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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 1.26.2004 CHARTERS AND CHOICE Report backs lifting charter schools cap SACRAMENTO - California should lift the cap on the number of
    Message 1 of 117 , Jan 26, 2004
      Education News Bulletin


      Report backs lifting charter schools cap

      SACRAMENTO - California should lift the cap on the number of charter
      schools, simplify funding and tighten oversight over the alternatives
      to traditional public schools, a study released Tuesday recommended.
      The Legislative Analyst's Office found that the cap of 750 charter
      schools was no longer necessary now that the schools have been
      operating for 11 years and are showing academic gains similar or
      better than other public schools. The LAO also recommended giving
      more organizations the ability to charter schools, including
      universities. (Contra Costa Times)

      tm; find the Legislative Analyst's report, "Assessing
      Charter Schools" here:

      Longtime parish school reborn as charter academy

      While private schools are booming and thousands of Catholic schools
      have waiting lists of students eager to attend, Sacramento's
      Immaculate Conception parish school in Oak Park shut down last year
      for want of enrollment and diocesan funds. But that is not to say the
      book on Immaculate Conception School is closed. The venerable 74-year-
      old two-story brick schoolhouse on First Avenue didn't miss a beat.
      It closed as Immaculate Conception in June and reopened in September
      as Capitol Heights Academy ... run by Aspire Public Schools, a
      nonprofit company operating the school under a charter from the
      Sacramento City Unified School District. (Sacramento Bee)


      D.C. School Vouchers Win Final Approval

      WASHINGTON, DC - Hundreds of children in the District will be able to
      attend private schools at taxpayer expense beginning this fall under
      a plan approved by the Senate yesterday. The $14 million voucher
      program, which President Bush is expected to sign into law, will
      launch a five-year, federally funded experiment that will place the
      District at the forefront of the school-choice movement. At least
      1,700 low-income District children would be able to participate, each
      receiving grants of up to $7,500 to attend private schools.
      (Washington Post)



      The year of the teacher?

      2004 could turn out to be the year of the teacher, the year that the
      bureaucratic, ideological, and regulatory strangleholds under which
      the teaching profession labors might just be broken. Last year ended
      with the Education Trust's stern rebuke of federal and state
      officials for playing fast and loose with NCLB's highly-qualified
      teacher requirement. The new year opened with an unexpectedly bold,
      almost radical, "call to reform" from Lou Gerstner's Teaching
      Commission; a generally bullish evaluation of Denver's pilot "pay for
      performance" effort; and a surprising speech by New York City
      teachers' union head Randi Weingarten that urged decades-overdue
      streamlining of the "teacher discipline process." (Education Gadfly)



      Achievement-Gap Study Emphasizes Better Use of Data

      CALIFORNIA - It's not whether schools test students but what they do
      with the results, concludes a study of California schools that are
      narrowing the racial and ethnic gaps in achievement among their
      students. Based on data collected from 32 schools in the San
      Francisco Bay area, the study by the Bay Area School Reform
      Collaborative is unusual because it compares schools that are
      shrinking the achievement gaps separating white and Asian-American
      students from their lower-scoring black or Latino peers with schools
      that aren't. It found that gap-closing schools tested their students
      often and used the results to make changes in their instructional
      programs. (Education Week)


      Commentary: Testing Our Patience

      State and federal law assume that the quality of public education can
      be gauged by the number of students who reach the "proficiency" mark
      on a standardized test. Indeed, the federal No Child Left Behind
      (NCLB) law provides serious penalties for schools that fail to make
      sufficient annual gains in these numbers. It is a terribly misguided
      policy. But the problem is not, as some critics argue, that all tests
      are invalid. However, they are of little use in assessing creativity,
      insight, reasoning and the application of skills to unrehearsed
      situations -- each an important part of what a high-quality school
      should be teaching. (American Prospect)



      California 2004-2005 Education Budget Analysis

      CALIFORNIA - Imagine if my kids had a constitutional right to a
      weekly allowance that was 5 percent of my total income every year and
      that they could never receive less money than the year before plus a
      cost-of-living increase. This is how we finance schools in
      California, and this is why school districts have no incentive to
      ever reduce spending. The Constitution guarantees that education
      spending will always go up by at least a small amount, even during
      economic downturns. This also explains how Governor Schwarzenegger
      can withhold $2 billion of a $4 billion total mandated increase in
      education funding for 2004-2005 and still be giving schools a $2
      billion dollar increase to meet cost of living and enrollment growth.
      In the recent past, the increase in California's education spending
      has very little relationship to the actual cost of providing
      education. (Reason Public Policy Institute)


      Schools or Pencils: A Fund Disconnect

      For students at a few new public schools in Southern California, it's
      hard to believe there's a state budget crisis. Freshly built campuses
      boast multimillion-dollar amenities, such as college-style
      gymnasiums, wireless computers, art galleries, and theaters with
      stadium seating, high-tech special effects and indoor-outdoor stages.
      The dichotomy exists because schools get their money from two
      distinct sources: one for books, pencils and other day-to-day
      expenses, which is subject to the whims of the state economy and
      California Legislature; and a second for school construction, which
      comes mostly from special state and local bond measures approved by
      voters. The two pots of money are not allowed to mix, so even if the
      construction of a new school is completed under budget, the leftover
      money cannot be used to buy textbooks or other daily necessities.
      (Los Angeles Times)


      An Iraqi Education

      You come in-country on a military cargo plane, traveling from a
      military airfield in Kuwait. Your plane comes down steeply from the
      sky (to avoid Saddamist rocketeers) to the military side of the
      international airport in Baghdad. You're a senior adviser on
      education for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), recruited by
      the White House and the office of the secretary of defense and
      approved by Ambassador Paul Bremer. Your five-month mission is to
      help revive teaching and learning in a country on the mend from a
      fascist despotism. What's it like? In a sense, much of my and my
      colleagues' efforts were to help a multitude of coalition civilian
      agencies, military units and international agencies talk to each
      other and coordinate work in the field of education. (Wall Street

    • 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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