Israel's Haredi Schools Get Standardized Testing? As YNet reports, Israel's ultra-Orthodox religious schools, which receive public money, will have to take standardized tests -- as ordered by the Supreme Court. A judge said that such schools "should start taking things seriously, or face the consequences." Why, you ask, do I bring you news from across the planet? It's an interesting parallel to an ongoing debate on our own soil. In the U.S., there has been much talk over whether private schools that receive public-school vouchers or tax credits should be held to the same standards as their public school peers. Obviously the structure is different, and in Israel there's no public-private distinction between the schools. But it's still fascinating to watch.
Walker-Style Voucher Fight? Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker first tangled with his state's teachers union when he signed a bill that upended collective bargaining. Now he's at it again, and this time, the fight is over school vouchers. "The debate over Walker's public education funding proposal and desire to grow alternatives such as private school vouchers is likely to be one of the fiercest in the Statehouse this year, even dividing Republicans who control the Legislature," the Associated Press reports.
Rhee-grets, She Has A Few? Former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is out with a new memoir this week (called "Radical"), and she's making the talk show rounds to promote it. Yesterday, she told George Stephanopolous on "This Week" that maybe she shouldn't have fired that principal on TV. "My style is very deliberative and very focused on doing what's right for kids. And so I wouldn't change that so much," Rhee said. "Should I have fired ineffective principals? Absolutely. Should I have done so on national TV? Probably not." Here's a Times interview, in which she says she regrets initially not taking test security questions seriously. Also, Rhee is scheduled to be on The Daily Show tonight, so that should be fun!
Vouchers To Grow In Ohio? In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's (R) budget plan would reduce funding gaps between wealthy and poor public school districts and also create a new voucher program, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The new vouchers would give about $4,250 a year toward private-school tuition to any kindergartener whose family is making less than 200 percent of the poverty line. The next year, Kasich would expand the program to include first graders. While an existing scholarship plan currently does something similar for 15,702 students, a full 1.8 million students would qualify for the new plan's income requirements The budget plan includes a 6 percent overall school funding increase the following year, and then 3.2 percent more the next year.