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Bill Clinton's Remarks on Charters And Accountability - Some Good Points That Don't Quite Add Up

By Charles Barone, Policy Director

Earlier this week, former President Bill Clinton made waves when he criticized charter schools for "not living up to their promise." We wholeheartedly agree. In too many states, the lax state oversight of public charter schools cited by Clinton - one of the nation's earliest advocates for charter schools from either party and the primary force behind the 1994 enactment of the federal charter school program - has resulted in a public charter sector that performs significantly below its traditional public school counterpart.

The situation Clinton highlighted is not just bad for kids, it's bad for the charter movement. Far too frequently, charter school advocates have resisted efforts to implement robust accountability for public charters or to improve or restructure low-performing schools.


Extending Accountability to Teacher Preparation

By Michael Dannenberg, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Policy, Education Reform Now

Buzz is, and it’s a good bet, that the Obama administration is about to release a draft teacher preparation regulation. Why, and what will the draft regulation say?

Separately and together, there are three major pending Obama initiatives that advance “quality assurance” and “accountability for higher ed” as postsecondary education policy themes that could prove a significant part of this administration’s higher education legacy.

First, there’s the President’s proposed college ratings system.


A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

By Jen Walmer, DFER-CO State Director

The recent actions of the new conservative majority of the Jefferson County Schools Board of Education remind us of a couple important points:

1. Elections can have drastic and immediate consequences on our daily lives.

2. Far too often in today's ever-changing education landscape, extreme right ideologues are wrapping themselves in the cloak of legitimate, reasonable education reform.

Last week, the Jefferson County school board took under consideration a proposal from board member and known Tea Party activist Julie Williams that would limit what Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum could cover.

Here is the proposal:

"Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.


Mind the Gap: Students Scoring Proficient by State, But Not International Standards

(Download the PDF for a closer view here.)


Created by DFER's Communications Coordinator and Web Editor, Stephanie Doctrow

From DFER's Blog Series: Infographic Tuesdays

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Making The Second City's Schools Second to None

In 2010, schools across Illinois were still reeling from the Great Recession. The Chicago Tribune reported that the crisis strained school budgets in Illinois so much that many were at a "breaking point." Across the state, teachers and parents worried that schools would not be able to open their doors, let alone improve their practice. Despite inheriting a school system in economic freefall, newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel did far more than confront budget challenges. In his first three years in office, Mayor Emanuel has secured more time for instruction, more public school options for parents, and more support for students.

Read "Making The Second City's Schools Second to None" here.


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