In the News: A Clipping Service – July 18, 2011

In this edition of In the News:

  • No Excuses for Reformers
  • NEA Takes Stand Against TFA
  • State of Public Education in New Orleans
  • Lessons Learned from Louisiana
  • Fallout from Atlanta Cheating Scandal
  • In Other News
  • Voucher Program Follow-up

No Excuses for Reformers

No, Seriously: No Excuses
New York Times – July 7, 2011
In a thoughtful essay, Paul Tough challenges the education reform movement. He acknowledges that turning around failing schools is hard, as is educating students who are years behind their grade level. But it’s not impossible. Still, some “no excuses” reformers are now giving excuses. To bring reforms to scale, Paul Tough argues the education reform movement must acknowledge the whole range of factors that hold poor students back and make providing low-income students with a robust system of academic, emotional and psychological support part of their reform agenda.

NEA Takes Stand Against TFA

NEA Delegates Take Swipe at Teach For America
Education Week – July 5, 2011
The National Education Association (NEA), an association of teachers and other education professionals, has voted to publicly oppose Teach For America (TFA). They recently passed an item that accuses TFA of taking jobs from other teachers where positions are scarce and accuses districts of using TFA agreements to lower teacher salaries and silence union voices.

State of Public Education in New Orleans

The 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans
The Cowen Institute – July 2011
The Cowen Institute has released its annual report State of Public Education in New Orleans. The report looks closely at student demographics and school and student performance. It compares schools in New Orleans to schools statewide. It also compares the enrollment and performance of different types of schools – charter vs. traditional, RSD vs. OPSB direct-run, etc.

Lessons Learned from Louisiana

On Recovery School Districts and Stronger State Education Agencies: Lessons from Louisiana
Center on Reinventing Education – July 2011
In May, state education representatives from New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee attended a series of workshops on Louisiana’s education reform efforts. The workshops included candid discussions of the steps, and missteps, Louisiana has made in the past six years. This report from the Center on Reinventing Education documents the session results so that others interested in making similar changes in their own states can learn and benefit.

Fallout from Atlanta Cheating Scandal

Six Atlanta Officials Replaced Amid Cheating Scandal
Huffington Post – July 12, 2011
A Georgia investigation has revealed the nation’s largest cheating scandal yet on standardized tests – 178 educators in 44 Atlanta schools cheated on standardized tests used to meet federal benchmarks.

Educators Accused of Tampering With Students’ Tests from D.C. To Pennsylvania
Huffington Post – July 11, 2011
As Atlanta deals with the fallout of widespread, systemic cheating by educators on standardized tests, other states are being examined for suspicious test results.

2009 Report Identified Dozens of Pa. Schools for Possible Cheating
Education Week – July 11, 2011
An analysis of Pennsylvania’s 2009 test results found evidence of cheating on standardized tests, including dramatic increases in student performance and suspicious erasure patterns in test books. Dozens of schools were flagged for further investigation by this 2009 report, but the state never followed up.

Educate Now! note: Since implementing LEAP in 1999, the Louisiana Department of Education each year conducts erasure analysis and other checks on all tests. Additionally, it assigns Department staff to schools across the state during testing periods to monitor test administration. If test irregularities are found, the test results are nullified and schools receive a zero for each test that is voided.

In Other News

Reaction to the Temporary Shut Down of a New Orleans East Charter School
Fox 8 News – July 16, 2011
Abramson Science and Technology Charter School is closed pending a state investigation into school misconduct. Allegations include unsupervised classrooms, cheating on the science fair, failure to report a sexual incident between two elementary students, and an attempt by a school supporter to bribe the state investigator.

Strong Opinions Offered on Master Plan for New Orleans Public Schools
The Times-Picayune – July 9, 2010
Parents, school leaders and education advocates stood up to express their concerns at a meeting on the latest amendments to the Master Plan for New Orleans public schools. One leading concern involved the disconnect between decisions on how new school buildings will be designed and constructed and decisions on who will operate them.

Top Teacher Calls for End to Tenure
The Advocate – July 13, 2011
Louisiana’s 2010 teacher of the year Holly Boffy says that providing guaranteed job security (tenure) after only three years in K-12 education isn’t in the best interest of the students because it protects poorly performing teachers and doesn’t help the teaching profession to be viewed as a real profession.

Voucher Program Follow-up

Earlier this month Educate Now! released a report showing that, for the second year in a row, students participating in Louisiana’s voucher program performed worse than students in the RSD. So what was the response? The state says it’s still too early to measure voucher performance, but the head of Catholic schools in New Orleans says she welcomes greater accountability. Here are a few of the articles resulting from Educate Now!’s report.

Educate Now! Calls for Voucher Accountability

A Call for Voucher Accountability
Associated Press – July 5, 2011

No Accountability, Mixed Results for Voucher Program-Interview with Leslie Jacobs
Fox 8 News – July 14, 2011

The Response

Ed Dept.: Too Early to Gauge Voucher Effectiveness
Associated Press – July 6, 2011

Catholic Schools Chief Says Archdiocese Will Make Improvements at Voucher Schools
The Times-Picayune – July 8, 2011

School Choice is Working for Louisiana Kids
Louisiana Federation for Children – July 8, 2011

BAEO Affirms Support for Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program and Calls for Greater Accountability
Black Alliance for Educational Options – July 5, 2011