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Education News Bulletin, August 22-26

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    Education News Bulletin August 22 – 26, 2005 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Backer of Charter Schools Finds They Trail in Financing NATIONAL – Charter
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2005
      Education News Bulletin
      August 22 – 26, 2005


      Backer of Charter Schools Finds They Trail in Financing

      NATIONAL – Charter schools, the privately run public schools that
      educate a million American children, operate with thousands of
      dollars less per student than traditional public schools, according
      to a new study by a pro-charter group. Charter schools in
      California, for instance, receive on average about $4,800 per
      student in federal, state and local taxpayer money, compared with
      the $7,000 that traditional public schools there receive, the study
      found. In New York, it said, the average charter school receives
      $10,500 per student, compared with $13,300 at traditional public
      schools. One of the report's authors, Chester E. Finn Jr., said the
      study, of charter finances in 16 states and the District of
      Columbia, was a first salvo in what he predicted would be a broad
      lobbying campaign by charter supporters for an end to financing
      inequities. That campaign, Dr. Finn said, could include lawsuits
      challenging school financing formulas. (New York Times –
      registration required)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/23/national/23charter.html (see also
      coverage in the Washington Post, "Report Fans Flames in D.C.
      School Funding Debate," at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
      dyn/content/article/2005/08/23/AR2005082301527.html, and the report
      itself from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, "Charter School
      Funding: Inequity's Next Frontier," at
      20FINAL.pdf and on Apollo at

      A charter school of your own is latest in home amenities

      ILLINOIS – The standard subdivision amenities used to be Olympic-
      size swimming pools, golf courses and bike trails. But in a dramatic
      shift, a developer in Kane County proposes to lure home buyers with
      an $18 million charter school within easy walking distance. On
      Monday, Community Unit School District 300, based in
      Carpentersville, will discuss what could be the first charter school
      in Illinois built by a developer. Cambridge Homes, based in
      Libertyville, wants to build a school for about 1,000 pupils in
      kindergarten through 8th grade in its new subdivision near Pingree
      Grove in the northern part of the county. The developer said the
      public school is part of a quality-of-life package that home buyers
      want, and future residents said it's an undeniable draw. But the
      plan, which state officials said is the first of its kind in
      Illinois, has drawn fire from some board members, who fear the
      school could divert dollars from other campuses in the district.
      … The idea may be new in Illinois, but developers across the
      country are offering to build schools themselves rather than pay
      impact fees to the districts. The fees help offset the effect of
      development, including paying for new schools. In about a dozen
      communities in Florida, California and other fast-growing states,
      developers are including charter schools in subdivision proposals.
      (Chicago Tribune – registration required)



      Schools see fewer chief candidates: Experts say changing role of
      superintendent is deterrent

      SACRAMENTO, CA – Pat Godwin, 54, doesn't have a gray hair on his
      head. Even so, the new leader of the Folsom Cordova Unified School
      District is part of a disturbing educational phenomenon some
      call "the graying of the superintendency." As a generation of school
      superintendents approach their 60s, many are retiring, leaving a
      gaping statewide leadership crisis in their wake. At least half of
      the more than 1,000 school superintendents in the state are expected
      to retire in the next five years, the California School Boards
      Association says. Even worse, "the farm system has dried up," said
      Richard Loveall, the association's director of executive search
      services. What used to be a "nice flow" from the teacher ranks, to
      vice principal, then principal and into the district office, Loveall
      said, is no longer. The increased complexity of the position,
      coupled with a lack of training, long hours, political infighting,
      loss of local control, tight budgets and flattening salaries cause
      even qualified candidates to waver. (Sacramento Bee –
      registration required)



      Majority opposed to No Child Left Behind: Gallup survey finds 68%
      dislike method, while 90% support goal

      WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans disagree with the way public
      schools are evaluated under the federal No Child Left Behind
      program, according to a poll released Tuesday. The nationwide poll
      also showed that an overwhelming majority — 90 percent of those
      surveyed — said they support one of the main goals of the
      program, to narrow the "achievement gap" between white and minority
      students. But 68 percent of adults surveyed by the Gallup
      Organization disagreed that a single annual testing of English and
      math skills, as required by No Child Left Behind, gives a "fair
      picture of whether or not a school needs improvement." The survey
      was sponsored by Phi Delta Kappa, a professional educators'
      association, and was released at a Washington news conference. (St.
      Paul Pioneer Press)

      m (see the survey itself, "The 36th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup
      Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools" at


      Is bilingual education report being downplayed?

