• The Rise of the Zune Monopolists
    The Gates Foundation and the enormous financial interests associated with the Washington education lobby have decided that the U.S., despite its 222-year history to the contrary, needs a nationalized K-12 education system. No matter that the arguments for it are flimsy:
  • Arizona Republic Series on Digital Learning
    The Arizona Republic began publishing a multipart series on digital learning here in our humble patch of cactus on Sunday. What is needed in my view is a system of 3rd party administered end of course exams. A good portion of the funding should be conditioned on how the student performs on these exams.
  • Perspective on McKay
    The stories were embarrassing, but the reaction by the New Times and others has been completely lacking in perspective.  Organizations receiving government funds are unfortunately even more prone to misconduct than typical organizations.  This is also true of public schools.  For example…
  • Schools on military bases outdoing public schools
    Once again, schools on the nation’s military bases have outperformed public schools on both reading and math tests for fourth- and eighth-graders. At the military base schools, 39 percent of fourth-graders were scored as proficient in reading, compared with 32 percent of all public school students. Even more impressive, the achievement gap between black and white students continues to be much smaller at military base schools and is shrinking faster than at public schools. How to explain the difference?
  • Jeffery White on the Need for New Fanny Jackson Coppins for School Reform
    In conclusion, social justice, economic prosperity, and political involvement within most urban communities is rapidly been replaced with illiteracy, high unemployment rates, apathy, and urban flight. It is time for urban school board members, parents, teachers, and students to embrace the reformer and fire the conformer.
  • Comptroller wants overhaul of TN’s school funding formula
    State Comptroller Justin Wilson is calling for an overhaul of Tennessee’s school funding formula because he believes it is overly complex and lacks safeguards against errors in distributing state money.
  • TEACH/Here to screen “American Teacher” documentary
    The feature-length film, “American Teacher,” is directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth and narrated by Matt Damon. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, it will be shown for free at the Public Education Foundation, at 5 p.m.
  • Parents explore high school options for downtown and North Chattanooga
    About 100 parents met last month to discuss concerns about their high school options. Primarily parents from Normal Park, along with some from Brown Academy and Battle Academy, they are wondering what comes next after their children leave those successful and sought-after magnet schools. Some even are pitching the idea of a new downtown high school.
  • Charter schools vs. traditional peers bear mixed results
    Metro placed its lowest-performing schools into an “innovation cluster” and gave them more attention and resources. It launched a teacher-run school, additional magnet schools and more partnerships with the community. A partnership with Lipscomb University helped 92 percent of the sixth- through eighth-grade teachers at Cameron Middle School meet their teaching improvement goals last school year.
  • How some states rein in charter school abuses
    Nationally, about 12 percent of all charter schools that have opened in the past two decades have shut down, according to the National Resource Center on Charter School Finance & Governance. In Florida, the failure rate is double, state records show. Experts say some of the problems, both financial and academic, could be avoided if charter school authorizers were stricter in issuing school charters.
  • NEA proposes criteria reform for teacher jobs
    The NEA is now calling for the establishment of 100 peer-review programs in districts across the country during the next three years, based on successful examples in Columbus, Ohio, and Montgomery County, Md. It would be up to local and state affiliates of the union, along with school district administrators, to design those programs.
  • State Takeovers of School Districts Have Had Mixed Results
    A state takeover can bring additional resources and expertise to a troubled district, allow for more radical changes, and help deter nepotism, bickering and personal agendas among school board members. But it is usually a last resort because of staunch local opposition. “The real question is, where is the source of the problem?”
  • Second Metro charter school on verge of shutting down
    A second privately led, publicly funded Metro charter school appears to be on the verge of closing. Drexel Preparatory Academy, an elementary charter school with 240 students, opened only four months ago, but it would shut down by the end of this semester if the Metro Nashville Board of Education approves a recommendation by the district’s charter school office.
  • ALEC Pushes Back on National Standards Education Overreach
    ast week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did just that, examining the push for national standards during a meeting of its Education Task Force. For the past two years, the Obama Education Department has been supporting an effort to implement national education standards and tests. The national standards push, which will affect all public schools, has been underway outside the normal legislative process.
  • Study: Ohio’s ‘Excellent’ School Ratings a Farce
    A new study of Ohio’s school report cards reveals a great disparity in student achievement on the state’s ratings and those published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. While more than 40 percent of fourth-graders scored at an accelerated or advanced level in reading and math according to Ohio state standards in 2011, the NAEP rated only 9 percent of Ohio’s students at an advanced reading level and 8 percent as such in math.
  • Nashville School Helps Dropouts Get on Graduation Track
    In fact, several times a month at the Academy at Old Cockrill, there is this kind of celebration—every time a student achieves the required number of credits to graduate. Students at Old Cockrill are allowed flexible classroom time, options for online learning, frequent one-on-one meetings about their progress, and additional support to make the grade– things that Fahrner admits wouldn’t happen in many public high schools.
  • STEM school to be placed at Chattanooga State
    A proposed high-tech Hamilton County high school could hold 300 students on the campus of Chattanooga State Community College. The county aims to apply for about $1.8 million in state grant funding to open a Science, Technology, Math and Engineering, or STEM, school here next fall.
  • Educators focusing on state issues
    The Bradley County Board of Education passed three resolutions to establish the board’s position on statewide debated issues during a meeting Thursday. The board passed resolutions in support of keeping appointed superintendents and allowing each school system to decide what day in August to start. A resolution was also passed opposing publicly funded vouchers for private schools.
  • Metro Nashville moves to close second charter school
    Metro Nashville Public School officials are moving to close their second charter school in two years. Drexel Academy, a Whites Creek K-4 charter with 240 students, has been recommended for closure by the district’s office that regulates those schools — run with public dollars but without direct school district oversight of daily operations. For two weeks in August, the school did not keep lunch records, and the state had the school repay $3,000 in lunch funding. In October, the school district notified the school for its non-compliance to give its 13 English as a Second Language students up to two hours a day special services, nor give 13 students with disabilities speech and language weekly services. The school said it wasn’t able to immediately find an English Language Learning teacher and had asked the district for recruiting help. Those students now have a teacher, and will have made up the about 70 hours in services by Dec. 15.

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