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  • Courtney Schroeder
    CHARTERS AND CHOICE Trustees approve a K-8 charter campus on the site of the closed Immaculate Conception A small charter school serving students in grades K-8
    Message 1 of 117 , Jul 30, 2003




      Trustees approve a K-8 charter campus on the site of the closed Immaculate Conception


      A small charter school serving students in grades K-8 will open this fall at the site of the now-shuttered Immaculate Conception school. The charter petition for the Oak Park school, which has not been named yet, was approved by the Sacramento City Unified School District board of trustees Monday night. When it opens in September, the school will have 150 students and eventually plans to enroll 200. Parents, students and teachers must sign a contract, and parents must agree to attend five Saturday school sessions along with their kids. The goal: for every student to go to college, organizers said. The school will be run by Aspire, a respected charter program with schools in Stockton, Modesto and Oakland. Aspire was founded by Don Shalvey, former superintendent of the San Carlos School District, and Reed Hastings, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is also president of the state Board of Education. (Sacramento Bee)




      School choice program grows

      New Jersey's experiment with allowing students to cross district lines for their schooling continues to grow, with nearly 800 students signed up for the inter-district choice program next fall. The total remains a small fraction of students in the districts it serves and short of what officials expected when the pilot program was launched three years ago. The state next year will pay out more than $6.5 million to the participating districts for the new students in their new schools. "The only question for the choice program will be whether we have the means to expand it, because it does work," state Education Commissioner William Librera said in releasing the third annual report on the program. "This is just one piece of a larger issue of public school choice that is very important to this state," said Librera. "You give people choices in their schooling and it changes everything." (New Jersey Star-Ledger)



      Opinion: Let D.C. Try Vouchers [by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein]

      Mayor Anthony Williams has proposed a five-year pilot program that would offer low-income parents a choice in where they send their children to school in the District. This proposal has the support of the president of the school board and thousands of District parents. But because of the unique relationship between the District and the federal government, members of Congress also have a say in whether such a pilot program will be funded and implemented. As a former mayor and a current member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am inclined to support Williams's effort to experiment with this program. I believe that education is a local issue and that if the mayor wants this program, it should be given the chance to work. I have never before supported a voucher program. For 30 years, I have advocated strongly for our public schools, because I believe that they are the cornerstone of our education system. In my view, we must continue to do everything we can to strengthen and improve our nation's public schools. But as a former mayor, I also believe that local leaders should have the opportunity to experiment with programs that they believe are right for their area. (Washington Post)




      School chiefs lack broad authority for reforms, UW survey finds

      A University of Washington study being released Monday suggests the goals of No Child Left Behind will be difficult to meet unless school superintendents are given greater authority. Nine out of 10 superintendents, according to the report, said they need more authority to fix low-performing schools and help improve student achievement. James Harvey, a co-author of the study and a senior fellow at the UW's Center on Reinventing Public Education, said superintendents are "whipsawed" by competing interests within their districts, making their jobs near impossible. "Our major finding is that they have been set up for failure," he said. "The structure of the position virtually precludes them from doing what they have been asked to do. They don't control their own agenda." The report stems from a survey of superintendents in the nation's 100 largest districts, who collectively oversee 6.5 million students. (Seattle Times)



      Who's in School This Summer? 90 Aspiring Principals, That's Who

      It is a summer school unlike any other. The students are principals - 90 aspiring principals to be precise. And curriculum is, well, just part of the curriculum, along with a host of other issues in public education. The school is the Department of Education's new Leadership Academy, a privately financed effort to train new principals through a summer of intense classroom work followed by a yearlong apprenticeship with veteran principals. Students at the Leadership Academy are divided into three groups of 30, one each focused on elementary school, middle school and high school. The classroom training covers a range of issues and problem solving for fictional schools that officials designed for training purposes. (New York Times)



      Who Needs Certification? "Unqualified" teachers spend the summer making up for deficient public schools

      Getting teachers who know the subject matter isn't a bad idea. But perhaps we'd be better off scrapping certification altogether. Schools across the country now have programs that prove teacher enthusiasm trumps age, experience and, yes, certification. In schools in Austin, Texas; Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York and other cities (there's even a program in Hong Kong) seventh- and eighth-graders are going to school in the summer to be taught by high school and college students. It's called Summerbridge and it's run by the Breakthrough Collaborative, a private San Francisco-based organization founded in the 1970s. The goal is to get poor kids to stop wasting their summers and get on track to go to college. Many of the teachers are Summerbridge alumni, but they all are still students themselves. The programs mostly use the facilities of private--typically secular--schools during the normally vacant summer months. The programs cost parents nothing and are academically rigorous. Students are tested at the beginning and end of each summer to see how much they've learned. What Breakthrough is proving is that a serious curriculum will inspire students to travel great distances, give up much of their summer vacation and actually have fun in the classroom. (Wall Street Journal)



      Teacher Quality: Beyond No Child Left Behind

      Because there is no overall teacher shortage, but rather specific subject area shortages and an adverse selection and allocation problem, the No Child Left Behind Act's requirement that all teachers be "highly qualified" is important and attainable. To improve teacher quality, principals should be given more flexibility and control over teacher hiring and compensation. Were there an overall shortage of teachers, the law's provisions might be profoundly illogical or at least require an unprecedented shift in resources. However, because it is not an overall teacher shortage that plagues public education but rather a quality, adverse selection problem, and allocation problem, there is logic to the provisions that should appeal to those who care about the welfare of poor students. (NAASP Bulletin, by Andy Rotherham and Sara Mead)



