• In Florida, parent trigger debate brings out the worst from parent groups
    Who, really, could be against the idea of giving low-income parents more leverage to make their schools — their public schools — better? It’s true that many low-income parents are not as involved in their schools as we all would like, for complicated reasons that are ignored or dismissed or downright twisted. But if something like a parent trigger could inspire them to step up, why would anyone object? Don’t we want more parents who keep an eagle eye on their schools? Who raise holy heck when the district tries to pull a fast one with a merry-go-round teacher or a dud of a principal? Don’t we want to see more inner-city parents follow the lead of those wonderfully hovering, take-no-guff moms in the ‘burbs? As for what happened in Florida, I can only shake my head at the rhetoric. Why would middle or upper-income parents assume their low-income peers would automatically choose the charter option?
  • LA Teacher unions abandon kids to lobby; Rep. Pat Smith is a ‘thief’
    Both union-pushed decisions will shut down schools, inconvenience parents and, worst of all, leave kids at home when they should be preparing for the important LEAP and GEE tests that start next week. This proves, yet again, that the unions are more concerned with protecting adult jobs than protecting our children’s future.
  • Center for Education Reform Newswire March 13, 2012
    A weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform
  • Head Start, A Case Study in the Unreliability of Government Research
    The Department of Health and Human Resources is up to its old tricks of delaying research whose results are likely to undermine their darling program, Head Start. If the government’s proclivity to delay the release of politically undesirable results and to manipulate — actually, completely distort – the findings is not enough to engender skepticism among reporters, researchers, and policymakers, I have no idea what will.
  • Wharton’s Education Council
    So, it was an eclectic group of educators, civic leaders and city government officials who filled all the Mayor’s conference room chairs on Monday composing Wharton’s Advisory Council on Education. The twenty-two member Advisory Council will initially start work April 9th. The members will then be divided into work groups with each tackling a particular assignment involving early childhood education. They’ll research opportunities and initiatives that have been successful either here or elsewhere. They’ll use that information to formulate strategies and the budget to get them done.
  • County Schools Set IZone Initiative To Help High Priority Schools
    The county schools are making plans to set up an Innovation Zone (iZone) to lend special help to high priority schools. Administrator Robert Sharpe said the new zone “is the result of a competitive grant process to provide funding for high priority schools in Tennessee. The iZone will serve as the catalyst for the development, implementation, support, and monitoring of turnaround initiatives in the district’s high priority schools. Schools to be served are Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Woodmore Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Orchard Knob Elementary.
  • State can stay on top with better schools
    Given Tennessee’s positive image, it is especially important to continue working on the areas that need improvement, lest they drag down public perception. Chief among these is the state of public education. That is why the state’s massive public education and higher education reforms are so important. That the state’s K-12 schools score below the national average is a red flag for parents considering a move to Tennessee. At this point, at least the state can point to its reform plans that already are being implemented. But success in this arena is a must if Tennessee is to remain near the top of the favorability scale.
  • Final tally on school choice bills in Florida
    Florida has a national reputation as school choice central. And in the state legislative session that ended Friday, lawmakers again took up a wide range of choice proposals, including the parent trigger bill that drew so much attention. Here’s a redefinED rundown of what happened from Amy Graham, senior policy analyst for Step Up for Students.
  • KIPP Memphis To Expand To Almost 10 Times Current Size
    Currently, there are about 500 KIPP students in Memphis, but when the expansion is all done, in 2016, KIPP will have 4,500 students in every grade, kindergarten through 12. And 10 separate schools—five in North Memphis and five in South Memphis. KIPP Memphis received $3 million to expand its operation from The Charter School Growth Fund, which describes itself as “a non-profit venture capital fund.” CREDO also studied Tennessee’s charter schools and found that a little more than half of them—52 percent—including KIPP in Memphis, perform better than traditional public schools.
  • Teacher ratings in the public eye
    As the nation, states and cities, including a massive effort in Memphis, push to reform the way public schools are educating our children, the one constant among reformers is that it’s important to get effective teachers into classrooms. Parents need to know if their children are being taught by effective teachers and taxpayers need to know their tax dollars are being spent on good teachers. Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman has no plans to release the information, but his department will entertain requests for the ratings.
  • Federal ideologues flout laws they don’t like
    We have been warned. Joseph Califano, secretary of health, education and welfare in the Carter administration, noted that “in its most extreme form, national control of curriculum is a form of national control of ideas.” Here again, laws are cobwebs. As government becomes bigger, it becomes more lawless. As the regulatory state’s micromanagement of society metastasizes, inconvenient laws are construed — by those the laws are supposed to restrain — as porous and permissive, enabling the executive branch to render them nullities.

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