• With Waivers, National Standards Anything but Voluntary
    The Common Core State Standards Initiative has been pushed as far as it has gotten in large part by federal dollars and pressure. This push for national standards and tests has become a federal enterprise—and a dangerous direction for our nation’s education system.
  • State to lead K-12 science ed reform
    Tennessee is among a group of states selected to lead an important effort to improve science education for all students. The state, along with 19 others, will lead the development of Next Generation Science Standards, which will clearly define the content and practices students will need to learn in grades K-12.
  • Parent trigger law gives parents real power: When schools fail, convert them into charters
    The idea is simple but powerful: Give us, the parents, the chance to turn around failing schools. The parent trigger, as it’s known, allow the parents of students at a chronically underperforming school the ability to determine, via a majority vote, when and how school reform can come about. In other words, the parent trigger takes educational decision-making away from politicians and bureaucrats and empowers those who have the most at stake.
  • Taking a look at where the “Race to the Top” money is spent
    For an in-depth look at how the funds are being used including an interview with State Board of Education Members Mike Edwards, watch the video included.
  • I Think a Change Could Do You Good
    In order to facilitate data-driven decision making in the classroom, states and districts must endeavor to have to right data, and work to build a data-driven culture. One state, Oregon, is leading the way in building that culture.
  • Pasadena Rosebud Academy charter school defies odds
    PASADENA – As the nationwide achievement gap between black, Latino and white students expands, one Altadena charter school seems to be defying that trend, notching test scores that rival schools in affluent neighboring communities. Pasadena Rosebud Academy, a kindergarten through fourth-grade charter school, scored 890 on the academic performance index.
  • Law Involving Parents to Overhaul Schools Faces Hurdles
    COMPTON, Calif.—The promise sounded alluring and simple: if enough parents signed a petition, their children’s struggling school would be shut down and replaced with a charter school. So, using a new state law known as the parent trigger, organizers at an underperforming school here in Compton collected hundreds of signatures from parents who said they were fed up. But Compton’s ordeal illustrated how difficult claiming that power can be and how bitter the battles can become. When parents began signing the petition last fall to replace McKinley Elementary School, several Latino parents said teachers had warned them that they could be deported if they did. Other parents said that teachers insisted the children were simply not trying hard enough to learn. Teachers, for their part, complained that parents had been coerced into signing the petition and that many did not know what they were signing.
  • Public Schools Eat Too Much At Gov’t Trough
    That teachers’ unions are gung-ho about the proposal — which would furnish $30 billion for education jobs and another $25 billion for school buildings — doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Kids need teachers and classrooms, right? Sure. But we all need food, too, yet we can eat too much, or scarf down the wrong things, and end up sick as dogs. And for the last several decades public schools have been throwin’ down Twinkies like they’re going out of style.
  • President Obama Mistakes Bi-Partisan Distaste for NCLB for a Mandate to Rewrite
    Both sides of the aisle agree that No Child Left Behind is broken. But the Obama administration believes that federal intervention can be fixed, and Washington-driven policy can improve America’s ailing education system. By contrast, conservatives in Congress believe that states and local leaders should have their educational decision-making authority restored, and have introduced alternatives to No Child Left Behind, including proposals such as A-PLUS, which would allow states to completely opt-out of the failed law.
  • Wyoming Concerned with National Standards’ Federal Strings
    Last year the Common Core Initiative—headed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association—introduced a set of standards they’ve pushed for states to adopt. And the Obama Administration is in lockstep with the endeavor. Not only has the Administration championed the standards, but it has also continually used a carrot-and-stick approach to persuade states to sign on to the standards by offering incentives—and potentially requirements. For decades, the federal government’s influence on state education systems has been growing. The result has been increasing amounts of federal red tape for schools. National standards would mean even greater encroachment by Washington into the classroom.
