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    Education News Bulletin 9.9.2003 CHARTERS AND CHOICE Back To School: Can Public Education Be Saved? NATIONAL - If you can think of modern public education as a
    Message 1 of 117 , Sep 9, 2003
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      Education News Bulletin
      9.9.2003

      CHARTERS AND CHOICE

      Back To School: Can Public Education Be Saved?

      NATIONAL - If you can think of modern public education as a kind of
      inferno - and in many ways, you can - then Sol Stern is a modern-day
      Dante. As a parent of New York City public school kids, he's been
      through all nine rings of American public-education bureaucracy and
      mediocrity, which he wrote about in incomparable dispatches for City
      Journal, now collected as "Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and
      the Imperative of School Choice." It's all here. Superintendents who
      can't get a straight answer on how many people work at district
      headquarters. Time-serving instructors whose seniority qualifies them
      to teach upper-level classes they wouldn't qualify to take as
      students. Principals who are hamstrung by mind-numbing personnel
      rules forced on them by teachers' unions. But "Breaking Free" would
      be just another morbid tale of public education's woes if it weren't
      for the glimpse of paradiso that Stern gives when he talks about "the
      schools that vouchers built" in Milwaukee, an educational wasteland
      where more than 80 percent of black males drop out of the public
      school system. Now, thanks to $5,600 state-funded vouchers, almost
      12,000 poor and minority students are educated in private and
      religious schools that are models of instructional competence,
      curricular sanity, and order. As it happens, school choice is making
      progress slowly but surely. Charter schools--public schools of choice-
      -are now educating more than six hundred thousand students across the
      country, despite a backlash from teachers' unions and the education
      establishment. Vouchers have gained a small foothold in Cleveland and
      Florida, and this session of Congress may see the establishment of a
      federally funded voucher program in Washington, D.C. (The Weekly
      Standard) (not available online)

      House Approves Vouchers For D.C.

      WASHINGTON, DC - The House of Representatives narrowly approved the
      nation's first federally funded school voucher plan [on September 5],
      endorsing a five-year pilot program for at least 1,300 children in
      the District in what supporters called "shock treatment" for the
      city's struggling public education system. The Republican-backed
      measure, which would award private tuition grants worth up to $7,500
      per pupil starting next year, passed on a nearly party-line vote of
      205 to 203. Both sides prepared to ratchet up the fight in the
      Senate, which will vote as early as next week on similar legislation,
      part of the District's $5.6 billion 2004 budget. Yesterday's slender
      victory, coming after recent defeats of voucher proposals in state
      referendums, was a breakthrough in the nation's capital for a
      coalition of conservative and religious interest groups that has
      promoted the tuition grants as competition for public schools.
      Opponents, including teachers unions and civil liberties groups, took
      heart from the closeness of the vote, saying it showed that diverting
      taxpayer funds to private and religious schools remains deeply
      controversial. (Washington Post)

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31296-2003Sep5.html

      From Iran, the 'Thomas Paine of School Choice'

      WASHINGTON, DC - Nina Shokraii Rees, the Bush administration's point
      woman in the effort to start a school voucher program in the
      District, had her first public school experience under Ayatollah
      Ruhollah Khomeini. In 1982, at age 14, she left Iran with her family
      because the revolution made life intolerable for them there. But when
      the family settled in Blacksburg, Va., and young Rees began attending
      public school, she reached an unsettling conclusion: Khomeini's
      schools were more rigorous than America's. "In Blacksburg, it was
      very easy to get an A," she recalled in her fourth-floor office
      overlooking the Mall. "In Iran, I never got an A." That conclusion
      launched Rees on a two-decade quest that has landed her, after two
      years in the Bush White House, as the deputy undersecretary of
      education in charge of "innovation and improvement" -- including the
      effort to expand the reach of school vouchers. After schooling at
      Virginia Tech and George Mason, Rees found her way to Capitol Hill
      and, somewhat by happenstance, into the arms of conservative interest
      groups. First with Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, then
      with Clint Bollick at the Institute for Justice and finally with the
      Heritage Foundation, Rees became, as former Christian Coalition
      official Marshall Wittmann put it, "the Thomas Paine of school
      choice." Her work championing private-school voucher programs in
      Cleveland, Milwaukee and elsewhere caught the eye of Bush's
      presidential campaign, which enlisted her as an adviser. Even her
      mentors in the voucher movement -- they refer to vouchers
      as "parental choice" or "opportunity" scholarships -- were surprised
      by her intensity. "She's tough as nails, sometimes shockingly blunt
      and yet almost impossible not to like," said Bollick. (Washington
      Post)

