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The Top 10 states for educational options; Arizona 6th

by Angela Gonzales
Arizona Business Journal
April 15, 2013

Arizona ranked sixth on The Center for Education Reform’s Parent Power Index, which means parents have access to quality education options and are provided with good information to make smart decisions about their children’s education.

The states were ranked on prevalence of charter schools, school choice, teacher quality, transparency and access to data, online learning, pro-reform governors and parent trigger laws, where parents have an opportunity to turn around failing schools.

The rankings pointed to Arizona’s scholarship program for students with disabilities and a tax credit that has helped more than 30,000 students opt into new schools. In addition, Arizona’s charter school law has provided more than 200,000 children with choices about their schooling.

Click here to see the top 10 states in The Center for Education Reform’s Parent Power Index.

Here are more specifics on Arizona from the index:

72%: Arizona’s graduation rate
1539: Average SAT test score
19.7: Average ACT score
33%: 4th grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math score
31%: 8th grade NAEP math score
26%: 4th grade NAEP reading score
$8,006: Per pupil funding
1,077,831: Public school enrollment

Newswire: March 5, 2013

Vol. 15, No. 9

OK PINOCCHIO. Last week, Newswire sparked a mini-debate on what the sequester really means for education. But as CER president Jeanne Allen points out in today’s National Journal, “… that among all of these thousands of entities that spend and receive federal money, no one seems to know or to be even talking about how the almighty federal dollar flows.” The reality that CER continues to point out, is that most of the money has already been collected by states and districts. Thankfully we’re not alone in holding the Administration accountable for irresponsible rhetoric about a frenzy of “pink slips.” In fact, the US Department of Education has yet to produce any district-level evidence of lay-offs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

COVER UP. The Worcester County Teachers Association in Maryland has been making headlines as news broke of their botched attempt to cover-up the fact that Denise Inez Owens, the union’s former treasurer embezzled over $430,000 of teacher dues to fund her gambling addiction. In 2009 when the MSEA (state affiliate of the NEA) learned of the crime, they merely forced Owens to resign. We know these union contracts are ironclad, but come on, they sent a known-criminal back to teaching in a middle school classroom! Finally justice has been served, but where’s the accountability and “common good” that the union leadership supposedly values?

EXPANDING CHOICE. In a press conference last week Alabama Governor Robert Bentley applauded the legislature for sending an individual and corporate tax credit bill to his desk, “I truly believe this is historic education reform and it will benefit students and families across Alabama regardless of their income and regardless of where they live. I’m so proud we have done this

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Newswire: July 24, 2012

Vol.14, No. 30

WORLD SCHOOL. Avenues: The World School, is opening its doors this fall in New York City, the flagship in a planned global network of schools with a unique mission to promote and nurture global preparedness. Pledging to “set an example as an effective, diverse, and accountable school,” Avenues’ rigorous curriculum and forward thinking operational philosophy is designed to prepare kids to be successful, responsible, well rounded, and ethical citizens of the global community, who will have access to any international campus in the Avenues family. The faculty and administrative leaders are virtually a who’s who in rigorous education programs – including founder and entrepreneur Chris Whittle. Avenues shows what big thinking, entrepreneurship and hard work can accomplish.

EMPOWERED ONLINE. Speaking of entrepreneurship and forward thinking philosophies…Silicon Valley technology guru Steve Poizner has partnered with UCLA Extension to create Empowered Careers– an online continuing education certificate program taken entirely via a groundbreaking iPad app. Adult learners can take professional development courses from the comfort and convenience of their iPad, completing a certificate program to enhance or redirect their careers. The College Admissions Counseling course, for instance, might help a teacher who wants to transition from the classroom to the counselor’s office in order to focus on helping students make the jump from high school to college. To see some of the program’s high profile cheerleaders including Pierce Bronsan, James Franco, Sally Field and more, check out the video on their homepage. Looks like online learning is not only good for the gander (K-12 kids), but the goose (adult learners), too.

VIRTUAL VILLAGES…New Jersey just gave the thumbs up to two blended learning charter schools, set to open their doors in Newark, while closing the door to others. The Merit Preparatory Charter School and the

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Virtual Charter Decision Looms

“Debate Swells as Decision Nears on Virtual Charters”
by John Mooney
NJ Spotlight
July 12, 2012

The prospect of New Jersey’s first online charter schools continues to stir up debate, even as the Christie administration moves closer to announcing its decision on the virtual schools.

A group of a half-dozen of the state’s most prominent education organizations delivered a letter to acting education commissioner Chris Cerf this week, asking him not to approve final charters for two all-online schools until a number of legal and policy issues could be resolved.

The letter was signed by the New Jersey Education Association, the Education Law Center, and the New Jersey School Boards Association, as well as state associations representing principals, superintendents, and other administrators. Also signing were the state NAACP and the Latino Institute.

The main arguments were legal ones, with the letter making numerous citations of specific statute and regulation. It took up the now-familiar argument that the state’s 15-year-old charter school law does not accommodate for online schools, nor grant the state the power to approve them.

“We have significant concerns that the Department of Education lacks legislative authority to authorize virtual or online charter schools under the Charter School Program Act of 1995,” read the letter.

“There is no mention of virtual charter schools in the Act or its legislative history, which makes it clear that this new form of charter school was never contemplated, and has never been authorized, by the Legislature,” it read.

The letter went on to maintain that there also remained “numerous broad public policy questions that the Legislature must address,” from how the schools would be funded to rudimentary questions as to how attendance would be monitored.

Among them was a key point for critics: the role of for-profit companies in operating the schools. It is particularly germane, since K12 Inc., the nation’s

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Digital Learning for 21st Century Catholic and Private Schools

From kindergarten to high school, technology is transforming private education as we know it.

In order to engage today’s tech-savvy students and enhance their academic achievement, private schools must keep up with the latest digital content and tools for classroom integration.

The Mid-Atlantic Catholic Schools Consortium is holding a conference on digital learning designed for teachers, administrators, technology coordinators, and advocates for private and religious schools.

Attendees will learn from education technology experts and discover how other private schools are using technology to achieve success in blended learning, differentiated instruction, authentic assessment, professional development and other areas. Click here to view session descriptions.

The event will be held on April 20th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.

You can visit the conference website for more details, like early bird registration, or simply click here to register.

The 10 Elements of Digital Learning

(from http://digitallearningnow.com)

The 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning were released on December 1, 2010 at the Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform in Washington DC. During the fall of 2010, the Digital Learning Council defined the elements and identified the actions that need to be taken by lawmakers and policymakers to foster a high quality, customized education for all students.  This includes technology-enhanced learning in traditional schools, online and virtual learning, and blended learning that combines digital and classroom learning. The Elements are grouped into three areas of focus; Students (#1-4), Providers (#5-8), and Government (#9-10).

1. Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners.

2. Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.

3. Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.

4. Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.

5. Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.

6. Instruction: Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.

7. Providers: All students have access to multiple high quality providers.

8. Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.

9. Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.

10. Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.

*Click on each element for more information.

View the full report here.

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