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Specialized public schools catch on in Canada. National Post. By Tom Blackwell. April 02, It is that kind of specialty school and that sort of student success that the Toronto public board of education -- Canada's largest -- just announced it wants to emulate, partly to compete with the lure of private schools and stem plummeting enrolment. Other public boards across Canada have increasingly adopted this "program of choice" concept, too, with everything from all-boys schools to Cree programs and Muslim academies.

April 2, A top aide to Gov. Linda Lingle on Thursday dismissed an overwhelming vote by the state teachers union to accept an agreement to end school furloughs. While Lingle is not formally required to sign off on the union-school board pact, she does have the authority to withhold state money that is required to finance it. In response to Smith's comments, school board Chairman Garrett Toguchi said the panel will continue to press the Legislature to appropriate the funds necessary to implement the agreement.

New Hampshire. Unions developing trusts for retiree medical costs. Concord Monitor. Unions representing the state's teachers and firefighters are creating a new way to let public employees save for their medical costs in retirement. If the plans go forward, New Hampshire could be the first state to have a statewide system of retiree medical trusts. Harold Janeway, a Webster Democrat who wrote a legislative resolution endorsing the idea. The retiree medical trust is a concept developed over the past decade by California attorney Shana Saichek. About 30 groups, mostly on the West Coast, have adopted the model, according to a website created by Saichek.

New Hampshire would be the first state to give the option to all public employees - teachers, firefighters, police officers, and state and municipal workers. April 1, The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success examines the views of teachers, principals and students about respective roles and responsibilities, current practice and priorities for the future The Survey report is being released as a series during the first quarter of with the following parts: Part 1: Effective Teaching and Leadership; Part 2: Student Achievement; and Part 3: Teaching as a Career just released.

Florida needs SB 6 to win Race to the Top, education commissioner says. The problem with Florida's Race to the Top application was not too little teacher support, Florida education commissioner Eric J. Smith says. The stumbling block, Smith contends, is the lack of law tying student achievement to teacher evaluation and compensation — something Florida's teachers are battling to stop.

Petersburg Times in his first media interview since Florida failed to win a federal education reform grant from the Obama administration.

Crumbling schools becoming unsafe, board told. Toronto Star. By Kristin Rushowy. Some Toronto public schools are in such bad shape they're accidents waiting to happen, warns the head of the maintenance and construction union. Sheila Penny, the Toronto board's executive officer of facility services, said the board spends its maintenance money to ensure schools remain safe, and has programs in place to address mould, asbestos and water quality.

Teacher Berat Blog. Congressional lawmakers got a recent present in the form of a thick mailing from the National Education Association. It details the union's vision for the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, i.

Full text of "America @ work."

Many held up signs demanding that Capistrano's school board "respect our teachers" by returning to the negotiating table to try to work out a compromise with the district's 2,member teachers union. Capistrano Unified teachers and their supporters clap loudly outside the board room as Vicki Soderberg, president of the district's teachers union, addresses the school board during public comments. The board room in San Juan Capistrano was packed to capacity with about teachers and their supporters, while about more demonstrated outside.

Unions attacked over school funding. Denver Daily News.

Teachers' union withholds support for furloughs proposal. Three other groups ready to accept unpaid furloughs. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Fairless, seen below, is a veteran teacher who became a new Clark County School District administrator and who faces the loss of her position because of budget shortfalls.

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Three of four Clark County School District employee unions have offered to take unpaid furloughs to prevent mass layoffs, but the teachers union, the largest bargaining group, is withholding its support for the proposal. Teacher Surveys Aimed at Swaying Policymakers. March 31, Perhaps at no other time in the history of American education has there been more publicly available information about what teachers think about their profession, their students, and the conditions under which they work.

Offers Wage-Freeze Incentive to Schools. March 30, Trenton, N. After months of criticizing the teachers' union for refusing to sacrifice benefits as the state grapples with the biggest per-person deficit in the country, New Jersey Gov.

Chris Christie is now offering school districts an incentive to force the teachers' hand. Christie told The Associated Press in an interview that he will offer more state aid to all school districts whose teachers agree to a wage freeze for the fiscal year. Christie said nearly one in 10 New Jerseyans are out of work, but teachers are getting up to 4 percent annual raises — far higher than the rate of inflation.

Gregoire signs K education bills into law. Seattle Times. March 29, Other measures significantly increase the state's spending on public education, allow local officials to ask voters for more property-tax money, and set up a new early learning program for preschool children. Department of Education. California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay.

And states are responding in sometimes desperate ways, raising concerns that they, too, could face a debt crisis. Teacher Beat Blog. It's Central Falls all over again! Savannah, Ga. No one paid any attention to this provision in the past, because for all the fear of the NCLB sanctions, most districts used the politically palatable "any other major restructuring" option under the law.

In practice, the option rarely included dismissals and often meant only superficial changes to curriculum and governance.

In fact, some news reports including the AJC say there were only instances of staff reconstitution per year in the country. The School Improvement Grants, by contrast, don't allow the "other" option, so for the first time states, districts, teachers, and unions are having to really confront what restructuring means, and they really don't like the implications. San Jose teachers extend day gratis. The Educated Guess Blog. The teachers in San Jose Unified have agreed to extend the school day without extra pay permanently, starting next year.

But coming in a catastrophic budget year, when teachers are being asked to enlarge classes and take pay cuts, it is quite remarkable. I mentioned this development last week, in the middle of a column on furloughs. And it shows that creative solutions are possible in hard times when unions and administrators negotiate in good faith.

Race to the Top awards go to Delaware, Tennessee. Education Secretary Arne Duncan picked the winners after a team of judges in the Race to the Top competition unexpectedly gave tiny Delaware the highest ranking, with Tennessee close behind. How Fast Is Fast Enough?

SAN JOSE -- At a forum for adjunct faculty members Saturday, organizers asked participants to write down notes about their concerns about job security and compensation issues. The first note read aloud asked: "How do we get multi-year contracts? Both unions have placed more emphasis on adjunct issues in recent years -- and both can point to organizing drives and contract successes as a result.

Bill promotes performance-based pay plans for teachers. Lincoln Journal-Star. But at least 75 percent of Nebraska's school districts must have performance pay plans in their contracts by or the lease money will not be distributed to anyone, under a compromise version of the bill LB that stopped a filibuster.

March 28, Los Angeles school district officials and employee unions announced an agreement Saturday to cut five days from this school year and seven days next year in an effort to maintain up to 2, campus jobs. It's still a year and a half away, but when it hits, it will affect every level of government in the state.

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The crisis will come in the form of huge increases in the amount of money that employers must pay into the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System. PERS has to increase the contributions to make up for investment losses that occurred during the stock market free-fall of Daily Herald. March 27, By Neil Holdway.

The coalition is surveying school districts and other educational institutions in the state and said this week it has heard from three-quarters of them so far on the layoffs they're planning. Already 17, layoffs have been reported. The Gazette. March 26, The administration has been working since fall on the templates for the nine compensation levels. Most teachers will get initial raises. The master teachers at the top salary rung must show student achievement gains, excel in community leadership, participate in lifelong learning, contribute to the profession and mentor colleagues.

The growing gap between the private and the public.