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16691-2003Sep2.html

      Conflicting American Views on School Vouchers

      WASHINGTON, DC - As a reporter, I look for initiatives that have the
      greatest chance of making schools better, particularly in low-income
      neighborhoods where our children's achievement rates are lowest. The
      voucher debate may be a terrific way to dramatize conflicting
      American views on personal choice and community responsibility in
      public education. Anti-voucher Democratic and pro-voucher Republican
      politicians love to pound each other on the head with the issue. But
      I am not sure that vouchers will ever make much of a difference, bad
      or good, for most of our kids. I learn the most when I hear smart
      people arguing about something important, so I have asked voucher
      supporter Jeanne Allen, president of the Washington-based Center for
      Education Reform, and voucher opponent Michael Pons, a policy analyst
      at the Washington headquarters of the National Education Association,
      to try to convince me that I am wrong to shrug off vouchers as
      trivial. (Washington Post)

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14882-2003Sep2.html

      HUMAN CAPITAL

      Lifting the Barrier

      NATIONAL - Recruiting outsiders has become more common in K-12
      education, at least at the superintendent level. In recent years,
      urban school districts from New York City to Seattle have hired
      candidates from outside education to lead their schools. Nonetheless,
      the overwhelming majority of superintendents, school district
      officials, and school principals rise through the ranks the
      traditional way-first as teachers, then as assistant principals,
      principals, and then up to the district office. Many of them make
      fine leaders. But the fact is that the traditional route to K-12
      school management is not serving the nation well. The public school
      system suffers from a lack of effective managers at both the school
      and the district level. American education doesn't need a few dozen
      superintendents gamely swimming against the tide, but tens of
      thousands of competent superintendents, principals, and
      administrators working in tandem. The problem with today's efforts is
      that they are not part of larger efforts to recruit thoughtfully out
      of an expanded candidate pool, to build and support teams, and to
      rethink management. Instead, they are too often one-shot prayers in
      which the district hopes that charisma and personal credibility can
      jumpstart their moribund institutions. (Education Next)

      http://www.educationnext.org/20034/12.html

      Out with the Old (by Marc Tucker)

      NATIONAL - Like Frederick Hess (see "Lifting the Barrier"), I believe
      that the nation's graduate schools of education have largely failed
      to develop the kinds of leaders needed in K-12 education. However, I
      fear that his solution-virtually abandoning licensure-would return
      the process of appointing principals in public schools to the highly
      politicized state that once prevailed. My ideal alternative would be
      to replace the current licensure system with one based on
      performance. Instead of taking a prescribed set of university-based
      courses in school administration to obtain a license, aspiring
      principals would run schools on a trial basis under close supervision
      and be subject to a high-quality assessment of their performance.
      Those who made the grade would receive licenses. Under a performance-
      based licensing regime, other providers, such as school districts,
      states, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies, could
      compete against universities for the opportunity to offer training
      that would help candidates earn their licenses. (Education Next)

      http://www.educationnext.org/20034/20.html

      Fail-Safe Teachers

      NEW YORK - Teachers aren't being held accountable for their students'
      dreadful performance, according to new job ratings obtained by The
      Post. Nearly all the city's public school instructors - more than 99
      percent - received passing grades on their report cards in the 2002-
      2003 school year even though 58 percent of city kids flunked their
      standardized reading exams, 62 percent failed their math tests and
      half of high-schoolers don't graduate on time. Only 624 out of 80,000
      teachers - four fifths of 1 percent - received "unsatisfactory"
      ratings. That's even lower than the prior year, when just 794
      teachers flunked. Principals complain that it's difficult to get rid
      of bad teachers. Under the union contract, a tenured teacher must
      receive unsatisfactory ratings two years in a row to be removed for
      incompetence. Teachers can challenge the grade, and principals must
      back it up with documentation in hearings. Schools Chancellor Joel
      Klein agreed that it's wrong that almost all teachers - and
      principals for that matter - get passing grades despite lagging
      student performance. He vowed to submit an accountability plan to
      deal with the imbalance, but any changes must be negotiated with the
      powerful United Federation of Teachers. (New York Post)

