later on the future of Johnson Street,
Idea will be floated at workshop Tuesday
By Ihosvani Rodriguez
June 14, 2009
City officials will host a workshop Tuesday to float the idea of opening a city-run charter school.
Mayor Peter Bober said he wants to gauge public opinion before proceeding.
"I've always said that education is the missing puzzle in the city," said Bober. "Hollywood has some excellent schools, but the perception that Hollywood's schools are sub-par is an unfortunate reality, which confronts us each day and causes young families to move out of Hollywood, and causes families looking to relocate to go elsewhere."
The workshop is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd. Among the speakers will be Pembroke Pines City Manager Charlie Dodge, whose city operates the largest city-run charter school system in the country. Charter schools are privately run public educational facilties.
The charter high school, two middle schools and four elementary schools in Pembroke Pines serve 5,400 students.
But that city is struggling to keep the system open because of funding problems.
In November 2007, Pembroke Pines filed a lawsuit alleging the Broward school district owed the charters at least $2.5 million a year in capital projects money. The suit is pending.
Ihosvani Rodriguez can be reached at email@example.com or 954-385-7908.
Copyright © 2009, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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June 15, 2009
Contact: Raelin Storey
Public Affairs and Marketing Director
Phone: 954.921.3098 Fax: 954.921.3314
Special City Commission Meeting to Explore
A City-Run Charter School
HOLLYWOOD, FL – The City of Hollywood will hold a Special City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Boulevard, to discuss whether the City should move forward with seeking a Charter from the Broward County School Board to operate a city-run charter school.
“When I was sworn in as Mayor, I vowed to make education a top priority,” says Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober. “While Hollywood has some excellent schools, there is a perception that the educational opportunities in Hollywood are sub-par. A Charter School could be one step toward offering more options for families and changing outdated perceptions.” The meeting will include information from City of Hollywood Staff along with the City Manager of Pembroke Pines, Charlie Dodge, about Charter School programs. Additionally, the public will have an opportunity to comment on whether the City of Hollywood should apply for a charter.
For additional information or media inquiries, please contact Raelin Storey, Public Affairs Director at (o) 954.921.3098 or (c) 954.812.0975.
BY PATRICIA MAZZEI
Crist visited the North Broward Academy of Excellence, a K-8, to tout House Bill 991, which expands to all Florida schools a pilot program that combined the state's method of grading schools with the rating system under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Classes have been out since last week, but the school invited some students and their parents to the ceremony.
About 16 students, clad in their school uniforms, surrounded Crist and offered him blue Sharpie pens to sign the bill -- and autograph their name tags.
''I'm going to run out of pens,'' Crist joked.
''You have to buy new ones,'' suggested 6-year-old Miles Fleisher, a soon-to-be first-grader, to much laughter.
All public and charter schools already receive grades. But the No Child measure only rates schools that get federal money because they have a high percentage of low-income students.
Last year, Florida got permission from the U.S. Department of Education to mesh the two methods.
The new bill puts that change into law. Schools will continue to get a grade -- as well as a breakdown of how well students in different categories of race, disability and poverty are performing in math and reading like the No Child law already does for some schools.
Supporters say that will help schools identify struggling students in high-performing schools. Critics counter that the measure comes with no new money for schools to do something with the extra data.
On Friday, bill sponsor Rep. Tom Grady, a Naples Republican, said the hybrid rating system is in line with President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's push for more transparency in schools.
''This bill walks that talk,'' he said.
When the state first brought the state and federal rating methods together last year, it significantly reduced the number of schools that would have otherwise faced serious sanctions -- like closing or turning them into charter or special district-run schools -- for repeatedly failing to meet federal standards.
Expanding the system to all schools might mean a greater number may face drastic consequences. Crist said it could also mean more students moving into charter schools or more schools giving that model a try.
''It gives more schools the opportunity . . . to become a charter school,'' he said.
Thirteen Florida schools risked sanctions this school year under the pilot hybrid rating system, including four in Miami-Dade: Miami Central Senior High, Miami Edison Senior High, Liberty City Elementary and Holmes Elementary. A fifth, Larkdale Elementary, is in Broward.
None will officially know if they skirted sanctions until school grades are released this summer; some have already celebrated significant gains in student test scores.
For more stories on educational innovation across the country,
see Education Sector Biweekly Digest, which is a DC-based
newsletter that I've been receiving via email since it first started,
Los Angeles Times
Paying for bad teachers
June 15, 2009
They put it off. They debated it at length and watered it down. And in the end, the Los Angeles Unified school trustees barely passed a resolution asking the Legislature to make it a little easier to fire teachers accused of serious crimes. Mind you, not the ineffective teachers who sleep in the classroom, ignore the curriculum and pass their unprepared students to the next grade. Just the ones who stand accused of abusing or molesting students.
Union leaders warn that the Legislature will never comply without their stamp of approval, and they're probably right. Failure to put the interests of children over the power of unions is characteristic of California education policy.
It also puts the state out of touch with education reforms sweeping the nation, and could put our schools out of contention for new pots of federal money. Just two days after the resolution squeaked through last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made it clear that antiquated notions of teacher protection will not pass muster with the Obama administration. Teachers should be evaluated, retained and paid based on how well their students learn, Duncan said, and that includes progress on standardized tests.
California couldn't do that if it wanted to right now. At the behest of unions, the state put a firewall between student data and teacher performance. The data "may not be used ... for purposes of pay, promotion, sanction or personnel evaluation," the law reads. Duncan has $4.3 billion in competitive grant money to parcel out to schools that meet his standards for innovation, and California's perverse position on teacher pay and firing isn't likely to make the grade. But Duncan has a role to play in making that more feasible. The kinds of data called for by the No Child Left Behind Act don't measure individual student progress. The federal law has long needed revision to emphasize yearly growth rather than meeting an arbitrary, inconsistent bar called "proficiency."
We agree with union leaders that teachers need decent job protection and that they should not be judged by test results alone. But a recent study by the New Teacher Project, a training organization in New York, found that in many schools where teachers agreed that a colleague should be fired for poor performance, no one was even given an "unsatisfactory" rating on evaluations. Some objective measures are necessary.
We are so far from that in California. Here, it is considered revolutionary for a school board to beg for relief from a tortuous, money-wasting teacher termination process that is nearly doomed to failure anyway. Duncan has given the state a new reason to act on behalf of children, an incentive it shouldn't need in the first place.
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