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Education Roundup: Teacher Tenure Argument Rages

In this week's roundup: teacher tenure, school reform, and 2011 in review.

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Welcome to the new High School Notes weekly roundup of education news. Every Friday, you'll find out what's making headlines around the Web.

Teacher tenure

A Deseret News article explores both sides of the teacher tenure argument. Reformers argue that many tenured teachers become complacent with their job security. Meanwhile, educators say that abolishing tenure would hurt faculty morale and discourage college graduates from entering the teaching field. States such as Idaho, Tennessee, and Florida are working on laws that would abolish or severely limit tenure.

Performance gap 

A large performance gap exists between white students' achievement levels and minority students' achievement levels, but some schools have narrowed that gap by switching to a longer school day or implementing after-school programs. Boston Globe columnist Gareth Cook argues that there is no one formula for school success, making widespread reforms difficult to implement.


Student musicians might soon be subjected to an exam that would test their musical aptitude, the first attempt at establishing national standards in the field. Scores would be useful for students who want to study music in college, according to Jennifer Snow, chief academic officer of the endeavor, which is being launched by Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Cheating scandal

Earlier this year, many teachers in the Atlanta school district were caught changing answers on students' standardized exams. This week, 49 more educators were caught changing students' answers, this time in southwest Georgia's Dougherty County. 

Online education

The growth of public online schools continues, even though the quality of such schools has often come under scrutiny. Last week, the New York Times found that CEOs of online education companies such as K12 made millions in bonuses during 2011, even as students underperform their public school peers. States are considering putting stricter regulations on these schools, but some, such as Gene Glass, author of a University of Colorado report on virtual education, say they aren't moving fast enough.

Charter schools

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that would remove a cap on the number of charter schools in the state—as long as they are run by public universities. Michigan, and Detroit in particular, has turned to charters to try to reform its struggling public school system; in March, the city turned 41 public schools into charters. Currently, the state has 255 charter schools run by a variety of companies and organizations.

2011 in review

The Los Angeles Times says two of the biggest disappointments of 2011 in education were Congress's failure to fix No Child Left Behind and President Obama's complicated waiver system. Meanwhile, an article on ZDNet discusses technology advances such as tablet computing that were supposed to change the landscape of education in 2011, but didn't.

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