Good news, bad news

Good news
1.     It’s great news that the  Utah State Board approved a pilot of computer adaptive testing.  Perhaps it’s another sign of the beginning of the end of the rampant misuse of 1950’s psychometrics. 
2.     High performing charter schools seem to have capture the attention of the state controlled Newark district.  The Newark Charter School Fund is having the desired effect of launching great schools and prodding the giant. 
3.     Just as David Dunn ramps up the new charter association, Texas may ease the charter cap.
4.     Pearson continues to investigate games learning and virtual worlds.
5.     Duncan is good news in general.  He recently reiterated the agenda, “the president has challenged states, districts, unions and other stakeholders to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles to improvement, set aside ideologies and do what’s right for children.  That means eliminating caps on creating charter schools, paying more to teachers in high-need subjects and hard-to-staff schools, and implementing performance pay. ” He also points to “New learning models are emerging in communities all across America.”
Bad News
1.     How ridiculous is a virtual lottery? Wisconsin is limiting attendance in virtual charters. “2,936 students will be randomly selected to get a chance to attend a virtual school, with the remainder placed on a waiting list,” said a state spokesperson.  A lottery makes sense when good schools having limited seats, but artificially limiting opportunity to protect the status quo is inexcusable.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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