The Education Innovator #7
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The Education Innovator
 April 14, 2003 • Number 7
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  Past issues
What's inside...
Brighter Choice Public Charter Schools
What's New
Deputy Under Secretary testifies on Troops-to-Teachers program; job opening in OII; and report on what makes a high achieving school
Innovations in the News
Community colleges in CA will set up charter schools for disadvantaged students; MD county has dramatically increased the number of students taking AP classes; plus news on dropouts, technology, and teacher quality

Brighter Choice Public Charter Schools Provide Options for Students
The Brighter Choice Charter Schools Albany/Buffalo Public School Choice Project expands public school choice in two urban areas of New York State. This project is focused on providing public school choice options for students who are attending public schools that have been identified as low performing.

The project has four objectives:

  1. To increase access to inter-district transfers for students in low performing schools by offering tuition transfers between urban and suburban school districts;
  2. To expand existing and create new magnet school options for students in low performing schools by implementing capacity enhancing activities;
  3. To create district charter schools by enlisting partners for establishing new charter schools and converting traditional public schools; and
  4. To provide greater choices within the public school system, particularly for students in low performing schools by broadening charter schools capacity.
The benefits of this cross-State project include:
  • having more students attend better performing schools;
  • substantially increasing the options available to children in low-performing schools; and
  • creating public school alternatives in partnership with the districts' leadership.
By transforming these two key urban areas of New York State, the project aims to ultimately pave the way for reform in urban districts that face similar challenges.

By giving students a choice to attend the Brighter Choice Charter Schools, the project also provides some innovative opportunities in the classroom. Snapshots of the Albany program, for example, show boys and girls in separate classes with both being taught to high standards within a nurturing environment. The school also offers a "Learning Guarantee" under which students are entitled to privately funded scholarships to attend another public or private school if they fail any state exam in math, reading, or science after three years of steady attendance at the school.

A consortium of educators and public school choice advocates in New York State received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Voluntary Public School Choice Program to develop Brighter Choice Charter Schools. For more information go to:


What's New
Deputy Under Secretary testifies on Troops-to-Teachers program
Deputy Under Secretary Nina Rees testified before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce about the Troops-to-Teachers program. To read the testimony, go to (April 9)

Job Opening in OII
OII has one job vacancy that is open to applicants outside of the government. The position is for a GS-13 education program specialist (salary range $69,054-89,774) in the Public Charter Schools program. For more information on how to apply for this position, go to The closing date for applications to be received is April 21, 2003. (April 8)

Learning First Alliance Report
Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 12 leading education associations, has released the report Beyond Islands of Excellence. This report gives case studies of five school districts with low-income populations and at least a three-year track record of education improvement. For more information, go to (March 24)

Funding Opportunities
Competitions are now open for the Public Charter Schools program (deadline date, April 28) and the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program (deadline date, June 3). For applications and guidance, go to and


Innovations in the News

Charter Schools
Community colleges in California will set up charter schools to help disadvantaged students earn a diploma and an associate's degree in four years. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $9 million to the effort. [More- The Sacramento Bee] (April 3)

Advanced Placement
An initiative by Anne Arundel County, Maryland schools to increase the number of students taking college-level courses in high school has begun to yield results in its first year. The number of enrollments in Advanced Placement (AP) courses has more than doubled to nearly 10,000 for the next academic year, from 4,430 this year. [More-Sun] (April 3)

School Dropout Rates
The Sí Se Puede (Yes You Can)-Stay In School Committee had its second workshop with members of the Intercultural Development Research Association or IDRA. The focus was on developing a relationship among elected officials, school administrators, and the business community to combat the district's high dropout rate. [More- The Fort Worth Star Telegram] (April 2)

A bill is being sponsored in Minnesota that would allow state aid to pay for students to take online courses in public school districts or charter schools outside their home district. A small, rural district could offer online courses to students across the state, or suburban districts could compete for students by offering highly specialized courses, such as Latin. [More-The Pioneer Press] (April 2)

Teacher Quality
Indiana state law prevents the use of standardized test scores to evaluate teacher performance, and lawmakers, education officials, parents, and others say the law should be changed. [More- The Indianapolis Star] (March 31)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011