Tag Archives: progress

School Choice, Hoosier Style: Hope for Needy Indiana Kids & the Movement?

I’m a little slow to report on this great news to you, but here goes … Kudos to Indiana for joining the ranks of states to offer private school choice to its needy students. From the June 30 Friedman Foundation announcement: Indiana lawmakers today approved a $2.5 million scholarship tax credit program in the home state of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The new scholarship program was inserted into the state’s budget and won approval in the late hours of the special legislative session. The bill, which passed the Senate 34-16 and the House 61-36, was signed by the governor a couple hours later. “The state of Indiana today joined a growing number of states that are putting the educational needs of children before partisan politics by adopting school choice programs,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation…. The victory is especially sweet for national school choice champion Friedman, because the Foundation calls the Hoosier State home. So my Education Policy Center friend Pam Benigno was delighted to be able to interview Robert Enlow about the Indiana school choice victory on this new iVoices podcast (click the play button to listen):

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Are Michigan Lawmakers Being Inspired by Colorado's Innovation School Act?

Last year Colorado passed the Innovation Schools Act, which I applauded as a positive step forward. But our state isn’t the only one to see greater need for public school flexibility to make personnel decisions in the best interests of students. Look at Michigan. The Detroit Free Press recently reported on a legislative proposal “to allow teachers and parents to convert their local schools into independently run schools with more flexible rules.” Known as Senate Bill 636, the proposal would enable the creation of so-called “neighborhood schools”, especially targeted toward high at-risk student populations.

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Teacher Pay & Tenure System Like Pounding Square Peg into Round Hole

Have you ever tried to pound a square peg into a round hole (or vice versa)? How about after that doesn’t work a couple times, you go out and buy 100 of the same square pegs to keep trying what already failed? It makes about as much sense as most systems we have today for training, developing, paying, and retaining teachers. Sure, we’ve seen some progress with performance pay programs — Colorado has produced some leading examples — but the old-fashioned salary schedule still persists. Pay teachers based on seniority and academic credentials. Never mind, as the Denver Post‘s Jeremy Meyer observes from Urban Institute education director Jane Hannaway (with supporting evidence compiled here), that teachers overwhelmingly improve during the first four years of their career and then just stop: “It’s one of our very consistent findings,” said Hannaway, presenter last week at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in San Diego, citing at least two recent studies of teacher effectiveness. “The reason of course is not clear, but it’s in study after study,” she said. “Teachers do get better (in the beginning). If you look at the same teacher at Year One, they look a lot better at […]

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Colorado Judges Rule in Favor of Funding Fairness for Charter Schools

Okay, the year is almost over. And you won’t see me writing anything here between now and 2009. So I thought it a good idea to close out 2008 with a post that has some good news. In yesterday’s Rocky Mountain News, Berny Morson reported on a Colorado court decision that almost got completely overlooked. But it definitely is good news: School districts must apply the same funding rules to charter schools as they do other schools, the Colorado Court of Appeals has held in a Fort Collins case. At issue is a provision inserted by the Poudre R-1 school board in the contract that governs the Ridgeview Classical Schools, a charter school. The provision allowed the district to reduce financial support to Ridgeview when students transfer out. [link added] Basic and simple fairness, right? Students should benefit from the same funding rules whether they are in a traditional public school or a public charter school. Either it’s a good idea to take funds away from a school when a student transfers after the fall attendance count, or it’s not. It shouldn’t be a good idea for charters and a bad idea for others, or vice versa.

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