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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 11.24.2003 CHARTERS AND CHOICE Commentary: Doing Choice Right (by Paul Hill) NATIONAL - Will school choice be the end of public
    Message 1 of 117 , Nov 24, 2003
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      Education News Bulletin


      Commentary: Doing Choice Right (by Paul Hill)

      NATIONAL - Will school choice be the end of public education? Or will
      it be the salvation of thousands of students who would otherwise fail
      in district-run schools? There is only one honest answer to these
      questions: It all depends. Everything depends on factors that are
      under human control, such as how choice is funded and organized, who
      can choose, what information parents get, and who takes public funds
      to run schools. That is the message of a new report to be issued this
      week by a Brookings Institution-run commission on school choice. When
      the commission looked closely at how choice could work - how it could
      lead to good outcomes (improved learning for children of parents who
      choose), or to bad ones (greater segregation or harm to children who
      stay in public schools) - we learned some lessons that should have
      been obvious but weren't, and we got some surprises.

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=12hill.h23 (See the
      study, "School Choice: Doing It The Right Way Makes a Difference"

      What Makes Schools Work? Why vouchers are not the answer

      NATIONAL - There is a strange tenor to the current debate over school
      vouchers. Conservative groups, not known historically for their
      commitment to the downtrodden, are evincing a newfound moral passion
      for liberating poor kids from bad schools. They note that the wealthy
      can choose high quality schools by purchasing a home in an area with
      top-ranked public schools or by paying tuition to a good private
      school, and they argue that poor families should have the same right.
      Our core thesis is that public school choice, structured specifically
      to achieve socioeconomic integration, can garner the benefits of
      vouchers - allowing poor kids to escape bad schools, providing more
      variety in schooling, and shaking up the bureaucracy with competitive
      pressures - while avoiding the many pitfalls - increased racial and
      economic segregation, reduced social cohesion, and increased reliance
      on unaccountable institutions. (Boston Review)

      http://www.bostonreview.net/BR28.5/kahlenberg.html (Part of a larger
      New Democracy forum on "What Makes Schools Work," at


      Principal boot camp hot ticket

      MEMPHIS, TN - Slowly, it's sinking in. It's not enough to have
      involved parents. Or qualified, motivated teachers. It takes a good
      principal to turn a school around. But with principals in short
      supply, an army of prominent Memphis philanthropists and Memphis City
      Schools Supt. Carol Johnson head Wednesday to Washington to woo a
      leading principal training program. Johnson, along with Barbara Hyde
      of the J. R. Hyde III Foundation and Ethele Hilliard from Parents in
      Public Education, hopes to bring New Leaders for New Schools to
      Memphis next summer. The winner will be announced this month. Already
      in New York, Washington and Chicago, the three-year-old program
      provides a one-year residency program and intensive training for
      prospective principals. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)



      Minority Educators Back Bush Initiative

      NATIONAL - Many of the nation's black and Hispanic school
      superintendents lashed out at critics of President Bush's school
      accountability law Tuesday, saying the criticism is misguided. More
      than 100 superintendents said opponents of Bush's No Child Left
      Behind Act are undermining the fundamental belief on which the law
      rests: that all children, including racial minorities and low-income
      students, can succeed in school. "We need to be held accountable. We
      should not be making excuses like, `Oh, this kid is from a poor
      neighborhood,'" said Robert Henry, superintendent of schools in
      Hartford, one of the signers of a letter urging Congress not to back
      down on the law's tough accountability requirements. (Hartford

      (See the letter at http://www2.edtrust.org/NR/rdonlyres/D4EA0468-953D-


      Commentary: Education -- The recipe for success is local

      CALIFORNIA - In the weeks after his election, Gov. Arnold
      Schwarzenegger has displayed a surprisingly accurate understanding of
      the issues facing the state's 6 million students and the school
      districts that serve them. One of his platform themes centers on his
      support for more local control of schools. But what does that mean,
      exactly? And how do we get there from here? The recipe is clear: We
      need to move away from an input-driven system to a system concerned
      about outcomes. In other words, reduce the number of strings,
      requirements and regulations imposed on local school districts and
      focus on results. Set clear expectations for what we want and need
      our students to learn, then allow those who are closest and most
      familiar with them to do what they do -- educate. (San Francisco


      Grant Will Help L.A. Unified Plan for Smaller High Schools

      LOS ANGELES, CA - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced
      Tuesday it would provide a $900,000 planning grant to aid the Los
      Angeles Unified School District's efforts to create smaller high
      schools that emphasize personalized learning. The grant is expected
      to be followed by a more significant gift from the foundation once
      the district has established a clear plan for creating "smaller
      learning communities" - either building new, smaller schools or
      dividing existing schools into groupings of a few hundred students.
      In the last few months, Romer has pushed the district to
      adopt "smaller learning communities" in both middle and high schools
      as a way to encourage students not to drop out. The district's
      largest high schools have as many as 5,000 students per campus. (Los
      Angeles Times)


      Special Report: Philanthropy 2003

      NATIONAL - Includes articles on the top givers
      (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_48/b3860601.htm) and
      corporate donors

      See the full Philanthropy 2003 table of contents at

      Spend It Now! Why Some Foundations Plan Their Demise

      NATIONAL - Private foundations come and go. But mostly they go - on
      and on. They can become entrenched institutions, with buildings,
      internal bureaucracies and executives pulling down six-figure
      compensation packages. Most foundations, large and small, strive to
      keep their "corpus," or principal financing, intact. But some
      foundations, a tiny minority, take a more active approach to their
      philanthropy, "spending down" their assets to focus intensely on
      their key goals with concentrated financing and intent. It puts them
      out of business, but most believe it gets the job done quicker and
      more effectively. (New York Times)

    • 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


        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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