Boston: Charter unions?
For the first time, about 50 teachers from a dozen charter schools across Massachusetts have joined the state’s main teachers union, according to the Aug. 10 Boston Globe. The new teachers will be associate members with only limited benefits, but union officials say the move will begin paving the way for giving charter teachers a voice on matters such as work hours and pay. Charter proponents say the union is trying to damage the charter school concept. Teachers, however, cannot bargain until 60 percent of teachers at a school agree to join the union.
Pennsylvania: More math
A new $5.3 million initiative is intended to spur school districts to require high school students to take four years of math, according to the Aug. 5 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Only about a third of districts now require four years of math. Under the initiative, 63 school districts and three additional schools will share grants of $50,000 to $168,000 to improve their math curricula. Chicago Public Schools requires three years of high school math.
Florida: Intensive reading
More than 600,000 middle and high school students will have to spend a quarter of the school day in intensive reading classes this fall, after failing the reading section of the state’s achievement tests, according to the Aug. 4 Orlando Sentinel. Students will have to stay in the classes until they raise their scores. Schools are dropping elective courses to make time for the reading classes, and hundreds of teachers are taking courses to become qualified to teach reading. Science, math and social studies teachers will also be required to show that they are incorporating more reading into their curricula. Last year, only 44 percent of 8th-graders and 32 percent of 10th-graders passed the reading test.