Opinion & Analysis

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Albany must keep the charter cap

Raising the cap is unnecessary. New York's charter schools already are not handling their assigned share of students. Charters also receive funding when school starts for a certain number of students yet many actually end up teaching fewer than they are budgeted for. In addition, we need to have more transparency to audit charter schools to avoid fraud.

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Chicago Public Schools on the brink

A new report on Chicago Public Schools system says that the long-term outlook is bleak, but the short-term is even worse. Even with huge tax increases, more state aid, increased state funding of teacher pensions, salary and benefit concessions from teachers and more, CPS would still face an annual $350 million shortfall over the next several years.

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The lifelong inequality borne of the summer learning gap

Lack of access to summer learning is part of a year-round cycle that contributes to the achievement gap. We need to expand learning time for low-income kids by accepting that different models can successfully do so, that funding for must be sustainable and targeted and that the programs be held accountable for results.

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English class in Common Core era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and court opinions

The rationale behind calling for more nonfiction reading with the Common Core standards is that most of what students will be expected to read in college and at work will be informational. Although teachers feared that schools would cut the classics, others found the contemporary replacements — such as news articles and documentaries — engaged students more.

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Tough tests for teachers, with question of bias

Concerned that education schools were turning out too many middling graduates, states have been introducing more difficult teacher licensing exams. But minority candidates have been doing especially poorly, jeopardizing a long-held goal of diversifying the teaching force so it more closely resembles the makeup of the country’s student body.

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School reserves law entangled in California politics

A new Assembly bill will not formally repeal the governor's former decree to limit local school districts's proposed state school finance reserves, but would render it functionally moot. By allowing districts to place unlimited amounts of money in a special reserve fund, they would be exempt from the new reserve limit.

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Growing charter schools the right way

Are charter schools at an inflection point? While education advocates fought about Common Core and teacher evaluations, charter schools continued to grow and now serve 6 percent of all public school students. The best path forward lies in education's messy middle – pairing growth with effective public oversight and policies promoting quality and equity.

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Fifth year of high school is a financial problem for Oregon

Only 26 out of nearly 200 Oregon school districts currently offer the free program to send fifth-year students to local community colleges. If all Oregon high school seniors had participated, they’d have cost the state around $1 billion. The program is simply unaffordable.

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Receivership offers hope for New York students in failing schools

Something had to be done to force improvements on the state’s worst-performing schools or students would continue to be penalized by leaders who can’t get the job done. The decision to institute a school receivership program should serve notice to those running failing schools that there is little time left for them to make dramatic changes.

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Keeping better tabs on California's education funding

One of Gov. Jerry Brown's most dramatic accomplishments has been his reform of the way California allocates money to public schools. But the state needs better, independent oversight of how the money is spent. The entire funding system should be assessed in several years to see whether it is bringing about better results.

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