education news bulletin
- Choice & Competition
Testing, Assessment & Data
A Delicate Balance From Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/ew_printstory.cfm?slug=34aldine.h21
The Montessori and Direct Instruction teaching methods can seem worlds apart. But in Texas' Aldine district, parents can pick between them-at the same schools.
Woes for Company Running Schools
From the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/14/business/14EDIS.html?ex=1022357138&ei=1&en=69fec59e6a343798
Edison Schools is facing a financial crisis that could imperil its most ambitious assignment to date - the takeover of 20 failing schools in Philadelphia.
Quiet Start, Big Finish Mark: Duncan's First Year From the Chicago Catalyst <http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/>
Writer Dan Weissmann chronicles Arne Duncan's first year as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. "Initially viewed by many as too nice or too understated to survive the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago school politics, Duncan surprised most everyone," writes Mr. Weissmann.
CTU Gets Chance to Run Two Schools Their Way
[From Teacher Quality Bulletin] The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will soon have its day in the sun. Beginning next fall, the union will be responsible for turning around
select failing schools. Plans for improving them include retaining existing principals and teachers, using full-certified teachers to fill vacancies, training teachers during the summer, reducing class size, and extending the school day by one hour. As long as they are held accountable for results, unions should be considered as a possible management alternative for reforming low-performing schools, as should private management companies.
"Who Can Fix Schools First?" Chicago Sun-Times
"Teachers' Union Seeks to Overhaul Two Schools," Chicago Tribune
What Are Education CEOs Up To? From the Hoover Institution's Weekly Essays <http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/pubaffairs/we/default.html>
Paul T. Hill, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, says that school superintendents and business CEO's have a lot in common. "They are programmed to pretend that all is well and that all problems will shortly be conquered," he writes. The "bright mask" superintendents sometimes wear stands in the way of reform, Hill says.
New Orleans Soliciting Businesses For Bonuses From Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/newstory.cfm?slug=33recruit.h21
The school district in New Orleans is offering bonuses to newly certified teachers-and looking for help to pay for the incentive.
TESTING, ASSESSMENT & DATA
Assessment Help for Teachers on the Way From Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/newstory.cfm?slug=34ses.h21
Teachers make judgments about students' work every day. Soon, they'll have the first set of professional standards to help guide them in making such decisions.
One-third of Seniors May Not Graduate From The Buffalo News http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20020509/1014700.asp
More than 700 Buffalo high school seniors-one-third of the city's potential graduating class-have yet to pass a required Regents math exam, and will not graduate next month unless they pass the test June 19.
Technology Counts 2002 From Education Week http://www.edweek.org/tc02/
The fifth edition of Education Week's annual 50-state report on education technology focuses on how state and district e-learning initiatives are changing the education landscape.
- CHOICE & COMPETITION
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
CHOICE & COMPETITION
Indiana Charters Spur Budget Debate from Education Week 10/23/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=08indy.h22 Indiana's first 11 charter schools opened for business this school year, with four of them located within the Indianapolis Public Schools district. That makes the district the only one in the state to host more than one of the independent public schools, and IPS officials say they are feeling the pinch. Despite that bottom-line increase, though, Indianapolis Public Schools officials say the new charter schools pose fiscal problems because many of the students at the start-up schools had previously gone to private schools. Now that the district must share its revenues with those new students to the public school sphere, IPS officials say, less money per pupil is left for IPS students than would have been the case if the charters had never opened.
Accredited Status Taking on Cachet in Charter Schools from Education Week 10/23/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=08accredit.h22 Gateway High is among a dozen charter schools in California that are piloting a new accreditation system announced last week by the state's charter school association and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In developing the joint venture, the California Network of Educational Charters claims to be the first state membership organization of charter schools to forge such a partnership with one of the nation's long-established regional accrediting agencies. The California network is far from alone, though, in valuing the seal of approval that charter schools can gain through accreditation. With lapses in charter school oversight cropping up with growing frequency around the country, more charter leaders are turning to the old-fashioned tactic of accreditation to enhance the credibility of their newfangled public schools.
