• Are Charter Schools Models of Reform for Traditional Public Schools?
    Yes, answers Roland Fryer in an amazing study released this month.  Based on earlier work, he identified 5 features of charter schools that helped them produce strong results:
  • Nashville schools seek partners, offer naming rights
    Nationally, school districts are turning to donors and corporations to finance building projects — from football stadiums to school cafeterias — in exchange for naming rights. But while the naming rights have been welcomed at the three Nashville high schools, Metro officials say they want all sorts of partnerships between academies and schools to keep students interested.
  • U.S. GAO – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Strategic Planning Needed to Better Manage Overlapping Programs across Multiple Agencies
    Government Accountability Office released a report on the scope and efficacy of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs. Highlights from the report include:
    *In fiscal year 2010, 13 federal agencies invested over $3 billion in 209 programs designed to increase knowledge of STEM fields and attainment of STEM degrees.
    *The number of programs within agencies ranged from 3 to 46, with the Departments of Health and Human Services and Energy and the National Science Foundation administering more than half of these programs.
    *Almost a third of the programs had obligations of $1 million or less, while some had obligations of over $100 million.
    *Eighty-three percent of the programs GAO identified overlapped to some degree with at least 1 other program in that they offered similar services to similar target groups in similar STEM fields to achieve similar objectives.
    *Agencies’ limited use of performance measures and evaluations may hamper their ability to assess the effectiveness of their individual programs as well as the overall STEM education effort. Specifically, program officials varied in their ability to provide reliable output measures—for example, the number of students, teachers, or institutions directly served by their program.
  • The State of the Teachers’ Union
    The state of teachers unions is unstable at best. If they want to remain relevant, they must join the millions of American parents and children demanding equality in education now or be left behind. Education is the key to achieving the American dream and parents will no longer accept the unspoken doctrine that equates destiny with zip code. Imagine, for a moment, what could happen if teachers unions came to the negotiating table with an open mind and a realization that parental choice is about educating children, not protecting the few teachers who are failing them. Teachers are committed professionals who did not choose this vocation in order to become rich and famous. They genuinely care about educating our children and we should respect that.
  • Status Quo Stalwarts, Meet Reality[School Choice Week Blast from the Past, Pt. 2!]
    In today’s School Choice Week installment, we’ll hear from those who were agin’ it. Maxine Waters, United States Congress (D, Los Angeles):
    “Contrary to claims, school choice will be devastating for urban, minority, and poor students who desperately need quality education.” Delaine Eastin, California State Representative (D, Fremont): “Having schools without [government] standards won’t improve learning.” Private school choice “won’t teach more kids how to read and write.” Well, actually…
  • Constitutional Choices
    To celebrate National School Choice Week, the Goldwater Institute is highlighting five key areas of education reform. Up first is Education Savings Accounts.
  • On virtual education, some districts are learning to adapt
    After years of trying to protect their market share by denying parents choices, Florida school districts are increasingly acknowledging that parental choice is the new normal and they’ll need to improve their programs if they’re going to keep parents in district schools.  Hopefully this greater emphasis on customer satisfaction will benefit students, educators, taxpayers and parents.
  • ALEC Releases New Report Card on American Education
    The American Legislative Exchange Council has released the 17th edition of the Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform. Dan and I have updated the rankings of state academic performance based upon general education low-income students to reflect the 2011 NAEP and the rankings of state policy based upon the latest available rankings available. Dan and I build the case that the historic changes seen in K-12 reform in 2011 represent “the end of the beginning” in the battle for K-12 Reform. Far, far, far more remains to be done than has been done of course, but from tenure reform to parental choice, reformers began to hold their own in 2011 for the first time on a widespread basis.
  • Student Voice: Why I Support School Choice
    As a firm believer in the value of freedom over coercion, it isevident to me that an educational system in which three-quarters of students attend schools assigned by their geographic location is flawed. Every child is different and deserves a school suited to them, regardless of where they live. Without options, there is little safeguard against failing schools. School choice programs allow a wide variety of schools to prosper and serve the needs of students instead of entrenched bureaucrats.
  • Unprepared for the future? ACT measure predicts 7 percent of local students are ready for college
    ACT college preparedness results for the Jackson-Madison County school system…predicted that 7 percent of the system’s high school students were ready for college. Local school officials believe students are better prepared than the test results suggest but say they want to improve those scores by making sure ACT objectives are included in lessons.
  • Group to examine how TN teaches science, math
    Tennessee has become the first state in the nation to form a legislative caucus to address science, technology, engineering and mathematics issues in education. The caucus would provide a non-partisan forum for Tennessee legislators, and for outside business, science, technology, and education communities to come together to discuss challenges, problems and solutions. Additionally, it will play an active role to promote the recruitment and retention of highly qualified STEM teachers and develop strategies to improve the overall ability of a STEM-intensive workforce.
  • Judith Stein: School Choice is Better Than No Choice
    From vouchers to charters to virtual schools, parents have never had more options for educating their children, but many families are still unaware – or have the wrong ideas – about those alternatives. Arguments against choice rely largely on myths.  Let’s debunk the most common ones. Myth #1:
  • Spending $2,159 Less Per Student, Online School Outscores Florida Campuses on AP Exams
    Florida Virtual School reported scores that averaged 12 percentage points higher than conventional high schools on the 2011 AP exams. The Internet-based school offered 15 AP courses to 3,053 students, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. Breaking down the results:
  • Indiana Lawmakers consider ‘parent trigger’ to change schools
    Indiana parents could soon have a direct say in turning public schools into charter schools. A measure being pushed in the Indiana House of Representatives would let them vote to turn public schools over to charter school operators.

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