      http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/4177.htm

      Teachers get help for home buying

      SACRAMENTO - Qualified teachers in low-performing school districts
      will have a better shot at owning homes -- even in a Bay Area market
      that is still sky-high -- through the expansion of a state loan
      program. The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program, launched in
      2000, aims to retain experienced teachers, a difficult task in the
      Bay Area, where the median housing price is $466,000. Since its
      inception, 16 teachers in Santa Clara County have benefited from the
      program, with loans totaling $4.2 million. Credentialed teachers at
      low-performing schools can already get a low-interest first mortgage
      covering 97 percent of a home's purchase price through the California
      Housing Finance Agency, which administers the extra credit program.
      But with the passage of Proposition 46 last year, the agency now has
      $24 million set aside specifically to help teachers raise a down
      payment -- often the largest obstacle to home ownership. At a news
      conference in Elk Grove on Wednesday, state Treasurer Phil Angelides,
      state schools chief Jack O'Connell and state Secretary of Education
      Kerry Mazzoni announced that as of July 1, the housing finance agency
      has been distributing the Proposition 46 money. Theresa Parker,
      executive director of the agency, said it hopes the $24 million will
      fund down payments for at least 500 teachers a year. (San Jose
      Mercury News)

      http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/living/education/6688702.htm

      ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT

      Education experts push for public school reform

      INDIANAPOLIS - The time for tinkering with public education in the
      United States is over. A dramatic transformation is needed -- one
      that dismantles traditional high schools, revolutionizes teacher
      training and focuses student learning on literacy even at the expense
      of other subjects. That's the message leading education experts
      delivered Monday to the nation's governors, who are searching for
      elusive answers on how to ensure that all children succeed in public
      school. Monday's education panel, which included an urban school
      superintendent and a former National Urban League president, provided
      the governors with a peek into education trends to come that will
      help close the achievement gap. They urged governors to harness all
      of the energy and political capital they use to get elected to reform
      public schools. Hugh B. Price, former president of the National Urban
      League, told the governors to invite community and political groups
      to their mansions and ask them not just for money but for time.
      Mobilize your communities to sponsor literacy fairs, Price urged. Ask
      them to tutor or mentor schoolchildren. Help them put on parties and
      parades to acknowledge good students. And focus on reading. "If
      children can't read, they can't do any of the other things we're
      talking about," said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive officer of
      the Cleveland Municipal School District. (Indianapolis Star)

      http://www.indystar.com/print/articles/5/066459-1075-009.html (see
      also National Governors' Association report mentioned here, Reaching
      New Heights: Turning Around Low-Performing Schools at
      http://www.nga.org/cda/files/0803REACHING.pdf)

      NEWSCHOOLS IN THE NEWS

      Something Ventured: Philanthropy With A Venture Twist

      NEW YORK - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation took an unusual step
      with a recent donation to an educational cause - it gave money to
      a "venture philanthropy" group. The Gates foundation in June donated
      $22 million to the NewSchools Venture Fund, a San Francisco nonprofit
      organization that promotes charter schools and other education
      initiatives. Founded in 1998 by wealthy venture capitalists,
      NewSchools tries to bring VC principles to the world of philanthropy
      by nurturing the groups it gives money to and demanding
      accountability for how the money is spent. NewSchools calls itself a
      venture philanthropy firm, a concept that emerged in the late 1990s
      as a charitable outlet for VCs and others who were enriched by the
      booming markets. Venture philanthropy has lost some of its luster
      since the markets turned south, but the Gates foundation's donation
      to NewSchools illustrates this new style of giving continues to
      breathe. (Wall Street Journal)

      http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,BT_CO_20030827_002624-search,00.html

