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Education News Bulletin, October 31-November 4

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    Education News Bulletin October 31 – November 4, 2005 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Press Release: CER Study Tracks Charter Schools Explosive Growth
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2005
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      Education News Bulletin
      October 31 – November 4, 2005

      CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS

      Press Release: CER Study Tracks Charter Schools' Explosive Growth

      NATIONAL - The growth and popularity of charter schools in America
      is exploding, according to a new study released today by The Center
      for Education Reform (CER). In the last year alone, charter schools
      have grown by over 13 percent and now account for a full four
      percent of all of the nation's public schools. Because of increasing
      evidence of success, the number of charter schools has continued to
      grow. CER's latest report documents 3,625 charter schools serving
      approximately 1,076,964 students in 41 states. The annual assessment
      by CER — the only comprehensive research of its kind —includes data
      regarding the number of charter schools closed since they first were
      started in 1992. The national closure rate, defined as the
      percentage of charters ever opened that have since closed for cause
      due to management, funding, academic or district-related issues, is
      11 percent, up slightly since the last report was issued in April
      2004. Finally, additional public opinion data reveals strong support
      for the concept of charters, while demonstrating a comparatively low
      level of knowledge as to what a charter school is. (Center for
      Education Reform)

      http://www.edreform.com/index.cfm?
      fuseAction=document&documentID=2214§ionID=5&NEWSYEAR=2005 (see
      also related documents from CER: "National Charter School Data At-A-
      Glance" at http://www.edreform.com/_upload/national-data-
      glance2005.pdf, "Charter Schools Get High Marks" at
      http://www.edreform.com/_upload/charter_achievement.pdf
      and "Americans Need an Education on Charter Schools" at
      http://www.edreform.com/_upload/polling.pdf)



      HUMAN CAPITAL

      Pay-reform plan for teachers OK'd

      DENVER – Denver voters Tuesday approved a $25 million teacher pay-
      for-performance plan that experts say will make the city a national
      leader in teacher compensation reform. The measure, called ProComp,
      will reward teachers for boosting student achievement - and
      eventually discard the customary union-negotiated salary system.
      Educators also will get bonuses for teaching one of the "hard to
      teach" subjects such as English-language-acquisition classes or
      middle-school math, or teaching in tough schools. (Denver Post)

      http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_3173807 (for more on Denver,
      see "Backers celebrate ProComp plan victory" at
      http://insidedenver.com/drmn/election/article/0,1299,DRMN_36_4204809,
      00.html; for info on this issue in Texas, see also "Gov. Perry
      institutes teacher merit pay" at
      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/education/34350
      47


      State illegally labeled teachers as 'qualified'; Judge's ruling
      revokes thousands of credentials

      CALIFORNIA – California sidestepped its own law when it classified
      thousands of teachers-in-training as "highly qualified'' instructors
      to satisfy a new federal mandate, a judge ruled Wednesday. San
      Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren ordered the state
      Commission on Teacher Credentialing to revoke the credentials it has
      issued to about 4,000 teaching interns since March 2003. He allowed
      the teachers to remain in their classrooms but without the "highly
      qualified'' label that is needed for compliance with the federal No
      Child Left Behind Act. The order stems from a lawsuit filed against
      the state by plaintiffs who say the interns are concentrated in low-
      income and minority areas. Federal law requires states, starting in
      2003, to hire only "highly qualified'' teachers at schools receiving
      Title I funds for low-income students, or about half the public
      schools in California. (San Francisco Chronicle)

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      f=/c/a/2005/11/03/BAG6CFHV921.DTL (for more on the highly-qualified
      teacher issue, see also "Point System Available to Earn `Qualified'
      Status" at
      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/11/02/10hqcalif.h25.html)



      ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT

      NCLB Confidential: The controversial school-reform bill is not all
      about tests. Bringing parents and better teachers into the mix is
      just as important.

      NATIONAL – Though much of the controversy and legal action around
      the [No Child Left Behind] act has raised tempers, it has not
      increased awareness or led to a greater understanding of the
      multiple aspects of law. Far from it; key portions of the NCLB are
      all but ignored. The mandated annual testing, accountability report
      cards, and potential financial penalties for failing to adhere to
      the law form its most incendiary parts, but full implementation also
      involves two key components of school reform -- involved parents and
      effective, qualified teachers. … Throughout the country, groups such
      as the Education Trust and PEN work with parents to deepen their
      understanding of the provisions and implications of the NCLB. The Ed
      Trust has an extensive collection of materials that cut through
      academic and legislative jargon, explaining for parents their rights
      under the act. Meanwhile, PEN has scheduled coast-to-coast forums to
      solicit feedback on what's working and what's not under the NCLB in
      preparation for an expected fight when the law comes up for
      reauthorization in 2007. (Edutopia)

      http://www.edutopia.org/magazine/ed1article.php?
      id=art_1394&issue=nov_05 (see also related column, "Raising
      Accountability for Parents Too" by Stan Bippus, superintendent of
      the Salem Community Schools, at
      http://www.aasa.org/publications/saarticledetail.cfm?
      ItemNumber=3654&snItemNumber=950)


      Opinion: Every State Left Behind (by Diane Ravitch, research
      professor at New York University and fellow at the Brookings
      Institution)

