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Education News Bulletin, January 22-26

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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin January 22 - 26, 2007 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Bush Proposes Broadening the No Child Left Behind Act WASHINGTON -The Bush
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30 5:00 PM
      Education News Bulletin
      January 22 - 26, 2007


      Bush Proposes Broadening the No Child Left Behind Act

      WASHINGTON -The Bush administration called on Wednesday for an array
      of changes to the president's signature education law. The proposals
      would give local school officials new powers to override both
      teachers' contracts and state limits on charter schools in the case
      of persistently failing schools. The proposals are part of the
      administration's blueprint for revising the No Child Left Behind Act,
      which Congress is scheduled to renew this year. Margaret Spellings,
      the education secretary, said the goal was to provide students in
      failing schools with other options and "to make sure we have our best
      personnel in the neediest places." She said that allowing local
      officials to close failing schools and replace them with charter
      schools would give children new options. Charter schools are publicly
      financed but freed from many of the regulations that apply to
      traditional neighborhood schools. In 26 states, including New York,
      there are limits on how many charter schools can be opened. Critics
      point to a lack of consistent research showing charter schools are
      any more effective than traditional public schools in raising
      achievement. Ms. Spellings said local superintendents would also be
      helped if they could transfer teachers in their districts to help
      improve poorly performing schools, even if union contracts banned
      such moves. (New York Times - registration required)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/25/us/25child.html (see also Chicago-
      specific coverage, "More charter schools pitched" at
      and "Press Release: Secretary Spellings Launches Priorities for NCLB
      Reauthorization" at


      Teachers Tackle Their Own Extra Credit: National Certification Pays
      Off With Stipend And Stamp of Approval

      NATIONAL - After a grueling application process that lasted hundreds
      of hours, Leesburg teacher Diann Morales captured the highest
      credential in her profession last month. The payoff was visible one
      recent day in her classroom at Seldens Landing Elementary School: Two
      dozen first-graders unscrambled words in a language unit. They
      spotted contractions in a poem and read aloud to themselves with the
      help of "whisper phones," or plastic tubes that amplify their voices
      to help them catch mistakes. Student achievement, Morales said, has
      soared in reading and writing. The eight-year veteran credits the
      National Board for Professional Teaching Standards with giving her a
      more thoughtful approach. Although some wonder how much the program
      raises student achievement, there is a growing movement toward
      national certification. The number of board-certified teachers has
      tripled in the past five years to more than 55,000 nationwide.
      Increasingly, school systems are seeking to raise teacher quality.
      This notion is built into the federal No Child Left Behind law, which
      requires states to have "highly qualified" teachers for all core
      academic classes, meaning they must have a bachelor's degree, a full
      state credential and demonstrated knowledge of the subjects they
      teach. But standards for subject knowledge vary widely from state to
      state. By contrast, the process for national board certification is
      uniform across the country. The process aims to push teachers to
      adapt lessons for each child, analyze why certain methods work and
      reach out to colleagues and the families of students. (Washington
      Post - registration required)


      How California can gain qualified teachers

      SACRAMENTO, CA - In his recent State of the State Address, California
      governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pinpointed education as one of five
      areas requiring more investment. Though California's public education
      system needs reform, the governor did not lay out a concrete plan for
      improving the system. He called for new facilities and greater
      accountability and transparency, but he missed a fundamental element
      in the improvement of public education - qualified teachers. To teach
      in a public or charter school in California, the state requires that
      each teacher possess state certification. No one questions the need
      for prepared and qualified teachers but, clearly, state certificates
      do not translate into qualified teachers. In my two years of
      teaching at a charter school in Oakland, I encountered firsthand the
      obstacles to becoming a public-school teacher. I do not suggest that
      teaching is an art that cannot be learned. Certainly I would have
      benefited from strategies on classroom management or gradebook
      organization. Indeed the most beneficial experience I had as a
      teacher came from collaborating with other more experienced teachers
      at my school, learning what had worked or failed for them in the same
      environment. Skills can be taught that can help train our teachers.
      But the current system that requires up to two years of coursework
      and student teaching prohibits potentially great teachers from
      entering the field. (Pacific Research Institute)



      States Adopt New Tests for English-Learners: Changes aim to meet
      federal requirements, though some protest

      NATIONAL - Officials in several Virginia school districts are up in
      arms, but most state and local education leaders appear to be
      complying with demands by the federal government to change how they
      test English-language learners this school year. In at least seven
      states, thousands of English-learners will face a different-in some
      cases, harder-reading or mathematics test for accountability purposes
      this year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The seven are
      among 18 states that received letters from the U.S. Department of
      Education last summer saying their testing systems would be rejected
      unless they could resolve federal objections to how they test
      students who are still learning English, according to Catherine E.
      Freeman, a special assistant to the assistant secretary for
      elementary and secondary education in the Education Department. At
      issue is whether the alternative tests being offered by those states
      are comparable to the regular state reading and math tests being used
      to test other students for adequate yearly progress, or AYP, under
      the No Child Left Behind Act. Some of the 18 states, such as Oregon,
      are conducting comparability studies to try to satisfy federal
      officials. Others still are trying to figure out what to do.
      (Education Week - subscription required)



