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education news bulletin

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  • Courtney Schroeder
    In an effort to avoid sending messages that arrive in a messy format in inboxes that don t support HTML, we are going with a new look for the Edupreneurs list
    Message 1 of 117 , May 27, 2003
      education news bulletin

      In an effort to avoid sending messages that arrive in a messy format in inboxes that dont support HTML, we are going with a new look for the Edupreneurs list from here forward. Hope this is helpful!

      w       Charters and Choice
      w       Human Capital
      w       Accountability & Assessment
      w       Research-Based Curricula
      w       Other


      KC schools desegregation hearing focuses on charter schools

      Losing students to charter schools has helped the Kansas City School District close the achievement gap between black and white students, an expert for the district testified Wednesday. The district lost some of its lowest-performing black students and top-performing white students to charter schools. (Kansas City Star)


      District, charter in a war of words over space

      Deadlocked over differing interpretations of charter school law, a Rocklin charter school and the local school district face more negotiations in the coming months if they hope to avoid a lawsuit. Their dispute revolves around classroom space -- who should pay for school facilities when a school chartered by one district primarily serves students in another? Charter schools are publicly funded but exempt from many regulations that govern traditional public schools. Their relative recency in California -- charter schools began here in 1992 -- has led to many conflicts between schools and districts over financial and educational issues and several legislative attempts to clarify their relationship. (Sacramento Bee)


      Locked Down

      The federal No Child Left Behind Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law last year, represented a victory for the advocates of public school choice: the law rejected funding for private school vouchers, but did mandate that districts allow children in persistently failing schools to transfer to public schools that perform better. The law thus established a nationwide test of public school choice as a means of both providing better opportunities for individual kids and creating pressure on schools that are performing poorly. The early results of that test are now coming in-and they don’t look very encouraging. From coast to coast, school districts large and small report that hardly any students in failing schools are using the choice provisions of the federal law to move to other public schools. Even in some of the nation’s largest cities, the number of kids traveling across town to attend better schools on any given morning might not fill a single school bus. (Education Next)


      LAUSD's Burton to join charter alliance

      A top Los Angeles Unified School District administrator has been offered the job of chief operating officer for a Los Angeles county education reform group that wants to open 50 local charter schools in five years, officials said Monday. Local District B Superintendent Judy Burton, who oversees public schools in the east San Fernando Valley, is scheduled to start her new post with the Los Angeles County Alliance for Student Achievement sometime in July. Burton joins the alliance just as the group is in transition from a pure advocacy organization for education reform to one with an action-oriented agenda. Its goal is to launch a network of 50 startup charter schools serving 50,000 students in five years. (LA Daily News)



      New push to bring teachers to Boston

      Boston public school officials yesterday announced a new effort to attract more math, science, and special education teachers, at the same time reassuring current teachers who fear being laid off to help cope with the district's budget crisis. The new, privately funded program will focus on having teacher candidates spend a year in a Boston classroom getting experience, learning from and being supervised by veteran teachers, and eventually earning state certification. The teacher candidates will recieve a $10,000 stipend to help defray living costs. Upon completion, teachers can receive a $10,000 loan to help them earn a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. If a teacher agrees to teach in Boston for three years, the loan will be forgiven, school officials said. Sponsored in part by Strategic Grant Partners, a foundation made up of a coalition of concerned parents, the effort will start with an initial class of 16 and aim to eventually enroll 120 teacher candidates a year. (Boston Globe)

      http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/136/metro/New_push_to_bring_teachers_to_Boston+.shtml (see also http://www.bpe.org/whatsnew.aspx)


      States Debate Exam Policies for Diplomas

      Faced with high failure rates for at least some groups of students, several states are debating whether to delay or modify requirements that students pass state tests to earn diplomas. As it stands, 24 states either now require students to pass exit or end-of-course tests to earn diplomas or plan to do so. In the past few years, several of them-including Alaska and North Carolina- have postponed executing those rules because of initially high failure rates. Political leaders in California, Florida, and Massachusetts say they remain firmly committed to their graduation standards. Now, though, they are caught in a balancing act between maintaining the school improvement momentum that such requirements have generated and ensuring that they are being fair to students. (Education Week)


      GAO: States could get hit with test costs

      Congress has set aside enough money for the national testing required by President Bush's No Child Left Behind education plan - if states rely on inexpensive multiple-choice tests that aren't geared to children's coursework. Otherwise, states could find themselves spending millions of dollars to develop, give and score the tests, according to a long-awaited report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress. (USA Today)

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-05-08-testing-costs_x.htm (see also http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03389.pdf for the full report)

      School tests stir backlash

      On Capitol Hill, four U.S. senators -- including Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota -- are promoting a bill that would allow states and school districts to get waivers from the requirements. In order to get the waivers, they'd have to demonstrate academic progress on their own. It's called the Student Flexibility Act of 2003. Under the bill, states or school districts could qualify for a waiver if they can demonstrate that they've closed the achievement gap among groups of students or that they've exceeded their progress goals for two or more consecutive years. (Minnesota Star-Tribune)



