Category Archives: Education

Charter Schools and Collective Bargaining: Compatible Marriage or Illegitimate Relationship?

Source: Martin H. Malin and Charles Kerchner, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 30 no. 3, Summer 2007

From the abstract:
The rapid increase in charter schools has been fueled by the view that traditional public schools have failed because of their monopoly on public education. Charter schools, freed from the bureaucratic regulation that dominates traditional public schools, are viewed as agents of change that will shock traditional public schools out of their complacency. Among the features of the failed status quo are teacher tenure, uniform salary grids and strict work rules, matters that teacher unions hold dear. Yet unions have begun organizing teachers in charter schools. This development prompts the question whether unionization and charter schools are compatible.

States Venture Into Teacher Performance Pay

Source: Pauline Vu, Stateline.org, October 09, 2007

The controversial idea of paying teachers based not on how long they’ve been teaching but on how much their students learn got a boost when a key congressman recently proposed adding pay-for-performance money for teachers in high-poverty schools to the next version of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

Email Archiving Requirements for Schools and Local Governments

Source: Roger Matus, Sean True, and Chuck Ingold, InBoxer, Inc., 2007

Public schools and local governments may have more stringent requirements than most businesses for email archiving and electronic discovery. Yet, with their limited budgets, schools and local governments are often the least equipped to respond.

The newly revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure define how email must be handled in federal court cases. Businesses tend to think that the FRCP focus is on interstate lawsuits. Schools and governments, however, also need to be concerned with emails relating to federally funded activities or any activity governed by federal legislation.

In addition, schools and local governments have the burden of responding to (1) requests under open meeting and Freedom of Information Act laws, (2) offensive emails or those with sexual content involving students, and (3) emailed threats.

The 39th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public’s Attitudes Toward The Public Schools

Source: Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup, September 2007

The 39th poll comes at a time when K-12 schooling is near the top of the agenda in state and national policy discussions, and efforts to improve student achievement dominate those discussions. Chief among the improvement efforts is No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the sweeping federal initiative. Given the importance of this law and the fact that the poll was founded on the belief that public support is a vital component of shaping effective education policy, it is appropriate to open this report with the public’s reaction to NCLB and its principal strategy, standardized testing.

As it has grown in importance, the PDK/Gallup Poll has fueled debate regarding K-12 schooling, and charges of bias are routine. With that in mind, we have gradually reshaped the poll report to make it user-friendly and to draw the reader into the analysis of the data. We report the data, state what we believe they say, and leave it to the reader to reach his or her own conclusions.

In this year’s report, the statements following a table and designated as “Findings” are in the nature of summaries that we believe offer a fair interpretation of the data. Statements designated as “Conclusions” are highlighted because we think they capture the most significant of the poll results. These are offered as topics for debate. In the end, our aim is to let the data speak for themselves.

The PDK/Gallup polls provide a snapshot of the public’s assessment of its schools and the challenges they face, as well as a measure of what the public will and will not support in terms of program initiatives. Such information can be invaluable in the ongoing policy debates regarding our public schools. However, that information will not be remotely useful unless school leaders consider the implications of the public’s views for the operation of the schools. School leaders can bring to bear on school policy the common sense and practical wisdom that were missing from the creation of No Child Left Behind. Here, we offer seven implications of the 2007 PDK/Gallup Poll.

Back to School Statistics

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2007

As the nation’s students and teachers return to school, here are selected statistics about American schools, students, and the educational process. The information was compiled by IES and derives from the Institute’s research and statistical centers. Follow the accompanying links for additional information.

Digest of Education Statistics, 2006

Source: Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2007017, July 2007

The 42nd in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.

2007 Annual Survey of America’s Charter Schools

Source: Edited by: Alison Consoletti and Jeanne Allen, Center for Education Reform, April 2007

From press release:
Despite legal challenges, charter schools grew by 11 percent in 2006 and continue to serve a student body that is on average 53 percent minority and 54 percent low-income. Charter school popularity continues to grow among children most in need. In 2006, 42 percent of charter schools served an “at-risk” student population over 60 percent and 44 percent served a minority student population over 60 percent.
See also: Understanding Constitutions & Charter Schools

Squeezing Public Education: History and Ideology Gang Up on New Orleans

Source: Ralph Adamo, Dissent, Vol. 54 no. 3, Summer 2007

When hurricane Katrina (or, more accurately, the failure of the levees) washed away the New Orleans Public Schools (NOPS) at the end of August 2005, there was relief in many quarters. Within days of the storm, the acting public school superintendent, Ora Watson, declared that the “fiscal crisis of the New Orleans Public Schools” was now over. In hastily assembled meetings, members of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), state and local politicians, and leaders of the state’s education bureaucracy convened to examine the situation. Representatives of the charter school movement, as well as providers of ancillary education services and materials, also convened. The chance to recreate public education in New Orleans from the ground up was an irresistible consequence of Katrina, as well as a dream come true. Before the first waves of refugees began returning to the drowned city, these newly energized social engineers had decided that no public school would reopen (though public schools did open relatively quickly in the neighboring parishes of Jefferson and St. Bernard); that all 7,500 employees of the system (the majority of them teachers) would be terminated; and that whatever schools did open would be charter schools, operating under the aegis of either BESE or NOPS, depending on the type or timing of the charter application.

Description and Employment Criteria of Instructional Paraprofessionals

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2007-008, June 2007

This Issue Brief (1) offers a descriptive portrait of the distribution of instructional paraprofessionals in all public elementary and secondary schools by instructional responsibility and selected school characteristics and (2) examines the educational attainment criteria used by school districts in hiring these paraprofessionals. Data for this analysis were drawn from the 2003–04 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The findings from this analysis indicate that 91 percent of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States had at least one instructional paraprofessional on staff in 2003–04. A greater percentage of traditional public schools than charter schools had instructional paraprofessionals and a greater percentage of elementary schools than secondary schools report having instructional paraprofessionals. Overall, 93 percent of schools were in districts that required paraprofessionals to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The results also indicate that a greater percentage of Title I schools than non-Title I schools were in districts that required instructional paraprofessionals to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
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