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Daily Headlines: December 12, 2011

Does School Choice Improve Education?
New York Times, NY, December 12, 2011
As a school choice advocate and a former member of the District of Columbia City Council, I must take issue with some of the claims made in “Why School Choice Fails,” by Natalie Hopkinson (Op-Ed, Dec. 5).

Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?
New York Times, NY, December 12, 2011
NO one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds.

State Takeovers of Other Districts Have Had Mixed Results
New York Times, NY, December 12, 2011
A state takeover can bring additional resources and expertise to a troubled district, allow for more radical changes, and help deter nepotism, bickering and personal agendas among school board members. But it is usually a last resort because of staunch local opposition.

NEA Proposes Criteria Reform For Teacher Jobs
Washington Times, DC, December 11, 2011
Performance, not seniority, would play the primary role in whether teachers keep their jobs under a broad reform plan released by the National Education Association last week.

How Some States Rein In Charter School Abuses
Miami Herald, FL, December 10, 2011
Some states are careful to ensure there is strong oversight of charter schools’ spending of public money. Florida isn’t one of them.

Getting Covered By The False Grassroots Of School Reform
Journal and Courier, IN, December 9, 2011
These coordinated efforts are undertaken to create a false sense of grassroots support for their agenda and manipulate the public.

Slow Down the School Reform Factory
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ, December 12, 2011
Reformers look on education as something like an assembly line: the requisite machinery and bins of gleaming parts are all in place. If the products that come off the line don’t sell, it must be the welders who are to blame.


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Daily Headlines: December 9, 2011

Why Charter Schools Are Growing
Wall Street Journal Video, December 8, 2011
Ursuala Wright on the expansion of the charters and the impediments to school reform.

Newt’s Different Approach to School Vouchers
American Thinker, December 9, 2011
However, while Newt is offering a different solution to a common problem, he, and other conservatives, could go farther by striking at the heart of the issue: the fact that, unlike many middle- and upper-class students, the poor in our country are not empowered to choose their school.

Money Proves Best Tool For Improving Schools
San Francisco Chronicle, CA, December 9, 2011
As 2011 draws to a close, we can confidently declare that one of the biggest debates over education is – mercifully – resolved.


Charter School Association Files Formal Complaint Against Somerville School Department
Boston Globe, MA, December 8, 2011
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is reviewing a complaint against the Somerville Public Schools filed by the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association that alleges school employees coerced and intimidated parents and misused public funds to spread misinformation about a proposed charter school in the city.

Regents Chair Sees No Need For More Hearings On Charter-School Proposal
Providence Journal, RI, December 8, 2011
The two hearings on Achievement First are enough. That’s the word from George D. Caruolo, chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Seacoast High School For The Arts Explored
Portsmouth Herald, NH, December 9, 2011
A small group of parents and community members are gauging the community’s interest in starting a charter high school focused on the arts within the School Administrative Unit 16 district.

25 Schools May Close
Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2011
New York City is planning to close 25 schools this year, including 11 started under the Bloomberg administration, officials said Thursday.

Bloomberg’s Kids Just Aren’t Learning: What The

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Daily Headlines: December 8, 2011

City Schools Gain in Reading , Math
Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2011
Large urban school districts have made steady gains on elementary-school math and reading exams in the past nine years but continue to score far below national averages, according to federal data released Wednesday.

Students In Big-City Schools Show Gains In Latest NAEP ‘Report Card’
Christian Science Monitor, MA, December 7, 2011
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) National Report Card shows clear and positive trend lines for big-city schools, though the progress has been slow.

Number Of Students Attending Charter Schools Soars
Associated Press, December 7, 2011
The number of students attending charter schools has soared to more than 2 million as states pass laws lifting caps and encouraging their expansion, according to figures released Wednesday.

For Stronger Teacher Reviews, Principals Must Lead The Way
Lodi News Sentinel, CA, December 8, 2011
While teachers should be held accountable for doing their job effectively, we need to be realistic about what the results of a standardized test truly reveal about student achievement.


