Daily School Reform News Roundup, July 16 to 20

Published July 20, 2012

A House panel approved a bill that would axe President Obama’s signature education programs, Race to the Top and other grants. It would also reinstate the rule that allows alternately certified teachers to count as “highly qualified.” 

Charter schools raise education standards for vulnerable children.

Accidentally disclosed letters show a Pennsylvania teachers union attempting to redistrict school lines to end the terms of school board members they don’t like.

How the U.S. Department of Education unjustifiably ruined a for-profit college. 

The public education conversation in West Virginia has shifted from “more spending” to “better spending.”

A field guide to improving New Jersey teachers.

New Mexico teachers protest objective measurements of their performance.

Education is central to social mobility and equal opportunity, says Peter Meyer.

Why the suburbs also need school choice.

From Thursday:

President Obama wants to spend another $1 billion on adding a ‘Master Teacher Corps’ to the list of 80 federal teacher spending programs.

Michigan’s Senate has delayed switching the state’s pension system to 401(k)-style. Lawmakers say the changes will make the state financially attractive.

The largest evangelical college in the country has joined Catholic institutions in suing the Obama administration to stop its abortifacient mandate

The Obama administration has exempted now 32 states from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

President Obama’s student-loan-rate reduction gets its funds from raiding federal pension set-asides that are already nonexistent. 

Nevada’s legislature needs to end “last in, first out” rules for teachers once and for all, opines the Las Vegas Review-Journal in light of rules that required a school to fire its New Teacher of the Year.

An upcoming Arizona ballot initiative would require constantly increasing rates of education spending.

New Jersey has virtually no reason to delay an online charter school, write Michael Horn and Charity Eyre

The internet is taking away higher education institution’s monopoly on job-related credibility

How Hurricane Katrina’s devastation allowed for massive education reform.

From Wednesday:

The United States 25th among 40 countries in the rate of annual growth in student test score performance since the 1990s. See which states have done better and worse. 

In the last four years for which we have data, the nation spent $15 billion on extra pay for teachers with master’s degrees, though the degrees statistically have no effect on teacher quality.

How to increase student achievement while cutting spending.

Public universities are starting to seek more private funds as states cut support.

A union-backed ballot initiative in Michigan would give collective bargaining agreements precedence over state laws.

Texas is considering creating its own version of the GED.

Forty years of opinion polls show the public wants local control of education. Here’s how to actually get it. 

Just 4.6 percent of the 155,000 people who signed up for MIT’s first free online class finished it. Meanwhile, competing provider Coursera signs up a dozen traditional institutions to offer classes.

From Tuesday:

A Utah teacher takes down a state administrator’s defense of the Common Core. 

The teachers’ union kills a Democratic bill to remove criminals from California’s classrooms.

New, tougher math tests in Virginia have many more kids failing. A similar result has happened with Wisconsin’s recently revamped tests.

MUST READ: A now-retired college professor lists some of his subliterate students’ English bloopers

Michigan Republicans are reviving legislation to transition the state pension system into one similar to 401(k)s. The Detroit News says it’s about time.

Oklahoma lawmakers are studying ways to protect student privacy in an era of Big Data.

Michigan’s governor wants to shift state education funding so it is directly tied to each child.

“Since the advent of testing and reform, the nation’s most highly respected measure of academic achievement shows strong gains in Florida,” writes Matthew Ladner.

Diane Ravitch says we cannot know whether the Common Core will benefit or harm students until it is field-tested.

Federalism means 51 state school boards are better than a single federal office, says Bill Evers.

From Monday:

A group of Minneapolis Christians moved into an inner-city neighborhood and started a private school that is revitalizing the families of children who attend. 

Bulldozers will crush abandoned Detroit buildings in an effort to reduce crime and strengthen local schools. 

The college crunch tightens as schools start offering less grant aid to students.

Chicago Public Schools and its teachers union are likely to reject an arbitrator’s suggestion of a 15 to 20 percent wage hike, reports the Chicago Tribune. The union wants a 30 percent increase and CPS offered a 2 percent increase, citing its massive debt and funding shortfalls.

Maine’s first charter school is set to open soon and will focus on students at risk of dropping out with an emphasis on hands-on natural sciences education.

Though Virginia has received a federal No Child Left Behind waiver, state officials still don’t know what that means for measuring schools in the state. 

Federal No Child Left Behind waivers are the Obama administration’s tool for nationalizing education, writes Sally Lovejoy on National Review Online.

Large percentages of Maine children find their schoolwork too easy.

How to track legislation related to parents and education.

A New Mexico teachers union complained to the U.S. Department of Education that the state isn’t including its ideas when drawing up new teacher evaluation system.

West Virginia’s department of education is beginning to implement cost-saving recommendations from an audit conducted last year.

For last week’s School Reform News roundup, click here.

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Image by Mo Riza