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ECS Governance NotesMay - June 2003

Governance Notes Archives


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

Bryan Hassel examines the MAYORAL ROLE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. He looks at the two typical approaches -- mayoral takeover and "supporting the superintendent" -- and offers a third approach for mayors: chartering new public schools.

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On April 16, ILLINOIS Governor Rod Blagojevich signed S.B. 19, which increases the number of charter schools permitted in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) from 15 to 30. It also reinstates collective-bargaining powers over various issues to CPS teachers, such as layoffs, class sizes and privatization.

On May 14, LOUISIANA Governor Mike Foster signed S.B. 710, which provides for the transfer of a failed public school from a local school district to a special state "recovery school district" governed by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and administered by the Louisiana Department of Education.

On April 16, COLORADO Governor Bill Owens signed H.B. 1160, which creates a publicly funded voucher program. The bill allows low-income, low-performing students in certain school districts to use public money to attend private and parochial schools. Colorado is the first state since the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision on vouchers last summer to enact a publicly funded voucher law.

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"Community Schools in Ohio: Implementation Issues and Impact on Ohio's Education System," by the Ohio Legislative Office of Education Oversight, presents findings on a variety of community school (i.e., CHARTER SCHOOL) issues, including factors for successful implementation, ongoing implementation difficulties and the impact of community schools.

In "Big City SCHOOL BOARDS: Problems and Options," the Center on Reinventing Education reviews the conflicting missions of urban school boards and offers potential solutions to getting urban school boards focused on the right mission. It also details school boards' responsibilities as spelled out in the education codes of six states (California, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas).

"Who's Teaching in Michigan's Traditional and CHARTER SCHOOLS," by the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, examines the similarities and differences between Michigan's charter and traditional school teachers. According to the study, charter school teachers are much less likely to have appropriate certification than their counterparts in traditional public schools.

In "The Organization of Primary and Secondary School Systems," a team of five researchers examines whether DECENTRALIZED large school systems outperform more CENTRALIZED large school systems. According to the researchers, the data generally support the view that decentralized public school districts outperform more centralized districts on student performance outcomes, administrative efficiency and incidence of corruption.

"Evaluation of Connecticut CHARTER SCHOOLS and the Charter School Initiative: Final Report," by the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University, examines the effectiveness, progress and impact of charter schools in Connecticut. On the whole, according to the report, these schools are targeting students with needs not well met in traditional public schools. Also, because of the selective application process and the closure of struggling schools, those that remain in operation are both highly accountable and provide unique programs that differ from surrounding public schools.

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The ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools recently released a series of four reports called "The Nuts & Bolts of CHARTER DISTRICTS." The reports focus on state policy options, district design options, the new central office and funding issues in charter districts.

The ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools also recently released a policy brief on CYBER CHARTER SCHOOLS. This paper, written by education consultant Amy Berk Anderson, examines state policies for cyber charter schools, the advantages and disadvantages of cyber charter schools and key questions for policymakers concerning cyber charter schools.

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In early summer, look for the STATE POLICIES FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS Database from the ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools. This interactive, user-friendly tool will provide profiles of charter school policies in individual states as well as 50-state reports on particular charter school policies.

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


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