• School board grades search firms
    The Rutherford County Board of Education could pay a search firm between $5,000 and $30,000 to help it locate a new director of schools and may need to consider a pay increase to attract highly qualified applicants. Board members interviewed four firms Tuesday night to help find a successor to outgoing Director of Schools Harry Gill Jr., who informed the board in November that he planned to retire rather than seek a contract extension.
  • Principals’ teacher ratings vary widely by district
    In Murfreesboro City Schools, principals rated nearly half the teachers a five — the best score possible on the state’s new evaluation. But in Fayette County Schools in far West Tennessee, only 1 percent garnered that rating. The first glimpse of how educators fared under the system, which ultimately will affect whether they earn and keep tenure, demonstrated how subjective the process can be.
  • School voucher expansion expected to be part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s legislative agenda
    Gov. Bobby Jindal and his allies on education reform are considering an unprecedented, statewide expansion of private school vouchers and steps to more closely link teachers’ job security with performance…These plans may still change and various details remain to be worked out. But the officials say the governor will likely push for a voucher program that would allow some number of parents to opt out of public schools and use the public funding set aside for their child to pay for tuition at a private or parochial school. It’s a proposal that would have few parallels in other states and likely mean intense competition and financial pressure for some school districts.
  • Traditional schools blurring district lines
    As school choice becomes a mantra of 21st century education reform, especially for the growing charter school movement, traditional public schools also are embracing free-market competition. Now, choice in many traditional public schools is seen a way to increase student performance and parent satisfaction as well as to stay competitive with private schools and public charters. Creating this system enabled the school board to avoid the contentious process of redrawing boundaries as new schools were opening. But the board also cited research that shows students perform better when they choose their own course of study.
  • Charter Closure Report Clarification
    A longtime debate surrounding charter schools is whether or not those that are not working – for whatever reason – are closed. Our new report, which provides the first-ever national analysis of charter school closures, finds a movement very much accountable for its contract and commitment to quality educational options.
  • Half of U.S. Schools Fail to Make ‘Adequate Progress’ in 2011
    This will likely be the last school year AYP can be used, the Center on Education Policy report says, because the waivers allow states to develop different accountability systems.
  • All talk, no action on education reform
    The word reform has been associated with public education for more than 40 years with a continuing deterioration in student and educator performance. The unions and education establishment have rejected many proposals put forth by astute study groups. Both unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, admit that some adjustments could be made, but deny the need for drastic change. Although test results and scholarly studies reveal the unsatisfactory performance of public education, they insist they are successfully educating America’s students.

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