Australian Principals to Get Greater Autonomy

According to a recent article in The Australian, education reforms in Australian public schools will lead to school principals being given a great deal more power over budgeting and personnel functions than they had previously been given. Presently, the autonomy of Australian principals varies by state and territory. The shift to devolve power to the school-level come in response to a recognition at by education leaders at the national level that principals require greater decision-making power to respond the demands of increasing school accountability. 

This Australian education reform is evidence that the trend of moving more decision-making power to the …

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Kentucky Education Commissioner Optimistic About Receiving “Race to the Top” Funds

During a recent interview on KET’s (Kentucky Educational Television) “One to One with Bill Goodman,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday expressed optimism about the Commonwealth’s chances of getting federal funds in the US Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” competition. The commissioner cited the Gate’s foundation’s funding of a consulting firm to help Kentucky craft its “Race to the Top” application as evidence that Kentucky’s education reform efforts are recognized and appreciated nationally. When asked whether Kentucky being one only ten states not having charter school legislation might hurt the state’s chances of receiving fundings, Holliday said …

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Federal Initiatives to Recreate Public Schools as Community Hubs

This afternoon the Center for American Progress sponsored a forum to discuss the future of community schools reforms and school-community partnerships. Among the participants were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, House of Representatives Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, and American Federation of Teacher president Randi Weingarten. The conversation centered around a reinvigorated effort to recreate America’s public schools as community schools, in particular those schools that serve lower-middle and lower income students. Forum participants agreed that the current model of public schools does not effectively serve large segments of American students. They called …

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School Power Devolution and ESEA Reauthorization

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am anxiously awaiting the details of the Obama administration’s proposed reauthorization of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act). Hopefully, I’m not jumping to conclusions, but recent comments by Sec. Duncan concerning the reauthorization give a school power devolution proponent like myself hope for the future of education reform. In a September 24th speech titled “Reauthorization of ESEA: Why We Can’t Wait,” US Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the statement:


“In my view, we should be …

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School-Based Councils, Superintendents, and Principal Selection in Kentucky

Kentucky State Representative Carl Robbins, chair of the House Education Committee, announced to a group of University of Kentucky education faculty and graduate students today that the House Education Committee would hear a bill during the next legislative session proposing amendments to principal selection in Kentucky. Presently, the Kentucky school based decision making statute (KRS 160.345) gives school-based councils the authority to select a new principal when a vacancy occurs. This policy has come under attack by district superintendents who the policy prevents from having a hand in selecting principals. The obvious intent of the statute was to give teachers …

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Redistricting and Socioeconomic Diversity

Large numbers of parents attended the New Hanover County (Wilmington, NC) School Board meeting last night to protest the board’s proposed redistricting plans. The board has proposed a plan that would arrange students so that students receiving free and reduced-price lunch would not make up any more than 50% of a school’s student body. To do this, however, some students would have to be bused across the county. Some New Hanover County parents have been very vocal opponents of this plan, organizing events and even launching a website

Battles between parents and local school boards over busing are not …

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The Realities of Urban Schools and Communities, Part I (Problems)

I read a comment this morning made by Dr. Steve Perry on AC 360 producer’s David Puente’s blog. Dr. Perry is the founder/principal of The Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut and a CNN education contributor. in response to a question posed by David of whether the federal government should take a response similar to that taken in the 1950’s with school desegregation in response to urban youth violence in and around schools. Dr. Perry said no, and responded saying, “The kids who kill in Chicago don’t kill because they have no regard for the life of …

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NEA Change of Heart on Merit Pay?

Speaking to members of the National Education Association (NEA) at their annual meeting, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged union members to consider the idea of linking teacher pay to student achievement- www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-07-02-teacher-pay_N.htm?obref=obinsite  Surprising, Duncan’s comments were met with what USA Today reported as “raucous applause and only a smattering of boos.” I think this is pretty big news. Both the NEA and the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) have been incredibly resistant to this idea. I don’t want to read to much into this, but could their response be a sign that the NEA is in the …

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School Reconstitution as a Reform Strategy

The U.S. Department of Education announced to day that school turnaround funds to “prod” states and school districts to close failing schools and reopen with new leadership and teaching staffs- www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-05-11-duncan-schools_N.htm?obref=obinsite  I think we’re starting to see the pattern here. The Obama Dept. of Education is going to push hard for states to adopt some strategies that they have have deemed to be proven school reforms. This latest one is an extreme one, but school reconstitution is not new to federal education policy. NCLB (No Child Left Behind) required schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for …

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