Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

education news bulletin

Expand Messages
  • Courtney Schroeder
    CHARTERS AND CHOICE Charter school group gets Gates grant The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Tuesday that it will give a $5.7-million grant to a
    Message 1 of 117 , Jun 4, 2003
    • 0 Attachment



      Charter school group gets Gates grant


      The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Tuesday that it will give a $5.7-million grant to a charter school network to help it open six charter high schools in Los Angeles over the next five years. The grant reflects a growing emphasis on size and scale in the charter movement. The grant's recipient, Aspire Public Schools, is California's best-financed and best-known representative of this trend. (Los Angeles Times; registration required)




      Charter Schools Choke on Rulebook


      A decade ago, California launched a populist experiment with charter schools. Teachers, community groups, business owners - anyone with a worthwhile idea for a school - could apply to a local school district for a charter. The charter would entitle them to public funds and to operate free of most state regulation. The idea was to encourage innovation. It gained momentum after President Clinton embraced charters as "public school choice" and as an alternative to vouchers - direct aid to parents who sent their children to non-public schools. Today the charter movement looks less like an educational laboratory and more like a maturing industry. And the future of charters, leaders in the school business say, lies in creating vast networks or alliances that, in some ways, mimic the giant school districts to which charters were supposed to be an alternative. The reasons lie in simple economics and in a wave of state regulation that individual entrepreneurs say robs charters of much of the freedom that made them so appealing in the first place. (Los Angeles Times; registration required)




      Once Called Unrealistic, 'Charter Districts' Attract Attention

      In a sign that the once far-fetched notion of "charter districts" is gaining traction, a forthcoming series of papers from the Education Commission of the States offers policymakers advice and encouragement in setting up their own versions of that emerging governance arrangement. The papers, slated to be made public early next month, define charter districts as systems of autonomous schools that are given regulatory freedom in exchange for meeting performance standards specified either in contracts or charters. Citing examples from around the country, the series suggests that policymakers should at least consider instituting such systems of independent public schools, despite the many pitfalls they might encounter in doing so. (Education Week)



      Idea of the Week: Charter Schools for 'Military Brats'

      Most military children in the U.S. attend local public schools. Too often when children move, their education is interrupted and suffers, as the curriculum varies, transcripts are not easily transferred, and credits are not accepted. To address this challenge and improve the consistency of education for children whose parents serve in the military, New Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu has introduced the Stable Transitions in Education for Armed Services Dependent Youth (STEADY) Act. This bill would authorize a five-year, $35 million dollar, demonstration program that would establish charter schools specifically designed to provide a high quality, consistent education for military dependents. Up to 10 states and 35 school districts could receive grants to establish these charter schools. In addition, the bill authorizes a grant program to assist these charter schools with facilities. (New Democrat Online)





      The Effect of Classroom Practice on Student Achievement


      How significantly does classroom practice affect student achievement? Over the past 40 years, researchers who have attempted to measure the effect of schools on student achievement have often come to the conclusion that student background characteristics (e.g., race, parental education, income) exert a greater influence on achievement than do the schools; perhaps the best known of these studies was the 1966 Coleman Study. More recently, a body of research has begun to emerge that does support the contention that schools, and specifically teachers, do have a significant impact on student learning. (ASCD Research Brief)



      Teaching fellows set sights on struggling schools

      With a Columbia University diploma and a master's degree in urban education from Harvard University, Logan Manning probably could have her pick of plum teaching assignments -- but she has chosen to work at one of the lowest-performing high schools in New Orleans. Manning is one of 58 teachers who have been recruited by the Orleans Parish Teaching Fellows program. The effort was designed to draw qualified teachers into the city's public school system and -- after a two-week summer session about working at poor, big-city campuses -- to send them to struggling schools with low numbers of certified teachers. The program was launched by The New Teacher Project, a New York nonprofit group, after the organization won a $385,000 contract to deliver at least 125 certified teachers to 48 New Orleans schools. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)





      High-Stakes Research


      High-stakes testing has become a lightning rod as more and more states adopt accountability measures in response to the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. While it is crucial to analyze and debate the wisdom of such policies, the discussion must be informed by evidence of the highest quality. The controversial nature of high-stakes testing has led to the hurried release and dissemination of research that lacks scientific rigor. Measuring the gains that students make over time would provide a better measure of school performance and serve as a proper basis for reward or sanction, but such value-added techniques need some work before they can serve as reliable performance measures. (Education Next, by Margaret Raymond and Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution)




      NCLB: Conspiracy, Compliance, or Creativity?


