Daily School Reform News Roundup, June 18 to 22

Published June 21, 2012

“Liberal mayors would never have dared to challenge union power even a few years ago, but now they see charter schools, parent trigger and even vouchers as a chance to side with parents against an increasingly unpopular special interest,” writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

Iowa did not receive a federal No Child Left Behind waiver because of a wimpy legislature and over-controlling U.S. Department of Education, says Shane Vander Hart.

The New Jersey Senate approved a bill that would tie tenure to classroom evaluations and student test scores, but retain seniority.

How the recession has changed school funding: it’s made local districts and the federal government pick up bigger chunks of schools’ budgets.

From Thursday:

New Hampshire’s governor has vetoed a new tax-credit scholarship program, but the statehouse likely has the votes to override his veto. His comments here.

South Carolina’s superintendent has requested a court stop a U.S. Department of Education action to remove $36 million in federal funds from the state.

Today, the New Jersey Senate takes up a bill that would tie teacher tenure to student test results.

The GAO report concluding charter schools serve fewer disabled students completely ignores how special-needs programs work in public schools, writes Mike Petrilli.

More than a decade of data shows that standardized tests have been critical in the quest to provide a quality public education for Florida’s children, writes state Rep. Will Weatherford.

Despite its good decision to allow D.C.’s vouchers program to continue, the Obama administration was “churlish” about poor parents’ efforts to get their children a better education, opines the Washington Post.

From Wednesday:

New Jersey’s pending tenure legislation is a joke, according to the Education Action Group.

North Carolina’s education reforms, including merit pay and scholarship tax credits, are moving forward and shifting between legislative chambers.

The U.S. State Department has postponed an announcement scheduled for today about its deal with Amazon to send $16.5 million worth of taxpayer-paid Kindles…to people overseas. 

Given its conservative education chops, Indiana’s support for the Common Core is perplexing, says Andrea Neal.

Wisconsin officials announced a new online state university degree program. 

Half of test-taking will be online by 2014-2015, says a new report.

The Gates Foundation is spending $1.1 million on biometric bracelets that measure students’ biological responses during school.

Schools should be built around students, not students packed into schools, writes Alex Hernandez.

A GAO report says charter schools underenroll disabled students.

Milwaukee’s teachers union could have saved hundreds of teacher jobs and millions in district debt if they had chosen to open their contract to earlier negotiations.

From Tuesday:

A coalition of the nation’s mayors have endorsed Parent Trigger legislation to give parents voting power over their kids’ public schools.

Majorities of Montana voters support charter schools, tax-credit scholarships, and vouchers.

Louisiana’s Board of Education approves regulations for the state’s education overhaul, including a Parent Trigger.

Nearly two years of Republican dominance in Pennsylvania fails to deliver school vouchers, complains David Feith in the Wall Street Journal.

California’s Rube Goldberg-style school finance needs a change, opines the Los Angeles Times.

Rural students in Florida now have a wide variety of education options.

A group of black parents banded together to see their sons to high school graduation.

What does it mean to “teach to the test“?

How to create standardized tests for arts, music, and gym.


From Monday:

A California school district’s Teacher of the Year was laid off, likely in large part because state law requires districts to fire according to seniority rather than quality.

After a year of rewriting and consulting, New Jersey state Sen. Teresa Ruiz has released legislation that would overhaul teacher tenure. The Star-Ledger supports it.

Colorado’s Douglas County is a leader in innovation, starting with its decision to ditch the union by offering only individual contracts this year, which 97 percent of teachers chose to sign, writes Ben DeGrow.

“Younger Americans don’t realize they’re coming of age in an era in which both parties have pre-committed virtually all public resources to seniors,” opines an angry Matt Miller.

Schools are turning to Kickstarter to privately fund better cafeteria food.

RiShawn Biddle documents a Philadelphia-area school district’s struggles to conduct business despite union opposition.

Larger school districts are increasingly turning to “backpack funding,” or weighted student funding, to distribute public education dollars. They like the flexibility and better fit of money to student needs.

Pell Grants are a runaway waste train, opines the Wall Street Journal.

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

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Image by Mo Riza