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Education News Bulletin, July 25-29

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    Education News Bulletin July 25-29, 2005 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Debunking the Real Estate Risk of Charter Schools NATIONAL – This study from the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2005
      Education News Bulletin
      July 25-29, 2005


      Debunking the Real Estate Risk of Charter Schools

      NATIONAL – This study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
      reveals that landlords and real estate lenders who are wary of
      dealing with charter schools may perceive the schools as much
      riskier clients than they actually are. This report comes at a time
      when real estate issues are taking center stage in the growing
      charter movement. For many charter schools—independent public
      schools started by local citizens—simply securing an adequate
      building for the long term can be a major hurdle. Although charters
      represent a growth market for lenders, developers, and the like,
      affordable deals are often hard to come by—in part because this
      is a fairly new and unusual kind of market, and the risks of a
      school failing or defaulting are not well understood. (Ewing Marion
      Kauffman Foundation)


      Parental Reform as an Education Reform Catalyst: Global Lessons

      INTERNATIONAL – In recent decades, a number of countries and
      jurisdictions have introduced school choice programmes. These
      include countries such as Chile, New Zealand and Sweden, as well as
      the US state of Florida, and US cities such as Cleveland (Ohio),
      Edgewood (part of San Antonio, Texas) and Milwaukee (Wisconsin). The
      move toward increased choice and competition in these countries and
      jurisdictions has generated considerable attention and discussion
      amongst both advocates and opponents of these policies. … Choice
      advocates need to prevent limited choice programmes from being
      perceived as `real reform', and advocate policies that
      represent a genuine reform catalyst. The minimum starting point may
      be well short of separation of school and state, or even the
      elimination of government-run schools, but it appears to be well
      beyond the scope of the policy changes made by Chile, New Zealand,
      Sweden and some places in the United States. (by John Merriman for
      the Education Forum)



      Group Offers Executive Training for Principals

      MASSACHUSETTS – What can the Cuban missile crisis, the Ford Motor
      Co., and Starbucks Coffee teach about school leadership? Principals
      across Massachusetts are about to find out. The Bay State has
      adopted a leadership-development program that borrows heavily from
      the military and corporate worlds to train about two-thirds of its
      urban school principals over the next five years. The two-year
      course for midcareer principals, which began this month, was
      designed by the National Center on Education and the Economy, a
      Washington-based group that promotes standards-based education.
      Individual districts elsewhere piloted the program, which took the
      center six years and $10 million to create. Targeted at urban
      schools, the Massachusetts effort is the first in which the program
      has become part of a statewide initiative. With units on strategic
      planning, team building, and change management, the course is taught
      through computer simulations, seminars, online tutorials, and case
      studies about businesses, the armed forces, and schools. The
      participating administrators are grouped into cohorts that go
      through the training together. (Education Week – registration


      Pressure Builds for Effective Staff Training: Teachers'
      learning seen as path to greater student gains

      NATIONAL – Many national policymakers and experts believe that
      professional development, which teachers often have regarded as
      wasted time, is potentially an important tool for improving student
      learning. But as often happens in education, the research on such
      programs and their effectiveness hasn't kept pace with the
      rhetoric. "I think we certainly know what not to do," said
      David K. Cohen, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann
      Arbor, who has reviewed those studies. "I also think it's
      pretty clear from the research that what passes for professional
      development most of the time has no discernible effect on kids'
      learning of math or reading." Even so, researchers are beginning
      to agree in broad terms on the kinds of professional-development
      efforts that might translate into improved student learning. What
      teachers get in practice, though, sometimes bears little resemblance
      to that ideal. Across the nation, experts believe, many teachers
      still slog through one-shot workshops that are unrelated to what
      they do in their own classrooms. … Studies have been difficult to
      do because real classroom change is slow, expensive, and complicated
      to measure. (Education Week – registration required)

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/07/27/43pd.h24.html (see
      also "Teachers Flocking to Online Sources to Advance and Acquire
      Knowledge" at


