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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 4.19.2004 CHARTERS AND CHOICE Charter schools attracting Japanese TOKYO — Americans studied Japan s school system in the past to
    Message 1 of 117 , Apr 19, 2004
      Education News Bulletin


      Charter schools attracting Japanese

      TOKYO — Americans studied Japan's school system in the past to
      improve their own, but now some Japanese are attracted by a
      particular type of school in the United States. More Japanese are
      dissatisfied with their rigid, standardized education practices and
      say Japan needs a kind of school where children's initiatives are
      encouraged. Some found models at charter schools in the United
      States. In October, the 21st Century Research Institute, a Tokyo-
      based nonprofit organization, visited 10 charter schools in
      Minnesota, its second study trip in two years. In February, teachers
      and students of Minnesota New Country School were invited to
      conferences in Tokyo to talk about their school. The events drew
      about 300 people and national attention. (Washington Times)


      Calif. Union to Organize In Charters

      Sacramento, Calif. -- With major financial backing from the National
      Education Association, California's largest teachers' union
      has launched an initiative to organize employees in hundreds of
      charter schools in the state. The push by the California Teachers
      Association adds a fresh twist to the complicated and often
      contentious relationship between the nation's growing network of
      charter schools and its politically powerful teachers' unions.
      The reception to the state union's organizing effort has been mixed
      in California's more than 470 charter schools. (Education Week)


      Vouchers spur lasting achievement gains in MPS schools, study says

      If Not Vouchers? Why scholarship tax credits may be the way to go
      for the school-choice movement.

      The Supreme Court's February ruling in Locke v. Davey that
      Washington State could deny state scholarship funds to a ministry
      student based solely on his choice of religious study was a big
      setback for school vouchers. Small wonder that some school-choice
      supporters are touting scholarship tax-credit programs—in effect,
      a privately funded, though publicly subsidized, voucher system—as a
      more feasible alternative. Scholarship tax credits have several
      advantages over vouchers. Above all, they're less subject to
      legal challenge, including on Blaine Amendment grounds. Tax credits
      are also an easier sell to the American people, who tell pollsters
      they favor them at a level eight to 14 percentage points higher than
      they support vouchers. The downside is that families seeking
      scholarships—often low-income families, with parents of limited
      educational backgrounds—can have a hard time figuring out the
      system. And the money needs raising from private donors every year.
      (City Journal)



      From Bystander to Ally: Transforming the District Human Resources

      NATIONAL – Although policymakers and academics tend to overlook
      the behind-the-scenes role that district human resources (HR)
      departments play in education, the HR office's effect is far from
      small. This report sheds some light on how today's school
      districts are rethinking this critical district function. It
      provides an introductory look at the issues surrounding HR reform by
      considering three districts that are actively engaged in reshaping
      their HR offices: Houston Independent School District, Milwaukee
      Public Schools, and San Diego City Schools. Each of these districts
      was in transition from a bureaucratic to a more performance-oriented
      approach to education, and had found that its HR office was not
      providing principals with the support they needed. (Center on
      Reinventing Public Education)


      Evaluating Value-Added Models for Teacher Accountability

      Value-added modeling (VAM) to estimate school and teacher effects is
      currently of considerable interest to researchers and policymakers.
      Recent reports suggest that VAM demonstrates the importance of
      teachers as a source of variance in student outcomes. There are at
      least two reasons why VAM has attracted growing interest. One reason
      is that VAM holds out the promise of separating the effects of
      teachers and schools from the powerful effects of such
      noneducational factors as family background, and this isolation of
      the effects of teachers and schools is critical for accountability
      systems to work as intended. The second is that early VAM studies
      purport to show very large differences in effectiveness among
      teachers. If these differences can be substantiated and causally
      linked to specific characteristics of teachers, the potential for
      improvement of education could be great. (Rand Education)



      School leaders learn how to use data to improve instruction

      Data-driven decision making and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
      were the focus of a conference held April 8 in Washington, D.C.
      Sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the event
      featured national lawmakers as well as educators and other
      stakeholders who have a vested interest in seeing children succeed
      in the classroom. A primary emphasis at the conference: how to go
      beyond the mere collection of data to developing effective methods
      for using those data to advance student achievement. Instead of
      relying on summative assessments merely as a rite of passage to the
      next grade level, school leaders now say they need more
      comprehensive data that can be accessed incrementally--anytime,
      anywhere--so teachers and parents can intervene before their
      students fall behind. (eSchool News)



      NewSchools Venture Fund Announces Launch of Pacific Charter School

      SAN FRANCISCO, April 13 – NewSchools Venture Fund today announced
      the launch of Pacific Charter School Development (PCSD), a new
      nonprofit organization that will provide financing and facilities
      development to high-performing charter schools, with plans to serve
      more than 11,000 public school students by creating 30 new buildings
      in the Los Angeles area over the next five years. This innovative
      organization was incubated with an initial operating grant of
      $400,000 by NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy firm
      working to transform public education. (PR Newswire)



      Schools as Centers of Community: A CITIZEN'S GUIDE FOR PLANNING

      NATIONAL – The current demand for educational facilities is
      unprecedented in American history. The pressing need to renovate,
      replace, and create so many new educational facilities at once
      presents a compelling opportunity to evaluate existing research
      about what constitutes an optimum school learning environment. In
      response to this demand, innovative and practical learning
      environments — developed through educator-architect-planner
      collaborations — are being implemented around the country. Some
      are variations on the traditional school site, designed to create
      more effective spaces for contemporary teaching and learning. Others
      expand the functions of the school to encompass community needs.
      Still others expand the whole notion of school by creating learning
      environments in such nontraditional settings as museums, shopping
      malls, and zoos. All of these creative solutions share one common
      theme: Schools as centers of community. (National Clearinghouse for
      Educational Facilities)

    • 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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