Michigan – No action taken on charter authorizers on at-risk list
The 11 charter school authorizers named at-risk by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan have avoided suspension and still remain at-risk. In August, Flanagan required those authorizers to provide sufficient transparency and oversight of their operations or face suspension in October.
While they may have avoided action by Flanagan, the issue of how the $1 billion in taxpayer dollars is being spent by authorizers is being addressed by Gov. Snyder and the State Board of Education.
The Governor announced he will address education reforms in his January State of the State Address that will require more transparency for all Michigan schools-including charter schools. Snyder hasn’t yet provided specifics about his reforms so it’s not clear whether legislative action will be needed to implement them.
Get the full story at MEA.org.
Massachusetts – MTA president issues statement on Governor Baker’s call to lift the cap on charter schools
It is a shame that on Baker’s first day in office, his education focus is to support an initiative that undermines rather than supports the district public schools that have served Massachusetts students so well.
Public education is the foundation of democracy, and as such must adhere to deeply democratic principles. Charter schools undermine that vision, substituting market-driven practices for democratic engagement.
Our legislators have established charter school caps for good reason. After an initial period of reimbursement, charter schools drain millions of dollars from local public schools, depriving students of needed resources.
Utah – Policymakers hear concerns from classroom teachers
In an effort to inform those who make education policy decisions, the UEA invited legislators, superintendents, school board members and state administrators to hear from teachers. About 50 policymakers gathered at the UEA Office Dec. 16 where eight accomplished Utah teachers shared their experiences and explained how their policies impact classrooms [pictured above and at left].
UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh introduced the program by recapping a few things that have happened in the past few months.
“We recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure that we have a high quality teacher in every classroom, and so the UEA has contributed approximately three-quarters of a million dollars to support the efforts around teacher evaluation,” she said. She also discussed the UEA’s support for 2012’s Senate Bill 64 that ties successful evaluations to teacher pay and recommendations for improving teaching quality made by the UEA Educational Excellence Task Force.
Washington – Now is the time to fully fund Washington’s public schools
As educators, we are facing an opportunity that comes along once in a generation. For the first time, perhaps ever, we have a confluence of factors driving new investment into education, factors driven in large part by us – the members of the WEA. Together, we must keep driving to ensure that our state makes significant progress toward fully funding the quality education Washington students deserve. Consider:
- The Supreme Court has issued a contempt order for the Legislature to increase K-12 funding.
- I-1351 passed and smaller class sizes for all students (and more support staff) are now the will of the voters. In a democracy, that matters and we can’t let legislators and others pretend it doesn’t.
- By law, the Legislature has to restore the voter-mandated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for educators this year.
It sounds good, but even with the courts, the voters and the law on the side of kids and educators, we need to make sure our voice is heard when legislators make budget and other decisions about education, including higher education.