- AAE Releases 2011 Member Survey
2011 annual membership survey was released by the Association of American Educators. The survey was conducted this summer, polling AAE members from all 50 states on issues relating to education and labor reform. Survey results showed shifting attitudes toward policies including school choice, technology, attracting new teachers to the workforce, and collective bargaining.
- Americans turning against teachers unions, turning on to public school reform
The 43rd annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools is a fair measure of public opinion, experts agree, with the exception of a poorly framed question on school vouchers which produced questionable results.
- Big Results in Big Easy Schools
In 2006 a mere 23 percent of New Orleans children scored at or above basic on state tests, and 62 percent attended failing schools. Today proficiency rates hit 48 percent, and less than 20 percent of children attend failing schools. Though the Recovery School District still has a long way to go, its unique reform model has already found imitators in states like Michigan and Tennessee.
- Primer on Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an effort led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a shared set of educational standards for English language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt. According to developers the following criteria were considered when developing the standards:
- Evaluating Evaluations
Leaders across the political spectrum understand we must continually make data-driven changes in the evaluation model. We have faith that policymakers statewide want to see changes in education that lead to greater student achievement and they will in fact not abandon teachers who are working under tremendous pressure to meet the changing education landscape. We also have the utmost confidence in Commissioner Kevin Huffman. He has proven himself to be a competent education leader that listens to the genuine concerns of teachers across the state. We look forward to working with Commissioner Huffman and team to make sure legitimate concerns are addressed, and sooner rather than later.
- Secretary Duncan to Hold Second #AskArne Twitter Town Hall
Secretary Duncan announced today that he will hold his second #AskArne Twitter Town Hall on Monday November 14, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Veteran education journalist John Merrow will return to moderate the town hall that will also be broadcast live on ED’s ustream channel.
- Schools work to improve test scores in 3rd, 7th grades
Clarksville-Montgomery County School System administrators are implementing some new district-wide strategies to combat falling test scores in certain areas across the district. In other business, the board:
• Accepted a $10,000 donation from the Aspire Foundation. Harris said the money has already been used to buy new equipment and supplies.
• Approved a resolution to accept $290,000 in Energy Efficient School Initiative funds for improvements to Montgomery Central High
• Approved board resolutions against pending legislation in Nashville for private school vouchers, elected superintendents, and postponing the start date of Tennessee schools.
- PEFNC Chief Talks Refreshingly About School Choice in the Tar Heel State
That man is Darrell Allison, the president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina. Always a man with a gift for eloquence in making the case for expanded educational options, Allison was particularly clear about why school choice is so important during his talk at UNC Law last week. Watch a clip of Allison at last week’s forum below:
- Metro adjusting well to new teacher evaluations
Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Jesse Register says that although new teacher evaluations are time-consuming and there are concerns by teachers of inconsistency by their evaluators, Metro is “doing better than most” school districts adjusting to the changes. Register said Tuesday during a school board meeting that 300 principals or administrators are evaluating 5,000 teachers this year. He says minor modifications, as the state Board of Education approved Friday to allow principals to do back-to-back evaluations to free up time, is fine as long as it doesn’t hurt the validity of the process.
- Magnet schools begin to draw interest
Rutherford County Schools’ Central Magnet School, McFadden School of Excellence and Thurman Francis Arts Academy, along with Murfreesboro City’s Discovery School at Reeves-Rogers have all set dates to give parents more information about the programs, designed for high-acheiving students. During the meetings, parents will learn more about each school’s area of emphasis, application process and deadlines. Applications for county magnet programs will be available in early December and can be turned in during the month of January. Discovery applications are available now and due Dec. 14. All four schools will notify families of admission in March.
- Memphis teacher tells U.S. Senate panel accountability is key to closing achievement gap
Sherwood Middle School special education teacher Charles Seaton told a U.S. Senate panel reviewing the No Child Left Behind program Tuesday that Memphis is setting higher standards by constantly evaluating “what we want to accomplish.” Much of the discussion Tuesday dealt with teachers’ and principals’ evaluations and the difficulty in getting them right.
- Superintendent travels to Ohio to observe STEM school
Smith, along with Assistant Superintendent Robert Sharpe, school board member David Testerman, Public Education Foundation President Dan Challener, and others traveled to the school in October. The delegation observed curriculum methods they hope to integrate into the county’s application for bringing a future STEM school to the region as early as next August. STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is a platform that seeks to leverage partnerships between businesses, higher education institutions, the nonprofit community and local educators to provide students with a practical education for the modern-day workforce. As part of the state’s First to the Top initiative, close to $2 million in funds have been allocated for a STEM school and regional hub in east or west Tennessee, and been put up for grabs through a request for proposals.
- Research & Commentary: Tennessee School Vouchers | The Heartland Institute
Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) has proposed legislation granting tuition vouchers to students who receive free or reduced-price school lunches in four of the state’s most populous counties. About 200,000 students would be eligible for vouchers up to half of what each district spends annually per student—between $4,200 and $5,400. The following documents offer more information about proposed vouchers in Tennessee.
- Center for Education Reform weekly report on education news and commentary
But, the hypocrisy is too much to take when they were recently singled out for contributing more than $1M to today’s New Jersey elections. To counter the NJEA’s bankroll, a new group, Better Education For Kids, with an emphasis on kids, the real reason for reform, supports real school choice, tenure reform and merit pay.
- School Reform Is Making Advances across America
School reform (from a classical liberal perspective) involves at least two things: school choice (i.e., putting the resources for education in the hands of parents, not the educational bureaucrats — preferably by vouchers) and school employee accountability (i.e., tying teachers’ compensation to their actual performance). Of the two, school choice is fundamental, because allowing parents and students to choose where they want the students to attend forces school administrators to worry about student retention, which in turn forces them to hold teachers accountable.
- Possible West Nashville charter school would have ‘mixed-income’ focus
There’s a push to launch a new charter school in West Nashville, this one with an untapped focus for similar schools in Davidson County: Instead of catering to only at-risk, economically disadvantaged students, the school would actively target middle- and upper-class children as well. A PowerPoint presentation labeled “West Nashville Charter School Task Force,” dated June 29, reveals some potential goals of such a school. One page is headed “What issues could a West Nashville Charter School Address?” The presentation makes three points: