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Education news bulletin

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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 29, 2005
      Education News Bulletin



      SAN FRANCISCO, CA - In its eleventh year, KIPP announces the release
      of its second report card, documenting the continuing success of the
      network of KIPP public schools modeled on the two original KIPP
      Academies in New York City and Houston. KIPP forms a unique
      partnership where teachers have the freedom to innovate, parents are
      encouraged to be involved, and students have the opportunity to
      learn. KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools are tuition-free,
      open enrollment, college-preparatory public schools. Students at
      KIPP are accepted regardless of prior academic record, conduct, or
      socioeconomic background. There are currently 38 KIPP schools
      serving 6,000 students in high-need rural and urban communities
      across 15 states and the District of Columbia. ... The KIPP
      Foundation also conducted a follow-up study, entitled Who Chooses
      KIPP?, to find out whether the original three KIPP replication
      schools still attracted students significantly in need and
      academically representative of their neighboring peer groups. (KIPP

      http://www.kipp.org/pressdetail.cfm?a=156&pageid=nav7d (See
      also "Who Chooses KIPP?" at


      Commentary: Teacher Can't Teach (by Checker Finn)

      NATIONAL - Over the past half-century, the number of pupils in U.S.
      schools grew by about 50% while the number of teachers nearly
      tripled. Spending per student rose threefold, too. If the teaching
      force had simply kept pace with enrollments, school budgets had
      risen as they did, and nothing else changed, today's average teacher
      would earn nearly $100,000, plus generous benefits. We'd have a
      radically different view of the job and it would attract different
      sorts of people. … What America has done, these past 50 years, is
      invest in more teachers rather than better ones, even as countless
      appealing and lucrative options have opened up for the able women
      who once poured into public schooling. No wonder teaching salaries
      have just kept pace with inflation, despite huge increases in
      education budgets. No wonder the teaching occupation, with blessed
      exceptions, draws people from the lower ranks of our lesser
      universities. No wonder there are shortages in key branches of this
      sprawling profession. (Wall Street Journal - registration required)


      Conferees Mull Best Uses of NBPTS Teachers: Few Now Work in Schools
      That Are Low-Performing

      CHICAGO - Teachers with national certification could spearhead
      improvement in many of the most challenged schools, but only if
      policymakers and principals see the complexity of such an
      undertaking. That conclusion was reached at a gathering here last
      week of school and community leaders from four big-city districts
      with sizable contingents of teachers who have won certification from
      the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Cautioned
      Lori Nazareno, a teacher with the credential at Myrtle Grove
      Elementary School in Miami, "We can't expect national board-
      certified teachers to parachute into the middle of a school that is
      saying, 'Save me!' " and have success. Chicago leaders convened the
      meeting jointly with the Arlington, Va.-based NBPTS to consider how
      the district can best use its existing crop of 380 nationally
      certified teachers while encouraging more of its 27,000 teachers to
      seek the credential. The district has set an ambitious target of
      1,200 board-certified teachers by 2007. (by Bess Keller for
      Education Week - registration required)

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/03/23/28nbpts.h24.html (see
      also "Value-Added Assessment of Teacher Quality As an Alternative to
      the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: What Recent
      Studies Say" at http://www.education-consumers.com/Cunningham-


      School Improvement Under No Child Left Behind

      NATIONAL - Fears about the labeling of schools and the loss of
      funding have overshadowed discussion of the law's requirements for
      enabling those schools to make the improvements necessary to produce
      students who are proficient in reading and math. Who is responsible
      and what is being done to carry out school improvement? This paper
      from the Center for American Progress is likely the first
      examination of how states are implementing their role as providers
      of technical assistance and resources to schools in need of
      improvement. … This examination of state practices in carrying
      out the school improvement provisions of NCLB has revealed a number
      of ways in which school improvement might be more effectively
      implemented. (by consultant Phyllis McClure for The Center for
      American Progress)



