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TOPICSEDTECH & DATA Bret Schundler to End Authorizer Monopoly?


The Schott Foundation for Public Education released their 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males 2010 today. The report finds that while many districts are successfully improving the achievement of black males in the classroom, it also “highlights that the overwhelming majority of U.S. school districts and states are failing to make targeted investments to provide the core resources necessary to extend what works for Black male students.”  The report finds, among other things, that the 2007/8 graduation rate of black males was only 47%.

A Diverse Education article on the Schott Foundation report quotes EEP’s own director Ellen Winn, who says that the annual report is an invaluable resource that tells “the honest story” about the achievement gap as it pertains to African American boys.

The LA Times reports that, in response to this weekend’s article on grading teachers, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says parents have a right to know how effective teachers are at raising student test scores. “What is there to hide? In education, we’ve been scared to talk about success.”

USA Today reports that kids who are the youngest in their grades are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children, according to a study out today from Michigan State University.

From the States


This Week in Education reports that LA Unified School District superintendent Ray Cortines (EEP signatory) responds to this weekend’s big story on value-added teacher evaluations in an official statement, saying that the district “reject[s] the implication that test scores alone for the basis for designating a teacher as ineffective.”

Jeanne Allen, President of the Center for Education Reform (and EEP signatory) released a statement, published in the Sacramento Bee, that supports the LA Times article on value-added teaching. “The new data underscores why policymakers must implement reforms that make teacher quality the single factor that drives pay and contracts.”

Sandy Banks writes in the LA Times about the dedication of Polytechnic High teachers in Sun Valley, and how they are leading the efforts for reform in their school.

The Daily News reports that City of Angels will become the first virtual high school with online essay writing in the LA Unified School District .

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that for the first time in years, more than half of California’s public school students are reading at grade level or above, as measured by the new California Standards Test.  EdTrust-West issues an important statement on these findings, revealing persistent achievement gaps by race and economic status. For instance, “40% of African-American, Latino, and low-income students reached proficiency in 8th grade English-language arts, compared to 71 percent of their white and more affluent peers.”


EdReformer reports that the Indiana Department of Education has announced that Pearson Evaluation Systems will be the state’s partner in developing new teacher standards in alignment with Common Core State Standards.



Teach for America alum and education reformer Bill Ferguson is running for state senate in Maryland. After working Baltimore Public Schools, Ferguson committed himself to improving public education in the city as well as the state on the whole.  Check out Democrats for Education Reform’s endorsement of him here. Good luck, Bill!


An editorial in the Detroit News praises the Michigan Department of Education for identifying the 92 worst schools in the state, and hopes that this will be a big in turning around these schools.  “While it is disturbing to see so many schools performing so poorly, Michigan’s education establishment should be applauded for finally doing something about it.”

The US Department of Education is giving the state of Michigan $16.8 million to increase charter school options in the state, according to the Associated Press.

New Jersey reports that State Education Commissioner Bret Schundler said he’s willing to give up the state’s monopoly on authorizing and regulating charter schools and that he supports the broad outlines of a Democratic-sponsored bill that would allow Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education to also approve applications and oversee charter schools.

New York

Education Next’s Paul Peterson argues that the problem in New York City is reading scores, not gaps between high and low performers, in response to yesterday’s New York Times article on the “withering” achievement gap in the city. Using National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data – nationally administered and generally reliable testing data, Peterson concludes:  “If one looks at both city and state performance of 8th graders on the NAEP math and reading assessments, one discovers that math gains in New York City outstripped the gains in the state as a whole, and the reading gains, while dismal, are actually very slightly better than elsewhere in the state.”


The Oklahoman reports that a court ruling today now requires the state Education Department to fund a fledgling virtual charter school that will be the first of its kind inOklahoma enrolling kindergarten through 12th-grade students from across the state in online courses.

Rhode Island

The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island has received $2.38 million from the U.S. Department of Education to expand public charter schools, one of 12 grant recipients that received a total of $136 million to expand public school options, a priority of Education Commissioner (and EEP board member) Deborah A. Gist.


The Houston Chronicle reports that Houston Independent School District has launched Apollo 20, a program committed to reducing dropout rates and boosting student achievement in Houston public schools.  The program increases the school day by one hour, and the school year by five days for nine campuses this year (set to expand by 11 campuses next year). 

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