• Santa Rosa kids spurn neighborhood campuses
    More than 20 percent of elementary and middle-school students in Santa Rosa don’t attend their neighborhood school as parents shop campuses, examine test scores and debate choices. “A lot of parents are just moving out so they don’t have to go to the school they don’t deem worthy,” said Francisco Vazquez, professor of interdisciplinary studies at Sonoma State University’s Hutchins School of Liberal Studies. “Short of a police state and forcing people to stay in a district, I don’t know what the choices are.” As parents get more savvy in navigating the system, a school’s Academic Performance Index has evolved from an obscure statistic to a must-have number that some parents use to weed out what they deem as underperforming campuses.
  • North Chicago Victory
    Come fall, hundreds of kids in North Chicago School District 187 — one of the worst-performing districts in the state — will have a terrific chance at a better education. They owe that opportunity to Illinois schools Superintendent Christopher Koch. On Thursday, Koch swept aside a decision by local school board members and said, yes, North Chicago will welcome a new school operated by LEARN, one of the best charter school outfits in the state. Koch made history with that bold action. This is the first time the state has stepped into a district and allowed a charter school to open over the wishes of obstructionist local board members.
  • ‘First to the Top: Tennessee’s Education Agenda’ is Tuesday League topic
    Erin O’Hara, assistant commissioner for data and communications in the Tennessee Department of Education, will talk about the reforms undertaken through First to the Top, the commissioner’s strategic plan, and the recent flexibility received from the U.S. Department of Education as related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act at the next Lunch with the League at noon on March 20, in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 1500 Oak Ridge Turnpike, stoplight No. 11.
  • Gov. Haslam announces STEM initiative
    The Republican governor and various state and local education officials gathered in Nashville for the announcement of more STEM initiatives. A collaboration among business and educational circles, STEM aims to better prepare the future workforce for industry. Today’s announcement includes $4.85 million in new money for schools in Chattanooga, Cookeville and the Tri-Cities area.
  • Tenn. education stats as compiled in new report
    A look at some findings for Tennessee from the 2012 Building a Grad Nation report released Monday. Tennessee was among a dozen states reported to have made the most progress from 2002 to 2009. The report was sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance, a children’s advocacy organization founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Graduation rate: 77.4 percent in 2009, up from 59.6 percent in 2002.
  • Washngton State Voters Say They Want School Choice
    A new poll by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice shows voters in the pacific northwest want school choice opportunities for their children. The survey of more than 600 residents, conducted by Braun Research Incorporated, revealed the following…
    60% of residents would likely favor charter schools while 23% would oppose them.
    Nearly two-thirds support “tax-credit scholarship”
    Nearly 60% support education savings accounts.
    55% say they support vouchers.
    Some other key information of the poll revealed.
    Washingtonians are much less likely to think that K-12 education is heading in the “right direction” compared to being on the “wrong track.” When given the latest per-student spending information, voters are less likely to say public school funding is at a level that is “too low” compared to answering without having such information.
    When asked for a preferred school type, Washington voters demonstrate a serious disconnect between their preferred school types and actual enrollment patterns in the state.
  • New Poll Shows Bayou State Supports School Choice
    Sixty percent of Louisiana voters support an expansion of the state’s school voucher program, with support as high as 67 percent in some New Orleans area parishes, according to a new poll released Monday by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. Among the parishes reporting support for the voucher expansion: Sixty-seven percent of voters in Tangipahoa Parish, outside of New Orleans, said they “strongly” or “somewhat favor” expansion of the state’s existing voucher program. Sixty-one percent of voters in Orleans Parish, in suburban New Orleans, said they too favored expanding the voucher program to include more children in their community. Fifty-nine percent of voters in St. Tammany Parish, also in the New Orleans suburbs, said they too supported the program’s expansion. Fifty-seven percent of voters in the parish of East Baton Rouge said they would also supported expansion of the current voucher program to include additional pupils. Fifty-three percent of voters in Livingston Parish — also outside New Orleans — said they supported expansion of the existing voucher program.
  • Education Notebook: Major Education Reforms Take Shape in Louisiana
    “The moral imperative to improve education goes to the heart of the American Dream,” asserted Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) last Monday at the opening of the state’s legislative session.
  • Surprise: Teachers crave evaluation
    Read education headlines these days, and the take-away might be that it’s teachers versus reformers on most key issues. But a new report from Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­dation paints a very different picture of teachers and their views. Having surveyed more than 10,000 teachers, the report offers a nuanced look at how they feel about their profession, testing, controversial reforms, and what needs to change.
  • High school graduation rate rises in U.S.
    More high school students across the country are graduating on time but dropouts continue to be a significant national problem, creating a drag on the economy, according to a report to be issued Monday by a nonprofit group headed by former secretary of state Colin L. Powell.
  • Parents Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Challenging Status Quo Defenders
    As parents, we can no longer stand by and accept the state of affairs perpetuated by NEA and AFT. For decades, teachers’ unions and less-effective instructors blame parents and students all day every day for the failings of teachers who don’t belong in classrooms. They have also controlled and intimidated legislatures, allowing those teachers who are ineffective remain in their jobs, while they blame parents and students for their inability to teach. But now we know better. We can no longer let ineffective teachers, principals and superintendents remain unaccountable.
  • Vote for Expansion of ESA Program Likely Next Week
    Arizona enacted its fourth school choice program and the nation’s first education savings account in April 2011. As early as next week, the Senate will vote on House Bill 2626, which would dramatically increase the number of students who would qualify for ESAs. The bill passed in the House by a 38-16 vote.
  • Publishing teacher evaluation scores with names splits open government debate
    Tennessee Department of Education won’t publish controversial teacher evaluation scores alongside the names of the instructors, but some of this information could be available via open records requests this summer. Yet until a media outlet in Tennessee follows the formula from other states, cites the state’s open records laws and asks for the updated personnel files of the state’s 65,000 teachers, it’s unclear which areas of the complicated 1-through-5 scoring rubric would be accessible to the public.

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