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  • Courtney Schroeder
    CHOICE & COMPETITION HUMAN CAPITAL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES OTHER CHOICE & COMPETITION Federal funding awards total $222 million for charters & choice from
    Message 1 of 117 , Oct 8, 2002

      Federal funding awards total $222 million for charters & choice from the Department of Education 10/7/2002 http://www.ed.gov/index.jsp An unprecedented $198 million will go to help set up, develop and expand charter schools and to promote the exchange of information regarding what works to improve student performance among charter schools across the nation, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced today. New grants totaling $71 million are being awarded to 18 states. In addition, the department is directly funding one school in New Hampshire, and, for the first time, two schools in Wyoming. More than $119 million in second- and third-year funding will go to 17 states and to 82 schools in Arizona and one in Nevada.
      In addition, Three states -- Arkansas, Florida and Minnesota -- and 10 school districts or partnerships in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York and Oregon, will benefit from $23.8 million in grants under a new program to help school districts and states establish or expand public school choice programs, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced today. The grants come under the new Voluntary Public School Choice Program authorized by the landmark education reform law, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

      Direct Instruction Proves its Worth from the National Council on Teacher Quality Bulletin 10/4/2002 http://www.nctq.org/bulletin/v3n30.html The Pacific Research Institute's Center for Education reform released a report indicating that many high-poverty, high-achieving schools use direct instruction teaching methods, which are largely based on scripted lesson plans. Criticism has been leveled at these methods for being too stifling for teachers. And the idea of a heavily regimented curriculum will not always square with the aspirations that bright professionals need. Yet direct instruction bears good fruit if properly used. It takes additional hours of training and requires a commitment to students' needs. Ronni Ephraim, assistant superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District relates that direct instruction, while strongly resisted initially, is apparently well accepted after teachers see its benefit to students. Says Ephraim, "In our early years, we would receive many, many, many letters of concern from teachers. But commitment follows confidence, and now that they feel more confident using the program and they are seeing how well students are doing, we're not getting those kinds of letters anymore." Please also see "They Have Overcome: High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools in California," released by the Pacific Research Institute 9/2002 http://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/educat/they_have_overcome.pdf
      'Teacher Prep' Charter School Seen as First from Education Week 10/9/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=06charter.h22 Future teachers living in the Phoenix area are invited to begin their training as early as age 14 at a new charter high school designed to grow educators for the region's classrooms. Slated to open next fall, the Teacher Prep Charter High School is believed to be the first charter school in the nation to focus on grooming students for teaching careers. It plans to provide students with introductory classes in pedagogy and various field experiences in education, in addition to the rest of the high school curriculum, said Corina Gardea, the president of Phoenix College, one of two community colleges in Phoenix partnering to develop the program. Administrators at Phoenix College and its partner, South Mountain Community College, hope to serve 80 students in the new school annually, Ms. Gardea said. The school will seek students from throughout Maricopa County, Ariz., which includes Phoenix.

      States Revise the Meaning of 'Proficient' from Education Week 10/9/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=06tests.h22 A number of states appear to be easing their standards for what it means to be "proficient" in reading and math because of pressures to comply with a new federal law requiring states to make sure all students are proficient on state tests in those subjects within 12 years. In Louisiana, for instance, students will be considered proficient for purposes of the federal law when they score at the "basic" achievement level on their state's assessment. Connecticut schoolchildren will be deemed proficient even if they fall shy of the state's performance goals in reading and mathematics. And Colorado students who score in the "partially proficient" level on their state test will be judged proficient. Such semantic changes will be common, testing experts predict, as states that set ambitious goals for student performance are now required under the federal law to identify schools as failing if students don't meet those expectations.
      More Chicago Pupils Flunk Grade from Education Week 10/9/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=06flunk.h22 For six years, Chicago has conducted a high-profile crackdown on social promotion, touting it as a no-nonsense way to ensure that students literally make the grade. But now, the country's third-largest school district is flunking more students than ever, stirring new life into an old debate about whether retaining students is on balance harmful or helpful. Figures released by the Chicago district last month show that of the 32,838 students in the 3rd, 6th, and 8th grades who were required to attend summer school this year, 13,308-nearly 41 percent-didn't qualify for promotion to the next grade. Most of those children failed the end-of-summer test; some never showed up to take it or never enrolled in summer school as required. Arne Duncan, the chief executive officer of the 437,000-student district, admitted it was hard to watch the numbers rise, but said he had fully anticipated the increase because the district "raised standards to the highest they've been." "I'm absolutely committed to this," Mr. Duncan said. "The most damage we could do to students is to socially promote them when they are not academically prepared. We set them up for social failure and for dropping out. It's morally and educationally wrong."

