• Michelle Rhee, Michael Pollan among speakers announced for Hunter Lecture Series
    Back for another year, organizers for the George T. Hunter Lecture Series have announced a line-up of four nationally renowned speakers for the free annual event, which begins with Michelle Rhee on September 20. Rhee, the former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools and the founder of Students First, has become known as a thought leader for public education reform at the national level. Her lecture, “Putting Students First in Public Education Reform,” will take place at the Tivoli Theater, marking a shift in location due to the overwhelming turnout for lectures in past years. Lori Quillen, community program director for the Benwood Foundation, said that the overarching goal of hosting the lectures was to generate positive discussion in the community surrounding the areas of education, community development, arts and culture, and the environment.
  • More states say teens must take finance classes
    Virginia joins a handful of states, including Missouri, Utah and Tennessee, that mandate a class in financial education. Students aren’t the only ones with a steep learning curve. More than half of teachers say they feel unqualified to use their state’s financial education standards, and few feel “very competent” lecturing a class on topics such as risk management and debt, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If states are serious about students’ financial education, Pelletier says, they need to be serious about ensuring that teachers are qualified for these concepts.
  • Group hopes to start charter school in Rutherford County
    Bettina Robinson filed a charter school letter of intent to the state Aug. 1, and plans to submit a full petition by the Oct. 1 deadline. Fifty letters of intent were filed this month, the majority asking to start charter schools in Memphis, according to the state. Robinson’s proposed charter high school, called Purpose Academy, aims to target Rutherford County’s “at risk” youth ages 14 to 21 years of age.
  • Buy groceries, support local schools
    …smart shoppers can target their charitable contributions to organizations through supermarket companies, simply by signing up for the programs either at the grocery or through participating schools. The Together in Education program, which is just now getting people linked up for this school year, last year included more than 150 local schools and donated $9,635 to them.
  • Memphis and Shelby County school merger’s price tag growing
    Bills from the outside lawyers arguing various sides of the school-merger lawsuit have so far totaled $912,895.31 and, with the most recent flurry of court-ordered activity, litigation costs likely well exceed $1 million by now. That’s not including…
  • Central Planning Conservatives and DC Edu-Punditcrats
    I’ve never believed that teachers should determine education policy,that soldiers should determine military strategy, or that doctors should determine health policy, but there is something to be said for the wisdom of experience in policy-making. Look at the folks who populate the DC education punditocracy.  Very few of them have actually ever done anything — except dream up what others should do and persuasively write about it.  They’ve worked in administrations, written policy briefs, and attended a whole lot of catered lunches, but they know remarkably little about the world
  • Middle Tennessee schools help parents peek at report cards
    Parents across Middle Tennessee are checking websites that allow instant access to teachers’ gradebooks. If they don’t like what they see, they can take it up with their children or in quick emails and phone calls to teachers instead of taking off work for meetings. And while educators predict the technology will improve performance on the whole, some are noting heightened parental alarm that may not be merited.
  • Ribbon-cutting kicks off STEM school orientation
    Knox County’s 15th high school, is the first of its kind in the district and the beginning of a larger focus on STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, education.
  • ‘No Child’ waivers drawing criticism
    National opposition has surfaced following this month’s announcement from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that some states will receive waivers from the current law and its punitive sanctions. Some say the waivers could create even more headaches for states and school districts, while others warn that a waiver could result in the elimination of a program that provides valuable tutoring for at-risk children.
  • Education Notebook: NCLB Waivers: Obama Tries to “Fix” One Federal Overreach with Another
    In addition to executive overreach, President Obama and Secretary Duncan would seriously undercut states’ authority by requiring states to adopt national education standards in order to receive a waiver—the bad bargain offered in Race to the Top and widely anticipated again in the waiver’s specifics, to be released in September.
  • Weaving answers to Memphis-Shelby County schools merger
    Memphis: The comprehensive order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Samuel ‘Hardy’ Mays last week resolves, for now, some of the questions surrounding city-county school consolidation.
