Welcome to ECS Governance Notes, a bimonthly e-mail publication
with links to key information on education governance.
GUEST COLUMN Back to top.
Katy Anthes and Arika Long provide an analysis of recent STATE-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESSES by the nation's governors. They find that state policymakers are using a variety of governance-related strategies to increase student achievement.
WHAT STATES ARE DOING Back to top.
The HAWAII legislature has passed a comprehensive education reform bill (SB 3238) that would reduce class size in kindergarten through 2nd grade and give principals more control of their schools' budgets. The bill also establishes community councils for each school to help develop academic and financial plans, and to help in hiring and retaining principals. Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has not indicated whether she will sign or veto the bill.
VIRGINIA Governor Mark Warner has signed a bill (SB 553) authorizing school boards to create specialized regional schools that offer programs leading to a high school diploma and a postsecondary credential such as an industry certification.
COLORADO lawmakers have approved a first-of-its-kind college voucher plan that helps the state's universities with money issues as well as helps students pay for their education. Voucher systems, familiar and controversial for securing funding at the K-12 level, have never been tried at the college and university level anywhere in the country. Colorado's program, which starts in fall 2005, will be worth $2,400 at public schools and $1,200 at three private schools in the state.
The OHIO state department of education wants to create teacher preparation schools that are free from state regulations so long as they produce high-quality teachers – a variation on the concept that has led to the creation of more than 3,000 K-12 charter schools in 41 states since 1992. While Ohio may add two new charter colleges of education, a bill pending in Congress would set up a grant program to establish such charters. The legislation would allow states to apply for federal grants under the Higher Education Act to set up the charter colleges.
GOOD READS Back to top.
Noel Epstein's most recent book, “Who's in Charge Here? The American Kibbutz," analyzes the INTEGRATION OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND AUTHORITY in U.S. schools: “It is only common sense that institutions need someone to be in charge, someone who sets goals and strategies and is accountable for results." Read more about the book in William Raspberry's review in The Washington Post.
According to the Boston Globe, URBAN CHARTER SCHOOLS scored well on the most recent Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams: “[M]ore than 60% of urban charter schools in Massachusetts outpaced comparable schools in their cities on the most recent Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams and several ranked among the state's highest performers among schools that primarily serve poor and minority children." Charter schools, however, collectively fared worse statewide than traditional public schools on the tests.
The Center for Education Reform (CER) has recently published its “ANNUAL SURVEY OF AMERICA'S CHARTER SCHOOLS" and “Charter Schools Across the States: Ranking Scorecard and Legislative Profiles." Among the key findings of the 2004 annual survey, CER notes that charter schools are serving disproportionately high numbers of low-income, at-risk and minority students. They use a wider variety of innovate curricula, are smaller, give more instructional time, attract more students than they can serve and still receive fewer dollars than noncharter public schools.
Luis A. Huerta and Maria-Fernanda Gonzalez' new paper, “CYBER AND HOME SCHOOL CHARTER SCHOOLS: How States Are Defining New Forms of Public Schooling," examines how alternative charter school models are emerging within the larger public school and charter school communities with particular attention to recent developments in California and Pennsylvania. “In these two states public scrutiny of cyber and home schooling charter schools has led to considerable debate and demands for public accountability. Of particular concern is the need to modify the regulatory framework to accommodate cyber and home schooling charter schools as well as consideration of the differing financial allocations that are appropriate for schools that operate with reduced personnel and facilities and the division of financial responsibility between state and local educational agencies."
HIGHLIGHTED CENTER RESOURCES Back to top.
The ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools recently completed the STATE POLICIES FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT database. This searchable database contains information about the state policies for open enrollment in each state. It also allows comparisons of state policies across several states and by predetermined reports.
Another searchable ECS database is the POSTSECONDARY GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES database. You can generate profiles of individual state postsecondary governance structures, select comparisons by more than one state or from predetermined reports.
ECS PROJECT SPOTLIGHT Back to top.
ECS' Continued Work on Governance: Now that the work of the National Center for Governing America's Schools is complete, ECS will continue to track policies and conduct research on governance issues in the states; encourage discussion and debate the issues; and provide technical assistance to select states and communities whenever possible. Through this e-newsletter, you will be sent updates on opportunities and new information arising from several ECS projects underway listed below:
-- The STATE ACTION FOR EDUCATION LEADERSHIP PROJECT, funded by the Wallace Foundation, aims to improve student achievement through developing effective leadership and creating the right working conditions for school and district leaders to effectively do their jobs. For more information, go to:
-- The NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY helps state leaders use data to monitor, analyze and improve student and school performance. More information on different accountability models, with implications for education governance structures can be found at the following website.
UPCOMING MEETINGS/EVENTS Back to top.
When THE NATIONAL FORUM ON EDUCATION POLICY convenes July 13-16 in Orlando, Florida, more than 500 state and national policymakers will delve into today's hottest education issues spanning preschool to college, including No Child Left Behind; vouchers; state intervention in low-performing schools; and choice, charters and magnet schools. This ECS-sponsored forum is the only major education meeting that brings together in one place governors, legislators, chief state school officers, higher education officials, state board members, local and federal education representatives, and businesspeople to talk about their problems and share their ideas on key education issues facing states.
To read more about Education Governance, visit
the ECS Issue Site on Governance.