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Education News Bulletin, August 29 -- September 1

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    Education News Bulletin August 29 – September 1, 2005 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS The Truths about Charter Schools NATIONAL – With charter schools now
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2005
      Education News Bulletin
      August 29 – September 1, 2005


      The Truths about Charter Schools

      NATIONAL – With charter schools now serving approximately one
      million students nationwide, policymakers have been awaiting
      rigorous evaluations of their effects on student learning. The
      following articles help fill the gap. Caroline Hoxby and Jonah
      Rockoff present evidence from the first randomized evaluation of
      charter schools, focusing on three charter schools in Chicago.
      Robert Bifulco and Helen Ladd examine charter schools in the Tar
      Heel state, concentrating on those students whose progress can be
      compared in both charter and traditional public schools. The picture
      that emerges is, to say the least, complex. But we learn some
      significant things: Charter schools appear to do better with young
      students who matriculate directly into these schools than with
      students who enter during the middle-school years. Students who
      remain in charter schools do better than those who migrate back and
      forth between sectors. (Education Next)

      For the article from Caroline Hoxby of Harvard and Jonah Rockoff of
      Columbia on charter schools in Chicago, "Findings from the City
      of Big Shoulders," see http://www.educationnext.org/20054/52.html;
      for the article from Robert Bifulco of the University of Connecticut
      and Helen Ladd of Duke University on North Carolina, "Results from
      the Tar Heel State," see http://www.educationn

      Solving the Charter School Funding Gap

      NATIONAL – New evidence that charter schools are funded
      inequitably in most states is the basis for a new report released
      today by The Center for Education Reform (CER). "Solving the
      Charter School Funding Gap" is based on comprehensive research in
      forty states and surveys from more than half the nation's charter
      schools. Charter schools are new, innovative public schools held
      accountable for student results. Solving the Charter School Funding
      Gap identifies the major causes of under-funded charter schools,
      providing research-based solutions on how to correct the
      deficiencies in law. Since the charter school movement began in
      1991, one aspect that has often been overlooked by policymakers is
      the wide disparity between these schools and conventional public
      schools. Used in conjunction with the comprehensive report released
      last week by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, "Charter School
      Funding: Inequity's Next Frontier," these findings provide
      lawmakers with a clear guide to strengthen charter law and avoid
      legislating funding gaps. (Center on Education Reform)



      Study: Teachers coming to terms with computers

      NATIONAL – Teachers are increasingly incorporating computers into
      their workdays, but more for administrative record-keeping than as
      teaching tools, according to a study released Monday. The majority
      of U.S. teachers are comfortable using computers for daily tasks
      like e-mail, attendance and posting information about classes on
      school intranets, according to CDW Government, which provides advice
      on technology to schools and government agencies. Seventy percent of
      middle- and high-school teachers use e-mail to communicate with
      parents, while just over half use intranets to take classroom
      attendance. About 54 percent integrate computers into their daily
      curriculum, the survey found. That pattern may arise from the nature
      of the training available to teachers, which has tended to focus on
      administrative rather than instructional applications, the study
      notes. (ZD Net)

      http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-5844057.html (see the
      study, "Teachers Talk Technology 2005," at


      Impact of Paper-and-Pencil, Online Testing Is Compared

      NATIONAL – How students perform on computer-delivered tests
      depends, in part, on how familiar they are with the technology,
      concludes a set of studies conducted by the Princeton, N.J.-based
      Educational Testing Service. The studies looked at how students
      performed when given mathematics and writing items from the National
      Assessment of Educational Progress by paper and pencil vs. computer.
      The results of the studies were released this month by the National
      Center for Education Statistics, which oversees the federal testing
      program.... Arnold A. Goldstein, the director of reporting and
      dissemination for the assessment division of the NCES, said that the
      findings suggest a possible problem in administering the national
      assessment online, but that further research is needed. "I think
      we would need to have a larger field test in a more traditional NAEP
      testing setting in order to determine that," he said. Mr.
      Goldstein added that, while this was a one-time study, the
      NCES—an arm of the U.S. Department of Education—may do
      further work in the future to explore the administration of the
      assessment online. (by Lynn Olson for Education Week –