Bust the Monopoly from the New York Daily News 10/12/2002 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/26487p-25125c.html On Saturday, Diane Ravitch challenged chancellor Joel Klein to "bust the monopoly" of New York City's mammoth school system, noting that Klein has thus far dismissed the idea of school choice despite his reputation as a trustbuster. Writing in the New York Daily News, Ravitch urged the former businessman to "begin a revolution" by doing everything in his power to support charters, noting that like a company, if a charter school fails its customers, it loses its charter and closes.
Klein Touts Charter Schools from the New York Post 10/17/2002 http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/59933.htm Perhaps Chancellor Klein was persuaded. On Wednesday, he endorsed the creation of more charter schools to stir innovation in the New York City public school system and provide more options to parents.
The Accreditation Game from Education Next Fall 2002 http://www.educationnext.org/20023/48.html The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) still focuses more on process and inputs than on accountability and outcomes in evaluating teacher education programs, despite recent revisions to its accreditation standards, according to an analysis conducted by Sandra Vergari and Rick Hess. NCATE currently accredits institutions that collectively generate more than 70% of all K-12 teachers, yet we still have no empirical evidence that NCATE accredited schools produce higher quality teachers.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
School Testing Backlash Key in Five Governors' Races from the Los Angeles Times 10/28/2002 http://www.ecs.org Even as the new federal education law is pushing states toward greater emphasis on high-stakes testing of students, a backlash against such exams is emerging in key gubernatorial races around the country. Democratic candidates in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin are challenging the increased use of standardized tests for purposes that include evaluating school performance and determining whether students will graduate high school. Though the changes the Democratic candidates are advocating wouldn't necessarily put their states in conflict with that law, many experts believe these campaign critiques spotlight an unease about testing that may result in direct challenges to federal requirements.
Color Them Enthusiastic: Politicians Embrace Pre-K from the Orlando Sentinel 10/29/2002 http://www.ecs.org On Election Day, Florida voters will decide whether to make free, "high-quality" pre-kindergarten classes available to all 4-year-old children in the state. Georgia , Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia and the District of Columbia have passed universal pre-K laws, though money shortages have limited implementation.
Olchefske should be replaced, some argue from The Seattle Times 10/28/2002 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/134564286_olchefske28m.html The failure of the Seattle School District's top administrators to detect $34 million of accounting errors has sparked a debate over whether Superintendent Joseph Olchefske should be replaced. And, barely more than a year before four of the seven School Board members face re-election, many parents and activists are calling for a more independent-minded board. The Principals Association of Seattle Schools may take a no-confidence vote on Olchefske as early as today, and the district's teachers union is under pressure from some members to hold a similar vote. Board President Nancy Waldman said the district's $34 million miscalculation was "embarrassing and infuriating" but said only a few constituents were calling for Olchefske's firing or resignation. She said Olchefske has done an excellent job of boosting student test scores, reducing the dropout rate, modernizing aging buildings and bringing children back to Seattle schools.
Hartford School Superintendent Resigns After Rocky Three Years from The New York Times 10/29/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/29/education/29HART.html Anthony S. Amato, the superintendent of Hartford's troubled school system, abruptly resigned today, ending a rocky three-and-a-half-year tenure in which he raised abysmally low test scores but alienated some educators and city officials by openly seeking more prestigious job offers elsewhere. Despite giving assurances in August that he would remain in Hartford for the foreseeable future, Mr. Amato said today that he was resigning to give an incoming school board a fresh start. A state-appointed board took over Hartford's 32 schools in 1997 but will soon relinquish control to a new school board in the coming weeks. "I am associated with the state takeover," Mr. Amato said at a news conference this morning. "If I were to remain, the image would not represent a total return to local control."
