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Daily Headlines for March 6, 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

The SAT Gets a Makeover
TIME, March 5, 2014
The prominent SAT college entrance exam will return to its previous 1,600-point scoring system and the essay portion will be optional starting in 2016, the group that creates the test said Wednesday, the biggest makeover in almost a decade for an exam familiar to any high school student with an eye on college.

Taking New York’s school fight national
Opinion, New York Post, NY, March 5, 2014
What a moment New York is in over charter schools. Mayor de Blasio has managed to illuminate the heroism of Eva Moskowitz and the families of her Success Academy. It could be a springboard for Moskowitz to run for mayor. Gov. Cuomo is now in the fight in a big and encouraging way.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Committees OK bills reducing influence of seniority in teacher cutbacks
Montgomery Advertiser, AL, march 6, 2014
Teacher seniority could not be used as the most significant factor in employee cutbacks, under bills passed Wednesday by House and Senate committees.

ALASKA

Legislators worry that bill could create more school districts
Juneau Empire, AK, March 6, 2014
Members of the state House Education Committee raised concerns on Wednesday that Alaska could end up with more school districts if charter schools are authorized by entities other than local school boards.

CALIFORNIA

Come Back Kids charter opens doors for dropouts
Modesto Bee, CA, March 5, 2014
Magali Penaloza, 18, struggled in school, then quit her junior year to have a baby. But Tuesday she started over, signing up for a second chance at graduation through an innovative and fast-growing charter school.

FLORIDA

Big money, powerful lobbying groups push school voucher proposal
Miami Herald, FL, March 5, 2014
Nearly 200 schoolchildren greeted Senate President Don Gaetz last month when he visited a Catholic school in Pensacola to get a first-hand look at the impact of Florida’s controversial school voucher program.

More Manatee County school board division and dysfunction
Editorial, Bradenton Herald, FL, March 6, 2014
The Manatee County school board’s public infighting got overheated at Monday’s training session, designed to examine the draft of a new operations manual.

Palm Beach County schools consider full choice
Sun Sentinel, FL, March 6, 2014
Palm Beach County could dramatically change the concept of neighborhood schools and give parents far more choices for their children’s education.

ILLINOIS

Why CPS students should take the ISAT
Editorial, Chicago Tribune, IL, March 6, 2014
More than 170,000 Chicago Public Schools students are buckling down in the next two weeks to take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. Their teachers have drilled them in reading and math. Their parents have done their part — helping with homework, turning off the TV and confiscating the cellphone.

INDIANA

Senate backs bill promoting IPS-charter school partnerships
Indiana Chalkbeat, IN, March 5, 2014
A legislative vote Tuesday may clear the way for Indianapolis Public Schools to create unique partnerships to jointly run IPS schools with charter schools.

LOUISIANA

Central cracking down on school ‘zone jumpers’
The Advocate, LA, March 5, 2014
The Central School Board wants to make it much harder for people who live outside the school district to send their children to Central schools illegally.

Head of Baton Rouge schools seeks alternative to charters
The Advocate, LA, March 5, 2014
East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Bernard Taylor has a plan to fight off charter school competition by creating autonomous schools that operate as part of the school system.

MAINE

Lottery held to fill Baxter Academy’s new student spots
Portland Press Herald, ME, March 6, 2014
One of five charter schools in the state, the academy had more than 100 apply for 85 student openings.

MICHIGAN

Crestwood, area charter schools have top graduation rates
Dearborn Press & Guide, MI, March 6, 2014
Henry Ford Academy, Crestwood High, Star International Academy and Riverside Academy all had more than 90 percent of their students graduating in four years of high school, according to state figures released last week.

MISSISSIPPI

Senate unanimously OKs teacher raise
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS, March 6, 2014
The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a teacher pay raise, with the hope that the House will agree with it and send the legislation to the governor.

NEVADA

For true turnaround, struggling schools need great teachers
Editorial, Las Vegas Review Journal, NV, March 5, 2014
The Clark County School District’s lowest-performing campuses desperately need a turnaround. Unfortunately, addressing some of the problems at these schools involves moving the problems to other schools.

NEW JERSEY

Mullica Township teachers, staff vote no confidence in superintendent
Press of Atlantic City, NJ, March 5, 2014
Mullica Township Education Association members voted no-confidence in Superintendent Brenda Harring-Marro on Wednesday, effectively calling for her removal.

