Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review & Outlook: Cheating Charter Schools - WSJ.com

Review & Outlook: Cheating Charter Schools - WSJ.com

Cheating Charter Schools

Some teachers are apparently more deserving than others.


President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have made charter schools a big part of their reform agenda, but the pushback from unions has been fierce. Perhaps that explains why the new $10 billion federal teacher bailout will be dispensed in a way that discriminates against charters.

The Administration's initial guidance excluded many charter school teachers, even though charters are public schools. The Department of Education said money from the Education Jobs Fund could go only to teachers and others employed by a local education agency or school district.

"A charter school," says the department, "may not use Ed Jobs funds to pay for the compensation and benefits of employees of a charter management organization or an educational management organization who provide school-level educational and related service

The Best Response To The LA Times “Value-Added” Series | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

The Best Response To The LA Times “Value-Added” Series | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

The Best Response To The LA Times “Value-Added” Series

Filed under school reform

Ironically, a columnist from the LA Times has written what I think is the best response to her newspaper’s insulting series on ranking teacher’s “effectiveness.”

Check-out

New Jersey public employees pension benefits changes | NJ.com

New Jersey public employees pension benefits changes | NJ.com

New Jersey public employees pension benefits changes

Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 9:00 PM Updated: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 9:03 PM
christie-pension-changes.JPGChris Christie discusses pensions during a town hall meeting at the Gloucester Township Senior/Community Center in Gloucester Township.
These are the five pension systems:

• Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)
• Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF)
• State Police Retirement System (SPRS)
• Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS)
• Judicial Retirement System (JRS)

Average salary of those retiring now with 25 years of service:

• Police and firefighters: $73,571
• Teachers: $46,486
• State workers: $39,592


Pay to stay

Gov. Chris Christie today unveiled measures he said are aimed at sustaining state and local government pensions and reforming the health benefits system for public employees. Without the changes, he said, New Jersey’s unfunded pension liability will grow from

All Opinions Are Local - The case for keeping Michelle Rhee

All Opinions Are Local - The case for keeping Michelle Rhee

The case for keeping Michelle Rhee

By Raymond Coleman,
Rockville

With all due respect to Colbert I. King [“Time for Rhee to go,” op-ed, Sept. 11], Michelle A. Rhee should be retained as D.C. schools chancellor.

She has effectively tackled the issues of infrastructure and school supplies, made headway in the evaluation, retention and compensation of qualified teachers, and has stabilized enrollment. For the first time in decades, parents have been given reason to hope that the schools will come through for their children.

That she inserted herself into the Democratic primary campaign may have been impolitic, but D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray’s ambivalence about her tenure only injects instability into a system that does not need uncertainty. Ms. Rhee’s style — as well as that of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) — may rub people the wrong way, but she is

Amendment 4 will end development madness � Tangerine, Florida

Amendment 4 will end development madness � Tangerine, Florida

Amendment 4 will end development madness

Via Stephen Goldstein of the Sun Sentinel:

Until recently, I was genuinely perplexed about how to vote in November on constitutional Amendment 4, which would require voters to approve changes in local growth management plans. On the one hand, I didn’t want irresponsibly to support anything that might hurt the Florida economy by halting development and throwing people out of work — as those opposed to the amendment contend. On the other hand, I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to rein in unbridled growth without creating proper infrastructure — as everyone can see.

But after channeling Marjory Stoneman Douglas, I have decided unequivocally to vote for

Union president gets an early start on yearly class size battle | GothamSchools

Union president gets an early start on yearly class size battle | GothamSchools

Union president gets an early start on yearly class size battle

After warning that overcrowding in public schools will be worse this year, teachers union president Michael Mulgrew is trying to publicly assure his members that he plans to be tough on the issue.

During the first few weeks of school in New York City, class sizes fluctuate as new students arrive and others transfer schools, making it difficult to pin down which buildings will experience severe overcrowding. But the union is already going to court to reduce class size at one chronically overcrowded Queens high school.

