• An Ignored ‘Disparity’ – Thomas Sowell
    Higher achieving groups — whether classes, races or whatever — are often blamed for the failure of other groups to achieve. Politicians and intellectuals, especially, tend to conceive of social questions in terms that allow them to take on the role of being on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. This can be a huge disservice to those individuals and groups who are lagging behind, for it leads them to focus on a sense of grievance and victimhood, rather than on how they can lift themselves up instead of trying to pull other people down. Again, this is a worldwide phenomenon — a sad commentary on the down side of the brotherhood of man.
  • School choice, subsidiarity and the common good
    If the principles of subsidiarity were more commonly dispatched in our nation’s school reform debates, it could inspire more competing ideologies to find common ground and it could expand our definition of what we consider “public.”
  • Annual National Rankings of Charter School Laws Released Today Finds Overall Advances in Quality and Accountability
    The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) is today announcing the release of its annual ranking of state charter school laws across the country. In its third year, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws ranks each of the country’s 42 state charter school laws. Each state receives a score on its law’s strength based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS model law, which include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities and limited caps on charter school growth.
  • The governor’s education plan for Virginia – Washington Post Endorses Gov. McDonnell’s Education Plan
    Particularly noteworthy is the governor’s aim to empower parents by giving them more educational choices. He would give tax credits to businesses that provide scholarships for children from low-income families to attend private schools, would encourage virtual schools as a new approach to learning and would provide more support to charter schools.
  • More schools likely to lose accreditation, experts say
    As anxiety over the academic performance of public schools grows, experts say it’s likely that more schools and school districts will lose public or private accreditation. “It happens more often than you’d think, but it needs to happen more often than it does,” says Mark A. Elgart, president and CEO of AdvancED, a private Atlanta-based accreditation agency that works with about 30,000 schools. In the past five years, the organization has pulled accreditation on four school systems and a dozen private schools, for reasons ranging from poor academic performance to governance to financial fraud.
  • Face it, teacher quality matters
    Bloomberg is proposing to replace the current rubber-stamp policy with a system that assesses teacher effectiveness and then acts upon that information by rewarding the best teachers. That’s just common sense.
    The foundation for the new system would be an evaluation tool that is capable of distinguishing between the system’s best and worst teachers. The evaluation would take into account the teacher’s observed performance in the classroom according to a rigorous rubric, as well as measures of the teacher’s contribution to student standardized test scores. That is, a teacher will finally be evaluated based on what we care about most: his or her performance in the classroom. Rather than provide one-time bonuses, New York’s system would improve the ongoing salaries of effective teachers. Further, the salary increases to be offered dwarf those found in most other policies that have been tried.
  • The Time is Now for Families to Take Power in Education
    Families, tired of waiting for politicians and school leaders to do right by their children, are pushing for reform. Parents are pushing to take their rightful place as the lead decision-makers in education. Moms and dads are demanding that they have the ability to choose schools that are fit for the futures of their children. And they are taking on adults who have perpetuated, aided, and abetted educational neglect and malpractice. And they realize this: That we need a revolution, not an evolution, in American public education. And it cannot happen without families fighting fiercely for their children –and all of our children – no matter whom they are or where they live. Our children need Parent Power. And they need it right now.
  • Governors Feature Education Reform in State of the State Addresses
    This year, however, we’ve noticed something new creeping into the rhetoric of our nation’s executive leaders: an education reform plan. That’s right – so far sixteen governors have presented their outline for 2012 – and we’re pleased with what they have to say!
  • A Civics Lesson
    The administration is calling for new, interactive thinking about civics learning that avoids rote memorization of processes. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor say it’s time to move beyond your “grandmother’s civics” of how a bill becomes a law.
  • Gov. Bill Haslam says pay plan isn’t attack on teachers
    A legislative proposal to ditch the state-mandated teacher pay scale isn’t a move aimed at hurting teachers, Gov. Bill Haslam said Friday.
    As part of his 55-bill legislative agenda, the governor wants to abolish Tennessee’s mandated teacher pay schedule which, like many states, includes built-in raises for seniority and education. Instead, he wants school districts to be able to offer pay increases to those teaching in hard-to-staff schools or hard-to-fill subject areas such as math and science. Responding to the criticism, the Republican governor said his plan would allow districts to pay teachers more by freeing up restrictions from the pay scale. But he said none would make less than their current salaries, and districts could continue to set salaries according to the current scale.
  • Equal Opportunity in Education Through School Choice
    Unfortunately, the dream of “equal access” has yet to be realized. Instead of being able to choose where their children attend school, most parents in the United States have no other option but to send their children to their neighborhood school, good or bad. Yet too many schools in too many neighborhoods do not provide the type of education that will help a child achieve his or her potential.

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