      Column: The coming school accountability train wreck (by Peter
      Schrag of the Sacramento Bee)

      SACRAMENTO – Before summer's end, Californians will get more
      troubling news about their schools. Once again, schools that a lot
      of communities thought were exemplary, and were listed as successful
      by the state, will be rated as "in need of improvement" - "failing"
      in plain text - under federal accountability standards. A lot of
      those schools passed with flying colors last year. But because of
      the rising annual percentage of students in every school who must
      achieve proficiency, and because the increase must include students
      of every major ethnic and social subgroup, many won't make the grade
      this year. Under NCLB, President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act,
      every student in America is supposed be "proficient" in reading and
      math by 2014. If proficiency is to mean anything, that was always an
      impossible target, and it has already led to a lot of fudging. But
      as the state-set curves toward the 100 percent proficiency target
      keep rising and the number of schools subject to the sanctions that
      go with "in need of improvement" goes up with them, the backlash and
      the pressure to modify NCLB - if not scrap it altogether - will
      grow. Without changes, in fact, there'll be a train wreck that could
      well destroy all meaningful academic accountability systems, state
      and federal. (Sacramento Bee – registration required)



      A Delicate Balance: District Policies and Classroom Practices

      CHICAGO – Since 1993, the Cross City Campaign for Urban School
      Reform has been examining the role of central office and its
      relationship to schools. In 2000 we embarked on a three-year
      qualitative study in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Seattle that examined
      the role and importance of district/school interactions in the
      implementation of instructional improvement initiatives. … The
      three districts had all formulated their grand districtwide visions,
      ostensibly focused on improving instruction. But the districts
      largely failed to communicate and translate their "big ideas"
      into improved instruction because their tools and mandates were not
      informed by school level expertise and were not accompanied by the
      kind of support and capacity building necessary to change
      instruction. These case studies raise fundamental issues that
      resonate across these three different districts and highlight where
      the opportunities for success or failure lay. (Cross City Campaign
      for Urban School Reform)

      http://www.crosscity.org/downloads/delicate_balance.pdf (full
      report), http://www.crosscity.org/downloads/delicate_balance_es.pdf
      (executive summary)

      Why Quality Matters in Education

      INTERNATIONAL – It is difficult these days to ignore the message
      that education matters. Governments everywhere in the world have
      assumed a substantial role in educating their citizens,
      and "providing education for all" is a central pillar of the
      Millennium Development Goals. A variety of motivations lead
      societies to provide strong support for schooling. Some are purely
      economic, while others are driven by ideas of using education to
      improve political participation, social justice and, more generally,
      develop society. The enthusiasm for promoting more education is well-
      warranted, but the fundamental question is how much society should
      invest, as public investment in education comes at the expense of
      other public and private investments. Analysis of the costs and
      benefits of school reform clearly shows investments that improve the
      quality of schools offer exceptional rewards to society. What is
      much less clear, however, is how to improve the quality of
      education. Most studies of the economic aspects of education focus
      on school attainment, or the "quantity" of education. This appears
      logical from the perspective of both analysis and policy: the
      quantity of schooling is easily measured and readily tracked over
      time. But it distorts policies and potentially leads to bad
      decisions. (by Eric A. Hanushek of the Hoover Institution, for
      Finance & Development, the IMF's quarterly magazine)


      Nonprofits Adopting a For-Profit Model

      NEW YORK - Dan Cardinali is running his nonprofit organization like
      a business. Communities In Schools, a national dropout prevent
      program, went through a painful process last year similar to a
      cooperate reorganization that included program cuts and layoffs.
      Working with a consulting firm, Cardinali's organization spent seven
      months redefining the roles of its local, state, and national
      offices, changing its management team and tightening its business
      model. "We were intent on becoming a really well-run nonprofit
      organization, balancing an efficiency of resources with high,
      substantial impact," Cardinali said. … Motivated in part by an
      uncertain economy, nonprofit organizations have become more results-
      driven by developing new ways of creating revenue, increasing
      employee specialization, and enhancing marketing techniques.
      (Associated Press)

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