• Ignore Reality, Sell Jobs Plan
    It took them several weeks after introducing the American Jobs Act, but the White House has finally gotten into the numbers behind the Act’s edu-employment parts. A report released yesterday by the Obama administration – “Teacher Jobs at Risk” – tries to paint a picture of truly dire circumstances, which is a pretty easy task when you offer no context for your numbers. The foundational assumptions, of course, are that more money necessarily equals better education, and less money worse. This so flies in the face of reality…
  • Teachers’ union seeks to nullify the public’s will
    Florida voters are beginning to understand how badly many public schools perform, and how little many students are learning compared to their peers in other nations. That’s why they elected Gov. Rick Scott and a slate of legislators who promised to make public education more responsive to students and less responsive to organized labor. So how does the Florida Education Association react? It files a lawsuit, hoping to block a new law that bans teacher tenure and links teacher pay to classroom performance.
  • Diane Ravitch and her account of the Parent Trigger
    Yesterday, Parent Revolution and the Parent Trigger law were featured in Diane Ravitch’s column, Bridging the Difference in Education Week. In it, Dr. Ravitch argues that parents’ deserve no more say the operation of their children’s schools than any random citizen who happens to live in that neighborhood. Even worse, she defends her position with straw man arguments, baseless attacks and, unfortunately, inaccuracies and lies.
  • What’s so bad about school choice?
    The school choice movement is gathering steam because of one simple fact: Public education is one of the most unproductive and underperforming sectors in America. Many public educators have responded to these developments the way monopolies typically do when their quiet lives are disrupted: by angrily casting aspersions on the potential competition.Public education needs fundamental, institutional reform. School choice may not be the only possible response to long-term educational problems, but it deserves serious attention rather than knee-jerk condemnation.
  • Education Savings Accounts: A Way Forward on School Choice
    Today, a child entering kindergarten can expect to have more than $120,000 spent on his or her education by the time the child graduates high school. And approximately 90 percent of that money is derived from state and local sources. Education Savings Accounts operate on the philosophy that parents are best equipped to make the important decisions about their child’s education. Instead of automatically allocating a share of a child’s education funding to the public-school system, ESAs ensure dollars will be spent under the direction of parents, at any school of their choice.
  • The Economic Weakness of Merit Pay for Teachers
    A government-run system of teacher compensation, based on test scores, would in some ways be the worst of all worlds. It would create incentives for teachers to “game” the system. It would give too much weight to a noisy indicator of performance. As a result, it would do little or nothing to improve accountability or to reward better teachers. A better system of teacher compensation would have the following elements:
  • Shared goals drive school partners
    Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce hosted a retreat in Seattle to learn best practices of business engagement in education. Our delegation of eight members of the Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee was able to share our experiences from Nashville and gain insight into the efforts occurring in seven other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Texas and Washington.
  • School board chooses its plan to redistrict
    The Knox County school board chose a different plan to meet requirements for redistricting at its monthly meeting on Wednesday. The board did not choose either of the plans recommended by the committee, instead voting for Plan 3A, which utilizes the school board’s district as its starting point.
  • Rick Smith Gives State of the Schools Address
    Redistricting and building new schools have been a hot topic. The East side of the county continues to grow, many schools are already overcrowded. PILOT money has been tied up in the Commissioners hands.. But Smith says there’s a plan and Commissioners are being responsive. “So we’re looking for two schools on this side of the river, what we’re calling the eastern part of the county, through that rezoning we would have to really seriously look at Ooltewah Middle School and Hunter Middle School to relieve that overcrowding at East Hamilton,” says Smith.
  • Help on way for Memphis-Shelby County schools merger team
    Among the papers scattered over the table – a request for a proposal seeking expert management help. “For what we are looking for and the magnitude of the proposal, it’s going to be a significant amount of money – easily could get up to $500,000,” Luttrell said. “I think that will be the biggest piece of the expense, getting a management consultant to help us kind of frame the issue, do the best practices research for us, reach out to subject matter experts.
  • Hamilton County boasts 25 National Merit Scholar semifinalists
    This year, about 16,000 students across the country—approximately one percent of the roughly 1.5 million juniors in 22,000 high schools to have taken the preliminary SAT—earned the honor, and at least 25 of those students are attending schools in Hamilton County.

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