September 17 2004 Edition

Districts and NCLB: Things seem to be heating up when it comes to districts in need of improvement according to Education Week: NCLB Law's Focus Turns To Districts. What's interesting about this trend is that, under NCLB, accountability is hitting school districts well after it came to individual schools, but, before NCLB, the reverse was true: many districts were already being rated by their states, but seemingly fewer individual schools. Whether this means that district AYP ratings will go more smoothly than they have for schools is unclear. It's just as possible that things could go worse, with districts not only resenting the ratings like many schools do but having more firepower to fend them off. For examples, see: Wary Districts Shift or Forgo Federal Funds (Education Week), and Schools plan to file suit over federal initiative (The Desert Sun). Meanwhile, more and more states like Kansas are facing what Eduwonk calls "balloon payment" AYP requirements: Districts brace for steep increase in benchmarks (Kansas City Star).

Charter Schools Regroup: There's still lots of turmoil surrounding charter schools but in Ohio of all places they are moving forward with a new wrinkle in the charter school authorizing area: having a foundation serve as a sponsor: Fordham takes lead on charter schools (Dayton Daily News). That makes Ohio one of the most progressive states in regards to charter schools, while at the same time one of the places where charters are most controversial. In other charternews: Charter schools: still proving what works (Washington Post), Charter schools dig in for another legislative battle (Boston Herald), A call to assess the expensive experiment of charter schools (The Boston Globe), Anti-charter School Trend Puts Growth at All-time Low (BOSTON HERALD), Supporters of charter schools cry foul on bill (Boston Globe), and For first time, MPS to close a charter school (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), and Collapse of 60 Charter Schools Leaves Californians Scrambling (New York Times).

Small Schools Gone Wild (Chicago): Mayor Daley's plan to create 100 new small schools in Chicago is finally getting some of the real scrutiny that it requires, focused mostly on two key issues: school closings and community engagement: Groups say plan to shut schools lacking in detail (Chicago Tribune), School plan draws mixed reviews (Chicago SunTimes), Critics say schools plan too vague on closings (Chicago Sun Times), 2010 plan allows schools leeway (Chicago Tribune), and School plan skirts key question, critics argue (Chicago Daily Southtown). For anyone who wondered whatever happened to former CTU president Debbie Lynch, there's an op-ed from her about the issue: Renaissance 2010 not the answer for public school kids (Chicago Sun Times). Perhaps most interesting is Kate Grossman's piece about how much fundraising is required to keep charter schools working in Chicago -- an impossible feat to replicate at a larger scale, and an indication of just how much above and beyond the charter school movement has had to go to pay for the innovations and extras it wants: Fund-raising keeps charter schools afloat (Chicago Sun Times). There's also a puff piece about Greg Richmond, the man in charge of Renaissance 2010, which he will at some point undoubtedly regret: Gutsy leader in the 'hot seat' with schools plan (Chicago Sun Times). Meanwhile, what about a Cristo Rey charter school? They've been notably unmentioned over the past few weeks: Chicago school one of six new schools based on Cristo Rey model (Catholic News Service). Last and certainly least, for anyone who missed my op-ed in the Sun-Times, here's your chance: Daley's school plan admirable, but needs some work (Chicago Sun Times).

Ratings, Transfers, and Choice (NCLB): The theme this year in terms of AYP seems to be that fewer schools are on the lists, but more of them are schools you wouldn't expect to be there: Some top schools on federal watch list (BostonGlobe), Suburban schools join state list for 'needs work' (Buffalo News), and Even richest schools don't make fed grade (Boston Herald). As usual, there are some laggards: 'No Child' Report Cards Delayed (PORTLAND PRESS HERALD), Students wait for word on transfers (Portland Tribune), and some places where the law goes unused: School Choice Not Used in Vt. (BURLINGTON FREE PRESS). Last but not least, the information gap remains a big problem: Parents Take Choice Driver's Seat, But Few Have a Map (Education Week).

If you still haven't had your fill of news coverage aboutNCLB, there's always more:
NCLB Compliance OnTrack, But Some Issues Demand Attention Heartland Institute
Dug in to keep pupils backWashington Times
The Left Behind Syndrome Governing
NCLB vs. the NEA: The line in the Sand
No Dollar Left Behind National Review

New and Notable:
Middle schools: An idea whose time has passed? (The New York Times)
The Lessons of Classroom 506 (The New York Times Magazine)
Govs and President Focus on High School (Stateline.org)
Why are public schools closed to the public? Wall Street Journal
Beyond the Point of No Return (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR)
St. Louis schools select reading program (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Study: Students better prepared for college but deterred by high costs (New York Times)
Columnist: A controversial yardstick for the teachability of poor children (Washington Post)
Payoff Year Is Beginning for Bloomberg School Plans (New York Times)
Open the Preschool Door, Close the Preparation Gap Progressive Policy Institute
Preschool For California's Children: Promising Benefits, Unequal Access Policy Analysis for California Education
Schools Aim to Improve Test Scores NPR

Chicago Illinois:
Schools' Internet bungle Chicago Tribune
Daley gives schools Internet thumbs up Chicago Tribune
Blago snags new control of Illinois public schools Illinois Leader
It's Democratic Rule for State Board of Ed Chicago Sun Times
New schools panel picked by governor Chicago Tribune
Guv overhauls state edboard Crain's Chicago Business
Gov To Take Over State Board Of Ed Chicago SunTimes
Rate Of Summer School Flunking Rises Sun Times
Fewer Students Flunk As School Policy Is Eased Tribune


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