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/08/31/01online.h25.html (see
      the study itself, "The National Assessment of Educational
      Progress – Online Assessment in Mathematics and Writing: Reports
      From the NAEP Technology-Based Assessment Project, Research and
      Development Series" at

      Virginia Gets First-Ever Waiver to Reverse Order of NCLB Sanctions

      VIRGINIA – Four Virginia districts can provide students in low-
      performing schools with free tutoring before offering them the
      choice of switching to a higher-performing public school, under the
      first waiver granted by the federal government under the No Child
      Left Behind Act. The "flexibility agreement" was outlined in
      an Aug. 25 letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret
      Spellings to Thomas J. Jackson Jr., the president of the Virginia
      Board of Education. While the secretary has granted a number of
      states increased regulatory flexibility under the law, it is the
      first time that either Ms. Spellings or her predecessor, Rod Paige,
      has invoked section 9401 of the law, which permits the secretary to
      grant waivers of elements of the law itself. The flexibility—long
      sought by a number of states—in essence reverses the order of the
      sanctions spelled out in the federal law, a reauthorization of the
      Elementary and Secondary Education Act. (by Lynn Olson for Education
      Week – registration required)



      Tutoring US math students adds new twist to Indian outsourcing saga

      BANGALORE, India -- At night 22-year-old Indian mathematics
      research student Gurpreet Singh logs on to the Internet to teach
      students sitting thousands of kilometers (miles) away in the United
      States. Using an electronic pen, his colleague Varinder Kumar
      highlights areas on his interactive computer screen where US
      students are making simple mistakes and suggests solutions real
      time. India's outsourcing industry, which usually covers services
      such as software programs, customer management and accounting for
      companies abroad and at home, has discovered a new market for its
      talents. Employing part-timers and staff tutors, outsourcing firms
      believe that they have tapped a potential goldmine in what they
      call "e-tutoring" or "e-mentoring." Educomp Datamatics Ltd., where
      Singh and Kumar work, is one of a small clutch of players in the
      market and its staff teaches mathematics to around 800 students in
      the United States.... At Career Launcher, another e-mentoring firm
      employing 15 teachers, plans are afoot to hire more tutors due to
      huge demand for its services in the United States and the Middle
      East. (Middle East Times)



      Many Calif. Public Schools Meet State Goals But Fail Federal Test

      CALIFORNIA – Nearly one-third of California public schools won
      praise today for meeting state achievement goals on test scores even
      while they were branded as failures for missing a federal gauge of
      success. The conflicting messages grew out of separate state and
      federal accountability systems that left many teachers and
      administrators frustrated about the muddled picture of their
      schools. Campus leaders were left to decipher the differences
      between California's Academic Performance Index, which rewards
      incremental test score gains, and the federal No Child Left Behind
      law, which requires schools to clear a rigid achievement bar that
      rises regularly. Both systems relied on the same standardized test
      scores that were released earlier this month. The raw test scores
      showed steady improvement among California's public schools. But the
      two accountability systems arrived at distinctly different
      conclusions about the schools. State education officials said they
      were pleased that 81% of the schools had met their state improvement
      targets, up from 64% last year. But the officials were not happy
      about the results under the federal system: nearly 2,300 schools
      that met their state targets still fell short of the No Child Left
      Behind goal. That's because the federal bar rose for the first time
      this year, leaving many campuses unable to reach it. To pass the
      federal bar this year, elementary schools and middle schools had to
      raise at least 24% of their students to the proficient level in
      English-language arts, up from nearly 14% last year. (Los Angeles
      Times – registration required)