      NATIONAL – The release last month of test results by the National
      Assessment of Educational Progress, which is part of the Department
      of Education, vividly demonstrated why varying state standards and
      tests are inadequate. Almost all states report that, based on their
      own tests, incredibly large proportions of their students meet high
      standards. Yet the scores on the federal test (which was given to a
      representative sample of fourth and eighth graders) were far lower.
      Basically, the states have embraced low standards and grade
      inflation. … Unfortunately, the political calculations that resulted
      in the No Child Left Behind law adopting a strategy of letting the
      states choose their own standards and tests remain the reality. In
      general, Republicans are wary of national standards and a national
      curriculum, while Democrats are wary of testing in general. Both
      parties must come to understand that the states are not competing
      with each other to ratchet up student achievement. Instead, they are
      maintaining standards that meet the public's comfort level. America
      will not begin to meet the challenge of developing the potential of
      our students until we have accurate reporting about their
      educational progress. We will not have accurate reporting until that
      function is removed from the constraints of state and local
      politics. (New York Times – registration required)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/07/opinion/07ravitch.html (see also a
      related column on this issue, "Are Schools Passing or Failing? Now
      There's a Third Choice ... Both" at
      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/02/nyregion/02education.html)



      CLOSING THE GAP

      Leveling the Playing Field: In Los Angeles, the free tutoring
      required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act is opening doors
      for students— and making demands on the school district.

      Los Angeles – On an overcast and chilly Saturday morning, students
      and parents begin to wander into the central courtyard at North
      Hollywood High School. Surrounded by tables draped in colorful
      cloths, the visitors begin to pick up brochures or follow their
      young children to the woman giving away lollipops. With smiles on
      their faces, the men and women behind the tables offer to answer the
      parents' questions. Others let their slogans draw people in: "To get
      an A+, come study with us," promises one banner. For these low-
      income families in the Los Angeles Unified School District, this
      provider fair is their first chance to size up the providers
      delivering free tutoring services under the federal No Child Left
      Behind Act. Their children are eligible for the help because they
      attend schools that have failed to make adequate academic progress
      for three years in a row. The law is forcing new relationships
      between school districts, which arrange for the tutoring, and such
      families. Some parents are skeptical of anything that purports to be
      free. Others are hard to reach. Districts also are learning to
      navigate their new roles as brokers and, sometimes, providers of the
      services. Los Angeles Unified, with 742,000 students and a budget
      this school year of nearly $80 million to spend on
      such "supplemental educational services," generally earns high marks
      for its efforts. A look at some of the assistance available here
      illustrates how a central provision of the federal law is actually
      playing out for some of the students it was most intended to serve.
      (Education Week – registration required)

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/11/02/10tutor.h25.html



      OTHER

      Leaders Try to Foster Charter-District Ties

      OAKLAND – Sharing "best practices" in education isn't exactly a new
      idea, but a recent symposium in Oakland, Calif., gave it an unusual
      twist: Charter school and regular public school officials sat down
      together to share ideas. The brainchild of Leadership Public
      Schools, a nonprofit charter-development group, the Oct. 15
      conference explored issues from special education and curriculum to
      finance and labor relations. "It's not just about our kids, it's
      about all public school students," Mark Kushner, the founder of the
      San Francisco-based Leadership Public Schools, said in explaining
      the impetus for the conference. "This was designed to be a modest
      start to have charter school folks, district school folks, and
      county folks and others, such as school board members ... talking on
      these issues." (Education Week – registration required)

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/10/26/09chart.h25.html (see
      also "How Can We Reduce Conflict Between Charter Schools and School
      Districts?" from the Alameda County Office of Education at
      http://www.acoe.k12.ca.us/charters/charter_school_rpt.pdf)


      Column: Governor Is Paying the Price for Breaking His Promise to
      Schools (by LA Times political columnist George Skelton)

      LOS ANGELES – When it's all dissected and analyzed, the postmortem
      will show that the biggest mistake Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made
      was breaking his promise to schools. That single act — reneging on
      his pledge to give schools their regular share of any growth in tax
      revenue — turned respectful allies into fierce enemies. Since then,
      these friends-turned-foes have attacked the governor relentlessly in
      TV ads and plunged his poll numbers into once-unimaginable depths.
      Other Schwarzenegger mistakes have not been so devastating. If
      Schwarzenegger's major ballot propositions are rejected Nov. 8, then
      his forcing the pricey special election will prove to have been a
      monumental mistake. But any ballot box beating will have had its
      roots in the broken promise to schools. (Los Angeles Times –
      registration required)

      http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-me-
      cap31oct31,1,7850560.column?coll=la-news-learning


      L.A. District Thinks Small in Reform

      LOS ANGELES – In its continuing effort to improve low-performing,
      overcrowded high schools, Los Angeles school district officials have
      struck agreements with four national organizations to help create
      smaller, more manageable campuses. The programs [including Talent
      Development High School model, First Things First program and the
      New Tech Foundation] will be largely paid for by the Bill and
      Melinda Gates Foundation. The efforts at seven schools are seen as
      narrow but crucial test cases in a district plagued by low
      graduation rates and poor student performance at its massive high
      schools. If they're successful, Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer
      said, he hopes to expand the programs into a handful more campuses
      in coming years and to use ideas from them at many others. … Under
      terms of the agreements, two of the groups each will train faculty
      at two of the district's underperforming schools on how to teach
      within so-called small learning communities. The district has
      committed to converting all of its high schools into smaller, more
      personalized programs. Another organization will open autonomous
      schools on larger campuses. The fourth group will help architects
      design new schools and renovate existing campuses around the concept
      of creating smaller clusters of classes and students. (Los Angeles
      Times – registration required)

      http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-me-
      small3nov03,1,4066833.story?coll=la-news-learning (see also "Bill
      Gates, wife escalate giving to L.A. schools" at
      http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_3176407)
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