North Carolina Superintendent Cuts Central Services to Save Classrooms

Del Burns, Superintendent of the Wake County Public Schools (Raleigh, NC), has called for $20 million in cuts
to central office
to offset a projected budget shortfall in the upcoming 2010-2011 fiscal year. has called for $20 million in cuts to central office to offset a projected budget
shortfall in the upcoming 2010-2011 fiscal year. By calling for the cuts at central office, Burns is protecting the district’s classrooms as much as he can. I applaud you Dr. Burns. There is no
more important …

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Devaluing the Importance of Pedagogical Expertise– A Dangersous Policy Trend

Since writing my November 3rd post about proposed changes to Indiana’s educator preparation programs,I haven’t stopped thinking about what I see as the beginning of a policy trend in devaluing the

importance of classroom teachers’ pedagogical expertise. Perhaps beginning with the No Child Left Behind Act and its surrounding rhetoric, increased emphasis has been placed on teachers’ content
knowledge or lack of it. I contend that this renewed emphasis is extremely important. I have worked with and observed far too many teachers over my career whose grasp of their courses’ academic
content was severely lacking. This is …

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Louisiana’s Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS)– Too Important to Lose!

The Louisiana State University (LSU) System’s president, John Lombardi, recently challenged the continuance of Louisiana’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS). Students graduating from Louisiana high schools who meet the program’s requirements, including completion of a prescribed core curriculum, gpa, and college entrance exam requirements, are eligible to attend state post-secondary institutions tution-free. Lombardi contends that given the state’s tight fiscal situation, the legislature should reconsider paying tuition for students whose parents can afford to pay it themselves. Lombardi’s issue is that state legislature has been less willing to approve significant tuition increases because they pay the …

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Charter Schools- Bad Word In Kentucky

David Cook, the Kentucky State Department of Education’s advisor for the “Race to the Top” program, suggested Tuesday that Kentucky probably will have to make changes in school governance structures that at least resemble the charter school concept in order to get  “Race to the Top” funds. Currently, Kentucky’s school laws do not allow for the creation of charter schools. Cook suggested, however, that making changes to how school-based decision-making councils operate could give considerable freedom to the school councils of failing schools and put Kentucky in a better position to receive funding.

In the brief time that I’ve been …

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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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