UW System has a new state ‘charter czar’ — the 3rd in past year

Kelly Meyerhofer: Seligman succeeds Latoya Holiday, who took over as director sometime this winter and then left to join the state Department of Public Instruction. His salary is $103,000, Pitsch said. Twenty-two people applied for the position. Seligman previously worked as assistant director of the UW Hillel Foundation at UW-Madison. He also practiced commercial and … Continue reading UW System has a new state ‘charter czar’ — the 3rd in past year

‘Charter czar’ prepares launch as charter popularity plateaus

Chris Rickert: It can be easy to forget about the “charter czar.” More than two years after his office was created within the University of Wisconsin System and more than a year after he was hired, the czar has yet to authorize a single charter school. His office doesn’t even have a website. Education reformers … Continue reading ‘Charter czar’ prepares launch as charter popularity plateaus

Obama’s education czar charters a course to Brooklyn

Carl Campanile & David Seifman:

In a dramatic show of White House support, President Obama’s education czar will visit a Brooklyn charter school Tuesday to help persuade the foot-dragging state Assembly to lift the cap on the number of charters, The Post has learned.
The timing of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s trip is significant since New York has just two weeks to revamp its charter-school law ahead of the June 1 deadline for the state to submit its application for $700 million in federal education funds.
“I hope the Legislature will do the right thing by children,” Duncan told The Post yesterday.

Metro Nashville school board denies five charter school applications

Holly Meyer: Meanwhile, earlier this month, Cooper said he asked Nashville school leaders to figure out how they could carve up to $100 million out of the district’s budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.  The school board’s denial of charter school applications is also in keeping with its overall trend in … Continue reading Metro Nashville school board denies five charter school applications

Plan for Massachusetts Education “Czar” Threatens Reforms

Charles Glenn:

Education reform is often stifled by the vested interests that resist accountability and new models like charter and pilot schools. In Massachusetts, the independence of the state Board of Education provided the continuity that allowed reform to be successfully implemented year after year.
The board was responsible for the initiatives that were the heart and soul of reform, like the MCAS exam, teacher testing, and academically rigorous curriculum frameworks. It was the board that followed a prudent course by creating rigorous charter school approval and closure processes.
Each of these reforms was the target of substantial resistance from a powerful and change-averse education establishment. Only an independent Board of Education, insulated from politics, could have made them a reality.
Despite these unparalleled successes, all we have achieved is now at risk. A proposal to eliminate the Board of Education’s independence seems to be breezing through the Legislature. The proposal would make the board just another part of Governor Patrick’s administration and thus politicize an institution that has been insulated from politics since 1837, when Horace Mann was its first leader.

On Madison’s lack of K-12 Diversity and choice

Karen Rivedahl: “The best thing my office can do is increase access to educational opportunities and increase equity,” he said. “The worst thing it can do is create fights for fights’ sake.” Independent charter schools, while funded by state taxpayers, operate outside most traditional public school rules in a way that supporters say make them … Continue reading On Madison’s lack of K-12 Diversity and choice

Mayor could take Indianapolis Public Schools reins

Indianapolis Star:

Although he didn’t ask for it in his re-election campaign, Mayor Greg Ballard could become the boss of Indianapolis Public Schools in the coming year.
The most likely plan would include mayoral appointment of the School Board, combined with a decentralization of IPS. Schools would have an independence similar to what charter schools have, along with strict accountability to the mayor for performance.
A formal proposal along these lines will come from The Mind Trust, a local education reform organization led by David Harris, who was the city’s charter school czar during Bart Peterson’s administration. A shift in oversight of IPS would have to be approved by the General Assembly and Gov. Mitch Daniels. Informal talks about IPS reform took place earlier this year among Republican and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly as well as Indianapolis civic leaders.

Return of the One-Room Schoolhouse

RiShawn Biddle

Even among the nation’s woeful traditional big-city school districts, Detroit Public Schools is a particular abomination. Between falling into state receivership for the second time in the past 12 years, facing $327 million in budget deficits for the next four years, wrangling with scandals such as the travails of literacy-bereft now-former school board president Otis Mathis (who resigned last year after the district’s superintendent complained that he had engaged in lewd acts during meetings), and constant news about its failure to educate its students, the Motor City district has secured its place as the Superfund site of education.
So it wasn’t a surprise when Detroit’s state-appointed czar, Robert Bobb, announced on March 12 that the district would slash its deficit — and eliminate as much as $99 million in costs from operating its bureaucracy — by getting rid of 29 percent of the 142 dropout factories and failure mills. But instead of just shutting down the 41 schools (as the district originally planned to do) it would convert them into charter schools, handing off instruction, curriculum, and operations to nonprofits, parents groups, and others interested in running schools.