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  • Courtney Schroeder
    CHOICE & COMPETITION DATA, ASSESSMENT & TECHNOLOGY OTHER CHOICE & COMPETITION Florida Sees Surge in Use of Vouchers from Education Week 9/4/2002
    Message 1 of 117 , Sep 11, 2002
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      Florida Sees Surge in Use of Vouchers from Education Week 9/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=01vouch.h22
      As the school year begins, record numbers of Florida students are using an expanded menu of state-financed vouchers and other tuition-aid options to enroll in private schools - despite a recent state court ruling that is clouding the outlook for school choice in the state. The number of Sunshine State students from low-performing schools who are using vouchers to pay for private schooling - at religious as well as secular schools - has jumped to roughly 575 this year, up from about 45 last year, officials said. Thousands more are taking advantage of a separate voucher program for children with disabilities, which has doubled its enrollment since last year.

      Edison Buffeted by Probe, Loss of Contracts from Education Week 9/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=01edison.h22
      Edison Schools Inc., already pummeled by falling stock prices and opposition to its work, is being booted out of school districts in Texas and Georgia, and has come under investigation by state and federal authorities who want to know how it secured two contracts in Pennsylvania. The nation's largest for-profit manager of public schools is well acquainted with controversy, but it has experienced more than its typical share of bumps in the last month. First came the Aug 6 disclosure that the inspector general of the US Dept of Education would investigate whether anything improper occurred between the NYC-based company and Pennsylvania officials in the awarding of Edison's $60 million, 5-year contract July 31 to manage 20 of Philadelphia's lowest-performing schools. Pennsylvania Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. had begun in January an examination of why the state awarded Edison a $2.7 million contract in July 2001 to perform a study of the Philadelphia district without taking competitive bids. When the Education Department investigation began, Mr. Casey referred part of his inquiry to the federal investigators.

      Edison's Quarterly Loss Put at $49.3 Million from the Philadelphia Inquirer 9/6/2002 http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/living/education/4012229.htm
      On the same day that Edison Schools Inc. opened 20 schools in Philadelphia, the New York company
      surprised Wall Street by announcing yesterday a much wider loss for the fourth quarter than
      previously expected. Both Edison and security analysts said the company has the money it needs
      to continue operating through June, when the school year ends.


      California Restores Money for School Bonuses Tied to Tests from Education Week 9/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=01bonus.h22
      In a pleasant surprise for California educators, the legislature has managed to salvage this year's cash awards for schools that perform well on state assessment.s Secretary of Education Kerry Mazzoni announced recently that the 3,428 schools eligible for the bonuses for student scores posted in the 2000-01 school year would receive the awards, most of which will range from $10,000 to $30,000. The money can be used to buy just about any kind of education-related supplies or services.

      Maryland Test to Show National Standing from the Baltimore Sun 9/5/2002 http://www.sunspot.net/news/education/bal-md.test05sep05.story?coll=bal%2Deducation%2Dk12
      Allowing a peek at the new state test, schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick said yesterday that Maryland students will be able to compare their scores with those of peers across the nation. Grasmick said the test that replaces the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program next spring will yield two sets of scores, one measuring students' mastery of the state's curriculum, the other measuring Marylanders against national standards. "One of the complaints about MSPAP is that it didn't allow us to compare ourselves with other states," Grasmick said. "Having two measures should be helpful to students, to teachers and to us. I know of no other state that's doing this." Although this will be the first chance for Marylanders to see how they stack up against other students through an official state test, commercial standardized tests given annually in even-numbered grades measure Marylanders' performance against national norms.

      NGA, Broad Foundation to Offer States Help from Education Week 9/4/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=01caps.h22
      The National Governors Association and the Broad Foundation are teaming up to provide states with resources to understand and meet the requirements of the new federal "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001. Gov. Paul E. Patton of Kentucky announced the initiative shortly after taking over as the chairman of the NGA. As part of the initiative, the NGA and the LA-based Broad Foundation will host a national education summit for governors at the 2003 NGA annual meeting in Indianapolis.

