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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 11.1.2004 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS City Mayors Turn to Charter Schools WASHINGTON, DC – With pigeons fluttering through the
    Message 1 of 117 , Nov 1, 2004
      Education News Bulletin


      City Mayors Turn to Charter Schools

      WASHINGTON, DC – With pigeons fluttering through the rafters and
      plaster crumbling from the walls, the future home of the Thurgood
      Marshall Academy charter school scarcely looks like a place to
      entertain the likes of a big-city mayor. Yet District of Columbia
      Mayor Anthony A. Williams seemed happy to be there earlier this
      month, as he helped kick off a project to convert the long-vacant
      eyesore into a community-oriented campus for 350 high school
      students. Mr. Williams is not alone among big-city mayors in
      extending a growing interest in public education to charter schools.
      In Indianapolis, Bart Peterson has taken full advantage of his
      status as the nation's only mayor with authority to charter
      schools. And New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chicago's
      Richard M. Daley, both of whom control their school systems, have
      recently launched initiatives to form more of the independently run
      but publicly financed schools. (Education Week – registration


      CREATING the CAPACITY for CHANGE: How and Why Governors and
      Legislatures are Opening a New-Schools Sector in Public Education

      NATIONAL – This is the central issue now for policy: whether it
      is realistic to assume that law and regulation and exhortation can
      overcome the constraints of faulty system design. Even if
      conceivably they might, the uncertainty makes such an assumption
      clearly a risk. Remember: The bar is set very high. We are talking
      seriously about educating all students to high standards. This asks
      a lot of the organizations we have. It may be that within the
      present arrangements the job cannot be done. This book describes the
      efforts by states to create a new `open sector' in public
      education, partly inside but substantially outside the district
      framework. This requires being open to the idea that more than one
      organization can offer public education in the community. (by Ted
      Kolderie of Education | Evolving)



      Evaluating Administrators With Portfolios

      NATIONAL - Seven years ago when Andy Dotson became principal of
      Phelps High School in Pike County, Ky., the school was the lowest-
      performing high school in the district and the fifth lowest in the
      state. As of last spring, Phelps is the second-highest performing
      high school in the district and close to being in the top third of
      all high schools in Kentucky. All along the way, Dotson has used a
      portfolio of his work to help guide his own professional development
      and ensure his superintendent had a complete understanding of the
      work he was doing. Dotson's notable experience notwithstanding,
      the use of portfolios to evaluate the performance of administrators
      lags far behind their use among classroom teachers. In most parts of
      the country, evaluation of principals and administrators remains
      largely the same as it has been for decades—which is to say minimal.
      Simple checklists, one-shot interviews, brief site visits and
      narrative evaluations remain widespread as the tools of assessment.
      (The School Administrator, a publication of the American Association
      of School Administrators)


      The Qualified Teacher Charade

      NATIONAL – No Child Left Behind (NCLB) … mandates that to be
      highly qualified a teacher must not only have a bachelor's degree
      and be certified, which the states already require, but also
      demonstrate competence in the subject being taught. This is the
      great innovation of the act — it requires competence. For new
      teachers, competence can be demonstrated by having a college major
      in the relevant subject or by taking a rigorous test of knowledge.
      Veteran teachers can demonstrate competence in these same ways. Or
      they can do it by meeting a "high, objective, uniform state standard
      of evaluation" (HOUSSE), which the states are allowed to devise on
      their own. Herein lies the problem. The HOUSSE provisions create a
      loophole big enough to drive three million veteran teachers through —
      and the states have incentives to do just that. They are under
      intense political pressure, especially from teachers unions, to
      protect the interests of veteran teachers and to ensure that no one
      loses a job. (by Terry Moe for the Hoover Institution)

      http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/pubaffairs/we/2004/moe10.html (for
      related research, see also "Does Highly Qualified Mean High-
      Quality?" at http://www.ascd.org/publications/


      Wyoming Signs Innovative Test Contract With Harcourt Assessment

      WYOMING – The state's four-year contract with the San
      Antonio-based Harcourt Assessment Inc. calls for the development of
      tests in reading, writing, and mathematics for grades 3-8 and 11, as
      well as science tests for grades 4, 8, and 11, in accordance with
      federal law. But Wyoming's endeavor is unusual in several respects.
      Working with teachers, the state will identify the most important
      skills and ideas included in its academic-content standards and
      measure them on its assessments. The state also plans to give
      districts two options: either end-of-year tests, or semester tests
      that students would take in January and in April. While both sets of
      assessments would emphasize the same topics, the semester tests
      could probe students' learning in more depth and provide more
      frequent feedback. The results would then be aggregated to determine
      whether a student was proficient in a given subject. Harcourt is
      custom-developing both the end-of-year and semester tests for
      Wyoming. But perhaps the most useful instructional tools will be
      paper and online tests aligned to state standards that teachers can
      give any time in their classrooms and receive results almost
      immediately. Harcourt is rolling out the benchmark assessments,
      known as Stanford Learning First, state by state. (Education Week –
      registration required)


