A Christmas Gift

education-390764_1280A Leaguer knows that consistently sharing information has an impact.  Nevertheless, it is reassuring to find evidence that people are listening, reading, and thinking about issues we believe are important.  Today the Editor of the Gainesville Sun described his Education on School Reforms.  He cites his sources and includes our work.  See how he puts together the issues.

The New Year is approaching.  Make a resolution to regularly get the message out.  Some one will be listening who can help.

Sweeping the Money Under the Rug?

Remember the post on  Profit Trumps Public Interest?  It was the one the National Council of State Legislatures put out on for-profit education management companies.  We discovered that National Heritage Academies had some serious problems.   Propublica published a follow-up article on the for-profit National Heritage Academies.

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Where Does the Money Go?

The Michigan State Board of Education has now asked the legislature to outlaw “sweep contracts” to for-profit companies, but the legislator did not listen.   Continue reading

Step Back, Take Stock

The blog is one month old.  We can celebrate a little.  Thus far we have had 4500 hits on our site, and our subscriber list is growing.  Let people know.

critical-thinking (2)It is also a good time to take a minute and think.   Are we contributing useful information on school reform issues?   What is helpful?  What is missing?  Reflect on the following list and make suggestions.  I will summarize your suggestions and respond.Continue reading

See: FEATURE OF THE WEEK. It is BOLD.

We have posted a  summary of the new Alachua County, Florida’s Superintendent of Schools 100 Day Report on the FEATURE OF THE WEEK banner of the blog.

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Dr. Owen Roberts was appointed to the superintendent position 3 months ago and has spent the time in an intensive review of the district.  How his vision for the county will be implemented is likely to be another one of those fascinating stories.

 

He addresses testing, funding, school equity, curriculum, early education, brain development, as well as parent and community involvement.  Click on the banner at the top of the Home Page of our blog to track this very bold initiative.  It has  those pieces of colored chalk.   We will update the post as new information becomes available.  Who says public schools cannot be innovative?

New Mexico Charter School Power Struggle

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Need Oversight

by Meredith Machen

This is an updated post of the struggle between the Public Education Commission (PEC)  and the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) over proper supervision of charter schools.   The PED is not responding to State auditors’ requests for information following a federal investigation of charters there.  Continue reading

Profit Trumps Public Interest?

The National Council of State Legislatures should be commended for bringing together two people with very different views of charter school for-profit management.  On the surface, the webinar: Charter School Networks: Does Profit Status Matter?  seemed to be a reasonable, thoughtful discussion about management issues.

payoffThe discussion was polite.  Responses to questions were forthcoming.   The rationale for-profit status was discussed and management issues were raised.  The fact that both for-profit and non-profit management companies have fiscal management problems was acknowledged.   Yet, the meat of the topic was only alluded to.

If you want to really understand the issues, read on.   Continue reading

Class Size Violations: Does It Matter?

FEA Cites Violations of Class Size Amendment in this short video. There are several ‘work arounds’ to avoid the restrictions imposed by a Florida constitutional amendment in 2002. PreK through grade 3 is limited to 18 students.  The limit for grades 4-8 is 22 and for grades 9-12 it is 25 in core subjects like reading, math and science.  The temptation to manipulate the limits is great in order to reduce cost.  Clearly, there is more to this story. Continue reading

What is the Unkindest Cut of All?

Charters and traditional public schools are claiming that their funding allocations are inadequate and unfair.budget

 

Given the massive cuts in education funding, their claims are not trivial.  Their arguments, however, are different. Judges are ruling differently as well.  Based on information reported by Education Justice, a  program of the New Jersey based Education Law Center, and Access, a research institute at Columbia University, charters want facilities and traditional public schools seek fairness.Continue reading

How Many Tests are Too Many?

The Florida School Boards took a stand today against over testing.

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Sorting out which tests students are required to take is no small task. The Florida Statewide Testing Program Schedule is extensive–take a look.

Take a test yourself.  This is a training test to see what the FSA is like.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said the testing was “under review“. It is about time!  The Florida Standard Assessments (FSA), our version of Common Core testing in English Language Skills and Mathematics begin this year.  We also have district level tests, end of course exams, national and international tests, and college placement and admissions tests.   All of this testing has generated a backlash. Continue reading