      NATIONAL – The government will not publish a report it
      commissioned on bilingual education — and critics say that's
      because the Bush administration disagrees with the findings, which
      cast doubt on the efficacy of teaching immigrant children through
      English-only lessons. The U.S. Education Department appointed the
      National Literacy Panel, a non-partisan group of university
      researchers, in May 2002 to do a two-year study taking "a good, hard
      look at the existing research" on bilingual education. At the time,
      Russ Whitehurst, assistant secretary for Education Research and
      Improvement, noted that the No Child Left Behind education reform
      law "puts a strong emphasis on using education practices and
      programs based on sound, scientifically-based research." The new
      findings were submitted in draft form last spring, but the panel's
      chairman on Wednesday said Whitehurst plans to give publishing
      rights back so the panel can find its own publisher. (USA Today)



      Press Release: 'CAL Prep' opens to East Bay 6th, 7th graders

      OAKLAND, CA – At a time when researchers report that only about
      half of the 2005 high school graduates have sufficient reading
      skills for success in college and less than that are ready for
      college-level math and science, Briana, her 6th-grade sister and
      Daron are among about 90 middle-school students enrolled at "CAL
      Prep," where they will prepare for success in college. CAL Prep is a
      new charter school collaborative between the University of
      California, Berkeley, and Aspire Public Schools, a leading not-for
      profit charter management organization. It is designed to immerse
      students in a culture of high academic expectations, improve their
      preparation for college, and develop a model teaching curricula for
      college readiness. … Don Shalvey, chief executive officer of
      Aspire, which has built and is operating 14 public charter schools
      in the Bay Area, Central Valley, Sacramento and Los Angeles, said
      the CAL Prep collaboration "fits the needs of the community and
      offers students a clear path to becoming lifelong learners and
      leaders." (UC Berkeley)


      State test estimates excluded dropouts: UCLA study finds inflated
      projections for graduations

      CALIFORNIA – The number of California high school seniors who
      will be eligible to graduate high school next spring is
      significantly lower than the state projected, according to a study
      on the state's new high school exit exam. The study also showed that
      schools with low passing rates were more likely to be overcrowded,
      lack fully credentialed teachers and be eligible for state relief
      for their poor conditions. Researchers for UCLA's Institute for
      Democracy, Education and Access re- examined the data released last
      week by the State Department of Education and announced Tuesday that
      they concluded the state inflated the number of students who have
      passed proficiency tests in math and English. For the first time
      this year, passing both exams is a requirement of graduation. The
      state announced last week that incoming seniors had passed the tests
      at rates of about 88 percent each. But the state left out thousands
      of students who dropped out of school after first taking the tests
      in their sophomore year and those students who didn't take the test
      for whatever reason last spring, said John Rogers, an adjunct
      education professor and the lead researcher for the UCLA project.
      (San Francisco Chronicle)


      Bill on School Control Called Illegal

      LOS ANGELES, CA – A bill intended to allow Los Angeles Mayor
      Antonio Villaraigosa to take over the Los Angeles Unified School
      District would violate the California Constitution, the state
      legislative counsel's office has concluded. The opinion was a blow
      to the bill's supporters, who were hoping that the mayor would
      quickly fulfill his campaign pledge to take control of the public
      schools. But supporters Monday minimized the opinion's effect,
      saying lawyers could be expected to disagree over a proposal that
      would radically reorganize how the struggling school system was run.
      … The bill is set for a hearing Wednesday morning in the Senate
      Education Committee. It would allow the Los Angeles mayor to appoint
      the district's superintendent and seven members to an expanded, nine-
      member school board after determining that the district was in a
      state of "educational failure." The remaining two board members
      would be appointed by a panel of officials from the county and other
      cities that are part of the district. Christopher Cabaldon,
      president of EdVoice, an advocacy group that sponsored the proposal,
      said he still had high hopes for the bill. (Los Angeles Times –
      registration required)

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