      New Report Shows How California's API Growth Model Hides

      CALIFORNIA - The Education Trust–West released a new publication
      today that illustrates - through statistics, through research, and
      through the testimony of students, parents, educators, and
      policymakers – the alarmingly limited access of California's
      high school students to the curricula and classes they need to
      succeed in the workforce and in college. The report incorporates
      testimony of students, parents, advocates, and educators from
      Oakland, Los Angeles, Davis, Long Beach, San Jose, and Fresno given
      at a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on College and
      University Admissions on June 14, 2004. (Education Trust-West)

      http://www2.edtrust.org/EdTrust/ETW/own%20words.htm (or go directly
      to the report itself, "In their own words: Why Students and
      Parents Want and Need Rigorous Coursework In California High
      Schools," at


      Jumping Into the Rigors of Learning

      NATIONAL – Kindergarten, which is German for "children's garden,"
      is serious stuff these days. With half-day programs giving way to
      full days in state after state, the curriculum once saved for first
      grade has been pushed down to 5- and 6-year-olds. Nearly 98 percent
      of youngsters in the United States attend kindergarten, 60 percent
      of them in full-day programs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
      Once focused heavily on a child's social and emotional development,
      kindergarten is now a largely academic experience -- sometimes with
      math drills and daily homework and worksheets. In many schools, time
      for music, art, recess and games has withered. Kindergarten also has
      become a political battleground, as lawmakers, educators and parents
      argue over what should be taught. (Washington Post – registration



      Rule changes aided school progress

      PHILADELPHIA – School accountability gains that Pennsylvania
      education officials lauded resulted from lower standards, not
      improved performance, according to an Inquirer analysis. More than
      twice as many schools would not have made what the state
      considers "adequate yearly progress" toward goals set under the
      federal No Child Left Behind Act if the rules had not been changed.
      The changes allowed schools with lower graduation rates, lower
      standardized test scores, or lower attendance than in previous years
      to win passing marks. (Philadelphia Inquirer – registration


      Fine Line on Schools for Bush, Kerry - Candidates Both Favor
      Increased Accountability

      NATIONAL – There's no doubt that the two major-party
      candidates in the hard-fought 2004 presidential contest part company
      on some education issues. President Bush, for instance, backs
      private school vouchers. Sen. Kerry wants to see bigger spending
      increases for schools. But it's striking how much ground they seem
      to share on the fundamentals of policy. One notable contrast is
      experience. Education has been one of Mr. Bush's top priorities,
      dating back to his previous job as the governor of Texas. When the
      Republican entered the 2000 presidential race, he trained his sights
      on transforming federal K-12 policy. He delivered on central
      elements of his plan with the No Child Left Behind Act, though
      critics say that Mr. Bush hasn't made education enough of a budget
      priority, and that he hasn't provided much leadership on other
      education matters. Mr. Kerry has been a leader on some major issues
      since entering the Senate more than 20 years ago — especially in
      foreign relations — but education isn't one of them. He has never
      served on the Senate education committee, and he has only
      occasionally jumped into the education fray. (Education Week –
      registration required)


      School Inflation

      NATIONAL - Small schools, once derided as relics of the education
      system and obstacles to national progress, now lie at the heart of
      one of America's most popular reform strategies. After decades on
      the endangered species list, small schools have become the next big
      thing in education. Among its followers, the small-schools movement
      includes some of the heaviest hitters in the education world, such
      as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation,
      and the New York City school system. … Support for small schools
      also comes from some advocates of charter schools and school
      vouchers. To justify the push for smaller schools, some proponents
      point to the fact that, on average, private schools are a third
      smaller than public schools, an indication that the private sector
      is responding to the market's demand for smaller schools. Yet
      there has not been enough rigorous research examining the effects of
      school size on student achievement. (by Christopher Berry, assistant
      professor at the Harris School for Public Policy Studies at the
      University of Chicago, and former postdoctoral fellow at Harvard
      University, for Education Next)

      http://www.educationnext.org/20044/56.html (for related research on
      small schools, see "School Size, Achievement, and Achievement
      Gaps" at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v12n58/)
    • 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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