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AM News: NYC Mayor Changes Rhetoric On Charters

News2From de Blasio, Gentler Words About Charter Schools WNYC:  Mayor Bill de Blasio, in an effort to mend fences on charter schools, emphasized common ground and a desire to “shake the foundations” of the school system. See also ChalkbeatNY

Ready, set ... California schools finally start new computer test this week KPCC: For the next 10 weeks, California students will embark on that dreaded annual rite of passage: the standardized test. But this year, they won't need their number 2 pencils. Test will be given on computer for the first time this year - and school districts and the test provider have been scrambling to get ready.

‘Union Power’ wins big but most UTLA members didn’t vote LA School Report: The progressive group — which plans to call for a strike if a new teacher contract can’t be negotiated soon — won outright in races for NEA Affiliate vice president, AFT Affiliate vice president, Elementary VP, Secondary VP, Treasurer, and Secretary. The race for President will be decided in a run-off pitting Union Power leader, Alex Caputo-Pearl, against incumbent Warren Fletcher.

All staff to be dismissed at three low-performing CPS schools WBEZ: Under the turnaround model, new staff are also CTU teachers. But the union blasted turnarounds as a strategy to get rid of veteran African American teachers, whom Sharkey says kids need as role models. Nearly all students in the three schools targeted for turnaround are poor and black.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Michelle Obama hosts education roundtable in China Fox News: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama told Chinese professors, students and parents on Sunday that she wouldn't have risen to where she was if her parents hadn't pushed for her to get a goodeducation. 

Video: Duncan: New Report Details 'Opportunity Gap' NBC News: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces the results of a report which details the opportunity gap in American schools for students K-12. 

Report: Widespread Racial Disparities In Public School Punishments NPR: A U.S. Education Department report finds what it calls a pattern of punitive policies and educational neglect that disproportionately hurt black, Latino and Native American students in public schools.

Meet Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza WAMU: In her first year on the job, the Fairfax County schools chief is proposing to cut 700 staff positions and boost teacher pay. Karen Garza is here to talk about education.

Snow and severe winter take a toll on classroom learning Washington Post: Teachers wonder if first-graders will make their reading goals as they lose ground on snow days, and parents have been surprised by extra homework.

New Orleans charter schools scramble to teach non-English speakers Hechinger Report: On-site interpreters are scarce, parents said. Students frequently end up interpreting between teachers and parents at report card conferences — and even at meetings where their own discipline problems are being discussed.


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The "school-to-prison pipeline" metaphor has become a cliche that should be banned for a while, until people's minds reset and they gain a better grasp of the problem. If there were any such "pipeline", it certainly would be a leaky one, since 99 percent of the people in this country are not in prisons, and the vast majority of suspended kindergarteners are statistically unlikely to go to prison. Furthermore, the "school-to-prison pipeline" doesn't begin in school, even with four-year-olds; it begins further back, arguably when their lower class teenaged parents-to-be decide to go on a date, or enact some facsimile thereof; or, if you read Jared Diamond's work, it begins much further back in history, when some humans luckily migrate into areas where the prerequisites of modern civilization ( for example grain seeds, domesticable animals, and the potential to develop resistance to lethal germs) are easily found, while other humans remain where they are or wander into areas with less geographical potential.

Great points, Bruce. As with so many misconceptions and distortions, I see this one used by different factions on the political spectrum and in the education policy debate (mainly right-leaning/neoliberal education "reformers" plus "social justice" purist lefties), which seems to make it much harder to correct.

The bigger point is always: Correlation doesn't equal causation.

I agree, Caroline. And your remark about the intra-party bifurcations going on with regard to ed policy (and a few others) is consistent with fundamental ongoing shifts in the American political landscape, centered on disgust with both of the ruling parties. As an example of this, I just read an AP article about how the (now Jeb) Bushes and (now Hillary) Clintons keep running into each other, and how they have become so close that Barbara Bush refers to Bill Clinton, with respect to her own sons, as their "brother by another mother". This transformation of American democracy into dynastic politics has to stop; we desperately need new leadership. I'm looking for it constantly; I'm tired of approaching voting booths with a sense of regret.

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