Charter School Enrollment Shows More Competition To Educate Kids
KOLD-TV, AZ, December 8, 2011
She watches success at BASIS Tucson attract more students. A larger campus will open on Tucson’s north side next school year. Another campus will also open in the Phoenix area and a new one will open in D.C.

Charter School Offers Alternative Education Experience
Merced Sun-Star, CA, December 8, 2011
Merced Scholars Charter School does things differently.
The sixth- through 12th-grade charter school has more than 100 students and stresses independent study and personalized learning.

Charter Schools In Colorado Near Head Of The Class In Enrollment
Denver Post, CO, December 8, 2011
Nearly 20 years after the country’s first public charter school opened, charter schools in Colorado are enrolling more students than ever.

Superintendents Offer School Revolution
Register Citizen, CT, December 8, 2011
The Connecticut

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Daily Headlines: December 7, 2011

Why Innovation Can’t Fix America’s Classrooms
The Atlantic, December 6, 2011
Forget charter schools and grade-by-grade testing. It’s time to look at the best-performing countries and pragmatically adapt their solutions.


Republicans To Propose School Choice Legislation
Tuscaloosa News, AL, December 7, 2011
Republicans plan to propose school choice legislation, a measure traditionally opposed by the state teacher organization, which is now led by a chief executive whose children attend private school.

Charter Schools Are the Only Hope For Some Alabama Students
Birmingham News, AL, December 7, 2011
As the sponsor of the 2010 charter school bill in the Alabama Senate, I am writing to applaud Gov. Robert Bentley and the Republican legislative leadership for their commitment to education reform.

Montgomery Council Votes To Study City-Run School System
WSFA, AL, December 6, 2011
The Montgomery City Council voted to commission a study to look at whether the city should run its own school system. The 5-4 vote underscored just how divided the council is on the issue.

Charter School Loses Bid To Open Second Location In D-49
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO, December 7, 2011
Imagine Pioneer Academy lost its second and final appeal to build a school in Falcon School District 49 at a State Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

District Unveils First Ranking of Public Charter Schools
Washington Post, DC, December 6, 2011
The District unveiled its first rankings of public charter schools Tuesday, part of a new rating system that offers parents a broader assessment of school progress than annual standardized test results.

Florida Charter Group Has Short Legislative Wish List
NPR StateImpact , FL, December 6, 2011
A new charter school advocacy group has just one item on their Legislative agenda come January — Equal funding for charter schools students.

New Charter School, Principal On Course
Tampa Tribune, FL, December 7, 2011
Johnson is the first principal at Winthrop, a

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Daily Headlines for December 6, 2011

Churches Grapple With School Ruling
Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a Bronx church’s case on whether it can hold worship services in New York City public schools.

How to Rescue Education Reform
New York Times, NY, December 6, 2011
THE debate over renewing No Child Left Behind, the education reform act that will be 10 years old in January, has fallen along partisan lines even though school improvement is one of the few examples of bipartisan cooperation over the last decade.


Freeing up LAUSD
Los Angeles Times, CA, December 6, 2011
Agreement to shift back to more autonomy for individual schools makes sense for these times, but not at the price of consistency or accountability.

County Board Rejects Appeal From Rialto Charter School
San Bernardino Sun, CA, December 5, 2011
The San Bernardino County Board of Education on Monday turned down a prospective charter school’s request to open in Rialto.

District Wins Special-Ed Appeal
Washington Examiner, DC, December 5, 2011
The injunction is part of the Petties vs. D.C. class-action lawsuit filed in 1995 by parents whose children had been placed in private schools because the District’s public schools couldn’t provide adequate special-education services.

Parents Argue For A New Charter School In West Boynton Beach
Palm Beach Post, FL, December 5, 2011
It’s a parent’s dream: a combination middle-high school within walking and bike-riding distance of their homes. But that dream, the Boynton West Middle/High Charter School, still has three to six months before it will hear if it can get the land it needs.

Sarasota Charter School Gets A Bigger Campus
Herald Tribune, FL, December 5, 2011
With 750 students, the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences charter school long ago outgrew the former plumbing warehouse it occupies on Central Avenue .

