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Daily Headlines for March 18, 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

Opinion: Obama’s Charter School Rhetoric
Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2014
Throughout his presidency Barack Obama has used his bully pulpit to champion charter schools. Just last spring, he called them “incubators of innovation” and praised the fact that “many charter schools choose to locate in communities with few high-quality educational options, making them an important partner in widening the circle of opportunity for students who need it most.”

Opinion: Illogical hostility toward charter schools
Washington Post
In the war between the rich and the poor, I’m enlisting on the side of the underdog — the rich. What a drubbing they’ve been taking! Across the nation, but particularly in cities such as New York and Washington, the rich are incessantly accused of being slyly manipulative and self-serving. For instance, they support charter schools. Apparently, there is nothing worse.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Teacher pay raises a critical issue in session
The Selma Times Journal, March 17, 2014
Every year, the last legislative days are crowded with budget debates. This year is shaping up to be no different. The Education Trust Fund budget, the budget that funds public education, is always a delicate balance between the requests of the Governor, the Legislature and the Department of Education.

CALIFORNIA

New school funds should go to needy students first, group says
Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2014
A citywide coalition of community groups is demanding that 80% of $1 billion in new school funding headed to L.A. Unified be spent on needy students according to decisions made by local schools rather than district bureaucrats.

Stanford study highlights gains at Los Angeles charter schools
Los Angeles Daily News, March 17, 2014
A new Stanford University study finds that Los Angeles charter school students are making significant gains in learning compared with their district school peers.

Charter school cuts inspire Salinas parents
The Oasis Charter School community is moving forward — albeit in two different directions — following the elimination of the middle school program.

COLORADO

Colorado Supreme Court to hear Douglas County school voucher debate
Denver Post, March 18, 2014
Colorado’s highest court will decide the constitutionality of a Douglas County School District pilot program that would use taxpayer dollars to offer private school vouchers to hundreds of students.

CONNECTICUT

Hartford Parents Want More Time To Choose ‘Turnaround’ Plan For Clark School
Hartford Courant, March 17, 2014
A group of city parents are demanding that the state slow down and allow more time to consider “turnaround” options for Clark Elementary, a school in Hartford’s North End that has struggled with low test scores and chronic absenteeism.

GEORGIA

Gainesville parents say it’s location, location, location
WDUN-TV, March 17, 2014
Gainesville School Board members learned Monday night that location is the leading factor in where parents want to send their children to school. School Superintendent Merrianne Dyer presented her School Choice Summary Report to the Board.

FLORIDA

Bills Push Concept Of School Choice
The Ledger, March 17, 2014
Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have ambitious plans to provide Florida’s 2.7 million schoolchildren with more choices in education.

State: Voucher advocates should register as lobbyists
Tampa Bay Times, March 17, 2014
For months, the top executives of Step Up for Students, the nonprofit that runs Florida’s tax credit scholarship program, have been leaning on state lawmakers to expand the program.

Three more charters could close in Broward
Sun Sentinel, March 17, 2014
Three more charter schools in Broward County could be forced to shut their doors this year, bringing the number of closures to 15 in the last 20 months.

KANSAS

Lawrence prepares for full takeover of troubled virtual high school
Lawrence Journal World, March 18, 2014
The Lawrence school district is preparing to take full control of Lawrence Virtual High School, a charter school that until recently had been run by a private company.

MASSACHUSETTS

Opinion: Fiscal arguments against lifting the charter cap are over-stated
Boston Globe, March 17, 2014
Parents in Boston and other Massachusetts cities are waiting to see if a bill that would extend greater flexibilities to underperforming district schools and lift the cap on charter public schools in low-performing districts makes it out of the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee by the March 19 deadline.

MICHIGAN

Editorial: No good case made for EAA expansion
Battle Creek Enquirer, March 17, 2014
The biggest rap against Michigan Education Achievement Authority isn’t that it threatens teacher unions; it’s that it fails kids. Why any lawmaker would consider the authority’s expansion, given its checkered track record, defies logic.

