• Milwaukee: Top charter school welcomes bullied kids
    What bullied child or parent of a bullied child has not longed for a school where the quirky kid is safely welcomed instead of shunned, his or her unique talents encouraged instead of rejected? Such a place — The Alliance School in Milwaukee — not only exists but won top honors as Wisconsin Charter School of the Year at an awards ceremony Oct. 21 at the Discovery Center in Milwaukee.
  • Widening support for school choice
    But it is also important that the constituency in support of school choice be expanded to include as many parents and voters as possible. Surveys have shown repeatedly that this support is much stronger among urban black and Latino respondents than among white suburbanites, as one might expect given that the latter have exercised school choice through residential decisions and beyond that have little opportunity to do so. Programs like that in Douglas Country can bring the educational freedom rationale – and the interest of influential parents — to the support of the equity rationale upon which previous initiatives have relied.
  • Gates Foundation — Release the MET Results
    Bill and Melinda Gates mentioned again in the Wall Street Journal the Measuring Effective Teachers (MET) project that their foundation is orchestrating. As I’ve argued before, using research to identify “best practices” in teaching only makes sense if the same teaching approaches would be desirable for the vast majority of teachers and students, regardless of the context.
  • Knox County leaders talk next steps on community school model
    Knox County leaders who have taken on the task of implementing components of the community school model took another step in the process on Monday. For the first time since traveling to Cincinnati in September to see examples of how it’s worked in that city, members came together to begin answering tough questions — including funding sources and barriers — and planning for the future. With the help of community partners, schools become a hub — staying open in the evenings, on weekends and during the summer for everything from health clinics to sites for yoga classes.
  • Senate Moves on NCLB Reauthorization
    Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) have introduced an 860-page bill to reauthorize No Child Left Behind, following it with an 868-page amendment a week later. The proposal passed the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee Oct. 19, with a hearing set for November 8. The Harkin/Enzi proposal will likely make the Senate floor before Thanksgiving, but the widely differing Senate and House proposals create an uncertain future for any near-term NCLB reauthorization.
  • The TEAM Teacher Evaluation: Stay the Course or Change the Model?
    Change is always difficult, but in education change is inevitable. It appears to me that the real issue around teacher evaluation is less about the instrument itself; and more about the fidelity of implementation.
  • Charter School Battles in Massachusetts and New Jersey — and the Importance of School Funding Reform
    But debates raging in Massachusetts and New Jersey brings up one of the most-important reasons why charters have struggled so long to expand their reach and move beyond the big cities into suburbia: The artificial barriers — including school funding systems — that allow traditional districts and affiliates of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers to keep charters a rarity in the ‘burbs.
  • Declining numbers of blacks seen in math, science
    The percentage of African-Americans earning STEM degrees has fallen during the past decade. It may seem far-fetched for an undereducated black population to aspire to become chemists or computer scientists, but the door is wide open, colleges say, and the shortfall has created opportunities for those who choose this path.
  • Everything You Need to Know About Public School Spending in Less Than 2½ Minutes
    Our public education problem is huge; we’re spending far too much and getting way too little. But most people don’t know the basic details. They still think we need to spend more on education. So, for all of you who want to get the details but don’t have much time, or have family and friends who need to be introduced to reality, I present to you . . . Everything you need to know about public school spending in less than 2½ minutes.
  • Union Case for “Jobs Bill” Underscores Government’s Ineptness
    And charter schools, by the way, typically receive 75% to 85% of what their traditional public school counterparts receive in taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, they don’t get a dime from taxpayers for facilities. Charter schools have to find those dollars another way. Yet they find a way to make it work. As the unions and Obama administration continue to try to make the case for the Jobs Bill, they’re revealing the soft underbelly of government ineptness in the process. It makes you wonder, “if this is how they’re spending our dollars, why should we give them more?”
  • More freedom for school choice
    In a seminal paper published in 1955, Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman envisaged a universal school choice program for parents of all economic stripes to find schools best suited to their children. Friedman argued that injecting competition into the education market would greatly expand the range of parental choice and result in higher levels of academic attainment. Unfortunately, today’s school choice programs have yet to provide a real test for Friedman’s free market thesis. They are simply too encumbered with anti-competitive and anti-free market constraints meant to equalize opportunities for disadvantaged students. Despite the constraints, some choice programs around the country have shown encouraging results. Studies in Florida, Maine, Vermont, Ohio and Wisconsin have demonstrated that the proximity of choice programs to public schools had improved public school performance.
  • In new comic, Spider-Man waits for Superman at charter lottery
    According to a new comic book, one of the children who needed Superman to lift him out of subpar schools was a young Spider-Man. In a new “Ultimate Spider-Man” series launching next month, the inheritor of the Spider-Man mantle is Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic Brooklyn-born teenager. A sneak peek shows a young boy accompanying his parents to what appears to be a charter school lottery, held in a cavernous space with video screens at one end and bleachers along the sides.

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