Bill Would OK Adult Education in Florida Charters

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Daily Headlines for December 5, 2011

The Teacher Quality Conundrum: If They Are The Problem, Why Are Kids Gaining In Math?
New York Daily News, NY, December 5, 2011
How to improve our schools? Let’s start with what we know: Teachers are the most important factor in a child’s schooling, and many of our teachers are not very good.


New Alabama Education Policy Director To Push For Charter Schools
Birmingham News Blog, AL, December 3, 2011
Gov. Robert Bentley’s new education policy director has worked under some controversial regimes in high-profile efforts to turn around failing schools.

LAUSD’s Promise of School Freedom Is Progress, but No Panacea
Los Angeles Times, CA, December 3, 2011
Educators at campuses that would get more autonomy under a district-union deal must remember that what made upstart charters work is not fewer rules but more attention to student needs.

L.A. Teachers Union Drops Legal Challenge To Evaluation System
Los Angeles Times Blog, CA, December 2, 2011
The union for Los Angeles teachers has suspended its legal challenge to a pilot evaluation program that includes using standardized test scores as part of a teacher’s performance review. The union also reserved the right to reactivate the case should talks with the district sour.

State Board to Consider Charter School Dispute in D-49
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO, December 4, 2011
A drawn out process over whether or not Falcon School District 49 will be home to a new charter school is expected to come to a conclusion Tuesday afternoon.

Tangi Board: Charter Could Hurt Desegregation
Washington Examiner, DC, December 4, 2011
Tangipahoa Parish school officials say creating a charter school in Hammond could jeopardize the public school system’s progress toward desegregation.

Education: Big Reforms Haven’t Yet Produced Big Results
Sun Sentinel, FL, December 4, 2011
After two years of hammering away on a K-12 education agenda designed by conservative think tanks, legislators have checked off

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Daily Headlines: December 2, 2011

Taking Over Lousy Schools
American Spectator, December 2, 2011
It would be an understatement to say that American families are dissatisfied with the nation’s traditional public school systems.


Our Struggling Schools Need A Long-term Fix
Sacramento Bee, CA, December 2, 2011
The nonprofit group Advancement Project plans to gather signatures for a November 2012 ballot initiative that would raise money for schools, The Bee reported Wednesday.

Pittsburg Charter High School Pilot Approved By State After Local Rejection
Contra Costa Times, CA, December 1, 2011
A new charter school program for Pittsburg won state approval in November despite having been turned down by both city and county education boards.

A Risky Choice — Lausd Shouldn’t Retreat From Reform
Long Beach Press Telegram, CA, December 1, 2011
For the past few years, Los Angeles schools have been a surprising model of education reform that has been closely observed across the nation.

Charter Schools Would Fix Education Because Bad Teachers Can Be Fired
Yahoo! Voices, December 1, 2011
One of the hot button issues on this November’s ballot in California is education reform. Each major party candidate talks of “fixing education.” I have my concerns for what this term means.

Denver Public Schools Rolls Out New Application For School-Choice Selections
Denver Post, CO, December 2, 2011
The new choice form — a four- page application — is available online and will be sent to students in transition grades next week through the U.S. mail and weekly school communications in children’s backpacks.

Evaluation Snags Delay Contract Agreements for Pasco Teachers
St. Petersburg Times, FL, December 2, 2011
She’s far from alone. Dozens of Pasco County teachers without assigned students are in the same position: They have no clear criteria for how their bosses will review their work or determine their students’ academic results for future pay and employment.

Gov Proposes Parents ‘Union’ To Control

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Daily Headlines: December 1, 2011

Districts Pay Less in Poor Schools, Report Says
New York Times, NY, December 1, 2011
Its conclusion: Tens of thousands of schools serving low-income students are being shortchanged because districts spend fewer state and local dollars on teacher salaries in those schools than on salaries in schools serving higher-income students.

My Favorite Adversary, Diane Ravitch
Washington Post Blog, DC, December 1, 2011
The national debate over how to fix our schools descends too often into well-phrased but acidic name-calling, like you hear at college department meetings.

The Achievement Gap Is A Middle Class Issue
Twin City Daily Planet, MN, November 30, 2011
A recent study by Sean Reardon of Stanford University finds that the achievement gap between the upper and middle classes is bigger than the gap between the middle class and the working poor. This should give pause to those who dismiss education reform as something that affects other people. If you’re middle class, you’re on the losing side of the achievement gap.