NJ revokes 2 charter schools, renews 10 others
Star-Ledger, NJ, March 5, 2014
Charter schools in Camden and Pemberton must close at the end of the school year after the Department of Education revoked their charters, officials announced yesterday.

Teachers, union officials blast evaluation system at NJ State Board of Education meeting
Star-Ledger, NJ, March 5, 2014
Teachers and union officials bombarded the New Jersey State Board of Education with complaints about the upcoming performance evaluations during a public session in Trenton today.

NEW YORK

A lesson in political shenanigans
Opinion, New York Daily News, NY, March 6, 2014
Charter kids come to Albany, and learn about the politicians who don’t care much about their success

Assembly Speaker Silver says charter schools are not getting more money right now
New York Daily News, NY, March 6, 2014
Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said there was no ‘crisis’ over charter schools and that a construction program should consider more than three schools.

Mamaroneck school board raises ire among private-school parents
The Journal News, NY, March 5, 2014
About 80 parents who send their children to non-public schools and several clergy members staged a protest Tuesday about the Mamaroneck Board of Education’s plan to require about 100 private and parochial middle and high school students to use public transportation to get to school while their public school peers get district busing.

Passionate parents leading the newest civil-rights movement
Opinion, New York Post, NY
March 5, 2014
Last month, the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, urged support for her husband’s signature universal pre-K program by declaring, “Education is clearly the civil-rights issue for today.”

Success Academy charter school families have no place for children to go after de Blasio cut co-locations
New York Daily News, NY, March 6, 2014
Mayor de Blasio axed plans three Success Academy charter schools had to move into new schools, and now Harlem families are left searching.

NORTH CAROLINA

Durham board joins lawsuit against tenure law
Durham Sun, NC, March 6, 2014
The Durham Public Schools Board of Education on Wednesday voted unanimously to join a lawsuit opposing a new state law that, in four years, will end tenure or “career status” for North Carolina teachers.

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma lawmakers receive petitions backing Common Core education standards
The Oklahoman, OK, March 5, 2014
A group backing Oklahoma’s Common Core education standards presented state lawmakers Wednesday with more than 7,000 electronic signatures obtained through an Internet petition asking for continued support of the stiffer education standards.

PENNSYLVANIA

Gateway gets grant to close racial achievement gap
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, March 6, 2014
The Heinz Endowments awarded the district $82,000 to support programming and professional development toward closing and eventually eliminating a racial achievement gap.

Work launched in Camden on state’s first ‘Renaissance’ school
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 5, 2014
KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy is slated to be the first of the hybrid district/charter schools established under the Urban Hope Act.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Thomas: Don’t link teacher pay to student test scores
Column, The State, SC, March 6, 2014
Linking teacher evaluations to student standardized test scores is a bad idea that will not die. The S.C. League of Women Voters issued a report in 2013 endorsing a plan to include what are called value-added methods in teacher evaluations, despite the overwhelming evidence that they are unreliable in high-stakes policies.

TENNESSEE

New school voucher proposal narrowly advances in House with Harwell’s backing
The Tennessean, TN, March 6, 2014
A revised school voucher proposal advanced in the House on Wednesday after Speaker Beth Harwell broke a tie on an amended bill, improving the prospects for a compromise that would allow public dollars to fund private schooling.

TEXAS

Austin charter school American Youthworks sues state over charter revocation
American-Statesman, TX, March 5, 2014
An Austin charter school that the state will likely shut down has sued the Texas Education Agency, claiming that the state is using new standards to judge the school’s past performance and isn’t giving the school a chance to defend itself.

ONLINE LEARNING

Blended learning: It’s time for Morgan Hill to embrace a more effective approach
Opinion, Mercury News, CA, March 5, 2014
A heated debate has been brewing in Morgan Hill over whether the school district should allow a charter school operator, Navigator Schools, to open a campus. Beyond the debate over charter vs. district schools, this is also a debate over which instructional model will best serve students: blended or traditional.

The Digital Classroom
Letter, New York Times, NY, March 6, 2014
We shouldn’t be surrendering to computer-fed children’s limited attention span or their need for instant gratification but rather encouraging a more deliberate type of learning that forces them to do more than tap an index finger on a screen.