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  • Courtney Schroeder
    CHARTERS AND CHOICE CHARTER SCHOOLS: 1 in 4 schools has money woes Nearly 1 in 4 Minnesota charter schools is financially vulnerable and the state Education
    Message 1 of 117 , Jul 2 8:48 AM
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      education news bulletin

      CHARTERS AND CHOICE

      CHARTER SCHOOLS: 1 in 4 schools has money woes

      Nearly 1 in 4 Minnesota charter schools is financially vulnerable and the state Education Department should increase the help it gives to charter startups to avoid future problems, a state report said Thursday. Charter schools started appearing in Minnesota more than 10 years ago, and hundreds have opened since then across the country. But when the state's legislative auditor examined the financial records for the state's charters operating last year, it found many experiencing financial problems. Poor financial planning and insufficient monitoring of revenues and spending were the main reasons for the money woes, the auditor's report said. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

      <http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/6180506.htm>

      California Charter Schools Rated as Equal to Public Ones in Study

      California's charter schools typically perform as well as their traditional counterparts, despite facing persistent financial obstacles and relying on far more uncertified teachers, according to a state-sponsored study released yesterday. Because charter schools enroll a higher percentage of poor and academically troubled students than traditional public schools, their students tend not to do as well on standardized tests, the study found. After controlling for such factors, though, there is only a marginal difference, if any at all, between the test scores of students in charter schools and those in conventional ones. Charter schools - run at public expense as an alternative to public schools - tend to have greater freedom to dictate their curriculums, staffing and spending. The study was conducted by the RAND Corporation for the California's Legislative Analyst's Office and was confined to California. But because the sample size is so large - about a quarter of the nation's 600,000 charter school students live in California, according to RAND - the researchers said it should shed light on the performance of charter schools nationwide. (New York Times)

      <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/01/national/01CALI.html>

      Read the report itself at <http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1700/index.html> (Research brief posted to Apollo at <http://apollo.newschools.org/gm/document-1.9.23042>)

      Who can attend a charter school?

      Questions are being raised about whether students from low-performing schools are the only ones who can enroll in Tennessee's new charter schools. State education officials are looking to Attorney General Paul Summers for guidance. They also want to know if charter schools can serve low-performing students from any school or simply give students from low-performing schools enrollment preference. Metro [the metropolitan Nashville school district] has three elementary schools on the state's low-performing list, and one will close this summer for renovation. There's concern that if the other elementaries make enough progress to move off the list - and if charter schools are limited to students from those schools - the number of available students will shrink. (The Tennessean)

      <http://tennessean.com/education/archives/03/06/34955465.shtml?Element_ID=34955465>

      HUMAN CAPITAL

      Alternative licensing attracts new teachers

      A sour economy has wreaked havoc on public schools' budgets in recent years, but state education officials say it also has brought an unexpected boon of teachers they hope will stay when the job market improves. School districts seem to welcome the new talent pool made available to them last year, when the state Board of Education relaxed the requirements for getting a state teacher's license without going through a formal teacher-education degree program. "Statewide, there are more than 750 vacancies a year, and so we've got to be creative about where people are coming from and what they're doing," said Martin Bates, Granite School District's assistant to the superintendent for policy and legal services. The Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL) program is one answer, he said. His district has been the most aggressive in recruiting mid-career professionals into the classroom with the help of a federal grant that helps pay tuition for additional classes they might need. (Salt Lake Tribune)

      <http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Jun/06292003/utah/70888.asp>

      ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT

      Editorial: States make diplomas count by sticking with senior tests

      Parents hearing recent news reports about ''exit exams'' that high school seniors must pass to earn a diploma probably assume they're a bad idea doomed to a well-deserved death. Yes, denying diplomas to seniors who fail a test is harsh. But that decision was made intentionally by 24 states to ensure that diplomas signify more than just 12 years of attendance. If states abandon exit exams just as the first consequences are kicking in, school officials only confirm their earlier fears: that high school diplomas are no guarantee to colleges, employers or taxpayers that graduates have mastered key information. (USA Today)

