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Daily Headlines for March 12, 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.


Choosing to Learn
National Review Online, March 12, 2014
Americans face a choice between two paths that will guide education in this nation for generations: self-government and central planning. Which we choose will depend in large measure on how well we understand accountability.

Common Core unifies foes
Column, Boston Herald, MA, March 12, 2014
Common Core is the latest federal education reform fad. Like “No Child Left Behind” before it, Common Core uses federal money to bribe local schools into using a federal measuring stick on student performance.

What about pensions, school choice? VA lawmakers ignore big issues this session
Watchdog.org, March 12, 2014
Virginia doesn’t have a very open mind when it comes to methods for K-12 education, and 2014 was no exception.

Think about real education reform
Editorial, Orange County Register, CA, March 12, 2014
You don’t have to have children to have a good sense of today’s nationwide debate over education reform. The controversy pits public school unions and their defenders against supporters of private school, home-schooling deunionization – and, making recent headlines – charter schools.



Vista Grande students, parents, teachers share fears
Arizona City Independent, AZ, March 12, 2014
Some Vista Grande High School students, parents and teachers shared their fears Tuesday that making Vista a charter school would degrade it.


Hearing divided on charter proposal
Stamford Advocate, CT, March 12, 2014
Two entrenched factions met in the lunchroom at the Government Center — one to attack and one to support a plan to start a new charter elementary school in Stamford, based on a Bronx, N.Y., model.


D.C. mayor says he plans to increase budget for schools by more than $100 million
Washington Post, DC, March 12, 2014
The District’s traditional public and public charter schools would receive a major infusion of more than $100 million next year, including tens of millions to improve services for at-risk students, under a budget proposal announced Tuesday evening by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).

Eight groups apply to open new D.C. charter schools
Washington Post, DC, March 12, 2014
Eight groups have submitted applications to open new D.C. charter schools in fall 2015, according to the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which is responsible for vetting proposals and deciding which merit approval.


Senate passes bill encouraging state-level collaboration for military charter schools
Tampa Bay Times, FL, March 11, 2014
On the heels of a tug-of-war over a proposed charter school at MacDill Air Force Base, the state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill encouraging military commanders to establish charters.


Why half of urban kids drop out
Opinion, CNN, March 12, 2014
The average high school graduation rate in America’s biggest urban school districts, which serve large numbers of children from very disadvantaged backgrounds, is only about 50%.In most cities, the figure is even lower for African-American males.


House panel approves bill allowing schools to eliminate 10 instructional days for weather
Lexington Herald Leader, KY, March 12, 2014
The House Education Committee approved a bill that would allow school districts to waive as many as 10 days of school instead of making up all the time lost to bad weather this winter.


Community group decries proposals targeting EBR schools
The Advocate, LA, March 11, 2014
The leader of an organization that previously opposed attempts to create a breakaway school district decried a variety of proposals targeting the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.

New public school funding formula proposes to give on average an extra $232 per student
Times-Picayune, LA, March 11, 2014
Public schools systems in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas would receive an average of $232 more per pupil from the state next year, under a proposal now pending before the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Whether they get it, however, is an open question.


Advocates push for bill to lift cap on charter schools
Boston Herald, MA, March 12, 2014
Supporters of a Beacon Hill bill that would remove the cap on charter schools are pointing to a rising number of applicants in tomorrow’s Boston charter school lottery as proof of “tremendous demand.”

Charters unfairly blamed for school districts’ fiscal woes
Opinion, Herald News, MA, March 11, 2014
District school officials are fighting a legislative proposal to lift the cap on charter public schools, claiming charters take money from them. But, here is the simple truth. Districts lose money to charter schools because they lose students to charter schools. It’s a straightforward concept that seems to be lost on district officials.

Children selected in lottery to attend a Springfield charter school
WWLP, MA, March 11, 2014
Veritas Prep Charter School in Springfield will welcome this fall 81 new 5th graders. Those 81 students were picked through a lottery from a pool of 106 students.


Measure would ease Miss. school takeover rules
Hattiesburg American, MS, March 11, 2014
Requirements for the Mississippi Department of Education to take over dozens of struggling schools would be eased under a proposal moving forward in the Legislature.


Charter schools fail to solve educational crisis
Opinion, Daily Nebraskan, NE, March 12, 2014
Legislative Bill 972 would create a pilot program for the State Board of Education to provide funds for charter schools. The state is right to begin engaging in a productive debate on our education system, but it’s important we don’t allow the bill to narrow the scope of reform.


Critics again take aim at One Newark school reorganization plan
Star-Ledger, NJ, March 12, 2014
A parade of critics again blasted the Newark school reorganization plan this morning, telling the Legislative Joint Committee on the Public Education that Superintendent Cami Anderson’s proposal is misguided, potentially illegal and that there is no evidence that it will improve student performance.

Opinion: Time to rejuvenate NJ charter school law
Column, Star-Ledger, NJ, March 11, 2014
Charter schools were created on the premise that educators would be given the freedom to innovate in exchange for greater accountability, a heightened expectation of student achievement and the testing of ideas that could be incorporated into traditional public schools.


45% of New York City 8th-graders got into top high school choice: Education Dept.
New York Daily News, NY, March 12, 2014
The city’s Department of Education said 84% of the 77,043 students who applied for public high schools made it into one of their top five choices, as eighth-graders around the city celebrated — or lamented — upon learning which institution they would attend in the fall. But just 5% of the students admitted to specialized public high schools this year are black; only 7% are Hispanic.

