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ECS Governance NotesAugust - September 2004

Governance Notes Archives


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

Weaver Rogers provides a description of COMMON STATE EDUCATION GOVERNANCE PROBLEMS and a seven step process to overcome them.

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LOUISIANA Governor Kathleen Blanco recently signed into law HB 1659, which significantly limits the power of school boards in districts identified as being in academic crisis. For such districts, the law grants wide decisionmaking authority to the local superintendent.

The COLORADO Supreme Court has found the state's voucher program unconstitutionally strips school boards of local control. The high court's 4-3 decision upholds a district court ruling that locally raised tax money can't be used to pay for private education.,1413,36~53~2240978,00.html

ARIZONA education officials hope a recent opinion issued by the state attorney general will convince the U.S. Department of Education that charter schools run by for-profit companies are entitled to keep millions of federal dollars.

In a new report on ARIZONA charter schooling from the Progressive Policy Institute, authors Bryan Hassel and Michelle Godard Terrell tell the state's charter schooling story. The authors show how the looseness of the state's charter school law has allowed for the creation of many excellent schools, but also has resulted in too many sub-par ones.

This Christian Science Monitor article on Minneapolis, MINNESOTA, reports that while many urban districts struggle to retain white, middle-class families, Minneapolis also is losing low-income, minority ones, primarily to charter schools. More than 20% of Minneapolis students chose not to attend district schools last year, a fact that has led to an enrollment crisis for the district. But many observers point out this is exactly how choice is supposed to work.

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EARLY LESSONS from Colorado's Voucher Experience. In April 2003, Colorado passed H.B. 1160 and became the first state to enact a school voucher law in the wake of the June 2002 landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling favoring school vouchers. Although a Denver district judge ruled the program unconstitutional last December, there are lessons to be learned from both sides of the issue. This new ECS report describes Colorado's voucher program and looks at what state leaders on either side of the issue hope it will accomplish or fear it will lead to. The report also examines the implementation and evaluation processes being put into place and concludes with a look at how evaluations might converge with voucher debates in the future.

Charter Schools Are Willing To Be Accountable for Their Students' Success. In his keynote speech to the 2004 annual conference of the New York Charter Schools Association, New York City Chancellor Joel Klein encouraged attendees to continue the effort to PROMOTE EDUCATION REFORM in the state. He stressed that the culture of public education needs to be reformed and noted that charter schools allow for leadership, autonomy and accountability.

Choosing Better Schools: A Report on STUDENT TRANSFERS Under the No Child Left Behind Act. According to this recent report from the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, school choice provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) are promoting racial and economic diversity in a significant number of school districts across the country. The report also finds that state and district implementation of NCLB school choice requirements is uneven. Read highlights and key findings, and download the full report from this press release.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Doing It the Right Way Makes a Difference. This report marks the culmination of two years of work by the National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education, which included Paul Hill (chairman) and Dan Goldhaber. The report explores whether choice is more likely to achieve its supporters' goals or manifest its detractors' fears. The answer: it all depends.

CYBER AND HOME SCHOOL Charter Schools: How States are Defining New Forms of Public Schooling. Cyber and home school charter schools have become a prominent part of the charter school movement, a paper from the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education finds. The paper explores how these alternative models are emerging within the larger public and charter school communities, with particular attention to recent developments in California and Pennsylvania.

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PATHWAYS MAPPING INITIATIVE. This Web site holds a wealth of findings about what it takes to improve the lives of children and families living in America's tough neighborhoods. Community coalitions, providers of services and supports, funders and policymakers will find a broad collection of information about what works in social programs and policies to achieve desired results, including more children ready for school and more families economically successful.

The Association of Governing Boards Center for Public Trusteeship and Governance recently released its State Governance Action Annual 2004. This report provides an up-to-date description of state-level policy discussions and actions in HIGHER EDUCATION GOVERNANCE, including a look at recent events in Oregon and Florida.

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Stay tuned to the ECS Web site for information about the upcoming SCHOOL CHOICE WEBCAST to be held October 12 and 13. Participants will be able to hear presentations by school choice experts, including Paul Hill, and take part in a dialogue with the experts and others.

ECS recently released ECS REPORT TO THE NATION: State Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act contains information you won't find anywhere else about how implementation of NCLB is playing out in states. It includes results from ECS' comprehensive database, which tracks and reports state implementation activity on 40 NCLB indicators; trends within and across states; issues and challenges facing states; and recommendations. The online version of this report includes resources and clickable links to more information.

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


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