January 4, 2013
Delaware set to review several new charter applications
Two charter schools with reputations for strong academic performance and two sponsors touting model formats that have succeeded elsewhere in the country are seeking authorization to expand or launch new programs in Delaware. They are among the eight proposals filed with the Charter School Office of the State Department of Education by this week’s Jan. 2 deadline. These proposals will be the first to be subjected to a revised application and review process approved in September by the State Board of Education.
The News Journal
AG tells Capital to redo vote on contract
The Capital School District again has run afoul of the state’s open meetings law, this time related to last spring’s vote to extend the district superintendent’s contract. The Attorney General’s Office determined the school board violated the Freedom of Information Act when it acted on the superintendent’s contract following a closed-door meeting that was not announced to the public. The AG’s office declared the contract vote invalid and ordered the board to place the item on an upcoming agenda for new discussion and a re-vote, in an opinion released just before Christmas. The board’s next scheduled meeting is Jan. 16.
District Race to the Top winners turn to implementation
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the winners’ circle includes “a really good mix” of districts that are already education reform leaders and districts that have not received as much attention. “I think the big story is that the usual suspects didn’t win,” said Andy Smarick, a partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit consulting firm in Washington. “It just shows the education reform community is probably myopically focused on a small number of districts and less cognizant of big, important things happening elsewhere.” Still, he said, smaller districts—which may have smaller central office staffs and may not be as accustomed to managing large, federal, high-profile grants—may struggle more with implementation, he said.
Los Angeles Times
Brown plans extensive changes for school funding in 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown will push this year to upend the way schools are funded in California, hoping to shift more money to poorer districts and end requirements that billions of dollars be spent on particular programs. Brown said he wants more of the state’s dollars to benefit low-income and non-English-speaking students, who typically are more expensive to educate.
Education experts lament South Africa test results
As South Africa grapples with enduring socioeconomic inequality and soaring youth unemployment 18 years after Mandela’s African National Congress took power, the education system remains stubbornly difficult to change. Of the 1.1 million children who were born in 1994 and later entered first grade, fewer than half made it far enough to take the graduation exam. Of those who did, the percentage who passed was 73.9%, up from 70.2% in 2012.