charter schools

Education and the State of the Union

President Obama has an opportunity to put the spotlight on public education in his annual speech Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of United States Government Work)

Two eagerly awaited American events take place this week: the State of the Union address and the Super Bowl. The broadcast audience for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday will be significantly larger than the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. However, there should be no doubt that the state of the National Football League—concussion issues aside—is better than our Union’s.

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Will Children Lose in Morgan Hill Charter School Battle?

County education trustee Joe Di Salvo wants to see public school districts cooperate with charter schools, such as Rocketship.

It’s sad to see some of the data on how poor and minority children perform in school in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley, says Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Joseph DiSalvo. The results of longitudinal student test data have long indicated a sizeable achievement gap—a gap that threatens our region’s long-term economic viability. We can and must do better, especially in a district like Morgan Hill Unified.

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Rocketship Asks City for Help Securing a $35 Million Loan

Rocketship schools have been cropping up throughout Santa Clara County, where the company eventually plans to operate upward of 20 campuses.

A private nonprofit charter school chain wants the city to act as a conduit financer for a $35 million loan to build another campus and make improvements at a couple others. Rocketship schools, owned by San Jose-based Launchpad Development Company, will ask the City Council to approve the bond issuance when it meets Tuesday. The council also considers plans to regulate pot clubs, accept an insurance settlement for a burnt-down historic home and OK a contract with the city’s police union.

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Pope Gets it Right on Income Inequality

Pope Francis has taken an unusually open approach to many issues, but income inequality has been a consistent focus of his. (Photo by Christus Vincit, via Flickr)

Pope Francis urged politicians last week’s in his apostolic exhortation (official papal message) to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare.” As a spiritual man, educated in high school by Jesuits, I was struck by the Pope’s pointed criticism of economic inequality.

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Giving Thanks to Local Education Leaders

County Board of Education trustee Joseph Di Salvo says it’s the time of the season to give thanks to teachers and local education leaders for their hard work. (Photo by audiolucistore, via Flickr)

As I have written on a multiple occasions, public education is the most critical civil rights issue of our day. And since it’s that time of the season, I wish to give thanks to those who are making a measurable difference in education results, today and into the future.

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California’s Student Testing the Next Battleground

The new testing method in California’s public schools, called “Smarter Balanced,” will begin in Spring 2014.

I have been so preoccupied with writing columns on the local war between charter and traditional public schools that I have unwittingly neglected another contentious public battle. The standards for testing in California’s public schools are changing, and the looming fight could be as partisan and ugly as the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

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Rocketship Might Build Tamien Campus After All

This map shows where Rocketship charter schools are located within San Jose’s Washington/Tamien neighborhood. (Image courtesy of http://www.StopRocketship.com)

Despite vocal opposition from some community members, Rocketship Education could receive approval to start building another charter school in the Washington/Tamien neighborhood. The City Council this week will consider selling the nonprofit educational company an $850,000 parcel of land to develop the new campus. Also on the council agenda is an underfunded gun buyback, a contract agreement with the electricians union and an urban village plan.

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The Elephant in the Room: Contracts that Protect, Reward Bad Teachers

The Elephant in the Room: Contracts that Protect, Reward Bad Teachers

An elephant in the room when discussing publicly-funded charters vs. traditional public schools is collective bargaining—union vs. non-union. I think it is time we face the issue head-on and begin a charter-by-charter, district-by-district conversation. One way to achieve this goal is to experiment with “thin” contracts that forego tenure and seniority-based layoffs, and provide opportunities for performance pay based on results—not just results from state tests.

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