      Teachers get a boost

      Teachers in low-income communities put up with a lot, including low pay that barely puts them above the poverty level. Resources for Indispensable Schools and Educators -- or RISE, as the San Francisco-based non-profit organization is known -- is trying to help teachers like Robinson find supportive work environments and stay there. Since its establishment three years ago, RISE has built up a referral network of 25 public schools serving poor communities in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Chicago. RISE aims to raise retention rates by providing its network of teachers with professional support and financial resources. Perhaps most importantly, the organization screens schools to weed out frustrating workplaces. (San Jose Mercury News)





      Urban scores show huge room for improvement

      Students in six big cities are largely behind their national peers in reading and writing, but there are pockets of promising performance, new figures show. The 2002 urban scores are the first school-district results to be included in the report card known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The achievement yardstick, which began in 1969, had only covered state and national performance. Six school districts volunteered to set an urban benchmark, allowing them to compare their fourth-graders and eighth-graders and to gauge whether school reforms work over time. The six are Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California and New York. The achievement gap is about the same in most of the six cities as it is across the country, which suggests it is a national concern as much as an urban one, said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, the coalition of large urban districts that pushed for the new tests. (Associated Press)


      Study Suggests Current Reforms May Not Address People’s Biggest Concerns About Schools

      To gain a deeper understanding of where the public stands on standards-based education, Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization located in Aurora, Colo., conducted focus group research with students, public and private school parents, non-parent taxpayers, business owners and policymakers. Here are some of the common themes that surfaced during these sessions:
      - Tests are necessary, but accountability should be based on more than just test scores.
      - Accountability should make schools more responsive to parents and communities, not outside officials.
      - Parents and students are a crucial, yet often marginalized part of accountability systems.
      - People’s key concerns about schools are mostly social issues not addressed by standards, tests, or accountability.
      - Parents would like to be more involved in their schools, but often feel shut out of them.





      House Passes Head Start, Drug Bills

      The House narrowly approved legislation to revamp Head Start, a preschool program dating to the 1960s and intended to help nearly a million poor children with literacy, math and, in some cases, health and nutrition services. The bill's passage by a single vote came as lawmakers worked through the night, rushing to finish several major bills before starting their month-long summer recess. The Head Start bill, which passed 217 to 216, would allow eight states to devote federal funds to their own early-education programs. While the states would have to "generally meet or exceed" national performance standards, they would not have to conform to the detailed federal regulations that apply to local Head Start centers. (Washington Post)



      Preschool cutbacks bring a stern caution

      Preschoolers in Massachusetts and across the country are being squeezed by the fiscal crisis, according to a report that says budget cuts now will require more spending later, when those children are forced to repeat grades and take special education classes. The report, issued last week by the National Institute for Early Education Research, found that preschool programs in the vast majority of states surveyed had been cut or kept at the same level of funding in annual budgets. W. Steven Barnett, director of the institute, estimated that every dollar invested on preschool education saves the state $4 to $7 in the long run, because students, as they grow, are less likely to need costly special education. (Boston Globe)



      School gets a boost from Math Academy


      Sixth- and 7th-grade pupils in Park Forest with talent in math or science will get an opportunity to sharpen their skills through an after-school program based on the curriculum offered at the prestigious Illinois Math and Science Academy. The IMSA Excellence 2000-Plus program targets students who are historically underserved in math and science to increase their interest, involvement and literacy in the subjects, Park Forest-Chicago Heights Elementary School District 163 Supt. Joyce Carmine said. It's also designed, Carmine said, to stimulate improvement in the district's science and math programs for all students. (Chicago Tribune)






      Knowledge Management Comes To Philanthropy


      Philanthropic foundations are knowledge-intensive bodies. Almost everything they do, from identifying innovative nonprofit organizations to evaluating grants and publishing policy-shaping reports, depends on the use of human and intellectual capital. Many philanthropies have neither the organization nor the systems to manage their knowledge properly. What they fail to understand is that knowledge is a cornerstone of effective philanthropy. The organizational changes that many foundations are undergoing to improve their performance highlight the need for better knowledge management. If they follow the right approach, they can improve the long-term effectiveness of their grants, lower the cost of administration and invest in more effective strategies for social change. The experience of the Annie E. Casey Foundation demonstrates these points. (McKinsey Quarterly, via Forbes Magazine)


      State schools to be rated on new 5-star system

      The state's Education Department next month will publish a detailed report card on each public school in Minnesota that will include a five-star rating system even a movie critic could love, providing a quick measure of each school's math performance, reading performance and academic achievement. In each school's report card, families also will be able to find information on student demographics, staff characteristics, the number of students transferring into and out of the district through open enrollment, and a report to taxpayers on where the district's money comes from and how it's spent. The report cards will be put together for each charter school but not for private schools. While much of the information contained in the report cards has been available at the Education Department's Web site for years, getting to it involved digging deep into the site and visiting several different pages. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)



    • 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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