      Federal Data Show Gains on Language

      NATIONAL - The U.S. Department of Education's first-ever evaluation
      of how states are meeting requirements for English-language
      learners ... shows [that] all 50 states plus the District of
      Columbia have developed standards for English proficiency and
      aligned them with their academic-content standards. Before the 3-
      year-old law was enacted, only seven states had such standards, and
      they were not connected to academic content. But another
      interpretation of the findings in the 503-page evaluation, which
      covers the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years, is that states have
      largely failed to meet the law's requirements to ensure that English-
      language learners master academic content. Only two states - Alabama
      and Michigan -met "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, goals last
      school year for such students in both reading and mathematics.
      Moreover, not a single state both reported all the data required by
      the federal law and met all the mandated targets for English-
      language learners. (by Mary Anne Zehr for Education Week -
      registration required)

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/03/23/28language.h24.html (or
      see "Biennial Evaluation Report to Congress on the Implementation of
      the State Formula Grant Program" by the Office of English Language
      Acquisition, Language Enhancement & Academic Achievement for Limited
      English Proficient Students at

      States Wrestle With How to Evaluate Tutoring

      NATIONAL - States must evaluate the effectiveness of the free
      tutoring being provided to children under the federal No Child Left
      Behind Act. But a lack of resources might force them to compromise
      on the rigor of those evaluations, a new report says. The policy
      brief outlines factors that states might want to consider in
      deciding whether providers of "supplemental educational services"
      are fulfilling their promises to raise student achievement. It
      acknowledges that states "may face a trade-off" between wanting
      rigorous evaluations and having the time, money, and staff to
      conduct them. Released last week by the Supplemental Educational
      Services Quality Center, a federally funded project of the American
      Institutes for Research, based in Washington, the paper aims to
      guide states through the thorny process of designing such
      evaluations. (Education Week - registration required)

      (see "Evaluating Supplemental Service Providers: Suggested
      Strategies for States" by the Supplemental Educational Services
      Quality Center at


      Stanford nonprofit to run E. Palo Alto High School and add grades K-8

      MENLO PARK, CA - A Stanford University non-profit that likely will
      take over operations of East Palo Alto High School plans to add
      kindergarten through eighth grade to the school in the next six
      years. The Ravenswood City School District board on Thursday
      unanimously approved Stanford School Corporation's request to take
      over operations of the charter school and add the grades. The vote
      is contingent upon the corporation submitting a memorandum of
      understanding that the district board approves. East Palo Alto High,
      in East Menlo Park, currently is run by Aspire Public Schools, an
      organization that opens and operates charter schools in California,
      with an emphasis on low-income communities. Since East Palo Alto
      High opened in 2001, Stanford has helped Aspire run the school with
      many of the university's student-teachers using it as a training
      ground. (San Mateo County Times)


      Schools' Dropout Remedy: Get Small

      LOS ANGELES - When the Los Angeles school district was confronted
      this week with news of alarmingly low graduation rates, officials
      from the superintendent on down offered their solution: small
      learning communities. Those three words have become the reform of
      the moment in the nation's second-largest school district, where
      troubled high schools are a major focus. With scant evidence to
      prove it works in a large, urban system, the Los Angeles Unified
      School District has embraced the concept that creating smaller
      schools within a school will improve large campuses. … Most of
      the research on small schools has not focused on large campuses that
      have been divided up. It is one thing, educators and academics say,
      to make structural changes in buildings or changes at new schools;
      it is another to change the culture of existing schools. "I'm real
      leery of creating smaller versions of what exist," said Steve Barr,
      founder of Green Dot Public Schools, which operates independently
      run but publicly financed charter schools. Barr also leads the Small
      Schools Alliance, which last month launched a $1.5-million campaign
      aimed at winning support for its version of education reform from
      L.A. Unified and the city's mayoral candidates. (Los Angeles Times -
      registration required)



      Nearly Half of Blacks, Latinos Drop Out, School Study Shows

      CALIFORNIA - Nearly half of the Latino and African American students
      who should have graduated from California high schools in 2002
      failed to complete their education, according to a Harvard
      University report released Wednesday. In the Los Angeles Unified
      School District, the situation was even worse, with just 39% of
      Latinos and 47% of African Americans graduating, compared with 67%
      of whites and 77% of Asians. The report concluded that the public
      remains largely unaware of the true extent of the problem because
      the state uses "misleading and inaccurate" methods to report dropout
      and graduation rates. … "A diploma is a passport to economic
      success. If our high schools can't get students the education they
      need, that will be … an economic and social problem moving
      forward into the next generation," said researcher Christopher
      Swanson of the nonprofit Urban Institute in Washington, which
      produced data for the report released by Harvard's Civil Rights
      Project. Statewide, just 57% of African Americans and 60% of Latinos
      graduated in 2002, compared with 78% of whites and 84% of Asians,
      the report said. Using enrollment data, researchers produced what
      they believe are the most definitive graduation rates for California
      and its largest school systems. (Los Angeles Times - registration


