AIE Blog

News and notes on innovations and education reform in Louisiana.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We salute a leader

We're big fans of Congressman Bill Cassidy who just completed his first year in Washington, DC. Congressman Cassidy is a supporter of education reform, and has taken a strong interest in helping Louisiana to lead the nation in reform. The Advocate recently interviewed him about his first year in office.

Congressman Cassidy understands the link between innovation and high performance, and is not afraid to look for new ways to fix our public school system that is under-performing. His support for AIE and its new school designs program -- including the two innovative schools that AIE designed -- is one example of his leadership. We can accomplish great things collectively, if we try. Trying to rethink how a school should function and foster learning requires teamwork.

We are glad that Congressman Casssidy is on our team, and we salute him on his first year in office.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Triggering Reform

The National Journal Education Experts blog took up an interesting topic for discussion -- parental involvement. This is not your typical parental involvement -- this is the most innovative form of parental engagement we can imagine.

Here's the question, the National Journal posed?

Should Parents Dictate School Reforms?

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed education reform legislation on Jan. 7 that will give unprecedented power to parents whose children attend the worst-performing public schools. Under a provision known as the "parent trigger," if 50 percent of parents at a given school sign a petition, the school board must choose among several options, including closing the campus, converting to a charter, or replacing the principal and other administrators. Advocates of the controversial measure hope that it will make the state more competitive for Race to the Top money, in addition to improving education; opponents, such as the California Teachers Association, are concerned that the approach is too punitive.

Is the parent trigger a good idea?

Check out some of the responses. You might be surprised to find out how little respect parents actually get.

As for us, we think the parent trigger is a great idea that would do quite well here in Louisiana.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Leadership is Essential

EdWeek's District Dossier blog noted that a new bill making it s way through Congress would put more emphasis on leadership training for principal. We applaud this idea. Here is some of what EdWeek's Dakarai Aarons reported:

Aspiring principals would participate in a residency program before taking over low performing schools, and would continue to benefit from professional development. The current and aspiring principals would be required to spend four years at a school.

High need schools are defined as those with at least 40 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals and/or a graduation rate of 65 percent or less. In the case of the middle schools, they must feed into a high school with a graduation rate that meets that threshold.

Those clamoring for more methods of evaluating school performance besides Adequate Yearly Progress will be pleased that the legislation directs the Department of Education to use "multiple measures" in evaluating the improvement of schools led by grantee principals for three or more years.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Standing shoulder to shoulder for Reform

In case you missed it, Louisiana is preparing to submit its Race to the Top application for a shot at some of the $4 billion that the Department of Education will award to states. Superintendent Pastorek and 59 of the state's school districts are working together to win this award for Louisiana's school children.

But the Louisiana School Boards Association opposes Louisiana participation in Race to the Top, and the Louisiana Association of Educators hasn’t committed either.

We hope they will come on board soon.

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