      OTHER

      Idea of the Week: Improving Schools in Tough Times

      The decades-long drive for fundamental improvements in the
      performance of public schools may be an irresistible force, but where
      new resources are required, it's running into the immovable objects
      of a bad economy and terrible fiscal conditions for Washington,
      states, and school boards. At the state level, certainly no governor
      east of California has felt the fiscal crunch more than Virginia's
      Mark Warner. Even before the economy went south, Warner inherited an
      enormous budget problem from his Republican predecessor who rolled a
      fiscal hand grenade through the office door on his way out. But
      despite the budget challenges, retooling Virginia's education system
      to prepare its citizens for the demands of the information age was a
      big part of Warner's agenda upon taking office. Warner has succeeded
      admirably in getting the budget under control, and he did it without
      cutting resources for education. The Republican-controlled
      legislature needs to do more to finance quality education, but in the
      meantime Warner is putting forward a promising reform agenda that
      relies more on innovation than dollars. Other states should give
      Warner's initiatives a close look. Under his leadership Virginia is
      emerging as a model for the nation in public education, and he is
      demonstrating that a lack of money should not become an excuse for a
      lack of effort or imagination. (New Democrat Online)

      http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=252028&kaid=131&subid=192

      (See more on Warner's plan at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
      dyn/articles/A22594-2003Sep3.html)

      Schools' new motto: Think small

      SEATTLE - Just inside Mountlake Terrace High, the signs above some of
      the doorways announce places that don't exist anymore: the English /
      Language Arts wing, the Math / Health wing. As of yesterday, the
      school is no longer one big school of more than 1,800 students.
      Instead, Terrace is now The Discovery School, The Innovation School,
      The Renaissance School - in all, five small schools sharing one big
      building. Ten other Washington high schools will also break up into
      smaller units this fall - the largest concentration of such efforts
      in the country. They are part of a $575 million effort by the Bill &
      Melinda Gates Foundation to shrink and improve the American public
      high school. More than 150 new small schools or schools-within-
      schools will open this fall with help from the foundation. About 50
      of the 150 are small schools created from scratch. Nineteen are
      school / college hybrids called Early College High Schools, where
      students can earn both a high-school diploma and an associates'
      degree in four years. And three are spinoffs of High Tech High, a San
      Diego charter school. But most, like Mountlake Terrace, are large
      schools broken up into what sometimes are called
      education "multiplexes." Small-school proponents see them as a
      faster, cheaper way to get the benefits of small schools to more
      students. Research shows that in high schools of 400-800, students go
      to class more, drop out less often and, in the case of low-income
      students, often score higher on standardized tests. (Seattle Times)

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2001702617_smallschool
      s03m.html

      Genes' Sway Over IQ May Vary With Class

      WASHINGTON, DC - Back-to-school pop quiz: Why do poor children, and
      especially black poor children, score lower on average than their
      middle-class and white counterparts on IQ tests and other measures of
      cognitive performance? It is an old and politically sensitive
      question, and one that has long fueled claims of racism. Now a
      groundbreaking study of the interaction among genes, environment and
      IQ finds that the influence of genes on intelligence is dependent on
      class. Genes do explain the vast majority of IQ differences among
      children in wealthier families, the new work shows. But environmental
      factors -- not genetic deficits -- explain IQ differences among poor
      minorities. The work, to be published in the November issue of the
      journal Psychological Science, is part of a new wave of research that
      embraces a more dynamic view of the relationship between genes and
      environment. Although older research treated nature and nurture as
      largely independent and additive factors, and saw people as the sum
      of their genetic endowments and environmental experiences, the
      emerging view allows that genes can influence the impact of
      experiences and experiences can influence the "expression," or
      activity levels, of genes. (Washington Post)

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12059-2003Sep1.html

      Education: Log On and Learn

      NATIONAL - In the classroom, technology has made extra help much more
      accessible. Some educational software is based on cognitive research
      like Carnegie Learning's math tutoring program, which uses
      sophisticated graphics and instant feedback. But there is also a lot
      of "edutainment" on the market. "Content must grow apace with
      [technology]," says Stacey Boyd, one of the World Economic Forum's
      Global Leaders for Tomorrow and CEO of Project Achieve, a Web-based
      software firm that tracks student accomplishments. . Just as
      California led the world in the technology boom, the state is also at
      the forefront of educational innovation. Two public schools-High Tech
      High in San Diego and New Tech High in Napa-are using technology to
      completely revamp schooling. Partially funded by the Bill & Melinda
      Gates Foundation, they merge cutting-edge technology with traditional
      learning. This model of education may soon go international. Next
      year, Australia and Britain each plan to open a school based on High
      Tech High. (Newsweek - International Edition)

      http://www.msnbc.com/news/953393.asp
    • 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
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        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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