serves students who are looking for alternatives to traditional high schools. The plan has drawn opposition.

State rejection of K-12 money will be hard to explain
The News Tribune, WA, March 9, 2014
Imagine that you’re a voter, ballot in hand, as you decide whether to vote yes or no on your local school levy. You generally support public education. But you’ve been officially notified that the schools your children attend are “failing.”


Blended learning has potential … and drawbacks
Letter, Cincinnati Enquirer, OH, March 8, 2014
As a teacher who spent over 30 years in the profession, I feel a word of caution is appropriate. Blended learning can be an excellent way to learn certain skills, like researching a particular topic.

‘Cyber’ realities continue to flow
Opinion, Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 9, 2014
The term cyber charter school evokes a wonderful world in which jet packs propel children to education pods where information is seamlessly uploaded to their cerebral cortexes, unimpeded by the discontents of the brick-and-mortar world. And yet Pennsylvania officials rejected all six of the latest applications to launch cyber charters. How could they?

Detroit schools project always keeps virtual classroom open
Detroit News, MI, March 9, 2014
Detroit Public Schools educates the largest number of children in the state — nearly 50,000 — yet outside school, its students are among the most disconnected, with 70 percent lacking Internet access at home.

For-profit virtual charter schools are a good fit
Letter, Morning Sentinel, ME, March 10, 2014
Your repeated use of negative terms to denigrate for-profit virtual charter schools are simply red herrings and hypocritical, as Maine’s public schools do business every day with for-profit vendors out of state. The real issue is that virtual charter schools threaten to change the way public education works, by empowering parents with choice among public schools.

Questions linger about Maine’s first virtual charter school
Editorial, Portland Press Herald, ME, March 9, 2014
Weathering the application process is one thing, but living up to state criteria is another.

Virtual charter schools seen as a real solution for certain students
Portland Press Herald, ME, March 9, 2014
Two Maine moms believe online teaching is the answer for their fast learners and kids with health or social challenges.