      <http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20030620/5261822s.htm>

      Teachers, board put schools on notice: Improve or face closing

      Ten struggling Chicago public schools that agreed to work with the Chicago Teachers Union have one year to improve or they could be closed this time next year, CTU President Deborah Lynch and schools CEO Arne Duncan plan to announce today. The framework for this unique union-schools partnership was laid in April. It came after the union lambasted Duncan for closing three schools for poor performance last year. The staffs at the 10 South Side and West Side elementary and high schools voted to adopt one of four reform models and will begin training next month. Staff are to reallocate existing money, but Duncan is making up to $2 million more available to them. For some teachers, it's the first time they've had a say in deciding their school's fate. (Chicago Sun-Times)

      <http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-ctu23.html>

      RESEARCH-BASED CURRICULUM

      Urban Students Struggle With Advanced Placement Courses

      During the past decade, AP has grown by more than 200%, and about 60% of high schools now have AP classes. Since the same test is given to students across the country, AP has become the closest thing the U.S. has to a national curriculum. Many educators and politicians have assumed that offering it in urban schools means that inner-city students get the same education as their suburban counterparts. But AP can't make up for the stark differences that exist between schools or the students who attend them. While kids in strong suburban schools have usually attained solid foundations before they enroll for advanced-placement work, youngsters in some urban and under-resourced schools have often experienced 10 or 11 years of lackluster education by the time they get to the AP classroom. Their students' lack of preparation for more sophisticated work forces AP teachers to make a Hobson's choice: teach all the high-level curriculum, which may mean moving too quickly for some students, or slow down the presentation of material so that no child is left behind. The result, according to Perry Bacon, Jr.: AP classes that vary as widely in rigor as low-fat foods do in calories. (Time Magazine)

      <http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,460610,00.html>

      SUPPLEMENTAL SERVICES

      Diversifying After-School Portfolios

      If you are keeping track, you can add after-school programs to your list of things being squeezed by recent state and local budget shortfalls. And President Bush is letting the federal shoe drop: He requested $400 million in cuts from 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the federal government's funding stream for after-school programs. The cuts will be felt by hundreds of thousands of children. But there is a glimmer of hope. Despite the absence of support from the top, local elected officials and community leaders around the country are building innovative partnerships from the ground up with educators, private funders, and citizens to ensure that high-quality after-school programming doesn't become a thing of the past. The efforts are testimony to the value communities place on organized after-school activities. For children, the programs offer educational, athletic, and other extracurricular opportunities they may not have at home. For parents, especially those making the transition from welfare to work, the programs also provide safe child care and supervision of teenagers -- a vital service if parents are to hold down steady jobs. And for communities, ensuring that young people have productive ways to spend their after-school time helps reduce dangerous and anti-social behavior.
      (Blueprint Magazine)

      <http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=110&subid=181&contentid=251804>

      NEWSCHOOLS IN THE NEWS

      Gates Donates $22M To Build New Schools

      Up to 40 new charter schools could be built in New York City in the coming decade - thanks to a new multimillion-dollar donation from Microsoft titan Bill Gates. "We believe all kids should have high-quality educational options - not just [those with] parents who have money," said Marie Groark, a spokeswoman for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates yesterday handed over a $22 million grant to the New Schools Venture Fund, which will help find five educational organizations, management firms or public-school systems willing to create 20 charter schools apiece - for a total of 100 schools around the country. Charter schools, usually privately run, receive public funds but are exempt from most union rules and edicts that cover public schools. "New York City is a great environment where there's interest in new schools. We'd like to open up to 40 schools there," said Lauren Dutton, a spokeswoman for the fund.