      Brewer: Charter campuses can be idea labs for LAUSD

      LOS ANGELES - In his first public meeting with Los Angeles Unified's
      charter school leaders, Superintendent David Brewer III on Wednesday
      praised the innovation by the independent campuses but said their
      growth will slow as his own reforms take effect. Charter schools
      already serve nearly 10 percent of the district's 708,000 students.
      Brewer said he's happy with the more than 100 charters in LAUSD -
      more than any other district in the nation - but he questioned
      supporters' goals of doubling charter enrollment in the next few
      years. "We'll have to look at that - to the extent that I change the
      rest of the school district, some of that may not be necessary,"
      Brewer said. "Charter schools are what I call my innovative centers.
      They really force reform to the extent they do things differently. I
      think to the extent we use charter schools as research and
      development laboratories, we're fine. Charter schools will not
      replace the general public schools in this district, but what they
      will do is help us to reform our practices." The breakfast meeting
      was attended by Brewer, school board member Monica Garcia and more
      than 150 charter school leaders and students. The school board has
      resisted the expansion of the charter movement and may ask the
      Legislature to cap the amount of state money allocated for charters.
      (Los Angeles Daily News)


      KIPP's petition raises eyebrows: Middle school's bid to become
      charter school concerns district

      OAKLAND - Many people mistakenly assume West Oakland's KIPP Bridge
      College Preparatory is a charter school. Before long, they might be
      right. By the end of the month, the Oakland school district is
      expected to decide whether to allow the five-year-old middle school
      to leave the district and operate independently. KIPP leaders say the
      conversion will mean more money for its programs and more control
      over whom it hires and fires. KIPP's request has struck a nerve in a
      public school system that is struggling feverishly to improve while
      losing ground to a growing number of publicly funded, independently
      run charter schools. "The question is, are you in the organization or
      are you not?" Fred Brill, an administrator who oversees KIPP and
      other middle schools, asked during an interview. "They're bailing,
      right? They're quitting the Oakland Unified School District." KIPP's
      origins have made the prospect of separation especially painful for
      the district. Although nearly all 52 schools inthe Knowledge Is Power
      Program's network are charters, the people who started Oakland's KIPP
      school in 2002 wanted something different. They wanted to be part of
      the school district. (Times Star)


      Failing our Future: The Holes in California's School Accountability
      System and How to Fix Them

      CALIFORNIA - Approximately $1.25 billion in state public education
      funding provided to schools to help improve student academic
      performance has yielded little if any academic improvement, even
      though these schools met the state Academic Performance Index (API)
      requirements to exit the improvement program as successful. This
      analysis comes just as the state is set to carry out the agreed upon
      terms of last year's SB 1133 (Torlakson) and pour nearly $3 billion
      more into a similar program. This finding is included in a new study
      released today by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market
      think tank based in California. Failing our Future: The Holes in
      California's School Accountability System and How to Fix Them exposes
      the flaws in California's school accountability system, the API, and
      makes recommendations to improve it. The study reviews the API system
      and finds that it is not an accurate or meaningful measurement of
      school and student academic achievement. The study also looks in-
      depth at two school improvement programs: the Immediate
      Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program (II-USP) and the High
      Priority Schools Grant Program (HPSGP). (Pacific Research Institute)


      Opinion: What Should Bill Gates Do? (by Jon Entine of the American
      Enterprise Institute)

      NATIONAL - It's January 2000. You manage a philanthropy that's
      decided to "do well by doing good." It has bowed to advocacy groups
      and agreed to invest its endowment in only "good" companies --
      corporations that pass ideological litmus tests on the environment
      (no nuclear plants), corporate governance (independent boards),
      diversity (gay rights), and the like. What companies do they
      recommend? Well, Enron has independent directors. Krispy Kreme gives
      tons of money to charity. Cendant is renowned for its diversity.
      HealthSouth is actively involved in communities. … Of course we know
      what happened. Every one of those "socially responsible" supernovas
      flamed out or are worth a fraction of what they once sold for,
      victims of self-inflicted ethical wounds. Bill Gates might keep this
      history in mind today, when he meets with the media at the World
      Economic Summit in Davos and responds to a screed, masquerading as an
      investigation, directed at the $35 billion Bill and Melinda Gates
      Foundation portfolio. Three weeks ago the Los Angeles Times ran a
      series accusing the foundation of reaping "vast financial gains" from
      corporations with "environmental lapses, employment discrimination,
      disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices" that "contravene
      its good works." At a minimum, critics said, Mr. Gates should avoid
      companies that counteract its stated mission. What should Bill do?
      Social investors claim that this 800-pound philanthropic gorilla
      could change the world by adopting mission investing. Only the
      realities of capital markets and the stark truth about social
      investing interfere with that equation. (Wall Street Journal -
      subscription required)

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