• Friedman Flyer | The Voice for Parental School Choice
    Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice announced a new on-line information hub for advocates, parents and concerned citizens: the Friedman Flyer. The Friedman Flyer, FriedmanFlyer.com, will advance Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all with daily updates on news and lively discussion centering on education reform and school choice. “We want to provide a forum to highlight what works in the world of school choice, and also where the challenges lie,” said Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, who will manage the Friedman Flyer. “We’re also not above calling out those who stand in the way of better education options for America’s children.”
  • Unions’ Bully Model is Dead
    The whole collective bargaining concept fails to recognize exceptional efforts, gifted craftsmanship, and individual worth. The only place where collective bargaining would seem to have a place in a free society is where the task is simply expressed and easily measured. And in my opinion, the very last place where we should mask over individual employee productivity with collective bargaining is in the teaching profession. I say that for two reasons, both of which are in conflict with union goals, as described above. For one,
  • Schools of Education
    Larry Sand’s article “No Wonder Johnny (Still) Can’t Read” — written for The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, based in Raleigh, N.C. — blames schools of education for the decline in America’s education. Schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education can benefit from slum removal.
  • National School Choice Week: Winning the Battle for School Choice in D.C.
    Today, children across the district are benefiting from the DCOSP. Approximately 1,615 K-12 children are enrolled in private schools across D.C., children who would otherwise have little choice but to attend an underperforming public school. These students have a significantly higher likelihood of graduating than their counterparts in the public system. In 2010, researchers found that over 90 percent of DCOSP students graduate from high school, compared to only 70 percent of their peers of similar backgrounds who remained in D.C. public schools. These students are also more likely to be in a safe school, as they are able to escape some of the most dangerous public schools in the U.S.
  • Bipartisan Contempt for Unconditional Tenure
    From President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address: Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.
  • Culture Contributes to Military Children’s Strong Scores
    The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress confirmed a solid trend: soldier’s children outperform public school students in reading and math. Unlike many American school districts, the achievement gap between races is decreasing at DoDDS. In reading on NAEP, black fourth graders at military base schools scored 11 points below whites, a significant decrease since 2003’s gap of 16 points. Nationally, that gap is 26 points. An increase in virtual learning may also be contributing to DoDDS student success. In 2011, the department’s Educational Partnership awarded $8.7 million in Virtual Learning Grants.
  • TEA Opposes Haslam’s 2012 Education Reforms; GOP Lawmakers Moving Forward Nonetheless
    Gov. Bill Haslam wants to give local school districts the discretion to disregard existing pay scales based on longevity or degree accumulation and instead set their own teacher salary plan. He also wants each district to have the power to set class size restrictions for itself. “The change in anything is painful. It is. I understand that. We’re in the middle of some of those growing pains right now. The worst thing in the world to do would be let our foot off the pedal,” Haslam told civic and business leaders in Cookeville Monday.
  • State director makes recommendation against Knox charter school
    The executive director of the Tennessee State Board of Education has recommended that the board vote against a proposed charter school in Knox County. The Knox County school board twice denied the charter school application of the New Consortium of Law and Business. The school, which would serve grades six through 12 with an emphasis on developing students’ legal and business skills, appealed the decision to the state. In his recommendation to the board, which will meet and vote on Friday, Gary Nixon said what he found compelling was the charter school did not appear to know the demographics of the students or school district.
  • Council finds states weakening teacher tenure
    America’s public school teachers are seeing their generations-old tenure protections weakened as states seek flexibility to fire teachers who aren’t performing. A few states have essentially nullified tenure protections altogether, according to an analysis being released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The changes are occurring as states replace virtually automatic “satisfactory” teacher evaluations with those linked to teacher performance and base teacher layoffs on performance instead of seniority. Politically powerful teachers’ unions are fighting back, arguing the changes lower morale, deny teachers due process, and unfairly target older teachers.
  • Tennessee gets Ivy League aid to mine education data
    The Tennessee Department of Education hopes to be more equipped to provide school districts with better and faster analysis of test scores and other data, thanks to a dose of the Ivy League. Two department staffers were chosen for a two-year fellowship at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. In addition to providing extra training for the employees, the center temporarily will give the Department of Education two experts to help with its data systems. Through the two-year effort, called the Strategic Data Project, state leaders will incorporate ways to analyze and interpret data, as well as make better data-driven policy decisions, officials said. The project also should help in getting information, such as teacher effectiveness and state test scores, back to local school districts more quickly.
  • Franklin schools rezoning aims for poorer students to mingle
    Some parents in Franklin’s poorest neighborhoods are preparing to send their children to different schools next year after district leaders voted to spread them out more evenly. Changing housing patterns in the city mean the majority of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches — 40 percent of its 3,700 student enrollment — attend two of five elementary schools.
  • Teachers’ union alternative has growing voice
    From a standing start, after decades of teachers being limited to only one choice and years of only hearing the one voice of the TEA/NEA affiliate, PET got almost twice as many votes as it has members.
  • Metro Schools ends agreement with unions, straining relationships in the wake | Nashville City Paper
    A reworking of the service employees’ handbook and the discontinuation of union agreements has inflamed local union leaders who represent roughly 1,500 MNPS employees. Then, last month, while school was on winter break, Register informed local union officials from the USW and SEIU that they would no longer be operating under memoranda of understanding, effectively halting communications with the unions. Memoranda of understanding are legally nonbinding agreements that the school system previously used to communicate with unions. Buckley described the MOU relationship as working “as well as could be expected.” The word “negotiate” was off-limits, according to Buckley, but the unions enjoyed a “meet and confer” relationship with the school district. The most recent MOU between the unions and Metro schools expired on June 30, 2011. Register advised Collier and Buckley that he and the school board’s “executive staff” decided to discontinue the MOUs entirely by deleting the school system’s Labor Negotiations Policy. Register referenced Tennessee’s Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act, which was passed by the state legislature last year and replaced teachers’ collective bargaining rights with “collaborative conferencing.” “For our future relationship with support employee unions to be mutually beneficial and productive, we must acknowledge the recent changes in state law,” Register wrote.
  • Momentum Building for Parent Empowerment
    Ben Austin is the head of Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles-based parent group that started the movement in 2009, and he told me he is convinced we are living in a “revolutionary moment.” He said, “A grassroots movement sprung up over parents having real political power. Not parent involvement ‘old school’ like bake sales, but when parents are treated like grown-up political actors and are taken seriously.”
  • Schools’ Electronic Monitors to Track Student Exercise
    Michael Van Beek, director of education at the free-market, Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, says the monitors are “not a proper use of tax dollars that is meant for educating students. It’s odd that schools continually cry for more resources, but seem all too eager to expand their missions beyond their core mission.” Martin agrees with Van Beek. “Schools can barely educate, which is their primary task,” she said. “The United States is trailing many countries around the world in scholastic achievement. Finland particularly comes to mind. This has serious repercussions for the future. The schools ought to be monitoring why Johnny can’t read, not what his heart rate is,” she said.
  • America’s Real Problem Isn’t Its Income Gap, But Its Education Gap
    America’s problem is not an income gap, but an education gap. The latter creates the former. This is tragic. And it’s centered in minority communities. It’s impossible to say America’s primary school system is adequately serving the nation — particularly those communities where dropout rates, high unemployment and low incomes are found.
  • Michigan Teachers’ Union Manual Shows How to Organize Illegal Strikes, Use Children During Bargaining
    For more than two years, the Michigan Education Association has had a manual that urges its members to use students as propaganda in contract negotiations and also lays out how to organize strikes, which are illegal in Michigan.

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