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Daily Headlines for March 7, 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

1M kids stop school lunch due to Michelle Obama’s standards
Washington Times, DC, March 6, 2014
New school lunch standards implemented as a result of First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign have led to more than 1 million children leaving the lunch line, according to a new report.

Accountability or overregulation? Charter supporters split over Minnesota bill
Watchdog.org, March 7, 2014
Charter school authorizers in Minnesota whose schools fall in the lowest 25 percent of public schools could be required to close those schools or submit an explanation to the state.

Education policy analysts look to states for reform
Daily Callers, DC, March 6, 2014
A look at individual state report cards reveals that states need to pave the way for new reform by filling the gaps between teacher quality and student achievement, education policy experts said at a panel Wednesday.

Gov. Jindal delivers harsh criticism of President Obama at conservative conference
Times-Picayune, LA, March 6, 2014
Jindal also continued his attacks on the Obama administration for its lawsuit against his administration’s school choice program, which he says has given the parents of poor children the chance to send their children to schools, including private religious institutions, with high academic standards, and insistence on discipline and regular homework.

The poor — primarily blacks — lose in public-ed monopoly
Opinion, Orlando Sentinel, FL, March 6, 2014
The facts are clear. If you are poor in America — and you are unlucky enough to live in a ZIP code where school choice or charter schools are not accessible — you are stuck with the school your local government forces you to attend. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that schools could not be segreted by race. Today they are segregated by economic status.

STATE COVERAGE

CALIFORNIA

New teachers scarce after state funding cuts
Merced Sun Star, CA, March 7, 2014
Young teachers have become far more scarce in California classrooms after school districts slashed their budgets to survive the recession.
From 2008 to 2013, California saw a 40 percent drop in teachers with less than six years’ experience, according to a Sacramento Bee review of state data.

COLORADO

Educators to state: Let’s go above Common Core
Denver Post, CO, March 6, 2014
Douglas County educators are among those who don’t want the state to implement the national Common Core standards, but their objections have less to do with money and local control than with high standards.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. charter officials seek to keep Options open
Washington Post, DC, March 6, 2014
D.C. charter school officials who previously had said they would seek to close Options Public Charter School for financial mismanagement said Thursday that they will now push to keep the school open.

FLORIDA

Florida Private Schools Bill Advances for Needy
The Ledger, FL, March 6, 2014
Legislation that would dramatically expand a state program that helps low-income children attend private schools in Florida moved ahead Thursday during an emotional and crowded hearing that pitted supporters of public education against advocates for school vouchers.

MacDill group withdraws request to open charter school
Tampa Bay Times, FL, March 7, 2014
A group that wants to open a charter school at MacDill Air Force Base has dropped its request, but says it will try again.

Teacher evaluation system flunks
Editorial, Tampa Bay Times, FL, March 7, 2014
No wonder the Florida Department of Education fought to keep its teacher evaluation scores a secret. They are too complicated, too often at odds with real-world observations and further evidence the state needs to call time out as it revamps its accountability system. An evaluation tool that its defenders cannot explain and that has no direct connection to so many teachers it rates is a tool that needs work.

GEORGIA

City charter before state board next month
Times-Georgian, GA, March 6, 2014
Erin McGinnis, director of school improvement for the system, said during a work session Thursday that district leaders will have one minute to give their “elevator pitch” to the state board for why the system deserves and requires the charter system status.

ILLINOIS

Retain panel for charter schools
Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times, IL, March 7, 2014
A movement is afoot to kill a state commission that hears appeals from groups that want to open charter schools but are denied by their local school districts.

LOUISIANA

‘Career diploma’ promises Louisiana high school graduates good jobs — without four years of college
Times Picayune, LA, March 6, 2014
After decades of taking a back seat to the college preparatory curriculum, vocational-technical education is on the rise in Louisiana. A proposal to the state education board Friday would rejuvenate the high school “career diploma,” promising to open high-paying jobs to graduates – without college.

Renewal rules to change for state-authorized charter schools
Times Picayune, LA, March 6, 2014
Louisiana would raise the standards for state-authorized charter schools to stay in business, under rules that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted in committee Thursday. But charters serving students who are over age, have been expelled or have dropped out might have a better shot at staying open.

Taylor presents ‘Innovative Schools’ plan to EBR board
The Advocate, LA, March 6, 2014
East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Bernard Taylor told the School Board on Thursday he hopes to solicit proposals to create new schools in order to head off growing competition from charter schools and avoid a future “tipping point.”

MAINE

Why have Maine Democrats made school reform a partisan issue?
Opinion, Bangor Daily News, ME, March 6, 2014
New York City is far from Maine, but we’ve seen a similar attitude toward charter schools in our largest city. The mayor of Portland, Michael Brennan, has sought to undermine the one charter school operating there at every turn. He opposed its initial establishment, then tried to get it investigated by the attorney general. When that failed, he moved on to a moratorium to ensure that no more charter schools would be established in his city.

MASSACHUSETTS

Want a longer school day? Pay up
Column, Boston Globe, MA, March 7, 2014
A longer school day has arrived as a consistent campaign theme. Among the leading candidates, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley says she’s a big believer, while rival Steve Grossman calls a longer day an important tool for improving education. Republican Charles D. Baker says he supports a longer day in underperforming schools.

Year-round education pilots in at-risk schools worthy of state’s investment
Editorial, Battle Creek Enquirer, MI, March 6, 2014
We’re not prepared to endorse a wholesale move to year-round public schools in Michigan, but it’s a reform that merits serious consideration. Appropriating dollars that would allow at-risk schools to test an expanded school calendar seems to us a worthwhile investment.