      Many Latinos Enroll but Don't Finish College from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 9/6/2002 http://www.ecs.org
      Latinos are more likely to enroll in college but far less likely to earn a degree than other Americans,
      according to a new study. Ten percent of Latino adults of all ages who completed high school are enrolled in a two- or four-year college. Asian Americans, about 11%, are the only group with a higher rate of attending college. But less than 17% of the Latinos have a bachelor's degree or higher. That rate is below the 20% for nonHispanic blacks and 36% for nonHispanic whites. Many young Latinos lean toward part-time studies at two-year colleges because of lower fees, simpler admission procedures, remedial courses for those who attended weak high schools and class schedules that are convenient for working students.

      New Hope for Urban Schools from the Education Gadfly, Terry Ryan, 9/5/2002 <http://www.cgcs.org/reports/Foundations.html>
      CGCS set out to find more easily generalized-and replicable-explanations for why some urban systems make greater progress than others. Assisted by the Manpower Development Research Corporation with funding from the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, CGCS sought
      districts that, in executive director Mike Casserly's words, "had improved in both reading and math in over half of their grades, had done so at rates faster than their respective states, and had simultaneously
      narrowed their racially-identifiable achievement gaps." They settled on four such systems- Charlotte-Mecklenberg, Houston, Sacramento and the "Chancellor's District" within New York City-and studied them to determine "what districts can do to boost performance citywide rather than waiting for the turn-around of individual schools." They also examined some (unnamed) "comparison districts" of similar size and demographics (report published June 2002).

      Justice Department Allows a Shift in School Powers from The New York Times 9/4/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/04/nyregion/04GOVE.html
      Handing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg another important victory in his quest to reshape the school system, the Justice Department approved a plan to strip the city's 32 community school boards of their role in appointing district superintendents. When the state legislature granted Bloomberg control of the school system in June, it gave the school's chancellor -- who is now appointed by the mayor -- sole
      responsibility for hiring and firing superintendents.
    • edupreneurs_moderator
      Education News Bulletin February 10 - 17, 2006 HUMAN CAPITAL COMMENTARY: Fast-Track Certification - Can We Prepare Teachers Both Quickly and Well? NATIONAL -
      Message 117 of 117 , Feb 21, 2006
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        Education News Bulletin
        February 10 - 17, 2006


        COMMENTARY: Fast-Track Certification - Can We Prepare Teachers Both
        Quickly and Well?

        NATIONAL - Teacher-preparation programs today come in many shapes
        and sizes. Traditional and alternative programs have morphed into
        one another, making broad comparisons between them useless. What
        matters instead is how particular programs work. Do they attract
        candidates to teaching? Do they provide what they promise? Do they
        give new teachers what they need to get started and grow on the job?
        Do participants report that they're prepared to teach their
        students? With such questions in mind, we studied 13 fast-track,
        alternative-certification programs in four states, observing the
        training and interviewing directors, faculty members, and
        participants. … Fast-track preparation is a deceptively simple idea.
        In fact, surprising capacity is required to train teachers both
        quickly and well. (by Susan Moore Johnson of Harvard University's
        graduate school of education and consultant Sarah Birkeland for
        Education Week - registration required)

        http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/02/15/23johnson.h25.html (see
        also "A Difficult Balance: Incentives and Quality Control in
        Alternative Certification Programs" at

        Parents, teachers have educational divide

        WASHINGTON (AP) -- Considering they share responsibility for 50
        million children, parents and teachers sure have some different
        views about what goes on in school. From discipline to standardized
        tests to the quality of high schools, parents and teachers disagree
        on basic aspects of education, an AP-AOL Learning Services Poll
        finds. They come together, though, on the need to hire and keep good
        teachers. … On testing, the poll found teachers are much more likely
        than parents to say standardized exams get too much emphasis. Yet
        most parents and teachers agree testing has weakened the ability of
        educators to give individual attention to students. (Associated
        Press via CNN)

        html (see also "Press Release: 87% of Teachers Say Parents Should
        Spend More Time with Children on Homework" at


