education news bulletin 11.12.2002
CHOICE & COMPETITION
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
CHOICE & COMPETITION
Miami-Dade Will Launch Choice Plan from Education Week 11/6/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=10dade.h22 The Miami-Dade County district plans to let parents choose which schools their children attend, a frank acknowledgment that the system must compete with charter schools and voucher programs that have siphoned off more than 10,000 students this year. The change, approved on Oct. 23 when the school board accepted a five-year, $14.6 million federal grant to support its implementation, means that the 365,000-student Florida district will phase out its long-standing practice of requiring children to attend their neighborhood schools. The district will divide itself into six to eight zones and allow parents to choose any schools within their zones.
Audit Blasts Charter School Oversight from the San Francisco Chronicle 11/8/2002 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/11/08/MN32512.DTL California charter schools are often allowed to squander taxpayer money, avoid testing students and hire unqualified teachers, says a scathing new state audit that criticizes districts for failing to monitor the independent public schools. School districts are supposed to ensure that charters live up to the fiscal and academic promises of their charter contracts. If they don't, state law says the district should not renew the charter. But the four large districts evaluated by the state auditor -- Oakland, Fresno, San Diego and Los Angeles -- could not document whether children in those schools were achieving what they were supposed to.
More Class Time than Planning Time for US Teachers from the National Council on Teacher Quality 11/8/2002 http://www.nctq.org/bulletin/v3n34.html#shorttakes
The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released its “Education at a Glance 2002” report comparing education in the United States to education in other industrialized countries. The OECD found that American teachers spend 73 percent more time teaching—the equivalent of almost 60 additional work days—than teachers in other countries. Despite the extra time, the average scores of US students on the PISA tests of reading, scientific, and mathematic literacy were near the average scores for all industrialized countries. In addition, US teachers spent between 10 and 50 percent more of their working time in front of students compared to teachers in countries who scored better than the US on the PISA tests (and had data on teaching vs. working time available). Teachers in those countries have more time to spend on things such as lesson planning and collaboration, which might pay off in student achievement.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
Unruly Crew: Accountability Lessons from the Clinton Administration from Education Next Fall 2002 http://www.educationnext.org/20023/42.html
The No Child Left Behind Act, signed by President Bush in January 2002, builds squarely on the framework of standards-based reform established in Goals 2000 and the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). While there are substantial continuities between the Clinton and Bush reforms, there are also some important differences that will bear significantly on the implementation challenges now facing states and the federal government. The 1994 legislation recognized that states had been leading the education reform movement for more than a decade, and it sought to bring the federal government into line with the standards-based reforms being formulated at the state level. In contrast, the No Child Left Behind Act reflects significant impatience in Washington with the pace of state-led improvement and, in particular, with the slow pace at which states have instituted tough accountability systems. The legislation contains new and highly prescriptive testing and accountability requirements for states.
Success for Some from The New York Times 11/10/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/10/edlife/10TRAUB.html Geoffrey D. Borman, a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, recently completed an analysis of studies of these programs that is being published this month by the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk. He found 250 studies rigorous enough to be included. But he concluded that only 3 of 29 models were shown to work. Dr. Borman also found, as previous researchers have, that all the models had some degree of positive effect. The very act of wholesale transformation seems to have a galvanizing effect on schools. But he also concluded, as others have, that the quality of the implementation matters as much as the program. Thus two of the three programs proven effective by research -- Success for All and Direct Instruction (the third is the School Development Program) -- offer a prescribed, formulaic system that tends to look the same from one school to another.
The Education Election from The New York Times 11/10/2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/10/weekinreview/10LEWI.html While political analysts saw the elections as a show of support for the Bush administration, there was another clear message in the balloting: voters still care about education. In state after state, while other ballot initiatives failed, voters showed strong support for smaller classes, afterschool programs, college scholarships, school construction and universal preschool, even when the price tag was daunting and there was no clear source for the money. "No question, voters are high on education," said Julie Bell, education program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The programs that passed, like class-size reduction and preschool in Florida and afterschool in California, they're big-ticket items, but they're also intuitively appealing… It's going to be fascinating to watch. I have no idea where the legislatures are going to find the money."
School Bonds Set State Record from The Los Angeles Times 11/7/2002 http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-me-schools7nov07004454,0,4588749.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Dlearning Start with a generous helping of sympathy for children in badly overcrowded schools. Add a new, lower election threshold required for passage. Toss in a big campaign push by developers and unions. With that, California created a recipe for the approval Tuesday of about $22.4 billion worth of school construction bonds, the largest amount from a single election day in state history. Voters approved bond issues in 90 local school districts -- 86% of those that attempted such ballot measures. Statewide, Proposition 47, which will provide $13 billion to K-12 systems and public colleges and universities, won 58.9% of the vote. "This shows strong public support for schools in California," said state Sen. Jack O'Connell (D-San Luis Obispo) who won Tuesday's election for state superintendent of public instruction. "People are still willing to invest in public education because they understand that it is the great equalizer."
Foundation Assets, Giving Wither In Wake of the Stock Market Swoon from Education Week 11/6/2002 http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=10endow.h22 Just as many Americans have watched their retirement accounts dwindle because of the vertiginous swoon in stock values, many education grantmakers have seen dramatic decreases in their endowments. As a result, some have had to cut back operating budgets, or refrain from giving the sorts of sizable grants foundations were able to distribute in the late 1990s through 2000. Nonprofit organizations seeking that grant money have found that while the foundation well has certainly not run dry, and education retains a special allure for givers, the flow of dollars has noticeably ebbed. The Ford Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, the Panasonic Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation—all major contributors to education programs—have seen decreases in their endowments as a result of the drop in stock values. Perhaps the hardest hit of all the education givers is the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The value of its endowment has fallen more than $9 billion during the current bear market, from $13 billion in 1999 to about $3.7 billion currently.