      Mayoral takeovers of schools show promise from the New Orleans Times-Picayune 10/8/2002 http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/neworleans/index.ssf?/newsstory/o_breakup08.html Kenneth Wong, a Vanderbilt University professor and national expert on school system reform, found that mayoral takeovers of failing urban school districts have shown the most promise in terms of boosting test scores and earning public support, a national expert on school reform told local and state leaders Monday. But the evidence is thin because only a handful of school districts are under mayoral control, and most have been for only a few years. In his review of 14 school districts that have undergone radical changes in their leadership structures, Wong found pros and cons of both state and city takeovers. Wong said the eight school districts run by mayors made gains in terms of student achievement, recruiting effective nontraditional leaders and restoring public faith. But the tradeoffs were less educational expertise among system leaders, loss of school and teacher freedom, and a greater focus on standardized test results, he said. "All of these choices have tradeoffs," he said. "These options are not mutually exclusive. Maybe you'd like to think in terms of hybrids."
      Houston Awarded New Urban Education Prize from Education Week 10/9/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=06broad.h22 The Houston Independent School District drew praise last week for its improved performance as it was named the winner of the first Broad Prize for Urban Education. The prize, which gives the winning district $500,000 for student scholarships for college, is being touted as urban public education's most prestigious award. "Houston leads the nation in greatest overall improvement," said Eli Broad, the founder of the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation, which was created in 1999 to improve urban education. "Ensuring achievement in America's urban public schools is the most important civil rights issue of the new century." Mr. Broad said the prize, to be awarded annually, is designed to accomplish three goals: "Regain America's confidence in public schools, create an incentive to dramatically increase student achievement, and reward public school districts that are using innovative, results-oriented approaches to better educate students."
      A Lesson in Unintended Consequences from The New York Times Magazine 10/6/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/06/magazine/06SCHOOL.html James Traub outlines a history of decentralization and community control in New York City, with a focus on District 23, Ocean Hill-Brownsville. It is safe to say that whatever effect decentralization had on Ocean Hill-Brownsville, and on poor communities throughout New York, was negative. Among all the experiments forced on a reluctant city by the turmoil of the 60's, community control was arguably the most harmful. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani tried, and failed, to eliminate decentralization. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tried again -- and succeeded. Earlier this year, the State Legislature undid community control, placed the independent citywide Board of Education, which ran the system, under the mayor's control and scheduled the demise of the local boards for the end of the current school year. This is widely considered the greatest legislative achievement of Bloomberg's first year in office.
      Public Schools Look Beyond the Bake Sale from The New York Times Week in Review 10/6/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/06/weekinreview/06WINT.html Inscribed in nearly every state constitution is the promise of an education. Schooling must be "thorough and efficient" in Ohio, cultivate "morality and intelligence" in South Dakota, while bestowing "wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue" in Massachusetts. Then there is New York, typically blunt in its guarantee of "free common schools," though nobody seems to agree on exactly what that means. But as state education financing is frozen and in many cases wanes, school systems across the country say they have been forced to turn to private donors willing to foot some of the bill. That situation was dramatically underlined last week when Joel I. Klein, New York City's new schools chancellor, appointed Caroline Kennedy as chief fund-raiser for the city schools. While her appointment surely raises the profile of an often thankless yet indispensable job, it also begs the question of where public responsibility for education ends and the burden of the private sector begins.
    • 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
        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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