      <http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/2194.htm>

      WSJ blurb: <http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB105692795491739400-search,00.html?collection=wsjie%2F30day&vql_string=newschools%3Cin%3E%28article%2Dbody%29>

      Press release available at <http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/030630/sfm114_1.html>, <http://www.newschools.org/viewpoints/gatesrelease.html> and <http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/06-30-2003/0001974280&EDATE>=

      OTHER

      Unequal Funding For Schools In America

      Interest in the topic of unequal funding for public schools is widespread in America. Although they may not know about the extent and specific effects of funding inequities in our country, most Americans believe that students do better in well-funded schools and that public education should provide a "level playing field" for all children. However, nearly half of funding for public schools is provided through local taxes in our country, and this means that large differences in funding have long persisted between wealthy and impoverished American communities. Efforts to reduce these disparities have surfaced at both the federal and state levels. According to Bruce Biddle and David Berliner, these efforts have provoked controversy and have been resisted by many. This report answers key questions about school funding: How large are funding inequities in America, why have they appeared, and how do Americans justify them? (Report by WestEd)

      <http://www.wested.org/cs/wew/view/rs/694> (Also posted to Apollo at <http://apollo.newschools.org/gm/document-1.9.22968>)

      In Schools Case, A Certainty: Only 400 Days To Comply

      In its landmark decision on Thursday striking down New York State's method of financing public education, the state's highest court was perhaps most clear in setting a deadline: the Legislature and Gov. George E. Pataki have until July 30, 2004 - a total of 400 days - to set things right. That is 400 days to figure out what it should cost to provide New York City's 1.1 million schoolchildren with a "sound basic education." A mere 400 days to devise a new formula for distributing more than $14.5 billion in state education aid that will give the city what it needs without shortchanging the rest of the state. And so, now, the hard work begins. (New York Times)

      <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/28/nyregion/28SCHO.html>  (Read the decision itself at <http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/decisions/74opn03.pdf>)

      Small schools and high hopes

      Five new public high schools that opened in the fall as the first in a wave of small schools planned for Chicago have seen both progress and problems in their first year. In the early going, educators have found hope in small successes. But teachers and others say they also are contending with a wide range of problems. The success of the new push is important not just to Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan, who has gambled heavily on the small-schools concept, but to administrators across the country. Denver, Indianapolis, Boston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Atlanta are among the cities either starting new small schools or struggling with their first few years of operation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured more than $400 million into the creation of small schools in the last three years, and two grants jumpstarted the movement in Chicago. Tom Vander Ark, the foundation's executive director of educational programs, cautions that the schools must be given time to work. (Chicago Tribune)

      <http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0306220007jun22,1,1483073.story>

      Executives Seek More Funds for AmeriCorps

      Corporate supporters of financially strapped AmeriCorps programs are asking President Bush and Congress for $200 million to rescue hundreds of service programs across the country that were devastated this month by unexpected federal funding cuts. In an open letter to Bush and Congress, more than 200 corporate leaders wrote: "AmeriCorps programs are closing. Young people who want to serve their country are being turned away. Communities, schools and children are losing their AmeriCorps mentors, tutors, teachers and builders . . . Please save these essential AmeriCorps programs that have done so much good for our communities." The letter was published in a full-page ad that the executives took out in today's editions of the New York Times. (Washington Post)

      <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33629-2003Jun25.html>

    • 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


        HUMAN CAPITAL

        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
        http://www.gse.harvard.edu/~ngt/Balance.pdf)

        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)

        http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/02/10/parents.vs.teachers.ap/index.
        html (see also "Press Release: 87% of Teachers Say Parents Should
        Spend More Time with Children on Homework" at
        http://media.aoltimewarner.com/media/cb_press_view.cfm?
        release_num=55254521)


        ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT

        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.
        Journal)

        http://www.thejournal.com/articles/17865

        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)

        http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news/article.htm?id=5467


        CLOSING THE GAP

        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)

        http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0210/p01s04-legn.html


        NEWSCHOOLS AND VENTURES IN THE NEWS

        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)

        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/business/16sbiz.html

        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)

        http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060220/20gergen.htm
        (see also "Two Guys...and a Dream" on the founders of KIPP in the
        same issue at
        http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060220/20leaders.htm)


        OTHER

        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)

        http://www.ppionline.org/documents/Portfolio_Districts021006.pdf

        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
        required)

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
        dyn/content/article/2006/02/13/AR2006021301754.html

        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)

        http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/02/15/23budget.h25.html
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