State Still Looking Into NCLB Waivers
Juneau Empire, AK, December 1, 2011
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development is still looking at all the factors for applying for a newly offered waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act rules.

Pulling the Trigger on Failing Schools
LA Weekly, CA, December 1, 2011
One year later, with that colossal bust under their belts, Parent Revolution organizers are taking a more careful approach. Instead of pushing disenfranchised parents into battle under a shiny Parent Revolution flag, the organization has been fostering “parent unions” at schools across California .

Sweetwater Won’t Exclude Students from SDSU Compact
San Diego Union-Tribune, CA, November 30, 2011
After an outcry from charter school parents, the Sweetwater Union High School District dropped plans Wednesday to limit access to a program that guarantees entrance to San Diego State University .

The Education

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Daily Headlines: November 29, 2011

Why Are We Following The US Into A Schools Policy Disaster?
The Guardian, UK, November 28, 2011
Academies and free schools will do as much harm to our education system as charter schools are doing in the US , says Melissa Benn.

No Child Left Behind, Or Else
The Harvard Crimson, MA, November 29, 2011
The rash of reforms over the past two decades, from initiatives during the Clinton administration to Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act to Obama’s Race to the Top program, have sought to improve test scores by focusing almost entirely on school accountability with little or no attempt to hold students to a higher standard.


Charter Schools In The Northwest Valley Continue To Grow
Arizona Republic, AZ, November 28, 2011
Charter schools in the northwest Valley, particularly in the Surprise area, continue to grow. Nearly 20 percent of students in Surprise attend a charter school, one of the highest percentages among Valley cities.

LAUSD Reform From The Inside Out
Los Angeles Times, CA, November 29, 2011
Our school system is fracturing. While the Los Angeles Unified School District and its bargaining partners, the unions, endlessly debate how best to fix the system, parents and students are walking away from LAUSD.

Millions for Education Bounce off With Brown’s Dropped Ball
Modesto Bee, CA, November 28, 2011
At a time when California has cut funding for K-12 education — and is about to cut more — the state just left $49 million in federal education dollars on the table.

Denver Public Schools Discovers Value of Marketing
Denver Post, CO, November 29, 2011
In the growing Denver Public Schools district, the need for marketing is intensified by a new districtwide enrollment process that requires parents to choose a school rather than automatically being assigned to one.

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Daily Headlines for November 28, 2011

For-Profit Certification for Teachers Is Booming
New York Times, NY, November 27, 2011
He is earning his teaching certificate through an online, for-profit alternative certification program, a nontraditional route to teaching that is becoming more common in Texas .

Big Expansion, Big Questions for Teach for America
Associated Press, November 27, 2011
By 2015, with the help of a $50 million federal grant, program recruits could make up one-quarter of all new teachers in 60 of the nation’s highest need school districts. The program also is expanding internationally.

Teach for America Has Become Embedded in New Orleans Education
Times Picayune, LA, November 27, 2011
As with so much else that defines the post-Katrina school system, the group’s ubiquity in New Orleans sets the city apart, but also places it squarely at the center of national debate over the future of the teaching profession.


GOP Ready For Battle With Alabama Education Association
Tuscaloosa News, AL, November 28, 2011
Alabama’s new Republican-controlled Legislature ran over the Alabama Education Association in the 2011 session and is looking for more victories next year when the longtime leaders of the educators’ group head into retirement.

‘Teaching Interns’ Help Lacking Schools
Arizona Republic, AZ, November 27, 2011
A key part of O’Keefe’s new life is a relatively new type of teaching certificate granted by the Arizona Department of Education to people who already have college degrees and want to become public-school teachers but don’t want to go back to college for another four years.

Teacher Ratings And The Public’s Right To Know
Los Angeles Times, CA, November 28, 2011
The Los Angeles Unified School District is going against public opinion by siding with the teachers union against full transparency on value-added teacher ratings.

Public Schools, Private Donations
Los Angeles Times, CA, November 27, 2011
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is trying to balance parental donations with

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