• NC School Officials | Preschooler’s Homemade Lunch
    A North Carolina elementary school forced a preschool student to eat cafeteria chicken nuggets for lunch on Jan. 30 after officials reportedly determined that her homemade meal wasn’t up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s standards for healthfulness, according to a report from the Carolina Journal.
  • D.C. Parents Appalled Obama Wants to End Funding for Scholarships
    “Either he doesn’t get it, or he doesn’t care,” Sheila Jackson, parent of a D.C. Opportunity Scholarship recipient, said upon hearing the news that President Obama’s budget eliminates funding for the popular program. It’s common knowledge among Opportunity Scholarship Program parents that Obama himself is the product of a private education at an elite high school in Hawaii, which he attained with the help of a scholarship. It’s also commonly known that his two daughters attend the prestigious Sidwell Friends private school in Washington, D.C.
  • Charter School Ranking Shows Improving State Laws
    Eliminating number limits, strengthening authorizers, and equalizing funding and facilities for charter schools caused several states to shift to the top of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ annual ranking in 2012. The NAPCS judges states by laws that support charter growth and hold them accountable without stifling them. On a scale of one to 200, the average state score was 107, a seven-point increase from 2011.
  • Haslam Scraps Proposal to Give Locals Control of School Class Sizes
    Gov. Bill Haslam says he is setting aside his controversial plan to grant school districts the flexibility to determine class sizes. “We are saying now, we will wait and work on that and pursue it with some adjustments next year,” Haslam told reporters in his Capitol Hill office. “What we’ve proposed, it’s a fairly complicated explanation and the argument against it is real simple.”
  • Gov. Haslam abandons Tenn. class size proposal
    Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that he’s abandoning his proposal to do away with average class size restrictions in Tennessee. The Republican governor’s decision came as a growing chorus of educators and parents — and the lawmakers who represent them — criticized the idea, fearing the change would hurt teaching standards because more classrooms would be filled to capacity.
  • Video: Charter Schools in Suburbs May be Plan B
    Some school leaders are suggesting a plan where suburbs can have charter schools. It would allow local control but still stay within the big district. Bartlett mayor considers this a possible backup plan.
  • Home-schooling demographics change, expand
    The New Jersey co-op is among hundreds of secular and inclusive home-schooling groups in the USA aimed at providing opportunities for parents to network and for children to socialize, conduct science experiments, play sports and games and more, according to Homeschool World, the website of Practical Homeschooling Magazine. Secular organizations across the country report their numbers are growing. Though government records indicate religion is still the driving force in home schooling, members of these organizations say the face of home schooling is changing, not because of faith, but because of what parents see as shortcomings in public and private schools.
  • Building a new education system with an old financial formula
    These funding formulas deserve respect for what they have achieved, but a newly defined public education system will have to operate under a more robust financial approach. Unfortunately, these kinds of debates too often get caught up in whether one form of education is gaining at the expense of another. The test, rather, should be whether each child is funded equitably to attend a learning option that best suits his or her needs.
  • Bruce Boudreau’s Lesson For Education
    Yet the conversation about evaluations and performance in teaching is pretty binary. It tends to be about whether a teacher is “good” or not, or at best whether they can improve or not.  But a whole different part of the conversation is being overlooked.  Teachers, just like other professionals in all walks of life, might be “good” in one setting but not in another. They might thrive in one sort of leadership structure and not another, one type of school and not another, or with one group of students and not another.
  • Proposal Seeks Focus on Quality Teaching
    The Obama administration will propose Wednesday a $5 billion competition aimed at overhauling how America’s teachers are trained, paid and granted tenure, the latest sign of the growing focus on the quality of teaching in public schools. The competition—modeled after President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top education initiative—would reward states that adopt overhauls favored by the administration, such as raising the bar to get into colleges of education, paying teachers based on student achievement and granting tenure only after proof of successful teaching, according to administration officials. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will unveil the plan during a town-hall meeting Wednesday, officials said, and will call on states to work with teachers unions and colleges of education to overhaul the teaching profession, which has faced withering criticism in recent years. The plan also calls on states and school districts to pay teachers more and adopt incentives to retain the best teachers, especially in hard-to-staff schools. The proposal is part of Mr. Obama’s effort to coax educational changes by dangling money in front of states and schools. His Race to the Top program held out $4.35 billion for states that linked teacher evaluations to student test scores, adopted rigorous math and reading standards, and lifted caps on the growth of charter schools, public schools run by outside entities. The new competition—Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching, or Respect—would reward states that overhaul teacher-training programs by, making it tougher to gain entry into teacher-preparation programs or harder to get a license, for example. A state, for example, could raise the grade-point averages for entrance, and require proof of quality teaching skills before conferring a license. States would also be prodded to detail plans to restructure teacher evaluation and pay systems and to reward the best teachers. Mr. Duncan has said he opposes pay systems that give raises based simply on years of service and master’s degrees earned. A bevy of research has shown there is no link between a master’s degree and effective teaching.
  • Register hammered over union policy, doesn’t plan to retreat
    Despite such pleas, Register indicated he doesn’t plan to change his position on support staff unions. “At this point in time, no,” he told reporters following a lengthy public hearing. Register also took time to “clarify” his position, adding that he’s concerned about all the “misinformation” about the district’s practices. Contrary to accusations, he said, employees aren’t required to reapply for positions at the end of the school year. “This is not an issue with our employees or how we feel about our employees,” Register said. “We value our employees. With think they’re very important. “It’s a matter of operating procedures where we had an old employee handbook and two MOUs –– one with the steelworkers and one with SEIU,” he said. “They just weren’t compatible. We had ineffective practices as a result of that.”
  • Obama Budget Eliminates D.C. Voucher Funding
    The D.C. OSP is highly successful. According to federally mandated evaluations of the program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. While graduation rates in D.C. public schools hover around 55 percent, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate. But, if the president has his way, families will have to fight once again to preserve their children’s shot at a quality education. His administration is clearly not interested in, as they purport, funding “what works,” and children in the D.C. deserve an explanation as to why their educational futures are once again being put on the line.
  • The Despicable And Destructive Behavior Of So Many Young Blacks Shouldn’t Be Tolerated
    The violent school climate discourages the highest-skilled teachers from teaching at schools where they risk assaults, intimidation and theft. At a bare minimum, part of the solution to school violence and poor academic performance should be the expulsion of students who engage in assaults and disrespectful behavior. You say, “What’s to be done for these students?” Even if we don’t know what to do with them, how compassionate and intelligent is it to permit them to make education impossible for other students? The fact that black parents, teachers, politicians and civil rights organizations tolerate and make excuses for the despicable and destructive behavior of so many young blacks is a gross betrayal of the memory, struggle, sacrifice, sweat and blood of our ancestors. The sorry and tragic state of black education is not going to be turned around until there’s a change in what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior by young people. That change has to come from within the black community.

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