      Educators Offer Classrooms to Many Displaced Students

      NEW ORLEANS – Public officials and educators reached out
      yesterday to offer classroom space to students whose public schools
      and colleges and universities were shut down by Hurricane Katrina.
      Gov. Rick Perry of Texas invited students from Louisiana and
      Mississippi left homeless by the hurricane to enroll in any of his
      state's 7,000 public schools. Some Texas school districts reported
      that they were already receiving inquiries from storm refugees
      yesterday, state officials said.... Cecil J. Picard, the Louisiana
      state superintendent of education, urged school districts that were
      largely unaffected by the storm to enroll homeless students.
      Louisiana has 727,000 children in public schools, and Mr. Picard
      said the storm had displaced 135,000 of them. He urged teachers
      displaced by the storm to apply for work in the districts where they
      have taken shelter, and called on businesses and churches to provide
      temporary classrooms. (New York Times – registration required)

      n.html (see also "Education Plans Unfold in Wake of Katrina
      Devastation" in Education Week at

      Holding High Hopes: How High Schools Respond to State Accountability

      NATIONAL – American public education faces increasing pressure to
      demonstrate the competence of all of its students as they progress
      through the grades and, especially, as students exit their high
      schools. In response, policymakers are developing sophisticated
      accountability and support systems in efforts to steer schools
      toward improved performance. These systems combine a set of academic
      goals and standards with a battery of incentives to focus and
      motivate organizational and curricular change. In addition, these
      systems often provide resources to support local reform efforts.
      Although accountability systems such as these are not new to the
      educational policy environment, the reauthorization of the
      Elementary and Secondary Education Act in January, 2002, ensures
      that accountability systems focused on academic outcomes will
      continue for some time to come. This report shines a spotlight on
      high schools, which bring students to the last benchmarks in the
      K–12 system, and analyzes the response of teachers, school
      administrators, and the district administrators to these
      policies.... This report by the Consortium for Policy Research in
      Education (CPRE) focuses squarely on strategies for instructional
      improvement in American high schools. Specifically, this study
      examines how high schools that perform below average incorporate
      their state's accountability goals into their own goals, identify
      their challenges, and search for strategies for instructional
      improvement. We focus on how high schools of differing performance
      levels and contexts, residing in states with different forms of high-
      stakes accountability and support systems, identify, understand, and
      respond to the gap between their current levels of performance and
      external expectations for their performance. (Consortium for Policy
      Research in Education)


      When high schools put teens to work: Students from low-income
      families can afford to attend private schools four days per week by
      agreeing to work in entry-level jobs. But will these kids stay in

      LAWRENCE, MASS. – On a sweltering morning in early August, a
      couple of dozen teenagers fresh out of eighth grade are lining up
      outside a classroom to learn from a nun how to give a firm
      handshake. The reason: These teens, mostly born to Hispanic
      immigrants, want a shot at success. And corporate America is ready
      to give it to them, helping to reduce the cost of a Catholic-school
      education from the Sisters of Notre Dame to just $2,200 per year. In
      exchange, the students agree to work in a real business setting one
      day per week. Notre Dame High School in Lawrence, Mass., is one of
      11 schools in the Cristo Rey Network about to start a new school
      year. The concept behind the network is fueling discussion about the
      promise and perils of corporate-sponsored private education.
      Observers are hopeful the model of company-subsidized tuition could
      lead to expanded opportunities for low-income students. At the same
      time, they are also cautious to monitor the influence of companies
      that smell opportunity in the arrangement. All seem to agree it's a
      worthwhile experiment.... The four-year-old Cristo Rey Network is
      not alone in exploring corporate-sponsored education. Florida,
      Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico, for instance, offer state tax credits
      to companies that donate to subsidize tuition for particular primary-
      and secondary-school students. What makes Cristo Rey different,
      education experts say, is its quid pro quo. Companies get
      inexpensive student labor in exchange for underwriting education
      costs. But according to school administrators, students benefit as
      much from their on-the-job education as they do from their classes.
      (Christian Science Monitor)

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