      Column: Why Don't We Fix Our Textbooks? (by Washington Post
      columnist Jay Mathews)

      NATIONAL - In case you haven't noticed, this is the year we are
      FINALLY going to start improving American high schools, where
      progress in raising achievement has been as slow as a teenager's
      response to a request that he clean his room. I know this because I
      have been reading speeches by President Bush, Microsoft Chairman
      Bill Gates and National Governors Association Chairman Mark Warner,
      the governor of Virginia. They have all put fixing high schools at
      the top of their to-do lists. Warner's association and several other
      groups have come up with detailed recommendations of what must be
      done. I have read these important documents carefully and have yet
      to find one that gives any prominence to what would be one of
      simplest, least expensive, most popular and most useful changes,
      that is, getting states to stop telling high school teachers which
      textbooks to use. (Washington Post - registration required)


      Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children

      PORTLAND, Ore. - The Pearl District in the heart of this perpetually
      self-improving city seems to have everything in new urban design and
      comfort, from the Whole Foods store where fresh-buffed bell peppers
      are displayed like runway models to the converted lofts that face
      sidewalk gardens. Everything except children. ... It is a problem
      unlike the urban woes of cities like Detroit and Baltimore, where
      families have fled decaying neighborhoods, business areas and
      schools. Portland is one of the nation's top draws for the kind of
      educated, self-starting urbanites that midsize cities are competing
      to attract. But as these cities are remodeled to match the tastes of
      people living well in neighborhoods that were nearly abandoned a
      generation ago, they are struggling to hold on to enough children to
      keep schools running and parks alive with young voices. (New York
      Times - registration required)

    • edupreneurs_moderator
      Education News Bulletin January 30 – February 10, 2006 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Lessons From Privately Managed Schools NATIONAL – Can professional
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 15, 2006
        Education News Bulletin
        January 30 – February 10, 2006


        Lessons From Privately Managed Schools

        NATIONAL – Can professional business management practices improve
        the performance of troubled public schools? Several high-visibility
        projects have been undertaken to bring best management practices to
        the classroom, including Harvard's Public Education Leadership
        Project. But in the 1990s, a different approach was begun: Riding a
        wave of charter school legislation, for-profit and nonprofit
        startups called private education management organizations, or EMOs,
        were created, essentially private companies brought in to manage
        public schools. The result? Mixed, but promising, says Steven F.
        Wilson, a senior fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
        at Harvard University. Wilson was founder and former CEO of one of
        those EMOs, Advantage Schools, which at its height had 10,000
        students in its programs. (HBS Working Knowledge)


        Scholars Outline Ways to Maximize Value of School Choice

        Washington – From creating tradable "enrollment rights" to help
        integrate schools to providing parents with better school
        performance information, a new book that aims to stake out a middle
        ground in the debate over school choice offers ways to enhance the
        benefits while mitigating the risks. The collection of essays
        evolved from the deliberations of the National Working Commission on
        Choice in K-12 Education, a panel convened by the Washington-based
        Brookings Institution in 2001 that sought to move beyond arguments
        over whether school choice is good or bad. Many, but not all,
        contributing authors were members of the commission, chaired by Paul
        T. Hill, the director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education
        at the University of Washington in Seattle. (Education Week –
        registration required)

        http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/02/08/22choice.h25.html (see
        also more information about the volume "Getting Choice Right:
        Ensuring Equity and Efficiency in Education Policy" at


