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AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)


DCPS Hits Pause On Using Test Scores For Teacher Evaluations WAMU: For one year, D.C. Public Schools won't factor student test scores into teacher evaluations.

D.C. will wait a year to rate teachers with Common Core tests PBS: A Thursday announcement from current D.C. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s predecessor and former deputy, could make waves across the country. 

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations AP: The District of Columbia public school system, one of the first in the country to evaluate teachers using student test scores, announced Thursday that it would suspend the practice while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Changes to Teacher Evaluation System NYT: For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, teachers with poor ratings of either “ineffective” or “developing” would have state test scores removed from their evaluations. If the test scores alone led to a poor rating, then teachers would get a temporary pass.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praises Cuomo's teacher-evaluation bill Politics on the Hudson: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday praised a New York bill that would hold teachers harmless for poor Common Core-based test scores through next school year.

‘Safety net’ deal on teacher evaluations protects against negative consequences Chalkbeat: Teachers won’t face negative consequences for the next two years if they flunk their annual evaluations because of Common Core-aligned state tests, according to a tentative deal reached today between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature.

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

As political leaders fight over Common Core, almost half of adults don’t know what they’re arguing about PBS: A poll out this week estimates 47 percent of the country’s adults still haven’t heard of the Common Core standards... After being told the new standards “have been set to internationally competitive levels and would be used in every states for students in grades K through 12,” 59 percent of respondents said they supported the idea.

Field test of Common Core exams went well, officials say Washington Post: More than 1 million students in 14 states tested new Common Core standardized exams this spring, and the experiment went well, the test creators said Thursday.

Can a State Lose Federal Funds for Ditching Common Core? PK12: Duncan never actually told the Sooner State that it could lose federal dollars if it withdrew from common core. In fact, during a White House briefing, he said precisely the opposite, in response to a reporter's question about Oklahoma's funding future.

Common Core Caught in Tractor Beam of Presidential Politics for Some Governors State EdWatch: How is the 2016 presidential campaign affecting, and not affecting, support for the common core among Republican 

Major Ed-Tech Event Overhauls Code of Conduct After Troubling Accusations EdWeek: The suddenly public conversation about the treatment of women in the ed-tech field—and the significant changes to ISTE’s code of conduct, which will be in effect for the organization’s forthcoming conference, beginning June 28 in Atlanta—were ignited in large part by Ariel C. Norling, a 22-year-old graduate student and entrepreneur.

Innovation Contests With Cash Prizes Attract More 'Average Joes' WSJ: Results from "citizen solvers" so far are promising, with more than 350 government and philanthropic prizes awarded since 2010. Among the 2009 winners was a Maine engineer who created a more durable and flexible astronaut glove for NASA.

Studies Examine Cluster Placements and Older Novices TeacherBeat: Two recent studies on TFA examine facets of the program. One continues to find that recruits boosted math scores in Miami schools, although they didn't seem to have much effect on their peer teachers. Another finds that older recruits are more likely to stay in their placements.

Signs of Trouble Preceded Fatal Stabbing at Bronx School NYT: The lawyer for a 14-year-old boy charged with killing another student said the boy suffered months of antagonism and bullying before the deadly fight.

Charter schools’ $100,000 opposition helps sink district’s bond measure EdSource: The $100,000 that it spent helped defeat the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s $270 million Measure H. It also sent a larger message to other districts with charter schools, said Jed Wallace, executive director of the California Charter Schools Association, a nonprofit education and advocacy organization representing most of the state’s 1,130 charter schools.

Netflix’s founder saves the day for one education software startup EdSource Today: The Hechinger Report has been publishing excerpts from Richard Whitmire’s book On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope. 

In this third and final installment, Netflix founder Reed Hastings steps in to take over DreamBox.


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The politics of the Common Core certainly are interesting, as the Ed Week story on the presidential angle makes clear. Governors Bush and Christie are doing themselves a favour by sticking with the Common Core, flawed though those standards may be, as the more conservative governors look like isolationists who will leave their states behind, just as our country has been falling behind due in part to the mainstream consensus that has been dominating Washington, D.C. for better than a decade now. The spokesman for that consensus, Arne Duncan, is doing some useful back-pedalling in approving Governor Cuomo's suspension of using pupil test scores in teacher appraisals for one year, but that was always a bad idea, and the governor and anyone else who followed Washington's dictates in that grant and waiver requirement is likely to rue that bad call for years to come, especially if their premature eagerness leads to the fall of the Common Core, a good idea that has so far been poorly executed and one in need of serious revision.

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