  • Merger proposals lacking accord; indicate judge’s order may be appealed
    Memphis: Proposals submitted Friday for the creation of a new county school board differed on issues of timing and urgency, and the federal judge overseeing the schools merger lawsuit received the first official indication that the 146-page order issued Monday may be appealed.
  • Free ‘virtual school’ casts statewide web
    The Tennessee Virtual Academy was officially launched last month by Union County Public Schools, a 3,000-student district in East Tennessee. K12 Inc., a Virginia-based education company, has been hired to operate the online school. The school, which for now runs from kindergarten through the eighth grade, operates as a public school in the Union County district. It has its own principal and its own full-time teachers, who teach lessons online using a school calendar that matches up with Union County’s. Students in the school still must take Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program achievement tests and must meet all other state requirements, including logging on daily to record attendance.
  • Colorado Court Halts School Voucher Program
    Last Friday, a Colorado District Court halted the new and unique Douglas County school voucher program with a permanent injunction. If there were no alternative to vouchers for providing school choice, perhaps it would make sense to have a debate over which freedoms should take precedence: the freedom of choice of families or the freedom of conscience of taxpayers–and then to sacrifice whichever one was deemed less worthy. But there is an alternative, and it does not require anyone to be compelled to support any particular type of instruction.
  • Super Teachers Alone Can’t Save Our Schools
    Mr. Levin would be the first to tell you that heroes aren’t enough to turn around an American public school system whose continued failure has become the country’s most pressing long-term economic and national security threat. “It’s really sad and outrageous what’s happening to the children on the other floors of this building,” he added, referring to the public school that shares the building. “But we’re failing a lot, every day, on this floor, too.” “Making all those things work is the job,” he continued. “It’s exhausting, and it’s not exciting, but it’s what you have to do.” Mr. Levin acknowledged that he was at least free to try because he was not straitjacketed by a union contract. A few days later, Eva Moskowitz, the founder of the Success Charter Network, conceded to me that not everyone is cut out for this work. But “to say that we can’t scale this is like saying we can’t build the Brooklyn Bridge because it’s hard,” she said. “Sure, we have turnover, but our teachers make good money,” and “they can advance quickly.” Their success has punctured the myth that social and cultural deficits prevent poor, minority children from excelling academically—an argument that is used by the teachers’ unions to excuse systemic school failure. …these exemplary educators will lead us to the right place only if we can figure out a realistic way to motivate and enable the less-than-extraordinary teachers in the rank and file. They, too, need to respond to the emergency, but they won’t do it if all that we give them is a choice between sprinting and sitting down. apable teachers may not want to stay for decades, but they should stick around for at least five or 10 years. If there is anything that I have learned from trying to figure out the problems of American public education, it’s not just that teachers are toxic when they hang on for 20 or 30 years caring only about their tenure and their pensions. It’s also that teachers get far better at what they do when they’ve been doing it for a few years. Working long, hard hours helps. But it also takes preparation, training, lots of feedback and introspection, and high expectations to turn a hard worker into a great teacher.
  • Principals turn over at record pace as Metro starts school
    In what longtime educators are observing as unusually high (perhaps record) turnover, principals at 33 schools across the county…have arrived there just this year. To put it in perspective, students at nearly one out of every four schools have principals that weren’t there last year.
  • NCES Releases New State-Level Data on State Education Reforms Website
    New state-level data on high school completion credentials, exit and end-of-course exams, state adoption of standards, and teacher certification and administrator licensure requirements are now available on the State Education Reforms website in the Institute of Education Sciences. The website, which draws primarily on data collected by organizations other than NCES, compiles and disseminates data on state-level education reform efforts in five areas:
    1) Accountability,
    2) Assessment and Standards,
    3) Staff Qualifications and Development,
    4) State Support for School Choice and Other Options, and
    5) Student Readiness and Progress Through School.
    Three tables were updated in the “Assessment and Standards” section of the site, and the “Staff Qualifications and Development” and “Student Readiness and Progress Through School” sections of the site each had two tables updated. These tables can be easily located by the “Updated!” tag next to the table titles.

Pin It on Pinterest