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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 2.23.2004 CHARTERS AND CHOICE Charter School Openings Lowest in Six Years Washington, DC – This school year saw the lowest number of
    Message 1 of 117 , Feb 22, 2004
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      Education News Bulletin


      Charter School Openings Lowest in Six Years

      Washington, DC – This school year saw the lowest number of new
      charter schools since 1997, with 309 opening compared with a high of
      466 four years ago, figures from the Washington-based Center for
      Education Reform show. Despite the dip, down from 395 openings in the
      2002-03 school year, supporters of the independent public schools who
      gathered in the nation's capital last week for the release of an
      annual CER report appeared unconcerned. They pointed out that the
      number of charter schools nationwide still grew by 10 percent in
      spite of opponents' efforts to curb the movement's growth. (Education



      Teaching Poor Students: How to Make it a Prestigious, Desirable Career

      If we were serious as a country, we would seize this moment, at the
      cusp of a dramatic generational turnover in the teaching ranks, to
      lure top-caliber college graduates to our toughest classrooms. Money
      will need to be part of this, and we'll get to that. But let's
      stipulate first that pay isn't everything. For many, job security,
      good health and pension benefits, and summers off each year are worth
      the income trade-off. In addition, getting serious about teacher
      quality will require a host of non-financial reforms. For starters,
      the human resource departments in big districts tend to be so poorly
      managed that top candidates flee. In the inner cities, it's often
      working conditions that scare people off. (American Federation of


      Online Teacher-Training Classes Win Converts

      One year after its creation, an Internet-based teachers' college
      launched to help aspiring instructors gain certification through
      online classes has seen its enrollment swell to more than 1,300
      students, according to school officials. Western Governors
      University, which has received financial support and public backing
      from the U.S. Department of Education, has about 350 students in its
      teacher-training program who are already certified and seeking
      master's degrees. But a majority, or roughly 950, of its enrollees
      are taking its computer-based courses in the hope of gaining initial
      state certification in elementary or secondary education, said the
      university's president, Robert Mendenhall. (Education Week)



      More States Are Fighting 'No Child Left Behind' Law

      Two years after President Bush proclaimed a "new era" in American
      public education with the passage of his No Child Left Behind
      initiative, a growing number of state legislators and school
      administrators are looking for ways to opt out of requirements they
      view as intrusive and underfunded. Resistance that began in New
      England last year over the implementation of the broadest education
      reforms in a generation has spread to several southern and western
      states, with Republicans joining Democrats in criticizing a plan that
      once enjoyed bipartisan support. While the protests have yet to
      become a nationwide rebellion, some analysts predict that the
      movement to opt out of the program will gather momentum as more and
      more schools are put on watch lists required by the law that
      designate them "in need of improvement." (Washington Post)



      Policies eased for limited-English students

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- Schools are getting more flexibility in how they
      test and measure the progress of students with limited English skills
      as the Bush administration again tries to address concerns over the
      government's education overhaul. A policy announced Thursday offers
      two broad changes for some of the 5.5 million public school students
      learning English as a second language. In turn, many districts and
      schools may find it easier to make yearly progress goals and avoid
      federal penalties under the No Child Left Behind Law. In their first
      year at a U.S. school, students with limited English skills will be
      allowed to take only a test in how well they know the language. That
      means the formerly required test in reading and writing academic
      ability will become optional. Schools could count these students
      toward meeting the law's test participation rate, but their reading
      and math scores would not have to count in school performance.
      (Associated Press)



      Editorial – No Politician Left Behind: Lack of money isn't the
      problem with education

      NATIONAL – Critics of President Bush's education program, the No
      Child Left Behind Act, now accuse him of enforcing the law on the
      cheap. We agree the law has its faults, and said so when it roared
      through Congress two years ago, but lack of funding isn't close to
      being one of them. State claims that NCLB is intrusive and
      underfunded are also doubtful. Most NCLB requirements--like
      disaggregating certain data and identifying failing schools--were
      already part of federal law dating to the 1994 reauthorization of the
      Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The problem, according to a
      new Education Next analysis by James Peyser and Robert Costrell, is
      that this federal law lacked teeth. (Wall Street Journal)


      $12.3 Billion Would Aid Schools, Colleges

      CALIFORNIA – Two years after voters approved a record $13.05 billion
      in bonds for public school construction, California lawmakers are
      asking for $12.3 billion more to continue to repair old classrooms
      and build new ones. Supporters of Proposition 55 say the need for
      school construction dollars in the state remains enormous and money
      from the 2002 bonds has nearly run out. At least 1 million of the
      state's students attend a run-down or overcrowded school, according
      to the Office of Public School Construction. (Contra Costa Times)


      Finding the "Moneyball" in Education

      America's education system needs a Bill James, and a Billy Beane.
      Together, James and Beane — the focus of Michael Lewis's recent
      bestseller Moneyball — revolutionized Major League Baseball by
      demonstrating how maximizing efficiency can leverage limited
      resources to create a successful outcome. Bill James, author of the
      comprehensive Historical Baseball Abstract, spent three decades
      challenging the national pastime's conventional wisdom, applying
      rigorous statistical analysis to determine the traits most associated
      with a player's true value to his team. James's findings didn't
      square with most baseball experts' opinion, and his research was
      ignored for years. Until, that is, Oakland A's General Manager Billy
      Beane embraced James's philosophy, and put it into practice. American
      education could use a healthy dose of Bill James's rigorous analysis
      and Billy Beane's courage. (National Review)


      Kerry Record on Education Mostly Liberal

      When education comes up for consideration in the U.S. Senate, a
      veteran Democrat from Massachusetts is almost guaranteed to be knee-
      deep in the debate. But it isn't John Kerry, the front-runner for the
      Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nomination. It's Sen. Edward M.
      Kennedy, who casts a tall shadow over the state's longtime junior
      senator when it comes to school issues. But while Sen. Kerry has made
      his policy mark mostly in other areas, especially foreign relations,
      he's no stranger to education matters and at times has jumped
      headlong into the fray. Perhaps most noteworthy was a controversial
      speech in 1998 in which he delivered some barbed words for teachers'
      unions and public school "bureaucracies." He called for making every
      public school "essentially a charter school," free from the rules
      that typically govern teacher hiring and placement decisions, and for
      ending "teacher tenure as we know it." (Education Week)

    • 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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