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education news bulletin

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  • Courtney Schroeder
    Message 1 of 117 , Apr 25, 2003









      Court Ruling Gives Boost to Charter Schools (Ohio) from The Plain Dealer 4/22/2003   http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1051003811146234.xml  Gutting much of a lawsuit filed two years ago, a judge dismissed the major constitutional challenges to Ohio's 6-year-old law on charter schools. The lawsuit had charged that despite their public funding, charter schools are not held accountable and siphon money away from public districts. The group also contended that Ohio violated state law by allowing for-profit companies to control and profit from charter schools, and by allowing private schools to convert to charters. – Scott Stephens

      Charter Schools Found Lacking Resources from Education Week 4/16/2003  http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=31charter.h22    Charter schools face many of the same problems as public schools, including insufficient funding and a lack of resources for serving needy students, a report released last week concludes. "Unless charter enthusiasts can escape deep-seated structural constraints, these independent schools may reproduce stratified layers of student performance, just like garden-variety public schools," warns the report by researchers with Policy Analysis for California Education. "On the other hand," it says, "if charter educators can deliver on their promises of spirited community and effectiveness, they may raise children's learning curves." Researchers from PACE, a collaborative effort between the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, analyzed data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau and compared it with similar data for 84,000 regular public schools. The Census Bureau surveyed principals from 870 charter schools and 2,847 teachers in those schools during the 1999-2000 school year for the National Center for Educational Statistics. – Hattie Brown

      Charter Schools Strain District (California) from the San Jose Mercury-News 4/20/2003  http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/living/education/5676115.htm  At a time when charter schools are blooming across California, the East Side Union High School District is grappling with the question: How many charters are too many for one district? Last month, district trustees voted to deny a petition by Leadership Public Schools, a non-profit group based in San Francisco, to establish a small high school for up to 450 students that would have been the district's fifth charter school. The 3-2 vote came after Superintendent Joe Coto warned that East Side Union does not have the staffing to oversee a fifth charter school or the space to devote to it. Leadership Public Schools plans to appeal the decision, taking its charter application first to the Santa Clara County Board of Education, and then to the state board.  State law eventually might force the district to provide the space, even if it doesn't issue the charter. And East Side Union, even in denying the Leadership application, argues it isn't against charter schools. It says it just needs time to evaluate the four schools it already has chartered -- double the number of any other district in the South Bay -- before it approves more. – Joelle Tessler



      Making Change: Fast Forward from City Limits May 2003   http://www.citylimits.org/content/articles/articleView.cfm?articlenumber=975  Kate Garrison is having a great year--even though she works long hours and eats lunch when others are already thinking about dinner. Garrison, 31, is the first-year principal of South Brooklyn Community High School, a new alternative school serving about 150 troubled students. Not bad for someone who just two years ago was a frustrated English teacher in Indianapolis, with few formal qualifications to run a school and neither the money nor the patience to go get them. Garrison and 14 other aspiring principals found and joined an innovative new principal training program called New Leaders for New Schools. Started just over two years ago in Chicago, New Leaders recruits candidates with or without all the necessary academic qualifications and puts them on a fast track to running schools. Two years of teaching experience, recent or long ago, is all you need to qualify. – Alexander Russo

      Denver Public Schools considers merit pay from the Denver Post 4/21/2003  http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0%2C1413%2C36~53~1339469%2C00.html#    A plan rewarding teachers with more money for pulling test scores up in low-achieving Denver Public Schools is revolutionary, say officials and observers. But it will remain high-minded doodling on paper if rank-and-file teachers, policymakers and taxpayers don't support the idea, they say. "This could be something incredibly significant," said Michael Allen, program director for the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. "But a lot depends on the details." For now, DPS officials are just floating the idea of chucking the traditional way of paying teachers for sheer longevity in favor of one sweetened with bonuses. More details on the plan will come this fall, when teachers will be able to access a website to find out exactly how much they could make in the new system. The district is saying that proven teachers working in poor-performing schools will get plenty of incentives. – Monte Whaley


      Algebra Program Offers Some ‘Real-Life’ Solutions from the Houston Chronicle 4/9/2003   http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/thisweek/zone13/news/1857310   When about 400 students at Alief Hastings High School failed or became "repeaters" in algebra classes last year, it was a problem. Now, Tremain Nelson, a former NASA electrical engineer, is providing a solution. Nelson is teaching a student-interactive algebra program at Hastings. The program was created by Carnegie Learning Inc. And it's one the Public Broadcasting Service television network plans to introduce as one of the country's best examples in effectively teaching the subject. "Instead of being introduced to math in the traditional way -- solve this or fill out a table without any relevant information tied to that equation -- they have real-life applications," said Nelson, 28, who teaches about 30 students in each of five classes each school day at Hastings. – Betty Martin


      States, Facing Budget Shortfalls, Cut the Major and the Mundane  from The New York Times 4/18/2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/21/national/21ECON.html  The states are desperate, struggling with their worst financial crises since World War II. They have tapped rainy day funds, raided tobacco money that was supposed to have provided health care for children and taxed every possible vice. Last year brought the storm warnings: some layoffs, the inconveniences of libraries closing early and roads without fresh asphalt. Now, as states scramble to find ways to cut nearly $100 billion this year and next from budgets that must by law be balanced, the cuts are much larger, and their effects profound. It is not just that states are withdrawing health care for the poor and mentally ill. They are also dismissing state troopers, closing parks and schools, dropping bus routes, eliminating college scholarships and slashing a host of other services that have long been taken for granted. These budget decisions are neither popular nor partisan, the people making them say. Nothing is off the table. Cities and states are stuffing slot machines into gas stations and lending basic services out for commercial bid. – Timothy Egan

      Budget Woes Forcing Districts to Close Schools  from Education Week 4/16/2003  http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=31close.h22   Severe state budget cuts and declining enrollment are forcing urban districts across the nation to consider what often is a last resort—closing schools. From Detroit to Birmingham, Ala., city districts are opting to cut costs by shutting schools this summer. Along with teacher layoffs, closings are regarded as among the most emotionally charged options that districts can consider. Detroit, which plans to close 16 schools, appears slated to shutter the most buildings among districts currently contemplating closures. Boston may shut down five schools, while the Birmingham and Oklahoma City school districts have already approved the closure of nine and seven schools, respectively. – Karla Scoon Reid

      Gates Vows Billions to Boost Minority Education  from The Washington Times 4/18/2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/21/national/21ECON.html   Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates is committing billions of dollars to radically redesign failing public high schools into smaller, more academically rigorous institutions in predominantly black and Hispanic communities in which less than half the students graduate. The goal, says the executive director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to double the graduation rate for minority students by the end of the decade and quadruple the number of inner-city students prepared for college. "Our high schools are the least effective part of the American education system," Tom Vander Ark, who administers the $24 billion foundation, wrote in a commentary to explain the reform efforts. "This coming September, about 3.5 million young people in America will begin the 8th grade. Over the succeeding four years, more than 1 million of them will drop out — an average of 3,500 each school day," Mr. Vander Ark wrote in Education Week. "Another 1.5 million will muddle through with a collection of credits that fail to prepare them for college, work, or citizenship. – George Archibald


























    • 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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