• Why the U.S. is No Longer the Land of Opportunity
    Foroohar says the best medicine for boosting mobility in the U.S. is to improve the education system. TIME columnist Fareed Zakaria writes about how our declining education system is finally catching up with us. Zakaria makes a compelling case for why we should think about the education problem and the income gap problem together.
  • Better education through lower taxes
    Since 2002, Florida has been cutting taxes on businesses that help poor children attend private schools. If a business makes a donation to a non-profit K-12 scholarship organization, it receives a tax credit in the amount of the donation. The donation thus costs the business nothing, but the tuition assistance it provides throws open a whole new range of educational choices for low-income families. The academic impact of the program has been studied from two perspectives: what does it do for students who remain in public schools, and what does it do for those who receive scholarships and move to private schools? Both groups of students gain.
  • Montgomery County teachers to vote next week to retain some negotiating power | The Leaf Chronicle – Clarksville, Tenn., and Fort Campbell
    A special question committee consisting of two school board members and two members of the Clarksville Montgomery County Educators Association met with the school system’s chief human resources officer, Bruce Jobe, on Thursday afternoon to finalize plans for the special election. Although teachers’ collective bargaining rights have been taken away with the new Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act, a majority ‘yes’ vote would give the teachers a spot at the table for conditions of employment such as salaries, benefits, and working conditions. The Professional Educators of Tennessee also asked for a spot on the ballot, which will ask teachers if they want to be represented, and which group they want to represent them.
  • Vouchers and Low-Income: Reality Check
    Have school vouchers moved away from their historic focus on low-income students? The political hacks at the Center on Education Policy think so. And as we know, whenever CEP weighs in, that’s reason enough to check the facts.
  • Senate Bill Retains Federal Tutoring Requirements for Worst Schools
    As bills to reauthorize No Child Left Behind multiply, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has proposed legislation to preserve a provision requiring failing schools to offer federally-funded tutoring to poor students.
  • 5K Run to Help Students of YES and Fisk
    YES is joining with the Fisk 50/50 Protege Mentoring Program in a 5K Run and 1K Family Fun Walk to raise funds for our afterschool programs and scholarships to Fisk. Help us support education in the inner city of Nashville! Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 8:00 AM
  • Tennessee Schools Struggle With Modern-Day Integration
    Earlier this year, a federal judge decided that the heavily African-American public schools of Memphis, Tennessee, were to be be consolidated with the majority white schools of surrounding of Shelby County beginning in 2013-14. As the date approaches and preparations for the merger begin, racially charged issues of budgeting and logistics are coming to the fore. The merger is the largest school district consolidation in American history and will force officials to tackle problems of mixing unionized and nonunionized teachers, the operation of yellow buses, down to deciding which school’s preferred textbook will be adopted as the standard. However, among these, race seems to fuel the subtext of many of the discussions.
  • Tennessee to apply for NCLB waiver under new guidelines
    Blount County Superintendent Rob Britt has been closely watching the discussion concerning the state applying for a waiver from the performance standards set in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Tennessee raised its educational standards two years ago, he said, and districts need additional time to meet those. A waiver will help to address those goals. In the meantime, he said, he will continue to monitor the conversation.
  • Teacher Effectiveness Initiative is right path
    At the same time, we are grateful for the other exciting chapters being written in our community — including, in particular, the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative (TEI). We have known all along that the TEI was going to be challenging to implement and sustain, as it calls for difficult decisions. After all, there is no easy way to achieve the gigantic educational improvements needed when approximately 4 percent of our city’s public school students become “college-ready” according to the ACT. That is why the TEI needs the strong and urgent support of everybody in this community.
  • Harwell Cautious on Vouchers, Ramsey Assertive
    Speaker of the House Beth Harwell said Thursday she doesn’t see passage of a voucher bill without a “great deal of discussion.” Harwell said she would want a plan designed specifically for Tennessee, not just taking what other states have done. Meanwhile, Harwell said it’s important to “stay the course” on the new teacher evaluation process the state has adopted.
  • Are We There Yet?
    A new study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research shows that, unfortunately, the answer is not yet.  CMOs have created a number of high-performing charters, but many others don’t perform as well as nearby public schools. As is the case with independent charters, there is a great deal of variation in the effectiveness of CMOs. The good news is very good. A number of CMOs have stellar results. The bottom line is that many CMOs are very effective, but charter authorizers and funders should not assume that schools affiliated with CMOs are necessarily better than independent charters.
  • Sandy Kress on What is at Stake in No Child’s Reauthorization
    At its core, No Child  said two basic things. The first: A school where privileged students achieve at or above grade level but where disadvantaged students are allowed to remain below grade is in need of improvement. The second? Such a school must take concrete steps, increasing in intensity, until all subgroups reach grade level. Here’s the sad but real truth today: No Child is unpopular – purely and simply – because it meant what it said.
  • Federal officials watching Memphis-Shelby schools merger
    School issues that have recently dominated local politics and consumed the community here aren’t lost on the White House, the assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education told an intimate group of teachers, parents and administrators at Hamilton Elementary School on Thursday.
  • Over A Decade Later, the Lasting Legacy of School Choice Champions Lives On
    The deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page devoted his column this week to a creation of two of the most committed men when it comes to giving educational options to low-income kids: Ted Forstmann and the late John Walton. You can also watch a video where he explains the story of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, and how it’s helping so many families all across America, event today.
  • Freedom forum panelists say expectations, education linked
    As storied educator Marva Collins summarized her approach to education during the National Civil Rights Museum’s 2011 Freedom Award Public Forum on Thursday, two of her success stories sat nearby. Thousands of students from across the Mid-South filled the sanctuary as the panelists expounded on the inequities in education and how the outcomes that result from low expectations make education this generation’s civil rights battle.
  • SCS Supt. Aitken addresses merger panel
    Most of Thursday’s meeting of Shelby County’s school-merger transition commission was devoted to a presentation by Shelby County Schools Supt. John Aitken and his staff with the bold, red-letter title: “A District That Works.” They backed up that claim with evidence that included information showing:

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