CHOICE & COMPETITION
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
CHOICE & COMPETITION
Policy Eases the Way Out of Bad Schools from The New York Times 12/9/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/09/nyregion/09SCHO.html Students in chronically failing schools in New York City will have the right to transfer to better schools anywhere in the city under a revised policy that Chancellor Joel I. Klein will announce today, city officials said yesterday. The change could sharply curtail the number of students in nonfailing schools who are granted transfers outside and even within their home districts, the officials said. Many such students transfer each year, but from now on, their applications will be considered only after the needs of students in the most troubled schools are met. In another major change, Mr. Klein will no longer allow the 32 local districts to decide which students get to transfer into their schools, the officials said. Instead, the process will be centralized to ensure fairness and uniformity, they said.
Schools Face New Policy on Transfers from The New York Times 12/9/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/10/education/10EDUC.html In final regulations issued two weeks ago, the Education Department said that all students in failing schools had the right to transfer to better schools in their district, regardless of crowding. While New York City said today that it would begin offering children in failing schools the right to transfer to other city districts, school officials in other parts of the country have said that without adequate resources they did not know how they could supply children with better alternatives. In practical terms, education advocates and analysts said that the demand for cross-district transfer agreements would be difficult to enforce, if not impossible. The law leaves states and school districts to define what is "practicable," and the federal government would be unlikely to second-guess their judgments. "That's a huge escape hatch," said Frederick M. Hess, a scholar in residence at the American Enterprise Institute. "The department would have to reject a district's determination of what's feasible and practicable. If it goes to enforcement, that's a difficult thing to show."
School Choice Where None Exists from Education Week 12/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=14ross.h22 The school choice provisions of the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 strongly imply that schools like Fremont that egregiously fail children should be abandoned. In fact, the U.S. secretary of education has said as much: Beginning this fall, states and districts should begin pulling students in failing schools out of the fog and busing them to better public schools of their choosing. The validity of this provocative prescription rests on a few assumptions that tend not to hold water in the largest urban school systems. At the very least, Los Angeles should encourage the development of more charter schools, perhaps using available nonschool space, such as in high-rise office buildings or mini-malls.
Attack of “The Blob” from Newsweek 11/27/2002 http://www.msnbc.com/news/840765.asp There’s no silver bullet. That’s what everyone in education says, and it’s true. But certain types of schools are what might be called silver arrows in the quiver of reform. The charter school movement, which began ten years ago this fall with just one school in St. Paul, Minnesota, is quietly changing public education, especially in inner cities. With 2,400 such schools in 40 states, charters represent a workable and often inspiring form of public school choice. So of course mindless boards of education and reactionary teachers unions are trying to smear them.
Teacher-Quality Rules Challenge Ed Schools from Education Week 12/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=14train.h22 Education schools have been caught flat-footed by new federal requirements for teacher quality, while a handful of entrepreneurs are sprinting to provide programs to bring educators up to speed. For-profit institutions, colleges specializing in training midcareer teachers, and textbook publishers have proved to be the most nimble. They are quickly establishing or broadening partnerships with school districts to provide practical solutions for teachers and paraprofessionals who need to upgrade their credentials to come into compliance with the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
Final Rules Give States Direction, Little Flexibility from Education Week 12/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=14ayp.h22 The Department of Education released final regulations last week that, almost 11 months after the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 became law, are meant to bring clarity to some of the law's centerpiece provisions, including accountability, teacher quality, and public school choice. In releasing the 378-page document at a press briefing here, Undersecretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok described the rules as a "significant milestone in the implementation of No Child Left Behind." States and districts have been anxiously awaiting more direction on how to carry out the sweeping revisions in education policy. The final rules contain few, if any, surprises. Nor do they offer states much of the added flexibility they've sought in carrying out the law's accountability provisions.
‘Supplemental service’ firms flourish with NCLB from eSchool News 12/9/2002 http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/ssunreg.cfm?ArticleID=4119&ul=%2Fnews%2FshowStory%2Ecfm%3FArticleID%3D4119 Firms that offer private tutoring and standardized-test preparation are scrambling to cash in on what could be a multibillion-dollar bonanza created by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which requires public schools to expose students to an unprecedented battery of assessments and offer tutoring, summer classes, and remedial instruction to those who fail. Districts nationwide have turned to the private sector for help complying with the law, and in doing so have created a “supplementary educational services” industry that barely existed five years ago, executives said.