• Study: Florida voucher students making slightly bigger gains than peers in public schools
    Florida: Low-income students attending private schools in Florida with tax-credit vouchers appear to be making slightly bigger academic gains than similar students in public schools, according to standardized test scores analyzed for the latest in a series of state-ordered studies.
  • School Choice Gains Traction | Acton Institute
    The public school monopoly is harmful for the same reasons that other monopolies are. Where there is no competition, there is a tendency to tolerate waste, incompetence, and poor outcomes. The inherent human tendency toward self-interest works itself out in an institutional context, and the goals of self-preservation and self-enrichment take precedence over the achievement of excellence in creating goods or offering services. The stakes here are high. The good being sold in education happens to be human development: the education and formation of children so as to prepare them to be morally upstanding and economically productive citizens. Some argue that this task is so important that it must be performed by government. In truth, it is too important to be left to government. Outstanding education should be innovative, cost-efficient, and respect parental values. These aims are best achieved in a competitive and pluralistic environment where a variety of schooling options are available to all. Instead, in many places in this country, what exists is a system of “free” but second-rate government schools for the masses along with first-rate private schools that are affordable only to the wealthy. Religious private schools, which historically have bridged the gap between these two options, are closing at a rapid rate as a vicious cycle of declining enrollment and rising tuition makes their finances untenable.
  • Teachers get answers at town hall
    On Tuesday, she was among about 80 teachers who attended a town hall meeting at Bearden High School to learn and ask questions about the district’s new APEX strategic compensation system as well as the new Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model, known as TEAM, evaluation framework.The two initiatives allow the district to give teachers up to $2,000 in additional pay, while every teacher is now required to be evaluated at least once a year.

  • Close the Math Gap
    So how do we fix this math problem? We need more creative government and private sector partnerships to support numerical literacy programs to keep the US competitive. In addition to a well-funded school system, we need to encourage and exploit innovative approaches for learning outside the classroom. An example is the Khan Academy. One of the nagging problems with math in schools is that the weaker students never catch up. Self-paced learning outside the classroom offers a unique way forward. These new learning methodologies could augment and transform math education, and ensure that no child is truly left behind. Finally, it’s time to return to old-fashioned rote learning. My work now involves complicated and abstract math, but I started where everyone can: with the multiplication tables. Here are two truths: 7 x 5 = 35 and developing dexterity with mental arithmetic leads to comfort with quantitative reasoning.
  • Are we leaving gifted students behind?
    The teaching in many schools is prescriptive, even scripted. “We have squeezed out of the curriculum the kinds of things that really contribute to the next generation of highly creative, productive, inventive, entrepreneurial people…”It’s not like there was this golden era that NCLB has ruined. It’s really been a sort of constant struggle in America to figure out how to pay attention to the students that are exceeding what the expectations are for most students,” she says. “Academic excellence is something we feel ambivalent about. There’s this idea that the kids will do well anyway.” There’s no national policy requiring that gifted children be identified and served by school districts. There’s no national definition of “gifted.” NAGC estimates the number of gifted students at about 3 million, or 6 percent of the US student population. What happens to them is largely left up to local school districts, and when budget screws tighten, gifted programs are among the first to go. “There are many schools doing well with these kids and there are many that are not, so it’s just an accident of birth or ZIP Code…It might seem that the country has bigger problems to worry about than smart kids who are bored silly. But student success is linked to the success of the national economy, says a bipartisan chorus of advocates for more attention to top students.
  • Dissecting Government Waste in Education and Job Training
    House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) appeared last night “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” to discuss the six month anniversary of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on waste and duplication in federal programs. “It’s not enough to consolidate one or two or three or four programs,” said Chairman Kline. “We need to look at this across agencies and really pare this thing down, change the way Washington works, change the way Washington spends taxpayer money, become more efficient, become more responsive. When you have that many programs, none of them are going to work well.” The March GAO report identified overlap and fragmentation among 82 distinct teacher quality programs and 47 separate job training initiatives, representing a taxpayer investment of roughly $22 billion. While the administration declined to discuss what they are doing to eliminate waste in federal programs and ensure better use of taxpayer money, Chairman Kline detailed the committee’s efforts to advance legislation that streamlines federal spending by eliminating more than 40 duplicative and unnecessary K-12 education programs. The House of Representatives is expected to consider the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891) in the coming weeks. As Chairman Kline noted: “We are trying to simplify, clean it up, and get rid of some of this waste.”
  • Mt. Juliet Teen Arrested For Gun At School
    A Mt. Juliet High School student was arrested after deputies found a gun in the school parking lot. Wilson County authorities said the incident happened Tuesday when they were searching for possible drugs on campus. Their search turned up a hunting knife, a night stick, and an unloaded handgun. A 16-year-old student was charged and booked into jail.
  • Memphis City Schools officials see few takers on transfer option
    More than 40 percent of students in Memphis City Schools are eligible to transfer to better schools this year, but if history is any indicator, fewer than 5 percent will. In August, the district sent 46,100 eligibility letters to parents with students in low-performing schools. It bumped the deadline for transfers from Friday to Sept. 9 to accommodate more parents. But as of Monday, just 120 had applied for a transfer, less than two-tenths of one percent of those eligible.
  • High School Shortchanged Us, Students Report – Curriculum Matters
    The College Board has released a survey that asks recent high school graduates to reflect on their high school experiences and on their transitions to college and work. When you roll all of that up together, it’s interesting to learn that 82 percent of the students still look back on their overall high school experience and report that they are satisfied with it. (This at the very same time that 80 percent of the students said they would change something about their high school years.)
  • Obama Jobs Plan to Push More K-12 Bloat?
    So we haven’t been aggressive enough with our hiring at the K-12 level, hmm? Perhaps I’m an unusually timid sort, but the trend below looks pretty darn aggressive to me: k-12 employment has been growing 10 times faster than enrollment for forty years.

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