  • Haslam joins Obama in altering No Child law
    Gov. Bill Haslam says he was happy to join President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony Friday as the president unveiled plans to let states opt out of some of the toughest provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
  • 6th District Senate candidates: On the record on the issues
    The next state senator from the 6th District will face an array of issues in the 2012 legislative session. Here are the some of those issues — and the views of the three candidates in the GOP primary.  State Lottery Scholarship Funds…School voucher proposal…Virtual Schools…
  • Big Apple-Bound Again
    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will do double duty in New York early this week, working on job creation while also appearing at the NBC event called the Education Nation Summit. The NBC education event kicks off with a teachers’ town hall on Sunday and concludes with a session with former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday. Haslam said he would be part of two panels at the summit, one on K-12 education and another on completing college.
  • Anti-Bullying 101 for Students (Video)
    Amanda McGeshik is leading the fight against school bullying in Dickson, Tennessee, a rural county in the middle of the state that has only 15 schools and slightly more than 8,200 students. “Bullying is extremely prevalent. It happens in every school,” says McGeshik. McGeshik works with Second Step, a violence prevention classroom curriculum offered by Centerstone of Tennessee .
  • Arne and Obama Gut School Accountability
    As your editor expected, the waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act being pushed by President Barack Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, aren’t worth the paper upon which they are written. Essentially, Obama’s waiver plan amounts to the gutting of accountability. And let’s be clear: Despite what Obama and Duncan may declare, the decision to gut AYP essentially declares that federal education policy is no longer concerned with improving education for the very poor and minority children, be they black, white, Latino or Asian, who were poorly served by America’s traditional public schools before No Child’s passage a decade ago.
  • Some on Memphis City Schools board say Cash merits bonus
    Memphis schools Supt. Kriner Cash passed with flying colors for the last school year, inspiring school board member Betty Mallott to say he deserved a bonus and president Martavius Jones on Thursday to recommend a 5 percent bonus retroactive for two years for a total of $41,250.
  • ‘No Child’ Fix Excites, Vexes
    Education chiefs from more than 20 states gathered at the White House on Friday morning to hear President Barack Obama formally propose relaxing certain tenets of the No Child Left Behind act for states that agree to meet a new set of standards he called more flexible. President Obama said he felt compelled to offer an amendment to No Child Left Behind only because Congress hadn’t done so. Some Republican leaders expressed opposition to his proposal, and their response could be to introduce an alternative plan in Congress. That possibility will likely discourage some states from moving forward under the Obama proposal, for fear that it will be rendered moot. Leaders on all sides of the education debate praised the intent of No Child Left Behind, a 2001 law that President George W. Bush promoted as a way of infusing accountability into education. But there is nearly unanimous agreement that the law is problematic, in part because it allows each state to define proficiency. That can reward low standards and punish states that set them high. As a result, some schools are achieving dramatic improvements, yet still falling short of 100% proficiency as California defines it. Under the administration’s proposal, those schools could avoid being labeled as failures. But the lack of a legal right to set teacher-evaluation policy on a statewide level could prevent California from qualifying for the amendments that the Obama administration has proposed. “Unfortunately, the administration’s waiver proposal process swaps one federal, top-down mandate for another,” Dean E. Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, said Friday in a statement.
  • Dyersburg: City School Board approves home-school athlete policy
    City School Board in almost anti-climatic fashion, quietly passed a new home-school athlete policy at its monthly board meeting on Monday. Under the new policy home-school students will be allowed to participate in high school athletics provided that they register with Durbin at the start of the school year and pay a $300 administrative fee. [Hooray for the children & thanks to the CSB for their support of the children!]
  • Study: Single-sex education may do more harm than good
    The push for more single-sex instruction in public schools is based on weak, “misconstrued” scientific claims rather than solid research and may do more harm than good, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday. The authors, a group that includes psychologists, child development specialists and a neuroscientist who specializes in gender, argue that while excellent single-sex schools exist, there is “no empirical evidence that their success stems from their single-sex organization,” as opposed to the quality of students, the curriculum or short-lived motivation that comes from “novelty and belief in innovation.”

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