School Reform News Roundup for May 7-11, 2012

Published May 11, 2012

Budget flexibility for Wisconsin schools will save Neenah taxpayers $1.8 million each year.

Pension debt is strangling Michigan school districts, says the state’s speaker of the House.

How California’s open enrollment law affects kids.

Congress’s budget fights are likely to impact federal education spending soon, but just how is unclear. 

An Alabama House committee ended for this session hopes the state would allow charter schools.

From Thursday:

A lawmaker Ohio unions depended on in their fight to overturn collective bargaining curbs last year is now one of their targets.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett says state pension costs need to be paid before education cuts are reversed.

One of Louisiana’s highest-achieving public school districts has decided it will not accept students from lower-performing districts amid community concerns residents will get less from their high property taxes.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the state Senate bicker over legislation to retain third-graders who cannot read well, grade state schools A-F, and revamp the state teacher evaluation system.

From 2007 to 2010, the percentage of graduates attending California state universities fell by 20 percent, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

The Alabama legislature has passed a bill that would have the state publicly grade schools and pay them bonuses for high performance.

South Carolina Republicans split on a bill to give private school and homeschool tax deductions and businesses tax credits for donations to nonprofit scholarships.

From Wednesday:

School bake sale ban in Massachusetts sparks cries of “food police.”

The focus on the Common Core state standards is a distraction from the work of real reform, writes Eric Hanushek in Education Next.

It’s National Charter Schools Week.

A follow-up to last year’s everywhere-cited digital learning paper has just arrived from Heather Staker and Michael Horn at the Innosight Institute. This one is titled, “Classifying K-12 Blended Learning.”

David Brooks says online education will create a campus tsunami.

Earlier this week:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie names a tax-credit scholarship for kids in the state’s worst schools his top priority in the current legislative session. He then went on the warpath against the state’s largest teachers union, which opposes the voucher-like program, calling them “bullies” with a “$130 million slush fund.” 

The Missouri House narrowly passed a bill to prohibit schools from using seniority as the sole factor in teacher layoffs.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation that will allow charter schools in the state if the measure passes a statewide referendum.

To help celebrate National Charter Schools week, Jay Greene notes that the best evidences shows charter schools benefit students

The Illinois Senate voted to end a perk allowing state representatives to grant tuition breaks for up to eight students of their own choosing in state colleges or universities. The 103-year-old program had been rife with abuse, with representatives granting tuition breaks to campaign supporters and staffers.

A Missouri court decision against allowing students to leave unaccredited districts has put a stop to lawmakers trying to solve the problem.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed both a bill to give the legislature control over state education standards and one ending the practice of “last in, first out” in teacher layoffs for the districts that did not write the practice into existing contracts. 

From last week:

Matthew Ladner rounds up this year’s education changes in Arizona, noting that a new education savings account expansion sits on Gov. Brewer’s desk. Brewer had vetoed a previous one, citing her wish to sign a budget first. 

Cato’s Andrew Coulson suggests high school grads create their own substitute for a college degree

In the New York Times online, Mark Bittman decimates advocates of expanding government food programs for poor children.

Lawmakers rethink the restriction against students discharging college loans in bankruptcy. 

Sixty-four percent of parents would purchase a mobile device for kids to use at schools.

States like Louisiana, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio are leaving Illinois in the dust by expanding school vouchers, editorializes the Chicago Tribune.


For other top-notch school reform news selections, visit: 

Image by Mo Riza