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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 10.5.2004 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Commentary: Chalk It Up (by Caroline Hoxby of Harvard) NATIONAL - This summer the gloves
    Message 1 of 117 , Oct 6, 2004
      Education News Bulletin


      Commentary: Chalk It Up (by Caroline Hoxby of Harvard)

      NATIONAL - This summer the gloves came off in the charter school
      debate. A study conducted by the American Federation of Teachers,
      charging that charter school students lagged behind their public
      school peers, was given unprecedented attention by the national
      media. Yet, the study is not at all persuasive. It compared students
      in charter schools and regular public schools, but the typical
      charter student is not the typical public school student. Affluent
      parents whose children are doing fine in suburban schools rarely
      send them to fledgling charter schools. Charter schools often arise
      where families have relatively low incomes, a single parent, and are
      minorities or recent immigrants. (Wall Street Journal - subscription

      mod=opinion (for another view on the charter school research debate,
      see "Schoolhouse Schlock: Conservatives flip-flop on standards for
      charter school research," by Lawrence Mishel, president at the
      Economic Policy Institute, for the American Prospect at

      No Way Out: The No Child Left Behind Act provides only the illusion
      of school choice

      NATIONAL - Since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, less than
      2 percent of parents nationwide have transferred their children to
      other public schools. Districts have not made a good-faith effort to
      implement public school choice. Sometimes parents are not notified
      of their option to change schools at all; other times they're told
      only after the school year is well under way. Some districts send
      parents letters discouraging them from transferring their kids. The
      choices themselves are limited to marginally better schools, with
      superior institutions often refusing to accept low-performing
      students. (by Lisa Snell, director of the Education and Child
      Welfare Program at the Reason Foundation, for Reason Online)



      Commentary: Teaching Teams (by Arthur E. Wise of the National
      Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education)

      NATIONAL - Schools of the 21st century must break away from their
      19th-century, "egg carton" organization. A new paradigm based on how
      professionals work in this new century is needed. The egg-carton
      organization, with its identical cells, expects that every teacher
      will replicate the appropriate curriculum and instruction for 25
      students each year, every year, from the beginning to the end of a
      teaching career. The model, resilient as it is, has outlived its
      usefulness. Among its dysfunctional consequences are high teacher
      turnover, especially in hard-to-staff schools; a maldistribution of
      teaching talent; and the achievement gap. It is time for a different
      approach. (Education Week - registration required)



      Column: Politics Aside, a School's Real Success (by Sam Freedman)

      GAINESVILLE, Ga. - IN the late summer of 2003, a few weeks into his
      first year as principal of Gainesville Elementary School here, Shawn
      Arevalo McCollough identified 125 pupils who were lagging a grade or
      two behind in reading and math. He could surmise that most were poor
      and nonwhite, because virtually his entire student body was poor and
      nonwhite. Mr. McCollough decreed that the 125 pupils should stay for
      an extra three hours of class each weekday and seven hours on
      Saturday, the additional time creating the equivalent of an eight-
      day school week. Then he solicited the children and their parents,
      one family at a time, visiting rusted house trailers and weathered
      cottages besieged by kudzu vines, tracking down one father in the
      lavanderia, the Laundromat. Under his leadership, 89 percent of
      Gainesville Elementary's students passed the state English-language
      arts test and 94 percent passed the math test. (by education
      columnist Samuel Freedman for the New York Times)


      Turning to More Than Scores to Rate Schools

      RHODE ISLAND - Last year's academic ratings of Rhode Island public
      schools showed that the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical
      Center, a Providence high school, did not do very well. Its
      students, many from low-income families, were near the bottom of the
      list in math skills and writing effectiveness. But on another page
      in the same book of Rhode Island statistics, the results were
      startlingly different. The Met, as the school is called, led the
      state in communicating with its students. Fifty-five percent of
      students said they could talk easily to staff members about personal
      problems, and 70 percent said that was true of academic problems,
      too. No other school came close. That feedback was a godsend to
      Dennis Littky, the school's director and co-founder. He has spent a
      tumultuous career arguing that high test scores are only part of a
      good school, and finally he found a state that grades schools every
      year on factors he considers just as important. (by Jay Mathews for
      the Washington Post - registration required)


