• Students, money go to East TN virtual school
    The Dickson County School System has lost several students and tax dollars to Union County – a tiny county of less than 18,000 people in East Tennessee. “I don’t think the state is looking out for the child’s best interest,” Dickson County school board member Steve Haley said. “I think they are looking at private companies’ interest.”
  • Teacher evaluations questioned as time-consuming
    A bipartisan group of lawmakers is mapping out scenarios they expect the legislature to consider when it convenes in January, including delaying or modifying the evaluations, the centerpiece of the state’s $500 million Race to the Top allotment.
  • Romney’s Race From the Top
    The results from Race to the Top can be seen not only in states that received funding such as Florida (one of several states that have launched teacher performance pay plans) and Tennessee, which followed up on enacting more-rigorous teacher evaluations by abolishing collective bargaining — and weakening the influence of the state’s National Education Association affiliate. It was Race to the Top that coaxed California into enacting the nation’s first Parent Trigger law, allowing for a majority of parents to force the overhaul of failure factories that their children are forced to attend (three states now have some form of Parent Trigger law on the books); the impact of the initiative remains ongoing, as 13 states this year either launched or expanded school voucher and voucher-like tax credit initiatives that allow families to get their kids out of failing schools, while states such as Florida have launched performance pay plans.
  • Teachers union launches ad campaign supporting Obama jobs bill
    The National Education Association (NEA) launched a multistate television ad campaign Wednesday in support of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The 30-second television ad urges lawmakers to vote for the legislation, with several children saying school programs are being cut and teachers are being laid off. The president’s proposal includes $30 billion to pay for teachers and another $30 billion to modernize schools. NEA is the nation’s largest union, with 3.2 million members made up of teachers and other education staff. The ad will air in Washington, D.C., and five states: Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. A spokesman for the union estimated the ad buy would cost roughly $350,000. The NEA estimates that the bill could put 280,000 educators back to work and modernize 35,000 public schools.
  • Coming Together to Kill Education Reform
    If the eagerness to demonstrate some bipartisanship on education turns into a stampede, it’s not hard to see common ground between what Republican governors, Republican leaders in Washington, and the Obama Administration want — and that means a lot less accountability, especially since the administration has a rocky record of standing up to Republican demands. Given the national imperative of improving our schools and the mixed record of states, perhaps it’s worth pausing to ask if this is really a bipartisanship worth celebrating.
  • Obama tells students: Discover new passions
    In a 20-minute address to Banneker’s 415 students, streamed live to schools across the country by the White House, Obama urged students to take their work seriously but also to experiment.
  • October 2011 School Reform News Now Online
    The October issue of School Reform News reports on legal challenges facing Indiana’s new voucher program, which has attracted more than 2,800 students and 250 private schools this fall, despite the pending challenge and obstacles to the application process. Also in this issue:
  • Metro schools to spend $1M in grants on diversity training, programs
    Metro Nashville school board members approved on Tuesday spending more than $1 million in grants and federal funds for new staff training and programs for students.
  • Paying Teachers More Matters
    The National Center for Education Statistics has issued a new report titled “Beginning Teacher Attrition and Mobility”. It’s the first glimpse into a major longitudinal study of why teachers stay in the profession, and why they leave. Here’s what we’ve found by tracking new teachers who entered the profession in the 2007-2008 school year, and whether they stayed after their first year of teaching:
  • Unified committee to work on retaining possible voucher students
    RACINE – Unified is creating a Choice Committee to promote and expand student options in the district in order to keep students enrolled. Voucher advocates say vouchers improve all schools by creating a competitive environment, and it seems Unified is already working to step up its game.

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