• Memphis Collaboration Is Poised to Bear Fruit
    The ongoing transformation of the working relationship between the district and its teachers’ union is being enabled through a $90 million, seven-year Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of Seattle.
  • Knox Co Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre answers questions, shares teacher evaluation results
    Knox County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jim McIntyre, answered questions about the new state teacher evaluations and announced some early results about Knox County teachers at a town hall meeting on Tuesday evening.
  • Charters Outperform Public Schools, Study Says
    Children attending charter elementary schools perform higher on average than traditional public schools in reading and math, according to a University of Washington study of the highest-quality research available. Students at charter middle schools also outperform their traditional counterparts in math. The study also detected a wider gap of performance between charter and traditional public schools in urban areas, with charters much better at boosting student achievement than urban public schools.
  • Five degrees of separation — a changing American anomaly
    Only in education have we empowered strangers and geography rather than parents to make choices as to what is best for children. Essentially, parents and children are tied to the land — much like peasants under feudalism.
  • Diane Ravitch Doesn’t Deserve to Be Taken Seriously
    As far as your editor is concerned, far too many people give once-respectable education historian Diane Ravitch too much credit for intellectual caliber and for her former position in the school reform movement. For much of her career — especially after her criticisms of multiculturalism and practitioners of the concept such as Leonard Jeffries moved her into the public intellectual spotlight — she has been more of an enfant terrible than anything else. It actually makes sense to rid the nation of school districts and require states to handle the full funding of schools. Why? It would allow for both the expansion of school choice (especially in turning school funding into vouchers that families can use for any educational option), allow for families to actually be lead decision-makers in schools, force schools to regard families and children as (shudder the thought) real customers who deserve to be treated with respect, and, ultimately, help children get the high-quality teaching and curricula they deserve. If anything, the continued existence of traditional districts is the single-biggest obstacle to systemic reform. Traditional districts are also the biggest obstacles to Parent Power efforts. If Ravitch really wants a system in which parents have a direct voice in schools, she would support the end of traditional districts. But Ravitch doesn’t really want parents to actually participate in education decisionmaking.
  • Williamson County snubs student teaching
    With teacher tenure and job retention riding on a top score, Williamson County is banning student teachers from working in core subjects in high school and suggesting individual principals not allow them in grades 3-8. Even though they’re not under formal policies, other principals and teachers statewide who formerly volunteered to take student teachers are backing off, too. They say they don’t have time to mess with mentoring, or they fear the process could affect students’ test scores, college of education officials at Vanderbilt and Belmont universities said.
  • State reveals LEAD Academy will take over another failing Metro school
    LEAD Academy charter school in Nashville will take over another failing Metro Nashville public middle school next fall, state officials announced this week.
  • School board leans toward number grade for director
    MURFREESBORO — The Rutherford County Board of Education will likely revert back to a five-point scale to evaluate Director of Schools Harry Gill Jr.’s on-the-job performance.
  • Bartlett residents discuss creating separate school district
    The support for a Bartlett municipal school district was evident at Monday night’s town hall meeting even though many of the facts weren’t as clear. The Better Bartlett Schools organization, headed by a steering committee of eight citizen leaders, invited residents to the forum to discuss the future of education in the suburb. About 150 people showed up at Bartlett Station Municipal Center to hear Mayor Keith McDonald’s take on the matter and the best information available on what it would take to create a separate school system from the consolidated, countywide configuration on the horizon.
  • School board members suggest expanding Normal Park zone to include One North Shore
    Two weeks after voting against expanding the zone around Normal Park Museum Magnet School to include a Hill City neighborhood, a pair of Hamilton County School Board members are suggesting the zone be stretched to include a block of waterfront condos.
  • Charter, private operators to upgrade 2 underachieving Memphis schools
    By fall 2012, Memphis-based Gestalt Community Schools — which has run the Power Center Academy charter in Hickory Hill since 2008 — and private Cornerstone Prep in Binghamton will take over two unnamed Memphis city schools, starting with a grade or two and building until the private operators are running the whole school.
  • Walton Family foundation gives $25 million to KIPP Foundation
    The Walton Family Foundation has announced a $25 million grant to the KIPP Foundation to support the nationwide network of KIPP public charter schools. The grant will target eight regions…
  • Public school teachers not underpaid
    he implication of the protesters’ demand, however, is that teachers are paid far too little given their skills. The opposite is actually true: According to our analysis of salaries, fringe benefits and job security, most public school teachers are paid considerably more than what they could earn in private-sector jobs. The teacher compensation premium carries both short- and longer-term policy implications. The most immediate is that the mild reductions in teacher benefits currently contemplated in many states would not lead to an exodus of teachers. Their overall compensation package would remain well above market levels. In the longer term, states and localities should give public schools greater flexibility in setting teacher pay. The most effective teachers may require present, or perhaps even higher, levels of compensation. But the first step toward any pay reform is acknowledging a simple fact: The average public school teacher is not underpaid.
  • With Hispanic students on the rise, Hispanic teachers in short supply
    More than 21 percent of schoolchildren are Hispanic, experts report, compared with 7 percent of teachers. No other racial or ethnic minority group has such a wide disparity. In the struggle to close this gap, the stakes are high: Research suggests that a more diverse faculty might lead to better attendance, fewer suspensions and higher test scores.
  • PARENT REVOLUTION | TOGETHER WE CAN TAKE BACK YOUR SCHOOL, FOR YOUR CHILD, YOUR COMMUNITY, AND OUR FUTURE.
    Parent Revolution, the group that inspired parents to trigger a takeover in their failing school, is now helping to inform and organize scads more parent groups to take power over their neighborhood schools. While they are predominantly in California, they will answer the call from states near and far. Parents who want to make serious changes in their schools — be they leadership driven or complete restructuring– would do well to make contact http://parentrevolution.org/; Los Angeles Parents Union, 315 W. 9th Street, Suite 1000, Los Angeles, California, 90015; Phone (213) 621-3052; Email: [email protected]
  • Do Failing Schools Deserve a Second Chance?
    “Our research suggests that students would have to transfer to much higher performing schools before they would experience positive results,” Zimmer concluded. “Therefore, at least in the particular district we examined, it may not be an effective strategy for raising student performance for most students.” Marisa de la Torre, associate director at the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research, found similar results in her study of 44 Chicago schools closed between 2001 and 2006.
  • In Facebook chat, Gov. Christie discusses education reform, GOP chances to top Obama in 2012
    Science and math teachers should be paid more than gym teachers, Gov. Chris Christie told a national audience today during a live online chat on Facebook. “You have to pay them more than we pay the gym teacher. I’m sorry, in today’s society they’re more valuable,” he said.
  • Making Collaborative Conferencing Work
    It has been a long time in many school districts across Tennessee since teachers and administrators could sit down jointly and identify common interests. Now teachers and administrators can “sit on the same side of the table.” School leaders and teachers can now work toward solutions, as opposed to engaging in distributive arguments. Collaborative Conferencing can allow for free-flowing, good faith discussions, rather than talks that are restricted to a narrow range of topics. Teachers and school boards should not be adversarial to the other but, to the extent possible, work together for the benefit of students, improve performance, attract future teachers and retain and obtain benefits necessary to keep quality teachers in the classroom.
  • Teacher accused in student assaults back in classroom
    HOHENWALD-A middle school teacher in Lewis County is back in the classroom, despite his arrest last week for an alleged assault on two students.

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