        Assessment Testing >> In Their Hands: Handheld devices empower
        teachers with assessment data they can put to immediate use

        NATIONAL - At the Orange County Public School District in Orlando,
        FL, assessing reading skills among the youngest students used to be
        quite a process. Relying on rudimentary products such as paper and
        pencils, the strategy hinged on the bubble sheets teachers
        administered to students once a year. After teachers scored the
        exams, they sent them to the district office, where results were
        scanned, analyzed, and combined to form summary reports. These
        reports gave teachers information about which students needed extra
        help, and which subjects were proving to be troublesome. But because
        the reports took weeks to generate, it was difficult for teachers to
        use them to better serve the needs of their students. Everything
        changed with the implementation of a three-year pilot program that
        kicked off the 2003-2004 school year. District officials, eager to
        improve their assessment techniques, turned to Wireless Generation
        to find a way to assess students so that teachers could actually do
        something with their data. Change came in the form of Palm handheld
        devices. Teachers used them to record student performance on a
        series of questions designed to gauge reading skills. (T.H.E.


        Grading Equity: Tisch Lecturer Outlines Report Card on Education

        NATIONAL - Richard Rothstein agrees with No Child Left Behind
        supporters on at least one point: Holding schools accountable for
        improving children's reading and math skills may, in fact,
        eventually lead to improvement in those skills. The problem, as
        Rothstein outlined it on Monday evening, January 30th during the
        first of a three-part Teachers College lecture series known as the
        Tisch Lectures, is that those skills could improve -- to the
        detriment of others that are equally important. "What gets measured,
        gets done," said Rothstein, Tisch Visiting Professor at TC and
        research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, in a talk he
        titled Equity in What? Defining the Goals of American Education for
        which We Seek Equity. For the past year and half, Rothstein and two
        graduate assistants, Rebecca Jacobsen and Tamara Wilder, have been
        working to create a new "report card" that will assess the nation's
        progress in providing equal educational opportunities across a much
        broader range of skills. The list, unveiled at the first Tisch
        lecture, includes basic academic skills; critical thinking; social
        skills and work ethic; citizenship; physical health; emotional
        health; the arts and literature; and vocational education. (Teachers
        College at Columbia University)



        Can Bush make America more competitive in math and science?

        WASHINGTON - Americans have heard the warnings for decades: The
        nation is in danger of falling behind other technological
        powerhouses in the world, posing a threat to its way of life.
        President Bush's competitiveness initiative, outlined in his federal
        budget, would focus $136 billion over 10 years on boosting research
        and education. Much of that cost would come in the form of tax
        incentives for research and development; the rest represents new
        funding, including a doubling of the budgets of three federal
        agencies focused on science and technology. The education piece of
        Mr. Bush's plan seems relatively small - $380 million in fiscal
        2007 - but it is getting most of the attention. Overall, Bush's AP
        Incentive Program aims to boost the number of students taking AP
        math and science exams from 380,000 today to 1.5 million in 2012. In
        a nation that seems to have a cultural aversion to tackling "hard"
        subjects like math and science, can those numbers be achieved? And
        without the stark image of Sputnik - the Soviet satellite whose
        launch in 1957 caught the US by surprise - to spur a fear of
        national decline, will the nation rally to the "competitiveness"
        cause and push Congress to fund the plan? (Christian Science Monitor)



        Venture Capitalists Are Investing in Educational Reform

        CALIFORNIA - Venture capitalists of Silicon Valley, who have backed
        hundreds of high-technology entrepreneurs, are eagerly financing a
        new group these days: schoolmasters. "We give education
        entrepreneurs money to start or to speed up building their
        companies," said L. John Doerr, who over 26 years has helped start
        dozens of ventures, including Sun Microsystems, Amazon.com and
        Google. He help found the New Schools Venture Fund in San Francisco
        six years ago for a new breed of entrepreneur - the kind who doesn't
        have to produce a profit. … New Schools Venture Fund is still
        investing its first $80 million, contributed by individuals like Mr.
        Doerr and organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
        which gave $22 million. New Schools has begun raising another $125
        million to expand the reach of charter schools as models of reform
        for traditional public school systems. (by James Flanigan for the
        New York Times - registration required)


