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AM News Roundup: CA Lawsuit Targets Teacher Job Protections

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Lawsuit challenging teacher tenure, seniority protections goes to court EdSource via Hechinger Report: California is one of a handful of states that still grant tenure in two years or less. Over the past two years, the Democratically controlled Legislature has struggled without success to reach a compromise between the teachers unions and school boards and administrators on how to pare down the dismissal law.

Teacher tenure goes on trial in California courtroom Washington Post: The national debate about teacher tenure is the focus of a trial set to begin Monday in a fifth-floor Los Angeles courtroom, pitting a Silicon Valley mogul with a star-studded legal team against some of the most powerful labor unions in the country.

See also: Teacher Job Protections Vs. Students' Education In Calif. NPR; Lawsuit takes on California teachers' job protections LA Times; Protect good teachers, fire bad ones LA Times (editorial page).

State Chiefs Pledge to Not Share Student Data With Arne Duncan, Ed. Dept. PK12: Schools chiefs from 34 states have banded together to make a public declaration that they will not share personally identifiable student data with the federal government.

Lessons for de Blasio in New Jersey’s Free Pre-K NYT: The programs in 31 low-income districts in New Jersey are widely acknowledged for strong results. But they are also more expensive and intensive than what many officials — including Mr. de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York — have proposed.

New York teachers turn on Common Core Politico: The board of the New York state teachers union this weekend unanimously withdrew its support for the Common Core standards as they have been implemented. See also Teacher Beat.

More news below and via @alexanderrusso

Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students NYT: A study of struggling African-American high school students in Chicago found that providing focused guidance sharply improved learning, but the approach is a costly one to replicate.

U.S. Cites Evidence of Anti-Semitism in School District NYT: A United States attorney’s office said evidence in a lawsuit filed by Jewish families “could support a conclusion” that authorities in Pine Bush, N.Y., were ineffective in ending harassment.

A Reading Teacher Who Lost The Ability To Read NPR: After a reading specialist at a kindergarten outside Chicago had a series of small strokes, she could no longer read. She's using her skills to teach herself how to recognize words again, but those who suffer from alexia face a long road back to literacy.

Urban agriculture center creates more than green space WBEZ: In a former shoe warehouse on 96th and Cottage Grove, Chicago State University professor Emmanuel Pratt has turned a former shoe warehouse into an urban farm focusing on aquaponics. What exactly is aquaponics? High school senior Seville Bell, a volunteer at the space, explains.

Video: Homework Diner Has Real Food, Real Community NBC News: A New Mexico school is combining homework time, dinner time and tutor time with its Homework Diner.

Catholic School Won't Re-Hire Gay Vice Principal, Mark Zmuda, After His Same-Sex Marriage HuffPost: A Catholic school in a Seattle suburb says it won't rehire gay Vice-Principal Mark Zmuda, who was forced out in December after his same-sex marriage.

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The Common Core appears to have been disastrously implemented in New York, which is a pity, since a common core was always a good idea and one I supported, publicly, from the beginning (with reservations towards their high school appropriateness). But once published, people who actually read the standards (which many state leaders did not do before publicly committing to them) and compared them with what other, competing countries have actually been doing for years (now that's really rare in American education) knew immediately that the mathematics standards are not what had been advertised, and thoughtful critics should have had their skepticism towards the high school standards confirmed. But there is also substantial good in the Common Core, and it is likely already helping states that previously had weak standards, particularly if those states are now implementing the standards methodically and thoughtfully, unlike the disastrous rush job promoted by New York's business-minded, bottom line culture.

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