January 13, 2014
Delaware poised for new chapter in charter history
Delaware’s 21 charter schools may enroll only 8.3 percent of the state’s 133,371 public school students but they are poised to strengthen their presence in the next two years. Within the Department of Education, changes in the oversight of charter schools are underway. The “performance framework,” a rubric approved in 2012 to set academic, financial and administrative benchmarks for charters, received its first test this year when renewal applications were processed, and the latest group of applicants was the first to use a new application form. In addition, the department’s Charter School Office has a new executive director, Jennifer Nagourney, a lawyer who has big-city experience in managing and overseeing charter schools.
New charters opening in 2014
Five new charter schools — public schools authorized by the state that operate independent of traditional school districts and with fewer regulations — are scheduled to open for the 2014-15 school year, and a sixth school approved for opening has decided to defer its launch for a year.
Final lap for Race to the Top
After winning $119 million in federal Race to the Top money almost four years ago, supporters and critics in Delaware agree it’s too soon to tell whether the education grant was a success or failure. However, Paul Herdman, president and CEO of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware, says the state is on the right track.”I would say it’s a success in terms of the initial intent, which was to serve as a catalyst for transforming the system.”
The News Journal
When talking outer space, one Delaware elementary school goes big
When it comes to bringing space and planet Earth into school, most of the time a teacher has to rely on maps and photos. But the staff at Bunker Hill Elementary School in Middletown had bigger plans. Plans so big, in fact, that they needed to borrow Appoquinimink High School for an evening this week, because their own building simply wouldn’t hold them.
A needed, but contradictory, order
America’s schools just got another contradictory goal. This one is worth pursuing, but how the schools will reach it is a good question. Last week US Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education issued a policy that demands schools stop their discriminatory disciplining of minority students and those with disabilities.
Wall Street Journal
Kansas lawmakers await court ruling on school funding
After passing some of the most aggressive tax cuts in the nation, Kansas lawmakers are watching the state’s top court for a ruling that could force education spending to skyrocket. The Kansas Supreme Court will determine whether the state must comply with a lower-court ruling requiring the GOP-led legislature and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to increase annual funding for K-12 education by an estimated $450 million, or 14% above the previous year’s level. The timing of the ruling is unclear, but it could come to dominate the state legislative session that opens Monday.
New York Times
What’s the matter with Kansas schools?
An op-ed by David Sciarra, Executive Director of the Education Law Center, and Wade Henderson, President and Chief Executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Kansas, like every state, explicitly guarantees a free public education in its Constitution, affirming America’s founding belief that only an educated citizenry can preserve democracy and safeguard individual liberty and freedom. And yet in recent years Kansas has become the epicenter of a new battle over the states’ obligation to adequately fund public education.
Inside Higher Ed
Getting high school dropouts to college
A new MDRC report describes promising efforts to help the 39 million adult Americans who lack a high-school credential successfully transition to college. The report looks at three reforms: increasing the rigor of adult instruction and standards for earning a credential; offering GED-to-college “bridge” programs; and allowing students to enroll in college while completing high school degree requirements.
Efforts to support career-technical education ramp up
Several states are moving to expand career-technical education. A Mississippi program will recognize seniors who pass a career-certification test and meet other criteria. In Oregon, 140 schools will share $9 million in funding for career and technical education programs. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin highlighted the need for skilled STEM workers and increased support for career and technical schools.
Raleigh News and Observer
N.C. approves 26 new charter schools for fall 2014
The North Carolina state board approved 26 new charter schools to open this fall—the largest expansion of the program since the late 1990s. The number of charters has expanded sharply since legislators eliminated the 100-school cap in 2011. There are now 127 schools with the board’s vote raising the number to 153 schools. The number of charter schools could rise to more than 200 next year.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Report: Improve programs that allow h.s. students to earn college credit
Ohio’s dual enrollment programs need major revisions to increase participation, according to the board of regents chancellor. His report recommended seamless and equitable pathways for all qualified high school students to access and benefit from dual enrollment and improved K-12 and higher education collaboration to maximize the full potential of the programs.