        Lead, Don't Lecture

        NATIONAL – For many teachers, the learning process involves much
        more than requiring students to rapidly digest regurgitate facts and
        figures. For many, teaching is about coaching -- understanding the
        specific needs and skills of each students, and then, to a certain
        extent, teaching them individually. For even the best teachers, it's
        a constant struggle to find the balance between teaching to the
        whole class and coaching one-on-one. The notion of teaching as
        coaching is not new. Effective teachers and their supportive
        colleagues have long worked to support their students more fully
        than the traditional teacher-as-lecturer model allows. These
        teachers work to break their lessons down into pieces small enough
        for each student to manage, and they simultaneously coach their
        students to grapple with new skills and new information. (by Nínive
        C. Calegari of 826 Valencia and author Daniel Moulthrop for Edutopia


        Union Agitators: A decade has passed since a few union leaders
        formed the network known as TURN to search for innovative ways to
        enhance education. Selling their message hasn't always been easy

        Napa, Calif. – A room filled with union leaders, each with a mind of
        his or her own, can be a formidable audience. But that doesn't deter
        Adam Urbanski. One recent sunny day here in California's Napa
        Valley, the director of the Teacher Union Reform Network of AFT and
        NEA Locals, or TURN, declares, "I think we should make public
        schools more like private schools." His statement is greeted with
        one loud shout of "Wait a minute!," a few gasps, and many raised
        eyebrows. … Mr. Urbanski and the network he leads have built
        something of a reputation for throwing out provocative ideas that
        seek to expand the role of teachers' unions in school improvement.
        Created in 1995, TURN was the brainchild of Mr. Urbanski, the
        president of the Rochester (N.Y.) Teachers Association for the past
        25 years, and Helen Bernstein, a past UTLA president, who was killed
        in an accident just two years later. Like Mr. Urbanski, Ms.
        Bernstein, a former civil rights activist, was infused with an urge
        to expand upon the traditional role of teachers' unions and involve
        them in bettering education. (Education Week – registration required)



        Advancing Systemwide Instructional Reform: Lessons from Three Urban
        Districts Partnered with the Institute for Learning

        NATIONAL – Urban school systems face immense challenges in trying to
        meet the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and in trying
        to erase the achievement gap between minority and nonminority
        students. A new RAND study, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, offers
        insights and lessons learned from the efforts being made by three
        urban districts to improve the instructional quality and performance
        of their schools. These districts had partnered with an intermediary
        organization, the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning
        (IFL), as part of their reform strategy. In the three districts,
        instructional reform efforts centered on four common areas of focus:
        building the instructional leadership skills of principals;
        supporting the professional learning of teachers, with a particular
        focus on school-based coaching; providing greater specification and
        support for standards-aligned curriculum; and promoting the use of
        data to guide instructional decisions. (RAND Corporation)


        Report: Education reform law is backfiring – More testing money is

        NATIONAL - The standardized testing industry is "buckling under the
        weight" of President Bush's education reform plan, and the law's
        rapidly expanding testing requirements threaten to undermine its
        high ideals, a report from Education Sector, an independent
        Washington think tank, says today. Only about $20 of the average
        $8,000 per pupil spent on education nationally goes to develop tests
        under No Child Left Behind, the report finds. That's a small
        proportion given the tests' importance, says Thomas Toch, the
        report's author. Enacted in 2002, the law seeks to narrow the gap in
        basic skills between middle-class and poor students. But the modest
        spending on testing could pull the rug out as many states are forced
        to buy or create hastily developed, low-quality tests that measure
        only rudimentary skills, Toch says. Such tests make it impossible
        for high-performing students' scores to rise above a certain level,
        despite learning more. Toch recommends that the federal government
        more than double its spending, from $406 million to $860 million, to
        help states develop high-quality tests. (USA Today)

        rt.htm (see also "U.S. Should Do More to Aid States in Developing
        Tests, Report Says" at
        http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/02/01/21edsector.h25.html and
        the report itself, "Margins of Error: The Testing Industry in the No
        Child Left Behind Era" at


        The Entrepreneurial Approach: Entrepreneurship holds the power to
        transform education. The tough question? Is the risk of sticking
        with the current system greater or less than the risk of innovation?