Michigan ranked fourth in nation for welcoming charter schools
Daily Tribune, March 18, 2014
In this 20th anniversary of the advent of charter schools in Michigan, the national Center for Education Reform has ranked the state fourth in providing state policies and laws that allow the independent public academies to grow and thrive, including state aid legislation that guarantees funding that is equal to traditional public school districts.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Nashua charter school for the arts holds lottery, announces location at former Dartmouth-Hitchco
Nashua Telegraph, March 18, 2014
After three years of planning, the founders of Gate City Charter School for the Arts have accepted the first 100 students into the school and announced the site location.

Waiting list long for new arts charter school in Nashua
Union Leader, March 18, 2014
Gate City Charter School for the Arts will open in September with a full house and a long waiting list. The school held a lottery for enrollment Monday morning at Nashua Public Library, and 100 names were drawn from a pool of 227 children whose families signed up for kindergarten through grade four.

NEW JERSEY

Poll: Is Christie’s support of charter school expansion hurting Hoboken?
The Jersey Journal, March 18, 2014
The city has three charter schools, and earlier this month, the state approved the expansion of one. This growth wasn’t welcomed by all city officials.

NEW MEXICO

Opinion: Charters work on accountability
Albuquerque Journal, March 18, 2014
Autonomy and accountability are frequently stated when discussing education, but it was not always this way. Originally, charter school law granted autonomy – some freedom from state and local regulations in exchange for additional accountability to their authorizer. Critics of charters claimed that many schools began with a primary focus on autonomy and too little on accountability.

NEW YORK

Cardinal Dolan to Lobby for Tax Credit That Rewards Donations to Education
New York Times, March 18, 2014
A proposal to create a state tax credit for donations to public schools and nonprofit scholarship funds is gathering steam in Albany and turning the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, into something of a lobbyist.

Editorial: Charter school $ecret$
Albany Times Union, March 17, 2014
By the State Education Department’s latest count, 87,000 children in New York attend 233 charter schools. Well over $1 billion in public funds is going annually to these privately run, publicly funded schools.

Federal suit filed in feud over Harlem charter school
New York Daily News, March 18, 2014
A group of 19 parents filed a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging Mayor de Blasio hurt their kids by picking on Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, when he barred the school from using free classroom space in a public school. Legal action is also being pursued at the state level.

Low accountability dooms Ark Charter
Albany Times Union, March 17, 2014
SUNY officials on Monday closed the books on The Ark Community Charter School. They revoked the Troy school’s license, citing persistently poor student test scores.

NORTH CAROLINA

Durham and Guilford sue over eliminating teacher tenure
News & Observer, March 18, 2014
The Guilford County and Durham County school boards filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the state’s elimination of tenure rights for teachers and the requirement that school districts offer raises to some educators in return for giving up tenure protection.

PENNSYLVANIA

Phila. school principals’ union agrees to pay cuts
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 18, 2014
By an overwhelming margin, Philadelphia’s school principals agreed Monday to steep pay cuts and other concessions, concluding that they had no choice but to save the Philadelphia School District $20 million.

TENNESSEE

Editorial: Compromise needed on teacher evaluation
Paris Post Intelligencer, March 18, 2014
Should student achievement have any bearing at all on the licensing of teachers? Almost everyone agrees that student test scores shouldn’t be the deciding factor in a school board’s decision whether to revoke a license. Test scores can too easily be influenced by matters like geography, the family income of students and the effectiveness of teachers in lower grades.

VIRGINIA

Richmond School Board accepts application for boys-only charter school
Richmond-Times Dispatch, March 18, 2014
The big news on a slow night for the Richmond School Board was talk of a new charter school. A group called the Richmond Urban Collective is trying to get board approval to open the Metropolitan Preparatory Academy charter school, a boys-only secondary school.

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