      Problems Seen for More Testing of U.S. Students

      WASHINGTON - A new federal requirement to sharply expand annual
      testing of students starting next school year faces serious
      obstacles, including unreliable data and a lack of clear and timely
      guidance from federal officials, according to a government report.
      The report, by the Government Accountability Office, the
      investigative arm of Congress, found wide variation in the rules
      that states use to measure progress under No Child Left Behind, the
      federal education law that has been one of President Bush's major
      domestic initiatives. The variation makes comparisons between states
      meaningless, the report suggested. The G.A.O. report, which was
      released late last week, said that more than half the state and
      school district officials interviewed said they had been "hampered
      by poor and unreliable student data," with Illinois, for example,
      reporting data problems in 300 of its 1,055 school districts. (by
      Diana Jean Schemo for the New York Times - registration required)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/05/education/05child.html (check out
      the full report, "No Child Left Behind: Improvements Needed in
      Education's Process for Tracking States' Implementation of Key
      Provisions" at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04734.pdf)


      Law will streamline school fund system

      SACRAMENTO, CALIF. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday signed
      legislation school officials say could free up hundreds of millions
      of dollars in money now tied up in programs dictated by the state.
      Before sending AB 825 to the governor, lawmakers watered down the
      plan by state Sen. Deirdre Alpert, D-San Diego, which aimed to
      simplify the state's so-called school categoricals system. The
      system dedicates $12 billion a year to 120 programs, including
      dropout-and gang-prevention and staff development days. In its final
      form, the legislation calls for 22 categorical programs to be
      shifted into six block grants, giving school districts more control
      over how the money is spent. (Sacramento Bee)


      Need Space? School-Facility Public-Private Partnerships: An
      Assessment of Alternative Financing Arrangements

      NATIONAL - The Appleseed Foundation examines a variety of options
      for public-private partnerships in school facilities financing.
      Methods of structuring the debt and partnering for construction are
      illustrated with case studies. Issues with state and local
      governments are cited, along with ideas for creative occupancy
      partnerships and the prudent management of facilities created by
      these partnerships. (by The Appleseed Foundation via the National
      Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities)


      Boarding Schools Nurture Low-Income Students

      NATIONAL - Most schools try to persuade students to get out of bed
      in the morning by lowering their grades or giving them detention
      when they don't, but Maya Angelou [Public Charter School in
      Washington, DC] is one of a small but growing number of schools that
      have a different approach to the problem. They invite teenagers who
      need extra help to live in school quarters. A generation ago,
      American boarding schools were generally of two kinds: private
      institutions for the college-bound children of the wealthy, or state-
      supported facilities for children under court supervision. But now a
      few private schools and charter schools, which are independent
      public schools exempt from ordinary rules and procedures, have set
      themselves up as boarding schools for low-income students who want
      many of the advantages and the support given to bankers' and
      lawyers' children at Groton and St. Mark's. (by Jay Mathews for the
      Washington Post - registration required)


      Commentary: Rigor-Free Research

      NATIONAL - Forget the anecdotes and assumptions. Under the No Child
      Left Behind Act, federal education dollars are supposed to fund only
      programs proven effective by "scientifically based research." That's
      spotlighting a problem: A lot of what passes for education research
      isn't reliable or rigorous, and many education professors aren't
      keen on the scientific method. Some educators say there's no point
      in doing controlled studies: The evidence will be ignored by policy
      makers. Or they complain that schools will focus on measurable
      outcomes -- test scores -- and ignore what's hard to measure. Yet
      without scientific rigor, education researchers can't answer any of
      the interesting questions. (by freelance writer Joanne Jacobs for
      Tech Central Station.com)


      The Mad, Mad World of Textbook Adoption

      NATIONAL - Statewide textbook adoption, the process by which 21
      states dictate the textbooks that schools and districts can use, is
      fundamentally flawed. Textbook adoption distorts the market, entices
      extremist groups to hijack the curriculum, enriches the textbook
      cartel, and papers the land with mediocre instructional materials
      that cannot fulfill their important education mission. The adoption
      process cannot be set right by tinkering with it, concludes The Mad,
      Mad World of Textbook Adoption, the latest release from the Thomas
      B. Fordham Institute. Rather, legislators and governors in adoption
      states should eliminate the process and devolve funding for and
      decisions about textbook purchases to individual schools, individual
      districts, even individual teachers. (By Checker Finn and Diane
      Ravitch for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation)

      id=335 (or go directly to the report at
    • 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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