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AM News: Common Core Progress In CA (Setbacks In NY)

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New Education Standards Widen Achievement Gap For English Learners? NPR: New national education standards, known as Common Core, aim to set baseline knowledge for English and math. But some people say the standards will increase achievement gaps between English learners and native English speakers. Host Michel Martin learns more from journalist Pat Wingert.

N.Y. Assembly Speaker: 'Case Has Been Made' for Common Core Delay State Ed Watch: Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, argued that the Common Core State Standards were imposed improperly on teachers and other education officials without the proper support.

Gates Foundation considers major Common Core grant program in California EdSource Today: Having largely steered clear of making education grants in California over the last half-decade, the Gates Foundation is weighing whether to invest substantially in helping California’s teachers successfully put the Common Core standards into practice.

U.S. Criticizes Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools NYT: The Obama administration on Wednesday recommended that public schools emphasize positive behavior and use law enforcement only as a last resort.

Ease Up On 'No Tolerance' Policies, U.S. Agencies Tell Schools NPR: A move by the Education and Justice departments comes after years of complaints from civil rights groups and others who say the policies are ineffective and take an unfair toll on minorities.

Are some U.S. school discipline policies too punitive? PBS: The Obama administration made a big move today on the question of school discipline policies around the country. It issued new guidelines to urge school administrators to ensure they are not being overly zealous with strict punishments for students that are sometimes called zero tolerance rules.

Obama Administration Has Little Love For 'Zero Tolerance' NPR: The Obama administration wants public school officials to rethink how they discipline and punish students who misbehave. In the mid-1990s, states put in place harsh "zero-tolerance" policies in response to a rise in violence, bullying, drug use and school shootings. 

More news below and overnight via Twitter.

Cuomo Gives Support For Pre-K, But No Dollar Figure WNYC: The governor, who is running for re-election this year, was more interested in tax cuts, proposing a $2.2 billion tax relief package for residents and businesses.De Blasio, who attended the Albany speech, insisted he wasn't disappointed.

New York City officials cool to Cuomo’s teacher merit pay proposal Chalkbeat NY: In his State of the State address today, Cuomo proposed a “Teacher Excellence Fund” that would allow districts to give $20,000 bonuses to teachers who earn the top rating on their annual evaluations. The bonus amount, which is more than a quarter of average teacher pay in the state, is enough to make teachers work

Back to class in Chicago after cold days WBEZ: Many students and school staff may have seen the extended break as late Christmas present, but Illinois law requires cancelled days to be made up later in the school year. Students must attend school for a minimum 176 days.Usually, districts will add days before summer break, but some will work them in during the year instead.

Transgender Rights Referendum Reaches Next Step Huffington Post: Opponents of a new California law that spells out the rights of transgender students in public schools have cleared the next hurdle in their effort to repeal the law at the ballot box, state elections officials said Wednesday.

8 Violations for School in Wake of Lab Fire NYT: Fire Department investigators cited Beacon High School, where one student was severely burned in a chemistry demonstration, for violations of fire and building codes.

Ohio: Principal Has Deal to Drop Charges Tied to Party NYT: A Steubenville elementary school principal will perform 40 hours of community service related to rape awareness in exchange for prosecutors’ dropping a charge that she failed to report rumors of a teenage sex and drinking party, Mike DeWine, the state attorney general.

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San Francisco Chronicle

http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Bid-to-repeal-transgender-student-law-falling-5124980.php

Opponents of a new state law that expands transgender students' rights appear to have fallen just short of qualifying a repeal initiative for the November ballot, the secretary of state's office said Wednesday.

A random sampling indicated that the law's opponents failed to gather the 504,760 valid signatures of registered voters that they needed to put their measure on the ballot, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said. Her office will now begin a full signature-by-signature count that could take 30 working days, or until Feb. 24.

Professor Forman, at the end of the NYT article on school discipline, provides a helpful reminder that our current school evaluation metrics incentivize the exclusionary practices being criticized: the (inhumane) administrative mentality is to outsource the problem students, to "let someone else deal with it". An easy solution is to adjust metrics by making schools responsible for the test scores of all the students who were enrolled in them at the beginning of the year, including those they have kicked out: all those zeroes will rapidly ruin the reputations, and deservedly so, of comprehensive schools responsible for providing basic education for the entire population. But not every school should be comprehensive all the way up through 12th grade, which is why we need some flexibility in developing appropriate metrics for schools; and providing flexibility in evaluating schools is something the federal government has been very poor at for over a decade now.

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