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AM News: White House Promotes New E-Rate Initiative

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Obama Calls for Revamping of Federal E-rate Program EdWeek: The administration will ask the Federal Communications Commission to consider rechanneling and increasing funding through the program, which is derived from telecommunications fees, with the goal of giving 99 percent of the nation's schools access to high-speed broadband and wireless Internet access within five years.

G.O.P. Bill on Schools Would Set Fewer Rules NYT: Senator Lamar Alexander’s bill would allow states to devise curriculum standards, tests, school rating systems and consequences for schools that fail to meet state goals with far fewer guidelines.

No Child Left Behind Debate, Student Loan Rancor Signal End Of Bipartisanship Huffington Post: Over the last few years, even when signs of partisan rancor interfered, education held onto its unique status as an across-the-aisle, hand-shaking issue. Its position was bolstered especially as more and more Democratic politicians, once entirely swayed by teachers' unions on school policy, joined the "education reform movement," a group that is often at odds with labor on how to improve schools and whether to link teacher evaluations to student test scores.

LAUSD offers to settle 40 suits from Miramonte elementary scandal for $17M Southern California Public Radio: The L.A. Unified School District announced Wednesday it has submitted a proposed settlement of $17 million to 40 students who allege they were abused at Miramonte Elementary School.
Illinois Pension Reform Stalls; What's the Next Step for Lawmakers? EdWeek: The state now has roughly $100 billion in unfunded pension obligations (including teacher and other public-employee pensions), and the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reported last month that pension contributions took up a greater share of state and local budgets in Illinois state and local governments than in any other state.
Obama To Push Jobs, Education At N.C. Middle School NPR: As part of his Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour, President Obama travels to Mooresville, N.C., Thursday. He'll highlight Mooresville Middle School's focus on technology and digital learning. Young voters cite the economy and education as top concerns. Neither political party has been adept at addressing these issues for young people.

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From the NYT -- “Nobody is forcing a state to take this money,” said Charles Barone, policy director for Democrats for Education Reform, a group that pushes for test-based teacher evaluations and has battled teachers’ unions. “If they are not willing to do this they should just be honest about it and live without the money.”

Fair enough -- but Mr. Barone should not be surprised when states and voters respond by wanting their money back, by pushing for cuts in funding for DOE programmes that they do not approve of and that do not serve their children, and when they further push for vouchers to help them escape a school system that has become a hell for them, one creating a vision of a country they do not recognize and do not want.

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