The United Federation of Teachers asked for a court order today that union officials said would confirm an arbitrator’s March order that the Department of Education reduce class sizes at Francis Lewis High School. City officials said that they have a plan to lower class sizes and that the arbitrator has given them until September 23 to comply.

“It is hard to understand why the UFT would prematurely rush to court when we’ve been working together, with an arbitrator, to find a sustainable solution for the school,” said a spokesman for the DOE in an email.

A union official said that without the court order, Francis Lewis teachers would have to file new grievances and go

Urban Districts Show Gains on Third Grade Reading MCAS �

Urban Districts Show Gains on Third Grade Reading MCAS �

Urban Districts Show Gains on Third Grade Reading MCAS

The school and district 2010 MCAS scores were released this afternoon, and there’s encouraging news from the 10 urban commissioner’s districts in Massachusetts. Third grade reading scores are up in all 10 districts – Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester. The achievement gap statewide narrowed, but remains large. In 2010, 43% of third graders from low-income families scored proficient or above on the reading MCAS, up from 35% in 2009. Among students whose families are not low-income, 74% of third graders scored proficient or above on the reading MCAS this year, up from 69% in 2009.

“The most important challenge we face in public education today is accelerating

Education Week: San Diego Schools Consider Allowing Ads on Campus

Education Week: San Diego Schools Consider Allowing Ads on Campus

San Diego Schools Consider Allowing Ads on Campus

Some San Diego schools would allow ads in libraries, hallways and other campus areas under a district proposal to help ease the pain of budget cuts.

The San Diego Unified School District's proposed policy is modeled on others that have embraced corporate sponsors in the last two years, including districts that cover Miami and Orlando in Florida and Santa Rosa and Chula Vista in California. The school board will consider the policy Tuesday.

"It's part of an emerging trend as districts face more deficits," said Bernie Rhinerson, San Diego's chief district relations officer and author of the proposal.

The San Diego district said its annual budget has been cut $270 million over three years,

Education Report: Oakland teachers union stays neutral on school tax; more on test scores - Inside Bay Area

Education Report: Oakland teachers union stays neutral on school tax; more on test scores - Inside Bay Area
Education Report: Oakland teachers union stays neutral on school tax; more on test scores
This week, union leaders took a neutral position on Measure L, a $195 property tax which would generate millions a year for teacher salaries.

Vincent Gray to request extended voting hours in D.C. mayor's race

Vincent Gray to request extended voting hours in D.C. mayor's race

Vincent Gray to request extended voting hours in D.C. mayor's race

Voters in D.C. cast ballots Tuesday in the closely watched Democratic primary race for mayor between Adrian Fenty and Vincent C. Gray.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 14, 2010; 4:31 PM

A request for an extension of voting hours in District precincts that experienced glitches with new touch-screen voting machines will be made late in the afternoon by the campaign of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, the leading challenger to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

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Campaign spokesman Traci Hughes said they have received complaints at "a rapid pace," and attorneys have needed time to evaluate them. A letter requesting the Board of Elections and Ethics keep the polls open a little longer in some precincts should be sent "within the hour," she said at about 3 p.m.

Reports of voting problems emerged shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m. Some precincts delayed opening until technicians could arrive to get the touch-screen

Education Research Report: New studies highlight benefits of teacher coaching

Education Research Report: New studies highlight benefits of teacher coaching

New studies highlight benefits of teacher coaching

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A set of studies released in this month's special issue of The Elementary School Journal reveals the powerful effect that the coaching of teachers can have on both teachers and students.

"Many in the field have trusted that intuitive feeling that putting a knowledgeable coach in a classroom to work with a teacher will result in improved teacher practices and increased student learning," write the issue's guest editors, Misty Sailors of The University of Texas at San Antonio and Nancy L. Shanklin of University of Colorado, Denver. "The jury of these researchers and the peer reviewers of their work has delivered its verdict: while coaching may be new, it is no longer unproven."

The eight research articles included in the issue span multiple subject areas and grade levels, and suggest that

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