      At its best, the NCLB is a call for educators to do the right thing, to do what they should have been doing all along. It is a spur that can motivate and focus educators to take action on issues they have neglected. This does not mean, however, that the NCLB is the final word on the most effective means to achieve the ends the law seeks. It is not a roadmap. It is not a cookbook. If it were, there would be even louder howls about the "federalization of education." The law's potential is not in the details of its implementation, but in causing educators to finally devote serious attention to issues of teacher quality and student performance. They are a little late: 141 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, 49 years after Brown v. Board of Education, and 39 years after The Civil Rights Act. But there is a real danger that staffs of state and local education agencies may lapse into a compliance orientation that reduces the NCLB's effects to a mechanistic process of implementation. If this occurs, the NCLB will become a lost opportunity to qualitatively improve the education of students who are now struggling to become academically proficient. (Edna McConnell Clark Foundation)






      Chairman's Corner: The Danger of Cutting After-School Programs


      The news that Congress is considering a proposal to reduce federal funding for after-school programs by 40 percent is deeply disturbing on a number of levels to all of us who care about and advocate for children. The proposed dramatic cuts in funding are yet another sign of a larger shift in both the public and private sectors to pull back on support for children. The declining economy, fewer resources at the state, local, and federal levels, a drop in foundation endowments, and the loss of confidence in some philanthropic organizations owing to recent scandals are clearly contributing factors to this shift. (Venture Philanthropy Partners, by chairman Mario Morino)






      Can Business Save New York City Schools?


      In choosing someone to run the schools, Bloomberg ignored obvious candidates and turned to another businessman, Bertelsmann Inc. Chief Executive Joel I. Klein, best known as the former federal trustbuster who took on Microsoft Corp. Using their vast social connections, the duo persuaded more than a dozen accomplished executives to abandon big salaries and private offices and take full-time jobs in city government, including former Covad (COVD <javascript:%20void%20showTicker('COVD')> ) CEO Robert E. Knowling Jr., ex-Goldman Sachs (GS <javascript:%20void%20showTicker('GS')> ) partner Ron Beller, and Wolfensohn & Co. investment banker Maureen A. Hayes. This coalition of the best and brightest is attempting a bold and nationally significant social experiment: applying business principles to the vexing problems of public education. "I'd like to think that someday, somebody will write a management book about this," says Bloomberg. (BusinessWeek)




      Oakland schools' bailout is OK'd


      Amid signs that testy undercurrents persist, Gov. Gray Davis on Monday signed legislation loaning a record $100 million to bail out the financially troubled Oakland school district. An hour later, state schools chief Jack O'Connell appointed a state administrator who will have control over the 48,000-student Oakland Unified School District, and announced that the once-popular district superintendent [Dennis Chaconas] would soon leave. O'Connell, at a press conference at an Oakland elementary school, introduced the new state administrator, Randolph Ward, who until recently had served in the same capacity overseeing the Compton school district in Los Angeles. (Sacramento Bee)




      Gates gives $18.9 million for schools


      Microsoft founder Bill Gates has jumped into the pro-school-choice arena with an $18.9 million grant to give inner-city Latino teens a chance to attend Catholic preparatory schools in 12 cities. The Cristo Rey Network, which since 1996 has opened four Jesuit high schools with a work-study program for students to raise their own tuition, was awarded the grant because its schools embody the characteristics of strong high schools that the foundation wants to foster.




      A Venturing Education Philanthropy

      Kim Smith, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, believes she is “genetically encoded to be a social entrepreneur in education.” Both of Kim’s parents were educators-her mother a public school elementary special education teacher and her father a professor of education administration for over 35 years at Columbia’s Teachers College. After completing her undergraduate degree, she met Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America (TFA). In the summer of 1989, Kim became the third member of the TFA founding team. In Kopp’s book on the early days of TFA, she describes Kim as “smart and spunky [with] education and teaching in her blood.” (Philanthropy Magazine)





    • 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
      • 0 Attachment
        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)

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.