In her recent piece, Obama Education Policy: Second Term Still Not Clear, the Huffington Post’s Joy Resmovits cites Alexander's past pattern of retaining the “reluctant allegiance of teachers” while balancing our interest with those of reformers.
Indeed, many teachers were appalled by the President's education policy. But we had no reluctance in supporting his reelection, and, as the election unfolded, we were pleased when he stopped promoting anti-teacher policies.
Hechinger's Sarah Butrymowicz Obama Re-Elected: What Four More Years Means for Education cites Jeff Henig's analysis that Race to the Top will remain “not just an education program but a philosophy about how you wield influence from Washington, D.C."
Before continuing the philosophy of using competitive grants to drive school improvement, however, we should ask whether RttT worked. President Obama should appoint John Q. Easton, or an equally proven scholar, to lead a comprehensive cost benefit analysis of whether his experiment improved schools. In the meantime, rather than perpetually pitting one Democratic constituency against another, the president should listen to NEA's Dennis Van Roekel and focus on early education and higher education affordability, which do not divide the Administration's base.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.
These days it's popular to attribute electoral outcomes to influential "special interests", and certainly powerful individuals and groups can affect election results. Still, "special interests" can only get you so far in explaining democratic fortunes; voters aren't just blank slates upon which the rich and powerful can project their own preferences.
So consider me skeptical that strong African American support for a pro-charter school initiative in Georgia is best explained by "out-of-state money" (Valerie Strauss) or opponents being "drowned out" by President Obama (Jim Galloway). I'm totally prepared to believe that big money and popular leaders can change the way people vote, but by all accounts the move to make charter authorization easier was favored by a large majority of African American voters.
Had the results been closer it might make sense to attribute the results to the persuadability - or gullibility - of a few marginal voters. If accounts of 2-1 support among black voters are accurate, however, there is probably more than enough informed and "authentic" support for charter schools in African American communities to deserve to be taken seriously.
The charter school movement has definitely made for some awkward political alliances (and enemies), but that makes it all the more necessary for opponents of charter schools to engage with the very real concerns charter proponents hope to address. Yes, many black leaders are justifiably worried about school resegregation, but many black parents conspicuously are not (at least to the same degree).
Progressives: The Biggest Winners of State Ballot Measures ow.ly/fegrE [Just keep telling yourselves that]
Labor taken for granted: It's not so hard to get union support. ow.ly/fegfc
How Much Time Do Teachers and Students Spend on Standardized Tests? | Education on GOOD ow.ly/feghi
Amanda Ripley : Blog : The Case for (Serious) Testing http://ow.ly/feuMH #5bb
Some e-Readers allow teachers to monitor student time spent reading, er, viewing, er with the thing turned onow.ly/fegG1
50CAN's only endorsed RI challenger was someone who lost her seat in 2010, notes @shankerblog http://ow.ly/feuDp
You probably won't learn much you don't already know reading David Denby's profile of Diane Ravitch but this article from the most recent New Yorker (Love on the March) about the evolution of the gay rights movement and gay culture includes some useful reminders and insights in there for anyone interested in education:
1) Things can change a LOT in 20 years. Twenty years ago, gay marriage and gays in the military were discussed but somewhat hard to imagine, and now they're here. This can be true for education, too -- for better or worse.
Data-driven, standardized testing-centered school reform is most politically palatable when it is pursued by Democrats... The education left--teachers' unions, class size activists, charter school foes--have few recourses on Election Day. - Dana Goldstein on last week's elections.
Yikes. A South Carolina math teacher is in trouble for tweeting to complain about her students celebrating the Obama win because it would allow them to keep their food stamps. Via Jezebel
Panelists: Kristen Soltis, Rick Hess, Andy Rotherham, Andrew Kelly, Zakiya Smith, Alyson Klein.
From Jay Mathews: Moving the best teachers to the worst schools: Here are two tough questions for D.C. Schools... bit.ly/T6Zg7E
Perhaps the most interesting education-related race you haven't already read about is the one between California Assemblywoman Betsy Butler and former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom over the right to represent a ritzy West Side district. The race has centered on Butler's refusal to vote for a bill that would make it easier (too easy?) to dismiss teachers accused of sexual molestation, which has been a big issue recently in Los Angeles.