Charter schools need affordable housing, too
Opinion, New York Post, NY, March 11, 2014
Charter schools’ current fight against Mayor de Blasio’s effort to deny them promised space is actually rooted in a problem that dates back to Dec. 17, 1998, when the state Assembly overwhelmingly gave final approval to the Charter Schools Act. The best way to avoid future conflicts is to fix that law’s biggest flaw — its failure to provide “brick-and-mortar” funds for charters.

Mayor de Blasio heeds parents while school foes just obstruct
Column, New York Daily News, NY, March 12, 2014
Now there’s an all-out campaign by the elite to kneecap Mayor de Blasio’s authority over education policy. Everyone from Gov. Cuomo to pundits to hedge-fund backers of big charter networks — the guys bankrolling all those charter school television ads of late — have lined up against a guy who has been in office only three months.

Status Quo at Elite New York Schools: Few Blacks and Hispanics
New York Times, NY, March 12, 2014
Seven black students have been offered a chance to start classes at Stuyvesant High School in September, two fewer than received offers last year. For Hispanics, the number has dropped to 21 from 24.

Superintendent targets failing Bennett, MLK
Buffalo News, NY, March 11, 2014
Two Buffalo schools are facing dramatic overhauls after years of consistently failing to meet state standards, and the district’s proposed changes will likely involve starting new programs that focus on careers in the sciences.


Camden charter seeks Council help fighting closure
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 12, 2014
CAMDEN More than 100 teachers, students, and parents from a charter school ordered to close by the state packed City Hall on Tuesday night asking City Council members for help and support.

Phila. plans to transform two more schools, give parents choice
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 12, 2014
PHILADELPHIA For the fifth year in a row, the Philadelphia School District is preparing to deliberately shrink itself, giving some of its most-troubled schools to charter operators for turnaround.


Set the record straight
Column Aiken Standard, SC, March 12, 2014
The assertion made in the Aiken Standard – “New superintendent should lead reforms” on Jan. 28 that substantial improvement in the education system in South Carolina has not occurred during my time as state superintendent is simply wrong. While there is much work to be done, we have made much progress.


Bill allowing for-profit charter operators advances
The Tennessean, TN, March 12, 2014
Legislation that would let for-profit charter management organizations operate in Tennessee was advanced by the House Education Subcommittee by a voice vote on Tuesday.

Dozens of Nashville Prep parents defend charter school to school board
The Tennessean, TN, March 11, 2014
Nashville Prep parents showed up in full force before the Metro school board Tuesday to defend a place they say is demanding yet fair — and their choice — as they sought to quash a board member’s call for an investigation of the charter school.

More TEA lawsuits possible over tying teacher pay to learning gains
The Tennessean, TN, March 11, 2014
Tennessee’s largest teachers’ union has filed its first lawsuit against a local school board over objections that stemmed from tying learning gains of students to teacher compensation.

Nashville’s Valor charter school attracts unique racial, class mix
The Tennessean, TN, March 12, 2014
A cross section of Nashville students showed up Thursday to learn whether they had the right number to get into Valor Collegiate Academy, a new charter middle school set to open this fall on Nolensville Pike in South Nashville beginning with the fifth grade. Some 260 students applied — with parents citing the appeal of diversity and a more demanding learning environment — but only 160 could get in.


Early College High Schools Proliferate
Texas Tribune, TX, March 11, 2014
Academics at Reagan are rigorous, and the expectations are high. About 90 percent of the students come from low-income families, and the majority are Hispanic, two factors that correspond with higher dropout rates in the state.

Home-rule Dallas ISD might not have the flexibility supporters seek, TEA says
Dallas Morning News, TX, March 12, 2014
Almost two weeks ago, members of the Support Our Public Schools committee revealed their effort to invoke a never-used portion of the Texas education code. The law allows an entire district to become much like a multi-campus, open-enrollment charter school.


Washington legislators must change teacher evaluation language
Editorial, Spokesman Review, WA, March 12, 2014
With the Legislature planning to adjourn as soon as Thursday, a standoff on teacher evaluations continues, with potentially chaotic impacts on Spokane-area schools.


Bill sets new requirements for voucher schools
LaCrosse Tribune, WI, March 12, 2014
Private schools that want to participate in Wisconsin’s voucher program would have to meet new, tougher requirements under a bill that has passed the state Senate.


State superintendent of instruction Wright retiring May 1
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, March 11, 2014
Gov. Terry McAuliffe will search for a new state schools chief to replace Patricia I. Wright, who will retire from her post as superintendent of public instruction May 1.


BHS teachers to create online classes
The Brookings Register, SD, March 11, 2014
Online classes are growing more popular at Brookings High School, and the next step for the district is having Brookings teachers create the online courses that students take.

Blended learning and flipped classrooms
Column, Herald Times Reporter, WI, March 11, 2014
Many professions have their own language and education is often guilty of using jargon that the general public does not completely understand. Two phrases in vogue right now are “blended learning” and “flipped classrooms.”

Spring ISD online classes fill need
Houston Chronicle, TX, March 11, 2014
Spring Independent School District officials are working to develop the classroom of tomorrow – one that allows students to learn anytime, anywhere.

‘Virtual school day’ idea earns nod for innovation
The Record, NJ, March 12, 2014
While the state continues to weigh whether the Pascack Valley Regional High School District’s “virtual school day” last month will count as an official school day, a district administrator already has earned an accolade for the day’s implementation.

Virtual school offers education alternative
Muskogee Phoenix, OK, March 12, 2014
Hambright teaches online through Oklahoma Connections Academy, a tuition-free virtual public school. She shared her experiences and expertise at an information session Tuesday night in Muskogee.