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ECS Governance NotesMarch - April 2003

Governance Notes Archives


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

In this issue's guest column, Clive Belfield and Amy Wooten provide an overview of one of the more controversial reforms in public education -- EDUCATION TAX CREDITS. They discuss the emerging data on tax credits and review which states currently have policies allowing them.

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On March 13, the WASHINGTON Senate passed S.B. 5012, which creates a charter school law for the state. It allows for a total of 70 charter schools over six years, to be sponsored by either local school boards or public universities. The bill is now in the Washington House of Representatives.

On March 27, the COLORADO Senate passed H.B. 1160, which creates a publicly funded voucher program. The bill allows low-income, low-performing students in certain school districts to use public money to attend private and parochial schools. The bill is now in the Colorado House of Representatives.

In CALIFORNIA, state policymakers are debating A.B. 1464, which expands the types of entities that can sponsor charter schools. The bill authorizes nonprofit charitable organizations, certain private universities and colleges, certain public universities and community colleges, and mayors in cities with a population greater than 250,000 to sponsor charter schools.

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On March 24, the U.S. Department of Education released "The Impact of the New Title I Requirements on CHARTER SCHOOLS: Non-Regulatory Guidance." This document addresses the topics of accountability, qualified teachers and paraprofessionals, supplemental educational services, corrective actions and school choice provisions -- all as they relate to charter schools.

In "SCHOOL BOARDS: Focus on School Performance, Not Money and Patronage," Paul Hill argues that while the selection of school board members are selected is important, what really matters is the school board's basic powers and mission. He proposes two alternative governance models that focus school boards on overseeing schools based on performance.

"Hard Lessons: The Promise of an Inner-City CHARTER SCHOOL" by Jonathan Schorr offers an insider's look at the daily life of a charter school. The author spent three years with the students, teachers and parents at a charter school in Oakland, California, and he reveals the ups and downs of trying to provide a high-quality education to each and every student in an urban charter school.

A recent report from the New England School Development Council entitled "Improved Leadership for Improved Achievement" outlines three sets of principles of team leadership for high student achievement: SCHOOL BOARD/SUPERINTENDENT TEAMS, school boards and superintendents.

In "The New Patterns of American EDUCATIONAL GOVERNANCE," David Conley asserts that perhaps no issue is more important and less understood than the changes occurring in the governance of American schools. If educators and policymakers are to learn to work together effectively to improve public education, he argues, they must begin by understanding the new relationship that exists between them.

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Later this spring, the ECS National Center on Governing America's Schools will release four papers on various aspects of CHARTER DISTRICTS, including state policy options, district design issues, the new central office and funding issues.

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


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