Monday, August 19, 2013

State Briefs

Alabama Conservatives Push Cohorts to Support Common Core

Cotton State conservatives (self-described) scolded conservatives for critizing the Common Core standards in their Sunday al.com editorial, School choice plus higher standards: That's a recipe for academic success. Chester E. Finn Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli, respectively president and executive vice president of conservative think tank Thomas B. Fordham Institute, wrote that the Common Core standards promote educational progress, fiscal responsibility, and "traditional education values." 

Alaska Releases School Ratings Under New Accountability System

Alaska revealed its new testing accountability system, the Alaska School Performance Index, on Friday. The Index ranks schools between five and one stars, with rankings partially based on students' performance on state proficiecy tests. For schools that educate up to 12th grade, graduation rates and college and career readiness were also factors in ranking.  Schools receiving three or fewer stars and schools where graduation rates have dropped must implement improvement plans.

Indianapolis Schools Seek Information about Charter School Takeovers

Indianapolis Public Schools leaders filed a public records request Thursday for information about the takeover of its four schools ordered by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. In 2011, Bennett ordered that five schools in Indianapolis and Gary be turned over to charter school groups. The charter school companies that received contracts all contributed to Bennett's campaign for superintendent, helping him to raise nearly $1 million. (His oppenent for Indiana superintendent raised about $115,000.) One of charter schools operator, Charter Schools USA, later hired Bennett's wife as a regional director in Florida. The request follows recent revelations that Bennett raised grades for charter schools under the state's A-F school grading formula while branding existing schools as failing. Read more here.

Ohio District Bars Seventh-Grade Girl from Playing School Football

An Ohio school district has barred 12-year-old Makhaela Jenkins from playing football for her school even though she plays youth football outside of school. Liberty Union-Thurston District superintendent Paul Mathews says that the district is not violating Title IX because its sporting opportunities for female students do not include contact sports. Makhaela and her supporters say that gender should not be a barrier to school teams. Read more here.

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