Butler and three other state legislators on the House education committee refused to vote, killing a bill that had already passed the Senate. CNN's Anderson Cooper covered the situation by sending a reporter to hunt down the nonvoters and ask them why they'd blocked the legislation (Lawmakers Won’t Comment On Sex Abuse Vote), a story that Butler said was planted by critics at the school district who wanted to embarrass her. According to the LA Weekly, Bloom raised roughly half a million dollars compared to Butler's $1.3 million. According to LA School Report, Opportunity PAC, a group affiliated with labor spent $360,000 in late October and early November to help get Butler elected. As of this morning, the vote is too close to call.
It wasn't easy reporting on Tuesday night's education results, what with the contrasting mix of outcomes in races and referenda around the country, the clamor of pundits and advocates, and the slow release of information from new advocacy groups.
There's lots more to cover now than there used to be, in terms of education-focused races, ballot inititiatives, and advocacy. Readers' expectations have been raised by the tidal wave of coverage and detail we get from political reporters. To be fair, several education reporters were pulled off the beat to cover the storm and its aftermath.
But some news outlets and education reporters handled the challenge better than others, in terms of capturing the results fairly and accurately, and providing context and nuance, in a timely manner.
From Jay Mathews: Six non-college reasons not to blow off high school: Kevin McMullin agrees with me, but that ... bit.ly/T3Ygkw
RT @lisafleisher: "We just don't know" how many schools won't have heat, schools Chancellor Walcott says. Possibly 28.
These lists generally don't include primary wins and losses, and in some cases -- STAND -- don't necessarily even include a complete account of losses last night.
Interesting to see that nobody's mentioned Indiana (Tony Bennett), Bridgeport -- maybe I should have called the ConnCAN c4 as well as 50CAN national -- or Michigan. Yet.
*UPDATED 5:55pm: Preliminary information from StudentsFirst added below, but still not a full list of winners and losers.
**UPDATE 2 6:34p: Some additional information from STAND about its overall wins/losses tally, but still not a full list.
***UPDATE 3 6:45p: SF releases spreadsheet of general election candidates it supported through direct contributions or IE, which according to staff is 87 wins out of 11, and adds 35 pro reform seats to state assemblies etc.
Folks on both sides of the education divide are going to spend a lot of time today trying to make the case that last night's election was a decisive victory for or against school reform -- Mike Petrilli's A not-so-great night for education reform is an early example -- as is the Charter School Alliance email "Public Charter Schools Win Big in Election" -- but I think they're overstating the case.
A few reform-oriented ballot initiatives and candidates, and a few lost. A few education spending initiatives won and lost. But none of those was decisive or numerous enough in any given direction to constitute a clear win or less.
The big story from last night's election is support for the Obama administration's hybrid agenda of both funding education and reforming it at roughly the same time -- and that the divide between unions and Democrats is real but not so large, or widespread, or lacking in pragmatism that it prevents unions and Democrats from coming together when it comes election time.
If the pushback against reform was as big and real as some have made it, then Obama wouldn't have won the way he did, and organized labor wouldn't have done all it did to ensure that the Democrats kept the Senate and didn't lose ground in the House, and the Latino community wouldn't have come out so strongly for Obama.
The takeaway for reform critics? People may agree with some of the points you make but not enough or in large enough numbers to change their votes. The takeaway for reformers? Support resources as well as reform if you want to broaden your appeal.
Here's a link to the DFER 2012 Wins-Losses. Below is the 50CAN Action Fund list. Still waiting on the StudentsFirst and STAND brag sheets.
What's he saying? "I'm sorry about the whole NCLB waivers idea -- it was Arne's fault -- but I'll try and clean up the mess during my second term."
Obama Wins Second Term as President EdWeek: President Barack Obama—who pushed through an unprecedented windfall of education funding in his first term and spurred states to make widespread changes to K-12 policy through competitive grants—has been re-elected.
Key State Ballot Measures That The NEA Is Tracking HuffPostEdu: The National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, has taken a stance on the various measures up for vote today.
Congress Likely to Stay Divided, Will Gridlock on K-12 Continue? PoliticsK12: So does two more years of a divided Congress mean two more years of gridlock on key issues? Lawmakers will get their first test soon.
