• Charter Schools Achieve Dramatic Turnarounds in Los Angeles and Philadelphia
    A few public schools converted into charters in Philadelphia and Los Angeles have managed to dramatically boost students’ standardized test scores and graduation rates, says a new report from the Center for American Progress. Despite these few dramatic successes, most charter school operators prefer starting a new school, not convert an existing and often entrenched institution. Even schools required to change under SIG requirements often prefer closing their doors permanently to becoming a charter.
  • Six families to move students from MNE
    Mitchell-Neilson Elementary will only lose a handful of students in the coming days because of its classification as a High Priority school. The district will provide transportation to the students’new schools. The school was placed on the state Department of Education’s High Priority list July 29 following the release of Adequate Yearly Progress results for the 2010-11 school year. Schools failing to meet achievement standards for two consecutive years are deemed High Priority. Missing AYP for one year puts a school on the Target list.
  • Memphis City Schools to retool parental support program
    Memphis City Schools is overhauling its public outreach office, hoping to coordinate the tutoring occurring in dozens of churches and build a following for the no-frills things families can do to give their children a better chance in school. With no change in the office’s $1.2 million budget, it is being broadened to better support fragile families — including aligning with other agencies that serve them — and building support for the importance of the first four years of school. The most visible change will be partnering with groups like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Memphis Urban League and others that provide tens of thousands of dollars a year in programming for school-age children.
  • Montgomery County School Board cries foul over Virtual School
    Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board members on Tuesday night reviewed a draft of the legislative agenda — submitted each year to local legislators for possible consideration in the Tennessee General Assembly. One item in particular drew a great deal of discussion, according to schools spokeswoman Elise Shelton, that being the new Tennessee Virtual School. Under this program, students can sign up for online education by K12.com. The problem for CMCSS is that public funding for the education of those children is diverted from Montgomery County to Union County Schools and then to K12.com, a private corporation.
  • How does Obama want to reshape preschools? Education Department shows its hand
    The Department of Education on Tuesday announced the guidelines governing the $500 million in Race to the Top grants that it sees as a tool to reshape preschool education in America. Now, with the new guidelines for the competition, called the Early Learning Challenge, it is clear that the administration wants states to develop a public rating and improvement system for early-childhood programs. Some worry such as step could eventually lead to high-stakes evaluations in preschools.
  • Metro students’ ACT scores abysmal — again
    While Tennessee’s ACT scores dipped in 2011 from the previous year’s numbers, the average ACT scores of Metro Nashville Public School students stayed the same. Metro students in 2011 scored a composite average of 18.1 out of 36 on the ACT, a test used nationwide by universities to determine college readiness. The score is nearly a full point lower than the state’s 19.0 ACT average, which ranks Tennessee 49th of 50 states nationally in ACT test scores, leading only Mississippi.
  • School board adopts balanced calendar, opts against July start
    A balanced calendar with a shortened summer break is in store for the 2012-13 school year, but it’s not the version that called for students to attend class in July, a plan that would have required $20 million in unidentified funds. The newly adopted calendar increases students’ school days from 173 to 176. Instead, surprising many, the nine-member Metro Nashville Board of Education voted 5-4 Tuesday against a hotly debated proposal to start school July 25 before unanimously adopting a less far-reaching balanced calendar that begins school next year on Aug. 1.

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