Top Ten Daily Education News Stories, August 13 to 17

Published August 17, 2012

Friday’s Top Ten:

1. A new $19 million grant is going to promote global-warming curriculum in K-12 public schools.

2. Nearly 500 New York school districts, including New York City, have ignored a state law requiring them to implement new teacher evaluations.

3. Virginia deserves an F for its restrictive charter school laws, concludes a new report.

4. This year’s Million Father March has fathers across the country bringing their children to school.

5. Schools must provide parents and the public more data so they can make good decisions, says Candice Santomauro.

6. Why critics of “for-profit” education are all wet. 

7. Consultants release their recommendations for rethinking Nevada’s school finance system.

8. Top teachers are routinely pushed out of large school districts, notes a new report and the Washington Post. A new teacher residency program aims to stop that trend.

9. Federal education spending is largely wasted, says Chester Finn Jr.–here’s how it could be better spent.

10. When people recognize only science as the only basis for making a decision (on, say, education policy), it pushes science to become more politicized, writes Greg Forster.

Thursday’s Top Ten:

1. Michigan legislators made some changes to state employee benefits, including requiring employees to pay 20 percent of their health insurance costs, but did not substantially change the state’s ailing pension system. It will reportedly save the state $16 billion of its approximately $45 billion in pension debt. Lawmakers could and should have done better, the Detroit News editors write.

2. Progressive educators have begun to use the Common Core as a vehicle for their failed but dominant theories. 

3. As Illinois legislators try to fix one of the country’s worst pension deficits, state workers demonstrate to keep their benefits (video). Gov. Pat Quinn defends his position on reform (video).

4. Forthcoming national science standards squelch the debate on climate change and Darwinism.

5. A California bill would require school districts to negotiate with unions over every aspect of teacher evaluations.

6. The hot Utah debate over implementing the Common Core standards continues.

7. Louisiana sees a record number of new charter school applications after robust new laws passed this spring. The state’s charters have outpaced traditional government schools in test score gains.

8. Digital learning gives young minds a shot at education excellence, writes Juan Williams.

9. Kentucky lawmakers raise concerns over schools and tests treating evolution as an established fact.

10. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is barnstorming the state again to attempt a replay of this year’s failed education reforms.


Wednesday’s Top Ten:

1. A Detroit shoe store has promised to give free leather Nikes to every child who shows up on “school count day,” which determines enrollment for federal and state funding. That’s an estimated 14,000 to 17,000 shoes. 

2. Michigan lawmakers are still at odds over how to restructure the state’s unsustainable pensions system. They meet today to discuss compromises.

3. Merit pay for teachers increases student achievement if the teachers get the bonus first and have to pay it back later if their students perform poorly, concludes a new study. Another study found the worst teachers can improve when given certain kids of evaluations.

4. A new crowdfunding platform allows students to get money from investors now for school or business ideas and pay back later with a defined percent of their next ten years’ income.

5. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell hosts an ed-reform star-studded summit this week.

6. Nevada’s school funding formula is heavily redistributive, and lawmakers are considering a rewrite.

7. Washington school districts are reducing overhead to spend more on classrooms.

8. Now that the Obama administration has politicized the Common Core education standards, implementing it will be more difficult and uncertain, writes Rick Hess.

9. In 2012, 13 states so far have passed legislation aimed at improving reading for third graders, bringing to 32 the number of states with such policies.

10. In-school probation officers have reduced truancy rates in seven West Virginia counties.

Tuesday’s Top Ten:

1. A bipartisan Michigan bill would require school districts to get parents’ written approval if their child is assigned a teacher the state rates “ineffective.”

2. The Obama administration filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to let universities use race as a college admissions criteria.

3. How an Average Joe joined an Ohio school board as a reformer.

4. Louisiana families receiving one of the new state vouchers are excited for school to start

5. Far more Florida students want to attend private schools using tuition tax credits than there are credits available. 

6. More research demonstrates that Florida’s school-choice policies have significantly improved the state’s education system. 

7. A Utah lawmaker wants to redistribute state property taxes that pay largely for schools. 

8. Education should be treated like big business, says Carrie Lukas.

9. The federal government has decided to force Georgia to pay seasonal contract workers unemployment benefits for the seasons they don’t work. 

10. Missouri and Kansas universities are recruiting out of state students because these pay higher tuition and the universities want to spend more than they have. How Texas–and all–colleges can cut costs to reduce student debt.

Monday’s Top Ten:

1. Deborah Simmons discusses some of Mitt Romney running mate Paul Ryan’s record on education policy, while Rick Hess discusses what the pick might mean for future federal education policy.

2. Teachers comment on their distress over having to implement Common Core education standards. 

3. Progressives have a long history of supporting vouchers and school choice, writes Ron Matus.

4. Texas has chosen to forego federal No Child Left Behind waivers under worries about federal micromanaging, and is now under scrutiny for its decision. Why one-third of states took the Texas route.

5. Now it’s the government forcing kids to eat veggies: Federal rules in effect this fall require kids to eat fruits and vegetables and restrict how many calories a school can offer them. A new study finds that states more likely to pass restrictive school food laws are also more likely to have less-fat kids.

6. Maybe more black kids are disciplined in school because…more black kids commit infractions, writes Michael Petrilli.

7. The Wall Street Journal and New Jersey Star-Ledger praise New Jersey’s new tenure-limits law as a promising start.

8. Traditional Los Angeles public schools have started adding “charter” to their names while retaining nearly all their ways of doing business.

9. Colorado teachers are dropping out of the state’s largest teachers union.

10. Utah K-12 schools and universities are exploring the reaches of education technology.


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

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

Image by Mo Riza