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North Carolina, a state once seen at the forefront of progressive education policy, has become a battleground where reformers and teachers’ advocates are clashing over a wide-ranging new voucher program and the elimination of tenure-based pay.

Test scores improved and teacher salaries hovered at the national average under former Gov. Jim Hunt’s second term, from 1993-2001. Now, teacher pay in North Carolina is 46th in the nation and the number of schools meeting federal performance measures is consistently low, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Students at the new Rancho Mirage High School will be learning in a state-of-the-art performing arts center, cutting-edge science labs, and a complete culinary arts kitchen.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. completed the $100 million high school in July for Palm Springs USD in southern California. The 332,000-square-foot school, which opens this September, was built on more than 60 acres in the city of Rancho Mirage, and will help alleviate overcrowding in the district’s three other high schools.


ALAS, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents
Oct. 16-19
Denver, Colo.

ASBO, Association of School Business Officers
Oct. 25-28
Boston, Mass.

AECT, Association for Educational Communications and Technology
Oct. 29-Nov. 2
Anaheim, Calif.

Most U.S. teacher preparation programs are failing to adequately train teachers for the rigorous Common Core standards—a fact administrators need to consider when hiring, according to a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

The comprehensive NCTQ Teacher Prep Review, released in partnership with U.S. News & World Report in June, represents data from 1,130 institutions that prepare 99 percent of the nation’s traditionally trained teachers.

AAHPERD, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (

AASA, American Association of School Administrators (

AASL, American Association of School Librarians (

The role of the chief state school officer is becoming increasingly political, with the rise of tough accountability standards and mounting tension over the funding of charter schools.

These pressures were on display in August, when Florida Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett resigned amid accusations that, while serving as Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction last year, he changed the grading formula to benefit charter schools, including one backed by a prominent Republican donor.

A Nebraska superintendent has added his own program to the increasing number of academies designed to teach his peers critical management skills that they may not have learned during their formal education.

Keith Lutz, superintendent of Millard Public Schools in Omaha, Neb., worked with two professors from the University of Nebraska to develop the Midlands Superintendent Academy for new administrators. Classes, which began this fall at the university, focus on topics such as strategic planning, structuring district administrations, and marketing.

Michael Flanagan, superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education and chair of the state board of education

Michael Flanagan, superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education and chair of the state board of education, received the Distinguished Service Award from NASBE. Since taking the job in 2005, he has spearheaded a push for more rigorous high school graduation requirements.

States and school districts could win some authority back from the federal government under a controversial update to the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act (ESEA) passed in July by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Student Success Act would eliminate the adequate yearly progress measures of No Child Left Behind and allow states to create their own benchmarks. And federal programs like President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top initiative would end, leaving states and districts to develop their own plans for turning around underperforming schools.

The Common Core State Standards are no longer coming—they are already here.