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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin May 31, 2005 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Charter Schools Outperform Public Schools SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California s charter
    Message 1 of 117 , May 31, 2005
      Education News Bulletin
      May 31, 2005


      Charter Schools Outperform Public Schools

      SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's charter schools are 33 percent
      more likely to meet their academic goals than traditional public
      schools, a study released Wednesday found. Classroom-based charter
      middle schools stood out in particular, with 81 percent meeting the
      state-set goals for student improvement, compared with 54 percent of
      traditional schools, according to EdSource, a Palo Alto-based
      nonpartisan organization that studies public education. Researchers
      looked at demographically similar students who were at the same
      academic starting point, using scores from California's high school
      exit exam and the Academic Performance Index, which includes results
      from several standardized tests. The study didn't examine what
      caused the difference. (Associated Press, via the Los Angeles Times)

      school-study,1,4171764.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines (see also


      Panel Urges New Testing for Teachers: National Academy Defines
      Professional Knowledge

      NATIONAL – Congress should pay for the development of a national
      teacher test, using performance to judge accomplishment, and the
      test results should be incorporated into state licensing
      requirements, a report set for release May 24 argues. Prepared by a
      panel of the National Academy of Education, the 112-page guide calls
      on federal and state policymakers to embrace regulations aimed at
      raising teacher education standards while finding money to help
      expand the number of people training for and succeeding in teaching
      as a career. The report, "A Good Teacher in Every Classroom,"
      follows a book published earlier this year by the academy's panel
      that lays out the research basis for the group's conclusions. The
      panel stresses that teacher education must combine understanding of
      subject matter and teaching practices with knowledge of learners, so
      that teachers can tailor lessons to the needs of students of
      different backgrounds and strengths. (Education Week –


      A True Bronx Tale: How Parents & Teachers Joined Forces to Improve
      Teacher Quality

      NEW YORK – School reformers have sometimes waged the battle to
      improve students' education according to the principles of trench
      warfare—take a well-established, fixed position and fire upon the
      enemy with as little face-to-face confrontation as possible. Nowhere
      were these trenches more intractable than in New York City, where
      the legacy of an extremely rancorous and divisive teachers'
      strike in 1968 shaped parents' and teachers' attitudes toward
      one another for decades. Within this context of at least three
      decades of animosity and mistrust, a recent collaboration in the
      Bronx between a coalition of parent groups known as the Community
      Collaborative to Improve District 9 Schools (CC9), the United
      Federation of Teachers (UFT), and the NYC Department of Education
      (DOE) was launched. ... The story of this collaboration holds
      insights and implications for parent-teacher-district collaborations
      in New York as well as nationally. (Case study from Grantmakers for
      Education briefing on Philanthropy's Role in Fostering Partnerships:
      Collaborating with Unions, School Districts and Communities)


      Preparing and Training Professionals: Comparing Education to Six
      Other Fields

      NATIONAL – The six fields chosen for this comparative analysis
      share key features with the education field. All of the fields
      selected give individual practitioners significant responsibility.
      Most of these professions – accounting, architecture, law, and
      nursing – require a bachelor's degree. They also require or
      encourage graduate work as a step toward advancement, similar to
      teaching. Further, state bodies play a key role in regulating the
      training and licensing of professionals in these fields. … Examining
      how practitioners in other fields address similar challenges in
      professional development gives stakeholders in education a range of
      options and approaches to consider for improving the preparation and
      training of its professionals. (By Katherine S. Neville, Rachel H.
      Sherman, and Carol E. Cohen for The Finance Project)



      School Law Spurs Efforts to End the Minority Gap

      BOSTON - Spurred by President Bush's No Child Left Behind law,
      educators across the nation are putting extraordinary effort into
      improving the achievement of minority students, who lag so sharply
      that by 12th grade, the average black or Hispanic student can read
      and do arithmetic only as well as the average eighth-grade white
      student. … "People all over the country are suddenly scrambling
      around trying to find ways to close this gap," said Ronald Ferguson,
      a Harvard professor who for more than a decade has been researching
      school practices that could help improve minority achievement. ..
      The law has aroused a backlash from teachers' unions and state
      lawmakers, who call some of its provisions unreasonable, like one
      that punishes schools where test scores of disabled students remain
      lower than other students'. But even critics acknowledge that the
      requirement that schools release scores categorized by students'
      race and ethnic group has obliged educators to work harder to narrow
      the achievement gap. (by Sam Dillon for the New York Times –
      registration required)



      Need a tutor? Call India.

