• New charter school prepares kids for careers in aviation
    West Michigan: For now, that love has led him to the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a publicly-funded charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan that opened its doors last fall. The academy only offered freshmen level courses during its inaugural year. The school will continue to add grade levels until it is a full, four-year high school that can educate 300-400 students each year. That’s the power of school choice.
  • Teachers Converging on Washington for 4-Day Schools Rally
    Today kicks off the four-day Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action, a gathering and rally in Washington, D.C., organized by teachers who say they are fed up with test-driven accountability for public schools—and, increasingly, for teachers. Eventually, both of the nation’s largest teachers unions threw their financial and philosophical support behind the movement.
  • School district stymied by outdated collective bargaining agreement
    Wisconsin: We refer, once again, to the Kaukauna district, which turned a big deficit into a surplus because its collective bargaining agreement expired and the new law limits union influence. But others, like Janesville, are stuck with traditionally expensive collective bargaining agreements that don’t expire for several years. Janesville officials say they are facing a budget deficit as high as $7 million for the 2012-13 school year, according to Poten.com. They would like the teachers union to consider contract concessions to help eliminate the deficit. That request makes total sense, since most school districts spend at least 70-75 percent of their budgets on labor costs. Union officials say they will consider concessions in August, but are making no promises.
  • New teacher evaluations lauded
    Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system will give educators frequent feedback on their performance and will dismiss those whose failings can’t be fixed with training… Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, hailed Tennessee’s system as one of the best in the country, noting that most states don’t require annual evaluations of veteran teachers, and many grant tenure to teachers without considering their effectiveness.
  • Inside Knox County’s New STEM High School
    Knox County’s trying something new, in several respects, next month when it opens its new STEM high school, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math “academy,” as it’s known—the only one of its kind in Tennessee. Enabled by a $3 million “Race to the Top” contribution from the state of Tennessee, as well as unusual assistance from the city, which for the most part has not been in the school business in several decades, the school will welcome its first students in just a couple of weeks.
  • Tougher Standards Mean More Schools ‘Failing’
    States are beginning to release data on the number of schools that failed to reach adequate yearly progress goals, or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the results that appear on paper are worrying state officials.
  • A High School Dropout’s Midlife Hardships
    Fifth in a five-part series: Today, the people who seem to be hurting the most in our sputtering economy are dropouts in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Despite their work experience, some can’t even apply for a new job without proof that they completed high school.
  • Despite Interventions, No-Show Students Drop Out
    Fourth of a five-part series: In Baltimore, the vast majority of kids who never finish school drop out because of extreme poverty, homelessness and a drug epidemic that has left some neighborhoods desolate and dangerous. In the toughest neighborhoods, kids miss lots of school days, and that puts them at risk of dropping out.
  • When it Comes to Grading Teachers, State Faces Math Problems
    Tennessee’s Education Commissioner appeared in a panel on teacher quality before Congress Wednesday. In his testimony, Kevin Huffman said that even though teachers’ jobs may depend on new evaluation scores, the state still hasn’t figured out just how to add those up.
  • Shelby County school board approves contract for charter school in Bartlett
    The board voted 5-0, with member Diane George abstaining. The vote allows Smart Schools to operate a new charter school in Bartlett. The New Consortium of Law and Business school opens Aug. 20 with up to 35 seventh-graders in a former FedEx Kinko’s building on Stage Road near Elmore Park Road. It plans to add sixth and eighth grades next year.

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