        NATIONAL – Entrepreneurship may be one of the least understood and
        potentially beneficial concepts to hit the educational landscape in
        recent decades. Before schools can gain from entrepreneurship,
        administrators need to grasp its significance. At the most basic
        level, entrepreneurs and administrators operate with a similar aim:
        to improve education. Entrepreneurs, however, travel a different
        path to the end goal. "Entrepreneurs are folks who pioneer and
        promote fundamentally different approaches and methodologies to
        achieve sustained efficiency and productivity gains.
        Entrepreneurship transcends changes in curriculum or pedagogical
        approaches," explains Frederick Hess, director of education policy
        studies at American Enterprise Institute. The common thread among
        entrepreneurial initiatives seems to be that most entrepreneurs
        originate from outside the traditional district structure. (District


        Data Driven: Savvy school administrators are using data to improve
        instruction districtwide

        NATIONAL - Christmas came early for the School District of
        Philadelphia (PA). In early December, the district announced that,
        for the fourth consecutive year, students showed measurable
        improvement on standardized, nationally normed TerraNova tests.
        [District CEO Paul] Vallas credits a managed instructional program
        that includes data-driven instruction and decision-making
        characterized by six-week benchmarks and assessments, plus increased
        and standardized professional development during and after the
        regular school day and year. In this, the first of a four-part
        series, we will explore how school districts across the country are
        embracing data-driven decision making to assess performance, analyze
        trends, and deliver individualized instruction that ultimately
        improves district and student outcomes. This multipart series
        leverages comprehensive research from the Institute for the Study of
        Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), an independent, nonprofit
        educational think tank located in Half Moon Bay, CA. (THE Journal)



        Cottage industry caters to growing number of homeschooling families

        NATIONAL – Though still rare, the number of homeschooled children
        has been rising steadily for the last several years. In 2003, the
        last year for which figures are available, about 1.1 million
        students or 2.2 percent of children aged 5 thorough 17 where being
        homeschooled, according to the National Center for Education
        Statistics. That's a 29 percent increase from 1999. Numerous factors
        are fueling the trend to homeschool, experts said, including
        parents' concern about the environment and academic performance in
        schools or a desire to provide religious instruction. A child's
        health problems or other special needs are also common reasons.
        Whatever the trigger for opting out of a traditional classroom,
        there are now a myriad services available including magazines,
        curriculum planners, tutors and specialized class programs to help
        homeschooling families educate their children. Eduventures, a
        research and consulting firm, estimates that the homeschool market
        is around $650 million, and has been growing at around 8 percent in
        the last few years. (Associated Press via San Diego Union Tribune)

        businessoflife.html (see also the recently-released
        data, "Homeschooling in the United States: 2003" at
        http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006042.pdf, and a related story on a
        movement to take homeschooling one step further to "un-schooling" at

        New ETS exam tries to measure students' "information literacy"

        NATIONAL – When it comes to downloading music and instant messaging,
        today's students are plenty tech-savvy. But that doesn't mean they
        know how to make good use of the endless stream of information that
        computers put at their fingertips. Educators and employers call
        those skills "technology literacy," and while everyone agrees it's
        important to have, it also is difficult to measure. Now a test that
        some high school students will begin taking this year could help.
        The ICT Literacy Assessment touches on traditional skills, such as
        analytical reading and math, but with a technological twist. Test-
        takers, for instance, may be asked to query a database, compose an e-
        mail based on their research, or seek information on the Internet
        and decide how reliable it is. (Associated Press via Boston Globe)


        Part of the Solution: Leveraging Business and Markets for Low Income

        How can nonprofits help businesses create win-win relationships with
        communities? A new Ford Foundation report by Michele Kahane, Special
        Projects Director at The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston
        College, and John Weiser, founding partner of Brody•Weiser•Burns,
        provides clear guidance — and the answers may not be what you'd
        expect. The report, "Part of the Solution: Leveraging Business and
        Markets for Low Income People," is based on seven years of grant-
        making and research that the Ford Foundation conducted through its
        Corporate Involvement Initiative. This initiative provided over $45
        million in grants and loans to help create win-win relationships
        between businesses and low-income communities. The experiences of
        the grantees provided a wealth of case studies showing specific ways
        in which nonprofits worked with business to generate competitive
        advantage for business and gains in income, assets and wealth for
        low-income people. (Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston

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