• County Ups the Ante in Voucher War
    The Douglas County School District experiment is noteworthy because nearly all voucher programs nationally aim to help children who are poor, have special needs or are trapped in failing public schools. The program is also unique in that the district explicitly promotes the move as a way for it to save money. The district is, in effect, outsourcing some students’ education to the private sector for less than it would spend to teach them in public schools. Even after administrative costs, the district expects to make what amounts to a profit of $400,000 this year on the 500 students in its pilot program.That money will be used to “provide services to the students that are left behind in the regular schools,” district spokesman Randy Barber said.
  • MCS Teachers Face New Performance Evaluation Standards
    Teachers with Memphis City Schools are facing a big change this school year. Teachers will now be evaluated at least four times a year, and can be fired after two years of bad reviews. But the district is careful to say this is not about weeding out “bad teachers.” Teachers with bad reviews will be provided with extra training in their problem areas.
  • Sumner school board to discuss district budget
    Sumner County School Board Chairman Don Long has called a special meeting of the board at 7 a.m. Saturday to discuss the school district’s 2011-12 budget. The budget is about $12 million out of balance with $204 million in total expenditures.
  • Council members riled over raises for Memphis City Schools administrators
    The City Council approved the Memphis schools budget this week, and although they have no say over how the money is spent, individual council members are peeved that it will include raises for school administrators.
  • Memphis City Schools gets $12 million payment from city
    Memphis City Schools received a $12 million payment from the city today, the first in a 10-month series of payments the city promised to make after the school board said it couldn’t open school on time without the funds. The next payment is $33.5 million, due Sept. 7.
  • Public Charter Schools Engage Students and Empower Teachers
    One of the great contributions of the public charter school movement to education reform is that charters are proving every day that kids in poverty can succeed. We often say that families are voting with their feet when they choose to enroll a student at a charter school, because charters are always “opt-in” opportunities. Students and teachers elect charter schools, they are never forced to attend one.
  • What’s Involved In Reinventing Education?
    The US education system is in crisis, putting the long-term future of the economy in question. The evidence is well-known. A root cause of the crisis is the application of the factory model of management to education, where everything is arranged for the scalability and efficiency of “the system”, to which the students, the teachers and the parents have to adjust. “The system” grinds forward, at ever increasing cost and declining efficiency, dispiriting students, teachers and parents alike.
  • A secret primer from the teachers union on how to thwart parents and stop charter schools
    Now, though, an internal report produced by the political shop of the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers reveals the cynical falsity of the labor leaders’ claims to have the best interests of students at heart. The union learned lessons, according to the presentation: The “absence of charter school and parent groups from the table” during negotiations was very helpful.
  • LA Students Learn How to Bargain a Teacher’s Contract
    In the late 1990s, the Los Angeles Unified School District partnered with United Teachers Los Angeles – funded by a federal grant – to produce a multi-part curriculum entitled, “Workplace Issues and Collective Bargaining in the Classroom.” At long last, school administrators and union leaders are working together. It’s too bad that their joint venture involves indoctrinating students about the value of unionization and collective bargaining. While it is difficult to nail down just how widespread the curriculum is outside of Los Angeles, the organizers claim they’ve received requests from school districts across the country to bring it to their communities. The fact that schools from across the country want to use this curriculum says a lot about the state of American public education, too.
  • Blount Co. Board of Education denies charter school’s application
    Officials with the Blount County Board of Education denied an application of what would have been the first charter school in the county. Board members voted 6-0 to deny the Hope Academy’s 415-page application at a meeting on Thursday night. Officials with HOPE Academy said they will appeal the decision. They have until one week from Monday to revise the application and re-submit it to the Blount County school board. The school board will then be given another 15 days to decide whether to accept the new proposal. The Hope Academy said it was not surprised by the decision. “Very rarely does a charter school ever pass on its first time in front of a board,” said Hope Academy Treasurer Tab Buckhalter.

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