        Column: The New Engines of Reform (by David Gergen of US News &
        World Report)

        NATIONAL - There won't be any sleek limousines drawing up at the
        door, no red carpets, no paparazzi, no Vanity Fair afterglow, and,
        alas, no Annie Leibovitz. But when dozens of people roll into the
        Mohonk Mountain House in the Hudson Valley this week, they'll be
        holding their own Oscar party--one celebrating the stars of a new
        group of emerging leaders in the United States. They're
        called "social entrepreneurs," and if you haven't heard the phrase
        yet, you're missing one of the hottest movements to ripple across
        college campuses and into young urban communities. Social
        entrepreneurs do more than treat society's ills--they envision
        widespread, systemic change that could prevent those ills from ever
        occurring. They tackle social problems with entrepreneurial and
        innovative spirit. … The roster of all-stars in the social
        enterprise movement is growing rapidly--and just as in business and
        politics, they are forming networks among themselves. (US News &
        World Report)

        (see also "Two Guys...and a Dream" on the founders of KIPP in the
        same issue at


        Put Learning First: A Portfolio Approach to Public Schools

        NATIONAL - Today, public education policies and administrations are
        organized to serve the needs of the institutions and the adults that
        work in them. Addressing our stunning achievement gaps, particularly
        those affecting minority students in our cities, means that
        students, not the system, must become the primary organizing
        principle for educational policies -- and, more importantly, for
        schools themselves. The current system is intended to advance
        individual, community, and national goals, but is, in fact,
        engineered for stability. That is normally a good thing. We want
        schools to open on time, teachers to count on having jobs from one
        day to the next, and parents to feel secure knowing that their
        children will have a place to go to school. Stability alone,
        however, is the wrong goal in a complex, fast-changing, modern
        economy. Students -- disadvantaged students, in particular -- need
        schools that are focused on providing them with the skills they will
        need to succeed in today's society, schools that are flexible enough
        to try a variety of teaching methods until they succeed in reaching
        these goals. (by Paul Hill of the Center on Reinventing Public
        Education, for the Progressive Policy Institute)


        The New Reverse Class Struggle: Although Smaller Sizes Are Touted,
        Some Say Bigger May Be Beneficial

        NATIONAL - Billie-Jean Bensen, principal of Herbert Hoover Middle
        School in Rockville, called [math teacher Jane]
        Reiser "outstanding," "fabulous" and "truly amazing," able to get
        great results despite her large class size [32 students, way above
        the national class size average of 25]. So why, some experts are
        asking, are educators and politicians so bent on reducing class
        sizes? Wouldn't it be better to let classes get bigger? Then schools
        could reduce the number of teachers, keep good ones like Reiser and
        pay them more. The idea seems odd to many. But some scholars and
        administrators say raising class sizes and teacher pay might improve
        achievement. (by Jay Mathews for the Washington Post - registration


        President's Budget Would Cut Education Spending

        NATIONAL - President Bush's blueprint for federal education spending
        in the next fiscal year includes a high-profile plan to boost math
        and science education, new money for private school vouchers, a
        renewed push to improve high schools-and the most drastic cut in
        Department of Education funding in more than a decade. In his
        proposed federal budget for fiscal 2007, released last week, Mr.
        Bush calls for a 3.8 percent drop in the department's discretionary
        spending, or $2.1 billion less than the agency received for fiscal
        2006, excluding hurricane relief and adjusting for a recent
        accounting change for financial aid. If approved by Congress, his
        plan would mean the largest percentage cut for the department since
        fiscal 1996. The president would sink new federal education money
        into fresh initiatives, particularly those intended to strengthen
        learning in mathematics and science, and provide generally flat
        funding to K-12's two largest programs: Title I for low- income
        students and special education state grants. (Education Week -
        registration required)

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