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ECS Governance NotesOctober - November 2002

Governance Notes Archives


Welcome to ECS Governance Notes, a bimonthly e-mail publication with links to key information on education governance.

Thomas Persing of the CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT relates the challenges of governing a troubled school district and the pitfalls of privatization.

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TENNESSEE Governor Don Sundquist has signed into law H.B. 1131, which allows school boards to grant charters and permits public schools to convert to charter schools, with the support of either 60% of a school's teachers or 60% of a school's parents. Districts also are given the authority to turn low-performing schools into charters if they fail to improve.

In NEW JERSEY, Governor James McGreevey signed into law S428, known as the Camden Recovery Act, which called for a state takeover of Camden's public schools coupled with $175 million in state funds for municipal rehabilitation. But in late August 2002, portions of the law were declared unconstitutional, making state control of Camden schools unlikely in the near future.

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According to a new report, California's charter schools are doing a better job of improving the academic performance of AT-RISK STUDENTS than noncharters.

An article by Stephen D. Sugarman of the University of California at Berkeley offers an agenda of CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING topics in need of attention by policy analysts and school finance experts.

The new No Child Left Behind Act gives students in failing schools the right to transfer to better schools. Both Illinois and Chicago, however, have severely restricted STUDENT TRANSFERS -- a sign, some say, of "a big pushback" against the new law.

The 2002 Brown Center Report on American Education finds that students in CHARTER SCHOOLS are scoring significantly below public school pupils in basic reading and math skills. Charter-school students were anywhere from half a year to a full year behind their public school peers, researchers at the Brookings Institution concluded after reviewing reading and math test scores of 376 charter schools in 10 states.

Viewing themselves as "owners" rather than employees can give TEACHERS greater control of their professional activity, including increased responsibility for improving student learning, according to a new book, "Teachers as Owners: A Key to Revitalizing Public Education." The book provides practical models for those interested in this new method for putting the excitement back in the teaching profession.^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0810843722

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On August 22 and 23, the ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools held the second meeting of the ALL-CHARTER DISTRICT Network. This group of 29 national, state and district leaders from 10 states and the District of Columbia discussed several issues, including accountability, school finance, politics and community relations in all-charter districts.

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To reflect legislative changes in the 2002 sessions, the ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools is updating the "Collection of ECS StateNotes About CHARTER SCHOOLS," which provides summaries of policies in the following areas: charter school basics, charter school finance, charter school autonomy, charter school teachers and charter school accountability. The center will finish updating these documents later this fall.

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To read more about Education Governance, visit the ECS Issue Site on Governance.


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