In California, a Tight Battle Over a Tax Initiative to Help Schools NYT: California voters weighed in on a ballot measure Tuesday that would raise taxes by $6 billion annually over seven years, bringing an end to an acrimonious, $123 million battle between Gov. Jerry Brown, who said the money was necessary to save the state’s public schools, and conservative opponents in and outside the state.
Georgia’s voters approve charter amendment AJC: And, finally on Tuesday, the state’s voters said yes to Amendment One — which will change the Georgia constitution to make sure the state can approve charter schools and establish a commission to consider applications for them.
Students celebrate approval of Maryland Dream Act BaltimoreSun: The Maryland Dream Act, which will extend the tuition break to some illegal immigrants who graduate from high school in Maryland, was one of several ballot questions before state voters.
Obama Elected By American High Schoolers In Nationwide Mock Election HuffPostEdu: According to a nationwide mock election for 54,000 high schoolers across 130 schools, Obama won the popular vote with 52.2 percent and Republican candidate Mitt Romney received 41.2 percent of the vote.
Sick of the Presidential Race? Here Are 2 Education Ballot Measures to Watch Atlantic: There are two particularly interesting ballot measures in play: in Washington State, where voters will be asked to allow the formation of charter schools; and in Missouri, where a significant hike in the state's tobacco tax could raise badly needed revenues for both K-12 and higher education.
Obama, Romney Change.org Petition Asks Candidates To Donate Campaign Supplies To Schools HuffPostEdu: New Jersey teacher Hope Stewart has launched a petition on Change.org, calling on Obama's and Romney's campaign offices to donate their office supplies to public schools after the election.
Graduation Rates Latest NCLB Waiver Flash Point EdWeek: A growing chorus of education policy advocates is urging the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen graduation-rate accountability in states that have earned waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Georgia’s Voters Will Decide on Future of Charter Schools NYTimes: Here in Georgia, the future of charters, which are publicly financed but privately operated, could be determined Tuesday by a ballot measure that asks voters to amend the State Constitution so that an appointed statewide commission could authorize new schools.
Eight minutes, posted by AFT
Is it the best education speech ever, as one Forbes blogger asserts? I'm not sure. But it's good, and it's recent, and Mike Johnston may be a kind of bridge figure between career educators and reformers (though I'm sure extremists on either end will be disappointed). Forgot where I got this on Twitter -- sorry!
Districts like Portland and Los Angeles haven't been able to get union support for their Race to the Top grant applications, with LAUSD superintendent John Deasy pushing the envelope as far as possible in terms of reminding everyone that the obstacle is the union. (He didn't really think that the USDE would accept an application without union support.)
Meanwhile, Chicago -- yes, Chicago -- has apparently come to agreement and is submitting a grant application with union approval (LA School Report). Whether it will meet muster or not with the reviewers in Washington is another question. Chicago's grant application that's being submitted is much different from some of the earlier versions, focusing on professional development and middle school instruction rather than performance pay and other signature RTTT elements. Just a few days before Election Day, with Mayor Emanuel making fundraising calls to labor groups, the political and financial priorities in Chicago are different from the ones in Los Angeles.
Here's the latest education advocacy group response -- from 50CAN, one of the newest of these groups to sprout up over the past few years. According to 50CAN c4 Action Fund ED Julie Marlette the activity focuses on candidates in two states -- Rhode Island and Minnesota:
"In the 2013 fall electoral cycle, the Action Fund engaged worked extensively on Rhode Island General Assembly races, endorsing seven candidates; three in highly competitive primaries where the candidates did not face a general election opponent, and four races in the general election cycle."
"We also did some work on behalf of Senator Dan DaPonte (S-14) and in Minneapolis, Minnesota we have done some work on behalf of a school board candidate, Josh Reimnitz, running in district 4. We did not formally endorse in either of these races."
While TFA alumni running for office will garner much more attention (and unwarranted concern, in my opinion), I'm guessing that NEA and AFT members outnumber them by quite a bit. Have asked and will let you know the numbers.
HuffPostLA editorial slams UTLA and CTA for resistance to federal funds tied to performance evaluations ow.ly/eUX4t
Recently-resigned Chicago superintendent Jean Claude Brizard warns against too much focus on teacher effectiveness ow.ly/eUU98
Having written several times before about LEE, the TFA spinoff dedicated to recruiting alumni to run for office, I was happy to see a new article from The American Prospect about the initiative last week.
