education news bulletin 1.7.2003
CHOICE & COMPETITION
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
CHOICE & COMPETITION
Computer-savvy school is motivating its students from The Philadelphia Inquirer 1/2/2003 http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/4855809.htm At High Tech High Charter School in Center City, students enjoy using computers to help identify minerals in earth science class. They get a kick out of tooling around with a design program to create mythological heroes in humanities class. But what's really gotten them excited is that their school's unusual mix of technology, critical thinking, project-based learning, and small classes seems to be working. At the end of the first academic year in June, median student reading scores on standardized tests had risen by two grade levels and math scores were up nearly two and a half. "This is something we're celebrating," said Tiffany Days, 15, as she pointed to the results displayed in the foyer. "Everyone came up, and it was because we had programs to help us." And the trend has been continuing since then. High Tech High blends progressive school-reform principles with maxims of business management. Its novel competency-based grading and performance requirements mean that it may take some students six years to earn their diplomas.
Demand for school desegregation program continues from The Minneapolis Star-Tribune 1/6/2003 http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http://www.startribune.com/stories/1592/3573616.html Nearly 1,000 children have made the city-to-suburban school leap in the past two years through a voluntary desegregation program called The Choice Is Yours. A product of the historic lawsuit settlement reached in 2000 by the Minneapolis NAACP and the state of Minnesota, the program was created to give poor families in the city access to more schools. The NAACP argued in its 1995 suit that state policies concentrated poverty in Minneapolis, making it impossible for the city's public schools to offer all students an adequate education. Eight suburban school districts -- Columbia Heights, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony-New Brighton, St. Louis Park and Wayzata -- reserve 500 new seats each year for students in the program. The state picks up transportation costs. Since fall 2001, when the first class of students enrolled in their new schools, 90 percent of the seats have been filled, according to the Minneapolis NAACP.
To Close the Gap, Quality Counts from Education Week’s annual report Quality Counts 2003 1/7/2003 http://www.edweek.com/sreports/qc03/templates/article.cfm?slug=17exec.h22 For states to end the "achievement gap" between minority and nonminority students and those from rich and poor families, they must first end the "teacher gap": the dearth of well-qualified teachers for those who need them most. Quality Counts 2003 focuses on that teacher gap, its possible causes, and its potential solutions. Our survey of the 50 states and the District of Columbia found that states and districts are taking steps to recruit and retain competent teachers, but those efforts generally are not aimed at finding teachers for high-poverty, high-minority, and low-achieving schools.
Klein’s Principal Push from The New York Post 12/23/2002 (full op-ed unavailable in online archives) For years, urban school systems have chosen to fight our nation's historic battle to improve student achievement with one hand tied behind their backs. They have failed to embrace the powerful common-sense strategy that can be gleaned from nearly every effective company and school in America: You can't change a company without a great CEO, and you can't change a school without a great principal. Well, it may just be a new day in New York City. At a press conference last week, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced a daring strategy to ensure an effective principal in every one of New York City's 1,200 public schools. If they can successfully execute their ambitious plan to attract, train and retain exceptional leaders in public-school principalships, it may augur a new day for a nation looking for its first successful urban school system in the 21st century. – by Jonathan Schnur
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUTCOMES
Bush to Seek 9% Increase in Aid to Poor Students from The New York Times 1/5/2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/05/education/05BUSH.html President Bush said today that he would ask Congress to raise spending for education aid to poor students by $1 billion, or nearly 9 percent, for the next fiscal year. "Too many students and lower-income families fall behind early, resulting in a terrible gap in test scores between these students and their more fortunate peers," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address. The request to Congress, which would raise total aid under the Title I education assistance program to $12.3 billion in the 2004 fiscal year, follows an education revision measure signed by the president last year. Some critics say the Bush program's emphasis on testing fuels an overload of tests, wastes instructional time and stifles broader learning. Others say the program imposes unfair financial penalties on problem schools. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Mr. Bush's spending plan fell short of what was needed.
Chancellor Gives Out Report Cards, Failing 50 Principals from The New York Times 1/4/2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/04/nyregion/04PRIN.html Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein plans to hand out report cards to all of New York City's 1,100 principals, and at least 50 have received failing marks, officials said yesterday. The report cards, the first ever for principals, come less than a month after Mr. Klein announced that he planned to remove about 50 poorly performing principals at the end of the school year and create new training programs to attract new leaders for the city's schools. The report cards for elementary and middle school principals assign a letter grade in 11 categories, including standardized test scores in reading and math, as well as suspension and attendance rates. High school principals will receive a similar evaluation at a later date, said David K. Chai, a Department of Education spokesman. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show yesterday that changes in accountability would continue. "The school system is not being run for those that it employs; it's being run for those that it was put together to serve, namely the students," Mr. Bloomberg said. "And you'll either do the job, or if we can't help you with better tools and better training, you're just going to have to work elsewhere."
Gifts Flow, but a Bit More Slowly from The New York Times 1/5/2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/05/business/yourmoney/05PRIV.html Even the country's top philanthropists seem to have been hit by the weak economy. Sure, big gifts still flowed in 2002, but nowhere near the amounts in recent years, said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which last week published its list of the top 10 gifts and pledges by individuals in 2002. "The extraordinary kinds of gifts didn't happen," she said — nothing like the $2 billion that Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, gave in 2001 to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gateses were not even on the 2002 list. The largest single gift last year was a $375 million bequest to the Annenberg Foundation from the publishing executive Walter Annenberg, who died in October. Second was a $300 million gift from Eli Broad, chairman of SunAmerica, and his wife, Edythe, to the Broad Foundation. Third was $220 million from Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, to create Ave Maria University near Naples, Fla.