      New Orleans board approves reading programs

      New Orleans schools Superintendent Tony Amato won approval Tuesday for a sweeping $8.4 million literacy instruction program that will employ two off-the-shelf curriculums he said have shown consistent test score gains. Both programs, Success for All and Direct Instruction, have come under fire from some educators for too rigidly standardizing the way teachers run their classrooms. But Amato used both in his former district, Hartford, Conn., and won high praise for pulling up dismal test scores quickly. The curricula, which are endorsed by the National Reading Council and the American Federation of Teachers, reflect both the new superintendent's penchant for standardizing instruction to "laser-beam in" on systemic weaknesses and his emphasis on reading and writing as the foundation of all learning. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)



      Vallas' Big Plans Raise New Hope for Philadelphia

      It's 7:45 a.m., and Paul G. Vallas is standing in a small crowd of teachers in a school cafeteria, a plastic-foam coffee cup in his hand. But he hasn't taken a sip; he's answering a flood of questions about how he plans to rescue one of the most troubled school districts in the country. The head of the Philadelphia schools reels off a list of improvements in the works: a new, standard curriculum with extra doses of mathematics and reading; summer school and extended-day classes for struggling students; a middle and high school overhaul; expanded early- childhood programs; better accountability; stepped-up teacher training and recruitment; and a $1.5 billion, five-year project to build and repair schools. And he'll do it all, he says, on a balanced budget. (Education Week)


      Unconventional leadership brings success to low-performing schools
      Eyebrows were raised five years ago when Jeffery N. Grotsky took over Baltimore's 14 worst public schools and vowed to lift them out of the doldrums. As superintendent in Grand Rapids, Mich., and then Harford County, Grotsky's brusque leadership style had alienated school boards and subordinates. Five years later, the Grotsky gamble by then-interim Superintendent Robert E. Schiller appears to have paid off. All but two of the 26 schools now in Grotsky's command received cash awards from the state last year for improved performance. The schools haven't done as well in mathematics, but in reading and language they have moved within striking distance of average citywide scores. (
      Baltimore Sun)


      Schools' Plan Loses an Ally

      On the January morning when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his ambitious plan to overhaul the New York City school system, an ebullient Randi Weingarten pronounced it "breathtakingly possible." Four months later, Ms. Weingarten, president of the city teachers' union, has stopped gushing. Last week, she sued Chancellor Joel I. Klein to stop the firing of 864 classroom aides, saying it was racially discriminatory. Why has Ms. Weingarten's assessment of the mayor's schools plan gone from glowing to withering, jeopardizing the plan's future in a system whose success depends in no small part on the cooperation of its 80,000 teachers? (New York Times)


      Going to Scale: The challenge of replicating social programs

      With a few exceptions, the nonprofit sector in the United States is comprised of cottage enterprises - thousands upon thousands of programs, each operating in a single neighborhood, in a single city or town. Often, this may be the most appropriate form of organization, but in some - perhaps many - cases, it represents a substantial loss to society overall. Time, funds, and imagination are poured into new programs that at best reinvent the wheel, while the potential of programs that have already proven their effectiveness remains sadly underdeveloped. What makes replicating social ideas so complicated, and how can the key issues be addressed? (Stanford Social Innovation Review)


      Charities Venture Into Business

      In Washington, a day-care network that has the staff and equipment to prepare far more meals than it needs runs a catering service. Two Minneapolis theaters that own thousands of costumes have joined forces to create a costume-rental service. An autism charity in North Haven, Conn., now allows other organizations to consult with its staff experts for a fee. In each case, the ventures are designed to supplement the money the charities bring in through donations. The businesses were also among the eight that won top honors in the first National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations, which concluded here this month and was sponsored by the Yale School of Management, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The contest demonstrated that such ventures are beginning to play a significant role for nonprofit organizations, and showed a growing diversity in the types of charities involved and in the businesses they are trying to get off the ground. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)


      Entrepreneurs Wanted

      The NewSchools Venture Fund is looking for a few good entrepreneurs. Part of a small genus of charitable organizations known as venture philanthropists, NewSchools offers money and management expertise to groups with innovative ideas about improving education. Some of its biggest investments in the past year have been to expand networks of charter schools. Now, the San Francisco-based enterprise is putting new energy toward directly improving regular public schools.


      NewSchools Venture To Raise $20M

      Take a corporate executive from a 17th floor corner office with views of the Hudson River and move his desk into a high school principal's office. Bring private-sector management styles into the education systems and demand performance-based accountability. That's the premise behind New Leaders for New Schools, a New York City group launched into action three years ago by Jon Schnur, Monique Burns and Ben Fenton. Now there are 50 corporate executives-turned school-administrators sitting in the principal's office in public schools Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. New Leaders is more than just a group of well-meaning do-gooders, it's a venture-backed startup financed by NewSchools Venture Fund, a San Francisco-based venture philanthropy firm that supports entrepreneurs in education. (Private Equity Week)

      (No link available; see www.privateequityweek.com for more information)

    • 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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