• Two companies seeking Nashville charter schools
    At least two charter school applicants will seek approval from the Metro Nashville school board to open in August 2013. Great Hearts Academies wants to develop a classical, liberal arts charter school initially serving grades K-9, then growing a grade per year until it’s K-12. It would be the group’s first charter outside Arizona, where Great Hearts Academies is based. Pending approval of the first effort, organizers said they could apply for five to 10 other schools serving grades K-12 in Nashville. The organization currently manages 12 schools with over 5,000 students in grades K-12. More information is available at www.greatheartsTN.org or at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Martin Professional Development Center, 2400 Fairfax Ave. Genesis Learning Centers wants to open a charter school for special needs students ages 17-22 who have participated in mainstream education but are unlikely to continue to college. At Genesis Transitio, Latin for “to go or cross over,” they would earn diplomas or training certificates through a program that prepared them for employment. Parents and students can weigh in on that charter school at a 7 p.m. meeting Jan. 31 at Genesis Academy, 430 Allied Drive. For more information, visit www.genesislearn.org.
  • Utah teachers embrace school choice
    This week, as part of the National School Choice week movement, Utah’s non-union organization for teachers, the Association of American Educators, will be hosting member educators across the state in an event designed to celebrate teachers and school choice.
  • Governors Call for Teacher Tenure Reform, School Choice
    Last year was a historic year for education reform. And 2012 can prove to be the same as state leaders promote reforms like these that support quality teaching and open the doors of educational opportunity for more American students.
  • Apple Unveils Digital Textbook, E-Publishing Platform
    In its first product announcement directly tied to education, Apple Inc. this morning unveiled a free digital textbook and e-book platform, iBooks Author, building upon its GarageBand and iTunes software for music. The combination will make creating and distributing e-books much easier, and allow for integrating media such as audio, video, and interactive quizzes or games. Apple will offer textbooks through its online store, beginning with high school textbooks priced as low as $14.99. They are partnering with education publishing monoliths Pearson, McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, DK Publishing, and Harcourt.
  • Early Timeout Taken on Bill Restricting Human Sexuality Discussions in Public Schools
    A measure making it illegal for public elementary or middle schools in Tennessee to teach about homosexuality has cropped up again in the state Legislature and suffered a minor setback Wednesday.
  • What’s Right With Our Schools: Video Conferencing Class
    Two Blount County high schools are using technology to bridge that financial gap. Through video conference technology, a teacher at Heritage High School is able to teach his students as well as a classroom at William Blount High.
  • Suburbs Move Forward on School Districts
    If there are suburban school systems in Shelby County and they want to start classes in August 2013, when Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools merge, it will be a fast track process – just like the merger the suburbs are reacting to. Leaders of the first suburban city to hold a public meeting on the highly anticipated set of reports from Southern Educational Strategies LLC appear encouraged and are downplaying the likelihood of a court fight to get school buildings at no cost for such a new school system.
  • Obama education reforms advance as Congress falters
    President Barack Obama’s administration is moving ahead in reforming U.S. education without the help of the Congress, and will soon announce which states can opt out of the national education law known as “No Child Left Behind.” “I don’t think either one of those is going to move forward anytime soon, but I think the waiver process that we’re doing now is going to be the only game in town,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a meeting of U.S. mayors in the U.S. capital. There are two bills currently in Congress to re-authorize the decade-old law that radically changed U.S. public schools.
  • School choice gives teachers options
    School choice is often discussed in terms of policies that provide students with educational options. Overlooked, however, is the fact that teachers also benefit by having career choices as part of the school choice platform. The fact is every educational setting is a choice. Public schools, public charter schools, private and parochial schools, and virtual schools – these are school choices in action. Adapting to a 21st-century profession, teachers across the country are taking advantage of these new teaching environments with tens of thousands of teachers educating nearly 8 million children throughout the United States. This movement has meant positive advancement of the teaching profession. Educators are empowered to make their own decisions in deciding when, where and how to teach kids with school choice options in play. The entire profession is becoming – well, more professional as a result.
  • Why Parents Should Be Allowed to Pick Their Kids’ Teachers
    The data are sufficiently compelling that these days it’s only education’s flat-earthers who continue to argue that teachers don’t matter a great deal and that efforts to retain and reward the best ones and remove the worst ones aren’t essential to improving schools. But for parents there is a more immediate issue: research shows that differences in teacher effectiveness are generally greater within schools than between schools.
  • Would an Extra $27 Billion Improve CA Public School Performance?
    After adjusting for inflation and enrollment growth, CA spent $27 billion more on K-12 public schooling in 2010 than it did when Jerry Brown was first elected governor back in 1974. SAT scores fell over that period (see chart below).
  • Concerned MNPS Parents Seek Better Options
    If you ask people to rate Metro Nashville’s Public Schools, some will say it leaves a lot to be desired. Parents who shared those concerns formed a task force charged with looking for other options. Their search lead them to Phoenix, Arizona where they visited Great Hearts Academies. The charter school has a proven track record for academic excellence. Its program is best known for providing a liberal arts education with a focus on classical philosophers.

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