August 20, 2012
Charter school review working group prepares to get to work
Gov. Markell has named a 24-member working group to review “the current landscape for charter schools” and recommend improvements “for the benefit of our students and our school system,” Rebecca Taber, the governor’s education policy advisor, said this week. The working group includes state and local school officials, charter school leaders, state legislators and representatives of various education constituent organizations.
Debate grows around charter school closure
One of the most vexing questions about charter schools—when low-performing ones should be shut down—is receiving new attention amid concerns that lax and inconsistent standards for closing them will undermine the public’s confidence in the sector. Several states have approved laws that raised or clarified standards for charter school performance, while also establishing policies to make it easier to open charters.
Student misconceptions about college life can undermine success
Many students don’t have a realistic picture of the demands of college, and that lack of knowledge can hurt their success once they arrive on campus, according to a new report. If students don’t think college will be hard or a challenging adjustment, they may not adequately prepare themselves or adopt the habits needed to be successful.
Schools make the call to pass marginal readers
Hundreds of Tennessee children are repeating 3rd grade this year because they don’t read well enough, but vagueness and flexibility in a new state law allowed many others to move on despite poor reading skills. Schools can use measures in addition to assessments, including classroom grades or participation in intensive reading programs, to determine whether students should advance to the 4th grade.
State approves rescue plans for four struggling schools
The Connecticut state board approved turnaround plans for four struggling urban schools as part of the new Commissioner’s Network. The program, proposed by Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, will provide millions of dollars in state assistance and intervention to help turnaround chronically underperforming schools.
The New York Times
Teachers on the defensive
An op-ed by Frank Bruni
“Won’t Back Down” tells the David-versus-Goliath story of a single mother, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who leads a rebellion to wrest control of her daughter’s persistently abysmal public elementary school from local officials. Although the movie is bound, in this politically charged climate, to be analyzed solely in terms of the position it seems to take on parent trigger or its qualms with union behavior, it’s ultimately about the impact of superior teaching, the need to foster more of it and the importance of school accountability.