• Schools dispute pits ‘haves’ against ‘have-nots’
    In pursuing a merger, Memphis school officials are making the same kind of tough choices facing public school districts around the country, as many recession-battered states cut education funding. One way of doing more with less is consolidating school districts, an option that’s also under consideration in Vermont, Indiana and Arizona.
  • Tennessee’s Knox County Education Association Plans to Appeal Superintendent Decision
    “If I had approved the request for a temporary teacher assignment, Ms. Morgan would have continued to be employed by the Knox County Schools,” McIntyre says. “She would remain on our payroll, she would continue to accrue seniority as a teacher, but she’d be working full-time for an organization with whom we currently have no formal relationship under the law, and so I just felt that was inappropriate, regardless of the fact that the Knox County Education Association had offered to reimburse us for those costs.”
  • Survey: 1 in 5 teachers support ending unions | teachers, percent, tenure
    Nearly one in five U.S. educators say they support abolishing teachers unions, and one in three support ending tenure for teachers, according to a new survey by the think-tank National Center for Education Information.The survey of 1,076 public school teachers nationwide indicates that educators are becoming increasingly supportive of doing away with unions and tenure, with support growing by four to five percentage points over the past 15 years, to 19 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
  • Lead or get out of the way on schools
    Improving the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a good start. This must, however, put students first, support effective teachers and continue to hold everyone accountable for results.
  • Education Tax Credits More Popular Than Vouchers & Charters
    Surprisingly, the authors buried the lede in their writeup; education tax credits consistently have more support and less opposition than any other choice policy. This year, donation tax credits pulled in a 29-point margin of support (that’s total favor minus total oppose). In contrast, charter schools had a 25-point margin of support.
  • Anoka-Hennepin “Battleground” is Government Schooling in Microcosm
    Anoka-Hennepin, in other words, appears to be the nation in microcosm, and the firestorm enveloping it sadly but starkly illustrates the destructiveness of forcing diverse people to support a single system of government schools. All the problems with forcing diverse people to support a single system of government schools are here: The inevitable conflict; the hopelessness of “neutrality” (which itself requires taking a stand not to act on something); and schools becoming battlegrounds when what most people presumably want is just for them to teach their children. This is not how education in a free country should operate — government picking rights winners and losers – yet based on fuzzy notions of all-togetherness many education thinkers and pundits blithely assert that government schooling is the “foundation of our democracy.”
  • Teachers Union Honesty
    Tell that to the American Federation of Teachers, which recently posted online an internal document bragging about how it successfully undermines parental power in education. This document concerns “parent trigger,” an ambitious reform idea we’ve reported on several times.California’s innovation caught on quickly—and that’s where the AFT’s PowerPoint presentation comes in. Prepared (off the record) for AFT activists at the union’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. last month, it explains how AFT lobbying undermined an effort to bring parent trigger to Connecticut last year. Called “How Connecticut Diffused [sic] The Parent Trigger,” it’s an illuminating look into union cynicism and power.

    Facing the public call for parent trigger—mainly from minority groups like the State of Black CT Alliance—the AFT’s “Plan A” was “Kill Mode.” That failed. So it was on to “Plan B: Engage the Opposition.”

    But only some of the opposition, it turns out: “Not at the table,” notes the AFT document, were “parent groups” who supported the reform. Engagement meant pressuring legislators vulnerable to union muscle. That’s most of them—and the AFT’s muscle worked.

    The result was a reform in name only. Out were simple parent petition drives, in were complex “school governance councils” of parents, teachers and community leaders. Most significantly, as the AFT’s PowerPoint brags, the councils’ “name is a misnomer: they are advisory and do not have true governing authority.”

    Called about the PowerPoint presentation, the spokesman for Connecticut’s AFT said he knew nothing of it so couldn’t comment. Perhaps it was comment enough when the AFT took the file off its website Tuesday night. Good thing blogger RiShawn Biddle, who first discovered it, made a copy.

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