• Parents Deserve To See Data On Teacher Performance
    Unions rail against releasing performance data on teachers, but the trend in reform is not on their side. Ability can be measured, and parents should know the results. What makes a good teacher, seniority and credentials or the ability to impart knowledge and skills? The answer should be obvious, but only recently has it made its way into public policy. Rating teachers by how well they actually teach, which strikes us as nothing more than common sense, has turned out to be hugely controversial. And if anyone dares reveal this data to parents, the unions go nuclear.
  • In Just One Week, Three States Take Important Steps to Expand School Choice
    After the historic “Year of School Choice” in which 13 states passed new parental choice programs in education, or dramatically expanded existing ones, some wondered if supporters could build upon that momentum in 2012. If this past week is any indication, indeed they can. Arizona, South Carolina, and Virginia took legislative steps this week to create new private school choice options for families in need.
  • More States Reconsidering National Standards Overhaul
    South Carolina is right to be concerned about the impact that adopting national standards and tests will have on education in the state. “Before we surrender control of our classrooms to outside parties, we need to have an open and transparent debate so we can understand what we’re getting into,” said Fair.
  • TN education chief sets lofty goals, says failing schools unacceptable
    With the granting of the waiver, the success of Tennessee schools will be determined on the achievement students make on a yearly basis. The waiver was approved in order to be exempted from the 10-year-old law in exchange for a promise to improve the way schools teach and evaluate students. Tennessee proposed to raise overall achievement by 3 percent to 5 percent every year for the next eight years, and cut the achievement gap in half during that same time.
  • Poll shows Tennesseans support education reform
    The poll was commissioned by StudentsFirst, a national nonprofit, created by former Washington, D.C., schools leader Michelle Rhee, that advocates for education reform in about 15 states, including Tennessee. Results included:
  • Cherry picking, uneven playing fields and other myths about Florida’s ‘voucher’ program
    As debate over HB 859 – which affects Florida’s tax credit scholarship program – heads to a floor vote in the House of Representatives as early as today, it’s likely that its critics will offer some of the same curious arguments they have throughout the bill’s committee stops. Jon East, vice president for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students, which administers the scholarship program, put together the following point-by-point response in support of HB 859 and its Senate compansion SB 962. In some cases, the rebuttal follows a direct quote from a lawmaker. In others, it follows a paraphrasing of the lawmaker’s position.
  • It’s Time to Pardon Tanya McDowell — and to End Zip Code Education
    No mother or father should go to prison for doing everything they can their child get the high-quality education they need for success in school and life. No parent should have to fight so hard to help their kids get a high-quality education. Far too many parents, especially those from poor and minority backgrounds (and even many from the middle class) can’t access high-quality teaching and curricula for their kids. Contrary to what education traditionalists and the organizations and people that abet them want to proclaim, the problem isn’t choice, but the Zip Code Education policies — from intra-district zoned schooling policies, to restrictions on the existence and expansion of charter schools, vouchers, and other choice — that limit the ability of families to give their children what they deserve.
    When it is far easier for poor and middle class households to get a wide array of high-quality options in areas of life in which the stakes are low such as dining, than it is for them to provide their child with good-to-great teachers and schools, we are dealing with a moral, intellectual, economic, and existential crisis that damages individuals, families, communities, in fact, this entire nation. Even worse, it is utter hypocrisy. Teachers, school leaders, and other players who defend the status quo in American public education have no right to blame parents for the academic problems facing their kids when the policies they defend effectively keep families from actually taking proactive action for them.
  • Common Core Supporter: Maybe Opposition Not Paranoia
    When what someone predicted actually occurs, it’s a lot harder to assume him delusional. It’s more accurate to call him “right.” And on national standards, even supporters are starting realize that Common Core opponents have been right all along.
  • State to use Metro Schools’ ‘Innovation’ cluster as model
    Duplicating a Metro strategy, the Tennessee Department of Education is challenging the three school districts with the state’s lowest-performing schools to create so-called “offices of innovation” to find creative ways to spur turnarounds. The plan, including its terminology, is identical to an approach Director of Schools Jesse Register unveiled for Metro in July when he announced the district’s 10 weakest achieving schools would be isolated into a special innovation cluster. Now, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Memphis City Schools and Hamilton Schools are all in the process of drafting formal plans for innovation zones that require state approval, Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman told reporters at an inaugural “brown bag” lunch gathering Thursday.

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