The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Big bucks for principals, bugs in the system, and administrators in court

GOOD

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley proposed a plan to lure principals to those city schools “in need of improvement” with $200,000 signing bonuses—per principal. O’Malley estimates the cost of the initiative to be less than $10 million a year. ... Maplewood Richmond Heights (MO) School District bought a house for its students. After noticing that a portion of its population was having to deal with transient housing situations or unstable home environments, the district purchased the house and converted it with an anonymous donation of $10,000 into a group home that will be known as Joe’s Place. It opens in October. ... One hundred Pennsylvania schools will participate in the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate, an anti-bullying and antiviolence initiative. The program provides schools with a comprehensive model for combating intolerance, bullying, and hatred.

BAD

The U.S. Department of Education left evolutionary biology off a list of majors eligible for the National SMART (Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grant program. The grants provide up to $4,000 a year for students majoring in math, sciences, or certain foreign languages. ... New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said that he will create unnecessary jobs at full pay for 44 assistant principals who have not found regular assignments despite numerous vacancies, rather than allow them to bump less senior assistant principals from their posts. ... A watchdog agency claims to have found security weaknesses in the Arizona Department of Education’s computer systems. The report by the Auditor General’s Office says the systems are vulnerable to hackers, putting confidential information at risk.

UGLY

Tahquamenon (MI) Area Schools Superintendent Rod Martin was convicted in July of assault for grabbing the arm of a teacher. He resigned August 15. ... Andre Hornsby, former chief of Prince George’s County (MD) Schools has been indicted on 16 counts of fraud, tampering, and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty. ... Khadijah Ghafur, founder of the Gateway Academy, a charter school in Fresno, California, was sentenced to 14 years in state prison for siphoning off taxpayer and private funds she was supposed to be using to educate disadvantaged children. ... Marian Williams Johnson, the chief administrator of the Success Academy, a Christian school in Jacksonville, Florida, is the second person charged by the State Attorney’s Office in an investigation of the theft of more than $400,000 in scholarship funds meant for students with disabilities.

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