However, I have issues with the alarmist and exaggerated thrust of the piece, which is to suggest that TFA alumni are on the verge of becoming ever-present among the ranks of elected officials.
Writer and activist James Cersonsky writes that "A selective crowd of high-achieving college graduates is primed to take over the leadership of America’s schools."
Well, no, it's not. Not anytime soon, at least.
Hurricane Sandy: Race to Top District Contest Deadline Extended PoliticsK12: With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast and threatening a large swath of the nation's population—and schools—the U.S. Department of Education has announced an extension of the application deadline for the Race to the Top district competition.
Hurricane Sandy Shutters Thousands of Schools EdWeek: As Hurricane Sandy began unleashing its fury on the East Coast Monday, the storm shuttered thousands of schools across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, with millions of students to be out of school for at least two days, state education officials said.
Matching Funds Fail to Materialize for Some i3 Grantees EdWeek: Two years after the U.S. Department of Education awarded $650 million in Investing in Innovation grants and set off a mad dash for grantees to raise more than $100 million in matching private funds in five weeks, some of the i3 winners are still facing financial uncertainty stemming from initial fundraising struggles.
Federal Grant Application Sparks New Rural Tennessee Collaborative RuralEducation: Five rural Tennessee districts were part of a much larger group of 54 rural districts in the state to apply for a federal Investing in Innovation grant. They won't know whether they won until November, but five of those districts decided to form a new professional development collaborative, the Tennessee Valley Learning Network. The network is open to educators in Bradley, Marion, Monroe, Polk, and Rhea counties in southeast Tennessee.
How Will Education Groups' State-Level Endorsements Fare? StateWatch: There are big headlines today about how President Barack Obama has become the first presidential candidate to raise $1 billion in a campaign, but there's another big number in politics this year to keep in mind: 6,004. That's the number of state legislative seats that are up for election in 2012.
State and local races and initiatives matter much more media and blogs realize, says Fordham's Checker Finn ow.ly/eRtIc
NEA sending $1.4M to ID, $900K to MI (take that, StudentsFirst!), $500K to FL, and $250K to WA via @mikeantonnuci ow.ly/eRvOA
Described as silly and laughable by unions, Fordham report on unions is useful says Mike Antonucci Intercepts ow.ly/eRvF3
California teachers rank 8th among most powerful state teachers unions, according to Washington DC think tank ow.ly/eRtZh
LA Times look at power and peril of value added rating for teachers in LA ow.ly/eRzOb
From Jay Mathews: Admissions 101: Obama-Romney guide to great college essays... bit.ly/Y92ham
In California, state DFER director Gloria Romera has enraged some union allies with her support for Proposition 32, which would limit fundraising options for organized labor. See HuffPost here.
In Michigan, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst has come out against a pro-labor amendment to the state constitution called Proposal 2, donating $500,000 to the effort. See Mlive here and Huffington Post here.
The Michigan chapter of DFER has not taken an official position on the measure, I'm told, but may soon have an decision. State DFER director Harrison Blackmond is quoted in the HuffPost article saying he's against it.
Read more inside for more on the background of these two state ballot initiatives and the advocacy group's different decisions.
Here are some of the articles from magazines and other websites that I tweeted out over the weekend that you might have missed:
Outside money pouring into [selected] CA house races - LA Times ow.ly/eOyHN
Reform "grifter" M. Rhee's PAC gave $500K to limit collective bargaining in Mich., says Esquire blogger ow.ly/eOzVF
A close look at the ed group endorsements in one state (TN) from EdWeek's Andrew Ujifusa ow.ly/eOO2j
Rosen on Higher Education Market, Roundtable on Math (Audio) bit.ly/VuX3T7 BloombergEDU
TFAer turned writer turned teacher Sara Mosle column on Responsive Classroom in the NYT ow.ly/1PdoRA
Hate Group Bullies School Board Into Rescinding Basic Rights for Transgender Students ow.ly/eKqZu
From Jay Mathews: Readers’ cures for bad teaching of writing: The teaching of writing is one of the great weakne... bit.ly/QZmbzb
Bootleg portion of ESPN documentary about slain Chicago HS b-ball star Benji Wilson ow.ly/eLP7t
"Bunker schools" for Syrian kids Pictures following the bombing of six schools CBS News ow.ly/eL8cq
MT @MandyZatynski: “They’re like 5-year-olds fighting over a toy, except the toy is America.”