      NEW DELHI AND CHICAGO – Somit Basak's tutoring style is hardly
      unusual. The engineering graduate spices up lessons with games,
      offers rewards for excellent performance, and tries to keep his
      students' interest by linking the math formulas they struggle with
      to real-life examples they can relate to. Unlike most tutors,
      however, Mr. Basak lives thousands of miles away from his students -
      he is a New Delhi resident who goes to work at 6 a.m. so that he can
      chat with American students doing their homework around dinnertime.
      Americans have slowly grown accustomed to the idea that the people
      who answer their customer-service and computer-help calls may be on
      the other side of the globe. Now, some students may find their tutor
      works there, too. While the industry is still relatively tiny,
      India's abundance of math and engineering graduates - willing to
      teach from a distance for far less money than their American
      counterparts - has made the country an attractive resource for some
      US tutoring firms. (Christian Science Monitor)



      A lightning rod takes on California schools

      SAN DIEGO – Faced with the difficult task of reviving California's
      ailing education system, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has turned to
      perhaps the most controversial reformer in the state - a prosecutor-
      turned-schools -superintendent whose battles with parents and
      teachers have divided this city. Critics say that Alan Bersin, one
      of several outsiders appointed to superintendent positions
      nationwide in the late 1990s, sapped morale by ignoring his
      employees and making teacher education a top priority. But
      supporters, including the local business community, applauded his
      efforts to bring radical change to one of the nation's largest
      school districts. Now Mr. Bersin is heading to a much larger stage.
      As Mr. Schwarzenegger's education secretary, the Brooklyn native and
      former Harvard University football player will take on a bully
      pulpit in a capital roiled by the governor's new brand of politics.
      (Christian Science Monitor)


      National Reading Czar to Leave Public Sector

      NATIONAL – G. Reid Lyon, the influential chief of the branch of
      the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that
      sponsors studies on reading and a key adviser on the federal Reading
      First initiative, has announced he will resign July 1. Mr. Lyon, 55,
      confirmed in a May 24 e-mail to Education Week that he will work in
      the for-profit sector to set up a teacher education initiative. As
      senior vice president of research and evaluation for the Dallas-
      based Best Associates, Mr. Lyon will "be working with others to
      develop a National College of Education within the for-profit
      sector," he wrote. … Over much of the past decade, Mr. Lyon has
      helped shift the emphasis in reading instruction toward methods and
      materials that are deemed to have scientific evidence of their
      effectiveness. (Education Week – registration required)


      Focus on Schools Helps Finns Build a Showcase Nation: Achievements
      Reflect High Status Given to Vocation of Teaching

      HELSINKI, FINLAND – A foreigner asking to visit a school in
      Finland this spring got an unexpected reply from the Helsinki City
      Education Department: Our schools are overwhelmed by visitors; do
      you have to visit just now? In fact, the Finns, who have long felt
      neglected by the rest of the world, are delighted to show off their
      schools. But they do have a logistical problem. Foreign educators in
      droves want to visit Finnish schools for the simple reason that they
      are so good -- very likely the best on Earth. Superb schools
      symbolize the modern transformation of Finland, a poor and agrarian
      nation half a century ago, and today one of the world's most
      prosperous, modern and adaptable countries. … "The key," said
      Pekka Himanen, 31, a renowned scholar with a PhD in philosophy
      (earned at age 20) who is a kind of guru of information-age
      Finland, "isn't how much is invested, it's the people. The high
      quality of Finnish education depends on the high quality of Finnish
      teachers. You need to have a college-level degree to run a
      kindergarten. You need a master's-level degree to teach at a primary
      school. Many of the best students want to be teachers. This is
      linked to the fact that we really believe we live in an information
      age, so it is respected to be in such a key information profession
      as teaching." (Washington Post – registration required)

    • 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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