In the News: A Clipping Service – August 15, 2011

In this edition of In the News:

  • Politics and Education
  • Local News
  • Around Louisiana
  • Looking at Charter Management Organizations
  • National Education Studies

Politics and Education

Louisiana Education Leaders Need to Step Up
The Times-Picayune – August 10, 2011
Louisiana’s movement toward charter schools, test-driven accountability and performance-based teacher evaluations is being challenged by teacher unions, school boards and superintendents. It is also being undermined by a lack of clear leadership on the part of the administration.

Education Policy Critics March on White House
Education Week – July 30, 2011
Teachers and teacher-educators organized a four-day Save Our Schools gathering in Washington, DC to show lawmakers their frustration with current education policies, especially the growing emphasis on test-driven accountability for schools and teachers.

High-stakes Education Testing Rethought
The Times-Picayune – August 11, 2011
Almost everyone agrees that the No Child Left Behind Act, passed 10 years ago, needs to be revamped, but a badly divided congress has been unable to make significant progress. Two local teachers weigh in on one of the most controversial elements of NCLB – the focus on accountability through high-stakes testing.

Local News

School Reform Milestone in New Orleans: An Editorial
Times-Picayune – August 11, 2011
New Orleans has reached a significant milestone in education – for the first time since Louisiana began keeping track, New Orleans has surpassed the state average for the percentage of African-American students scoring at or above grade level on standardized tests.

Back to the Drawing Board on New Orleans Schools: Editorial
The Times-Picayune – August 13, 2011
The latest version of the Master Plan raised serious concerns among business and non-profit leaders. Responding to their dismay, school officials are now looking for ways to stretch what is left of $2 billion in federal money to try to rebuild more schools without adding new taxes. They also should be sure there is a building for every child and that the new buildings aren’t too costly to maintain.

Project Connects Donors to School Teachers
The Lens – August 11, 2011
The Generation Project has begun to funnel resources to low-income K-12 students in New Orleans. Local and national donors choose the gifts they would like to give, and school leaders select what gifts work for their classrooms. To become a donor or to apply for a gift, visit the Generation Project website.

Private Schools See More Financial Aid Requests, While Archdiocese Enrollment Dips
CityBusiness – August 9, 2011
To keep enrollment strong in a stressed economy, local private and parochial schools are working to keep tuition affordable, sometimes by awarding more financial aid. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has seen its school enrollment shrink by about 1,500 students between 2006 and 2010.

Inspector General Pursues Anti-fraud Unit for New Orleans School Projects
The Times-Picayune – August 14, 2011
The Inspector General has agreed to move forward with the creation of an anti-fraud unit to monitor $1.8 billion in public school construction projects. The work of the anti-fraud unit is expected to last three years. Its four employees will be paid out of the FEMA settlement, and financing for the unit will be capped at $800,000.

Bid to Win Back Abramson Charter is Rejected by Baton Rouge Judge
The Times-Picayune – August 11, 2011
A District Court judge has rejected a bid by the Pelican Educational Foundation to win back the right to manage Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in eastern New Orleans. Abramson is now under the direct management of the Recovery School District, although Pelican plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

Around Louisiana

Louisiana Skipped Key Standardized Testing Analysis in 2009-2010, Cites Budget Woes
Washington Independent – August 12, 2011
Due to budget cuts, the Louisiana Department of Education did not conduct erasure analysis for the 2009-10 testing season. The state resumed erasure analysis for the 2010-11 school year, and of the 1,533,000 tests administered across Louisiana, 214 were voided for exceeding the number of wrong-to-right answer erasures. In the Recovery School District, 38 tests were voided out of 63,966 administered.

Looking at Charter Management Organizations

Charter Operators Face Challenges in ‘Scaling Up’
Education Week – August 12, 2011
Leaders of five successful charter management organizations discuss the process of charter school expansion and some of the obstacles they face in “scaling up.”

Unlocking the Secrets of High-Performing Charters
Education Next – Fall 2011
NewSchools Venture Fund, one of the leading funders of charter management organizations serving low-income urban neighborhoods, takes an in depth look at the schools they support and asks, “How good are they?” “How much do they cost?” and “What makes some schools perform better than others?”

National Education Studies

MSU Study: Good Elementary Teachers Equally Important as Small Class Sizes
Grand Rapids Press – August 1, 2011
A new Michigan study shows that having consistently good teachers in elementary school is just as important for student achievement as small class sizes. Also, beginning in kindergarten, teachers can significantly affect students’ reading and math scores in later grades.

TFA Selection Criteria Linked to Student Gains
Education Week – August 2, 2011
A new study of Teach for America candidates shows that certain aspects of TFA’s selection process are linked to student achievement gains – a sign that it’s possible to recruit candidates who are more likely to have an edge in the classroom.