N.J. education advocates to Duncan: State's waiver plan is a disaster. — NewsWorks ow.ly/eJo7S
Lessons From Los Angeles - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week ow.ly/eJWlz
With time running out, teachers push pro-Obama message in swing states Ohio, Florida - U.S. News ow.ly/eKgZ1
The five most important issues left out of the debates http://wapo.st/WJIIai For once, education was not one of them
A film about a Chicago basketball prodigy shot to death in 1984 may play a role in helping heal the city in 2012. ow.ly/eKi87
Check out the little kid in the striped shirt to the left chewing his zipper and scowling. Photo of the day from the Obama campaign. Not sure what school or program this is at -- anybody know? I can't tell charter kids from "real" kids anymore, what with everyone going for uniforms these days. *UPDATE: It's apparently the cute boy kissing the little girl at the top of the image that you're supposed to be looking at.
Mitt Romney, Barack Obama Campaigns Fall Short On Specifics For Early Education ow.ly/eHqnd
15 NEA State Affiliates Ran Budget Deficits, 25 Saw Decline in Dues Income « The Greenroomow.ly/eHMhC
What is it like being bullied in school? ow.ly/eI63lBest Quora question / response Ive seen in a long time.
Last week I told you about the candidate endorsements and contributions coming from DFER and StudentsFirst, which some of you found fascinating and/or disturbing. This week, it's Stand For Children.
Stand also reports that state affiliates have made endorsements "in school board races, the gubernatorial race in WA, the superintendent position in Indiana, etc." Here are the links that they provided: AZ governing board, TN school board (summer 2012), IN state superintendent, WA gubernatorial, CO board of education, LA school board.
Let me know if this is useful or what more you want to see (like contributions and IE activity). Previous posts: Eighty Candidates Endorsed By StudentsFirst, DFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream. Next up is the rascals at 50CAN.
Obama should be talking about his 2 Race To The Top programs -for education & for gas mileage - says NYT Friedman ow.ly/eF6Mb
Newark Teachers Union Embraces Performance Pay, Wins Peer Review - Working In These Times ow.ly/eFSZf
600 Texas School Districts Sue State For 'Unconstitutional' Funding huff.to/T7642A
Another pitch for that New Yorker story about the honors student turned hitman, this time from @tanehisi ow.ly/eG3px
Why pointy headed moderates don't get politics -- and so often lose at them - Salon ow.ly/eFTgu
"I"ll be your visionary. You do the things I come up with." (via The Atlantic)
Reform critics reacted gleefully last week to the news that Communities for Teaching Excellence, the Gates-funded advocacy effort in support of its teacher quality initiative, was being de-funded (LAT, LA Daily News), a reaction that was predictable but sort of sad and short-sighted.
Why so? First and foremost, the outcome explodes notion that reform foundations like Gates are all-powerful, which is obviously untrue but is a myth that seems convenient to repeat. Can't be all-powerful and occasionally ineffective at the same time. It's also a reflection of the reality that advocacy groups have proliferated as much as C4TE has failed. So if reform critics want to call the creation of tons of advocacy groups a success, then fine go ahead.
Last but not least, trashing the efforts of folks like Yolie Flores, the former LAUSD board member (pictured) who took on the task and has dedicated her career to making schools better for poor kids, seems inappropriate coming from mostly white liberals sitting in front of computers or giving speeches. You can read more about Flores in the LA Weekly and Scholastic Administrator (who sponsors this site), and a blog post of mine about her disagreement with LAUSD and Deasy over the changes to PSC ( John Deasy's Mystifying Labor Deal).
One last thing: a couple of people have written me suggesting that the downfall of this latest effort was comparable to the failure of EDIN'08, a comparison I get but would quibble with. Yes, advocacy is a dicey business and folks bigger and better funded than Gates have spent scads of money in other arenas and walked away without much to show for it. The highs and lows are higher in advocacy than they are in policy and program worlds. But I don't believe that EDIN'08 was such a big failure as conventional wisdom would have it. And, an important difference to me is that EDIN'08 was organized around a national campaign, the presidential elections, whereas the Gates teacher quality advocacy effort was focused on the individual Gates districts without any substantial national component.
