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Articles: Reform

Students at Horizon Elementary School, part of Holt Public Schools in Michigan, attend school on a year-round calendar. The first day of school was Aug. 4.

Back-to-school has become a thing of the past in an increasing number of districts that keep class in session all year. The number of public, year-round schools—also called “balanced-calendar” schools—increased by 26 percent from 2007 to 2012 accounting for about 4 percent of all public schools.

In the absence of federal homeschooling guidelines, states have created provisions for such students that vary widely from one place to another, according to a July report from the Education Commission of the States.

Some states, such as Alaska, Idaho and Michigan, have little or no homeschooling regulation. Others, including Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, have robust oversight policies.

A homeschool student in Kyrene School District shows off art she created via Community Assisted Schooling Alternatives, a weekly enrichment program for K6 students.

Driven by a commitment to serve all students, or by a desire to maximize state funding, some districts are offering families that educate their children at home everything from free computers to curricular guidance.

Joseph Scherer is executive director of Superintendents’ National Dialogue.

In his groundbreaking work, Magic of Dialogue, social scientist Daniel Yankelovich observed that public judgment is not information stripped of feeling, but dialogue rich in feelings and values.

Furthermore, he notes that we believe we make sound decisions in American society but we are ill-informed in large part because these decisions are based on protracted dialogue rather than factual analysis. What flows from this is that if educators want a voice in public policy they have no alternative but to enter the dialogue.

The future of No Child Left Behind and charter schools are among the key K12 issues that the new Republican-controlled Congress expects to tackle in 2015.

Educators and thought leaders offer forecasts for technology, instruction, administration and assessments.

To help our readers navigate the coming year in K12 education, District Administration proudly presents its first-ever Year Ahead edition. In-depth stories on the major trends reshaping classrooms this year feature insights on technology, instruction, administration and assessments. Educators and experts also weigh in on how districts can find funding to support initiatives in all these areas.

In her new book, journalist Dana Goldstein advocates for bottom-up education reform.

If there’s one thing that can be said with certainty about the education, it is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Teachers have been alternately seen as saviors of society and “bad guys” who drain precious tax resources while our children fall further behind.

Parents from Weigand Avenue Elementary in LAUSD used the trigger law to oust a principal in 2013.  (Photo: Parent Revolution)

Administrators at Los Angeles USD say that a federal waiver bans parents from enacting the state’s controversial “trigger” law in the district this year.

Copan Public Schools in northeastern Oklahoma is trying something new to attract teachers and reduce absences: a four-day week.

Though some districts have chosen this schedule to lower transportation and utility costs, saving money was not a reason for the change, Superintendent Rick Ruckman says.

New Orleans schools are operated by one of three organizations. Source: The Cowen Institute.

New Orleans public schools have made great strides in the eight years since the state took over most of them due to consistently low academic performance and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

But several challenges still remain for the decentralized school district, according to an August report from the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University.

Jennifer Karnopp and Charles Reigeluth forecast a major Information Age transformation in K12 education.

When Charles Reigeluth and Jennifer Karnopp titled their book Reinventing Schools: It’s Time to Break the Mold, they meant it. Reigeluth, an education researcher from Indiana University, and Karnopp, head of school at the Robert Frost Charter School in New Hampshire, propose radical changes.

Author Melissa Bailey examines New Haven's more collaborative approach to school reform in "School Reform City."

School Reform City: Voices from An American Experiment

New Haven Independent Press

Instead of locking horns with the local union, New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut took a more collaborative approach to school reform—the district let teachers manage a failing school.

John Kuhn, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt CISD in Texas, is the author of "Fear and Learning in America: Bad Data, Good Teachers, and the Attack on Public Education."

Perrin-Whitt CISD Superintedent John Kuhn’s new book, "Fear and Learning in America: Bad Data, Good Teachers, and the Attack on Public Education," makes a pitch for sensible education reform.

Neal McCluskey is the associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom.

It seems we cannot have a reasoned debate about the Common Core. This is partially a problem of some Core opponents saying wild things—no, the Core isn’t from the United Nations. But even more, many Core supporters appear unwilling to deal with numerous, substantive concerns.

Baruch College journalism professor Andrea Gabor has written extensively on the role of private enterprise in education reform.

Baruch College  journalism professor Andrea ​Gabor has written extensively on the role of private enterprise in education reform. The focus of her forthcoming book concerns the applicability of business systems to schools—or more specifically, the lack of applicability of many of the business systems that have been proposed as solutions to the problems of education.

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