NEW JERSEY

Educators told to shut 2 S.J. charter schools over ‘dismal’ test scores
Cherry Hill Courier Post, NJ, March 7, 2014
The New Jersey Department of Education will close charter schools in Camden and Pemberton Township at the end of June because of “dismal” test scores.

NEW YORK

Don’t Forget Kindergarten, Some in New York Say
Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2014
As New York state officials debate how to pay for universal prekindergarten, upstate Valley Central School District is considering a painful option: terminating kindergarten programs.

Cuomo turns his back on city kids
Opinion, New York Daily News, NY, March 7, 2014
Charter school industry money is being flung into Albany, and it’s stinking up the place.
Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo made it clear that he’s on a mission to increase funding for privately-run charter schools — even as he continues failing the large majority of New York students by underfunding traditional public schools.

Marie Antoinette Fariña
Editorial, New York Post, NY, March 7, 2014
Surely “they’re on their own” ranks right up there with “let them eat cake.”
Especially because Carmen Fariña went on to say “they have other options.” The truth is that for almost all these displaced kids, the only other “option” is an inferior public school.

The Ideologue vs. the Children
Opinion, Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2014
What a small and politically vicious man New York’s new mayor is. Bill de Blasio doesn’t like charter schools. They are too successful to be tolerated. Last week he announced he will drop the ax on three planned Success Academy schools.

NORTH CAROLINA

PACE files an appeal to get charter back
Chapel Hill News, NC, March 7, 2014
A charter school that was not renewed in February has appealed to get its charter back. PACE Academy filed an appeal with the state Office of Administrative Hearings Feb. 7, the day after the State Board of Education unanimously voted not to renew its charter when it expires in June.

OHIO

Cleveland picks its second round of struggling schools to target for improvement
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH, March 6, 2014
Ten more schools with low-performing students will receive special attention for improvement next school year in the second round of “Investment School” efforts by the Cleveland school district.

OPEN ENROLLMENT: Big money at stake
Marietta Times, OH, March 7, 2014
Two Washington County public school districts are losing students and the funding that comes along with them in Ohio as part of the state’s open enrollment policy.

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma City, Tulsa superintendents address critical issues during education forum
The Oklahoman, OK, March 6, 2014
Third-grade reading, new education standards, teacher pay, and the arts were among key issues discussed by Dave Lopez, interim superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, and Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, during a forum Thursday in Oklahoma City.

PENNSYLVANIA

AIU forum bashes governor’s education budget
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, March 7, 2014
Gov. Tom Corbett would not have gotten much encouragement from nearly 200 educators and political leaders at a forum at Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Homestead on Thursday night.

Phila. principals are asked to take 15 percent pay cut
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, March 7, 2014
The Philadelphia School District wants its principals to take a pay cut of about 15 percent and begin paying toward their health benefits.

Officials put focus on charter funding
The Altoona Mirror, PA, March 7, 2014
Charter school officials and rural public school district superintendents had the attention of Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on Thursday at the Cambria County Courthouse.

Pocono Mountain School District rejects olive branch from charter school
Pocono Record, PA, March 7, 2014
The Pocono Mountain Charter School last week reached out to the Pocono Mountain School District to end their protracted fighting, but the district rejected the overture as a “public relations stunt” that continues to deny wrongdoing at the embattled school.

TENNESSEE

New Charter School Touts More Diversity, Hundreds Apply
WTVF-TV, TN, March 6, 2014
If you think families are losing interest in Nashville’s charter schools, you probably haven’t heard of Valor Collegiate Academy. Thursday, hundreds of families learned if their child will make it into the first 5th grade class.

Rutherford County School Board says state lawmakers won’t listen
Daily News Journal, TN, March 7, 2014
The Monday following a school board meeting on Feb. 20, the board hand delivered a resolution with its concerns about current legislation to the Tennessee General Assembly. The board’s resolution expressed disagreement with the Tennessee General Assembly bills “aimed at privatizing the state of Tennessee’s free public educationsystem.”

Thoughtful deliberation is taking place in parents’ school-choice decisions
Editorial, Memphis Commercial Appeal, TN, March 7, 2014
A lot of parents who do not live in the six suburban cities that have formed their own school districts, but whose children are enrolled in schools there, are sitting on pins and needles right now, wondering if their children will be able to attend those schools when the new school year begins.

WASHINGTON

Inslee to keep pushing teacher evaluation bill
Yakima Herald, WA, March 7, 2014
Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday he hopes lawmakers can come to an agreement on the state’s teacher-evaluation system before the Legislature adjourns next week.

WISCONSIN

Contract negotiations delay charter school
Journal Times, WI, March 6, 2014
The meeting with pastors was canceled earlier this week after a Racine Unified School Board vote on the charter school’s contract with the district was postponed yet again. “(The delays) get you down a little bit but you find a way to pull yourself up because it’s about the kids,” Maryland said. “I went through the same thing with the REAL School.”

ONLINE LEARNING

LePage vetoes state-run virtual school bill
Portland Press Herald, ME, March 6, 2014
The governor, citing a provision halting virtual charter schools, rejects the proposal within hours of its final passage in the Senate.

Teaching teachers about technology
The Bulletin, OR, March 7, 2014
Every student in third through fifth grade at Juniper Elementary has an iPad, but what do they use them for? In Jaime Speed’s fifth-grade class, the students are solving mysteries in “augmented reality.”

Will ‘virtual schools’ enrich or replace traditional education?
Opinion, Kokomo Tribune, IN, March 7, 2014
Future K-12 students may take many of their classes online. If you look behind you, you’ll see the future is almost here. It’s pursuing us with amazing speed. We call it virtual education, and it’s an indispensable part of our future. Some virtual schools claim to offer the same curriculum and instructional practices as their brick-and-mortar neighbors. Maybe so and maybe not!