• Teachers Unions | Teachers’ unions: all for accountability … in theory
    In 1984, the Ministry of Plenty handled rationing. The Ministry of Love was in charge of torture. And in the summer of 2011, life imitated art when the National Education Association announced it supports the use of student performance in teacher evaluations.
  • Cracking the Math on the ACT Report
    Only seven mandate the test.  Participation varies widely from state to state with as few as one in ten students taking the ACT, and the majority opting to take the competitor, SAT.
  • Reforming K-12 Education
    “What’s Your Single Best Idea For Reforming K-12 Education?” Shorten it.
    Shorten the the number of years that is used to currently teach what is taught in K-12 education that is.
  • The Missing Link in School Reform
    Our results suggest that we need to broaden the focus on teacher human capital to an approach that supports both human and social capital development for teachers. WHAT IS SOCIAL CAPITAL? Social capital, by comparison, is not a characteristic of the individual teacher but instead resides in the relationships among teachers. A social capital perspective would answer the same question by looking not just at what a teacher knows, but also where she gets that knowledge. If she has a problem with a particular student, where does the teacher go for information and advice? Who does she use to sound out her own ideas or assumptions about teaching? Who does she confide in about the gaps in her understanding of her subject knowledge? Social capital is a concept that gained traction in sociology with the publication of James Coleman’s work comparing students in public and parochial schools. He found that parochial school students performed better and attributed this to the social links among parents and within neighborhoods, which strengthened student support systems. In business, social capital has received attention because of its role in creating intellectual resources within a firm.
  • Some parents leery of Memphis City Schools transfer options
    One reason few Memphis City Schools families are not transferring out of failing schools is because the options look worse. Five of the seven school choices that parent Tom Brown received last week from MCS have lower test scores than Cordova Middle, the high-priority school that federal law says his child shouldn’t have to attend. Because of the way the law works, “a school with higher scores can actually have a lower status than a school with lower scores,” said William White, MCS director of school choice and student accounting.
  • Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell makes picks to school merger transition panel
    Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell chose three Memphians and two suburban residents as his five picks to serve on the commission that will create a transition plan for merging the county’s two school systems. His picks:
  • ‘Virtual School’ faces fight
    Marshall County could have its own “Virtual School” next year, if a suggestion made by Technology Supervisor Suzanne Ingram to the curriculum committee comes to fruition. Meanwhile, parents who want to take their children out of Marshall County schools and enroll them in Union County’s virtual school are facing frustration because online education affects state funding for county school systems. schools director Roy Dukes said at a committee meeting Monday, is that students who enrolled in a virtual school before July 25 could go. Students who enrolled after that date need permission from their director of schools. Dukes is not granting this at the moment, for financial reasons. “We don’t want to give permission and lose that BEP money,” said Miller.
  • ‘Virtual school’ hits enrollment hiccup
    As many as half of the more than 2,000 students applying to attend the state’s first public online academy have yet to be enrolled some three weeks into the beginning of the privately-operated institution’s school year, officials say. Union County Schools Director Wayne Goforth and officials at K12 Inc., a Herndon, Va., for-profit virtual school company that runs Union County’s Tennessee Virtual Academy, blame problems on a variety of factors. But another issue involved, Goforth said, is the refusal by some school districts to approve the transfer of their students who did not meet the July 24 deadline on such transfers between school districts.“A lot of times the directors don’t want to give permission for them to leave,” Goforth said. “And that’s their choice. I guess they don’t want to lose their [state] funding because in Tennessee, the funding follows the child.”
  • Teacher eval steps sparking complaint
    MURFREESBORO — The Rutherford County Board of Education will be asking the state to re-evaluate and make modifications to a new teacher performance evaluation adopted earlier this year.
  • Chris Barbic leaps at chance to help Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools
    As the new superintendent of the state’s Achievement School District, Barbic is co-managing five of the state’s lowest-performing schools in Memphis and Chattanooga this year. Next year, he will have to decide if he wants to continue the co-management — working with the schools’ current districts — turn the schools into charters or take them over completely.
  • The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education
    To decide what is the single best idea for reforming K-12 education, one needs to figure out what is the biggest problem that the system currently faces. To my mind, the biggest problem is a preoccupation with, and the application of, the factory model of management to education, where everything is arranged for the scalability and efficiency of “the system”, to which the students, the teachers, the parents and the administrators have to adjust.
  • Boys in one class, girls in another at more schools
    Single-gender classrooms within coed schools have exploded in number over the past decade, rising from about 50 in 2003 to more than 400 this year.
  • Vouchers ARE Government Money, and That’s the Problem
    Vouchers are grants of government funds, while tax credits are private funds. The court held that money spent and claimed as a credit, which is never collected in taxes in the first place, remains private money, not government spending like school vouchers. Other taxpayers can’t be harmed by the choices of those claiming credits because each taxpayer gets to decide, individually, what happens to their own money.
  • Why More Money Hasn’t, and Won’t, Fix the Nation’s Public School Buildings
    So if private schools can and do maintain their buildings in far better shape than public schools, at far less cost, what exactly are public schools doing wrong? The answer comes from one of the federal government’s own assessments of school facilities nationwide. According to that report,
  • K-12 Facilities Spending Up 150 Percent in Two Decades – Apparently Not Enough for Obama
    USA Today reports that part of President Obama’s much-anticipated plan for the economy, 3.0, might involve sending billions more in construction funding to our government school system: A plan to boost construction jobs nationwide by providing federal money to repair public schools is picking up support among unions, economists and liberal advocates with direct ties to the White House. Here is the truth, in all of its depressing visual simplicity:

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