Welcome to ECS Governance Notes, a bimonthly e-mail publication
with links to key information on education governance.
GUEST COLUMN Back to top.
Thomas Persing of the CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT relates the challenges of governing a troubled school district and the pitfalls of privatization.
WHAT STATES ARE DOING Back to top.
TENNESSEE Governor Don Sundquist has signed into law H.B. 1131, which allows school boards to grant charters and permits public schools to convert to charter schools, with the support of either 60% of a school's teachers or 60% of a school's parents. Districts also are given the authority to turn low-performing schools into charters if they fail to improve.
In NEW JERSEY, Governor James McGreevey signed into law S428, known as the Camden Recovery Act, which called for a state takeover of Camden's public schools coupled with $175 million in state funds for municipal rehabilitation. But in late August 2002, portions of the law were declared unconstitutional, making state control of Camden schools unlikely in the near future.
GOOD READS Back to top.
According to a new report, California's charter schools
are doing a better job of improving the academic
performance of AT-RISK STUDENTS than noncharters.
An article by Stephen D. Sugarman of the University of
California at Berkeley offers an agenda of CHARTER
SCHOOL FUNDING topics in need of attention by policy
analysts and school finance experts.
The new No Child Left Behind Act gives students in
failing schools the right to transfer to better schools.
Both Illinois and Chicago, however, have severely
restricted STUDENT TRANSFERS -- a sign, some say, of
"a big pushback" against the new law.
The 2002 Brown Center Report on American Education finds
that students in CHARTER SCHOOLS are scoring significantly
below public school pupils in basic reading and math skills.
Charter-school students were anywhere from half a year to a
full year behind their public school peers, researchers at the
Brookings Institution concluded after reviewing reading and
math test scores of 376 charter schools in 10 states.
Viewing themselves as "owners" rather than employees can give
TEACHERS greater control of their professional activity, including
increased responsibility for improving student learning, according
to a new book, "Teachers as Owners: A Key to Revitalizing Public
Education." The book provides practical models for those
interested in this new method for putting the excitement back
in the teaching profession.
HIGHLIGHTED CENTER RESOURCES Back to top.
On August 22 and 23, the ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools held the second meeting of the ALL-CHARTER DISTRICT Network. This group of 29 national, state and district leaders from 10 states and the District of Columbia discussed several issues, including accountability, school finance, politics and community relations in all-charter districts.
UPCOMING CENTER PROJECTS Back to top.
To reflect legislative changes in the 2002 sessions, the ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools is updating the "Collection of ECS StateNotes About CHARTER SCHOOLS," which provides summaries of policies in the following areas: charter school basics, charter school finance, charter school autonomy, charter school teachers and charter school accountability. The center will finish updating these documents later this fall.
To read more about Education Governance, visit
the ECS Issue Site on Governance.