Last week, you learned that the NEA and AFT were funding a handful of Republican candidates in and among all the Democratic races that they were supporting. Kinky? I know.
Yesterday, you learned about DFER's candidate endorsements. They were pretty boring. Maybe not your favorite in the primaries, but at least they're all Democrats. (DFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream)
Today's installment comes from Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst, which on its website lists roughly 80 endorsements for six states (Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri and Tenn).
Click the "elections" tab to see each state's list. This being StudentsFirst, I'm guessing but too lazy to check that there are a few -- gasp! -- Republicans among those endorsed.
This being the wacky world of Citizens United, StudentsFirst also has independent expenditure (IE) groups active in roughly a dozen races (such as the CT race with Brandon McGee). No details on where the IEs are active, but let's assume that they're in a state where SF already operates and has endorsed candidates.
A couple more states are in the works, I'm told. The selections are made through a survey and screening process (everybody does it this way). An endorsement doesn't necessarily mean that there's a campaign contribution.
I've also asked Stand For Children and 50Can for their candidate endorsement / contribution lists, and will report back to you when they report back to me.
The questioner who prompted Mitt Romney's instantly-viral "binders full of women" response to a question about pay equity was a Long Island kindergarten teacher named Katherine Fenton.
HuffPost fact-checks education/gun violence links from last night's debate #5bb http://ow.ly/eyYXY
What's Behind the Mass Student Takeover of Argentina's High Schools? - The Atlantic http://ow.ly/eyZcu #5bb
Reform critics like to make a big deal out of how scary and right-wing reform advocates' work is, but this slate of candidates from DFER seems pretty uncontroversial and mainstream to me, based on a cursory review. There are some candidates for Congress, for state legislature, and local school board. All Democrats, obv. Perhaps they ran again other Dems in a primary -- it happens. Perhaps they're pro-charter, or pro-Race To The Top. Then again, so is the the pro-government occupant of the White House. In any case, if there's anyone controversial on the DFER list, let us know. I'll ask Stand and 50CAN and StudentsFirst and others for their candidate lists and see what they have to say as well -- we can compare them to the DNC lists, and the Green Party's too, if there is such a thing any more.
Obama Makes Education A Presidential Debate Subject HuffPost: In perhaps the biggest pivot of the presidential debate Tuesday night, President Barack Obama turned a question about gun violence into an answer about education.\
At Debate, Obama, Romney Link Education to Economy EdWeek: During their second duel of this campaign, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday night framed the issue of education as an economic one.
Charter School Flap Escalates Wall Street Journal: Tennessee education officials withheld $3.4 million from Nashville's school district after the city barred a charter school from opening in an affluent neighborhood, in a fight that highlights the growing tension...
Progress report on Colorado SIG schools EdNews Colorado: More than $40 million in federal grants awarded to some of Colorado’s lowest-performing schools as part of a massive national turnaround effort is producing mixed results, with state officials suspending funding for five schools because of declining test scores.
Romney Ed. Adviser Casts Doubt on Future of NCLB Waivers Politics K12: The waivers are "not about flexibility. They're very prescriptive. We think they have led to a very unfortunate result: ... many of these states are setting different accountability standards for different constituencies of children," said Handy, a former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education. ALSO: Impact of NCLB waiver on poor schools challenged The Answer Sheet
Romney Adviser Calls Head Start 'A Social Experience' Huffington Post: He chided Head Start, the federal pre-school program, saying it has "been allowed to go on for decades ... much more as a social experience, not preparing children for school."
Seeking Aid, More Districts Change Teacher Evaluations NYT: Fueled in part by efforts to qualify for grant programs or No Child Left Behind waivers, 36 states and the District of Columbia have introduced new policies.
More States Earn As and Bs on Charter School "Scorecard" for 2012 State Watch: From 2011 to 2012, the number of states earning As and Bs from from the center actually increased. In the top category, Arizona, Indiana, and Michigan improved to A grades, joining Minnesota (the state with the nation's oldest charter school law) and D.C., while California fell from an A to a B grade in that time. D.C. comes in first, while Minnesota is second, Indiana is third (improving from eighth last year), Arizona is fourth, and Michigan is fifth.
These are battles between gigantic groups, and candidates are just chess pieces. Candidates are becoming afterthoughts. - Los Angeles political consultant Parke Skelton, in LA School Report.