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Quotes: Reformers "Don't Hurry To Claim" Chicago Or Emanuel

Quotes2While Emanuel is a supporter of charter schools who's generally seen as being a reform-friendly, reformers don't hurry to claim Chicago as a hotbed of change, which could blunt the election's symbolic weight. - Vox's Libby Nelson (What the Chicago mayor's race says about the future of education politics).

AM News: District NCLB Waivers, Charter Expansions, Chicago

NCLB waiver extended for seven districts EdSource:  After months of negotiations, seven California school districts have received a one-year extension of the waivers from the federal government exempting them from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in return for meeting a slew of new requirements. See also PK12.

Charter school enrollments increased by 13 percent nationally Washington Post: Nationwide, about 2.5 million public school students were enrolled in charter schools last school year, up from 789,000 a decade earlier, according to the most recent enrollment estimates from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

David Boies, eyeing education through a civil rights lens Washington Post: David Boies, the superlawyer who chairs a group that is trying to overturn teacher tenure laws in New York and elsewhere, said Monday that his organization is not looking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not in the short run.

What the Chicago mayor's race says about the future of education politics Vox: Political observers say Lewis and her confrontational style had an immediate effect on the Chicago Teachers Union's umbrella group, the American Federation of Teachers. While Emanuel is a supporter of charter schools who's generally seen as being a reform-friendly, reformers don't hurry to claim Chicago as a hotbed of change, which could blunt the election's symbolic weight.

California school district rewrites menu for student lunches PBS NewsHour: Finally tonight:  With the new school year now in full swing, one urban district in California [Oakland] is implementing an ambitious plan to transform their lunch program to provide healthier, locally sourced food.

The Case for Having Class Discussions on Twitter Atlantic: Lively debate and direct quotes continue to fill the threads four hours after school has ended. Students upload pictures of their annotated texts and ask their classmates to help them understand the nuances of iambic pentameter.

New Rochelle Struggles Amid Rice’s Unraveling NYT: Now that Ray Rice, a hometown football hero, has been dismissed from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League, the New Rochelle High School community is struggling to determine how to react.

Regents Weigh New Routes to a High School Diploma WNYC: If approved by the Regents next month, high school students could substitute one of the two social studies exams with a test in career and technical education, the arts or humanities. They would still have to take Regents exams in English, math and science to meet federal requirements. See also ChalkbeatNY

Chicago Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not 'as smooth as we would like' WBEZ: CPS employs 825 custodian positions that are covered by SEIU Local 73 and none of those positions are being cut, according to district officials. However, many of those board-funded janitors have been reassigned to cover other schools as a result of the layoffs.

Morning Audio: Special Ed, Suburban Students, Private Schools

image from www.thisamericanlife.orgWhat happens when orthodox Jews move into a suburban New York neighborhood with high property taxes and don't send their kids to private yeshivas -- or vote down school budgets-- as long as the district doesn't monitor the private schools and gives as much money as possible (up to $27,000 per kid)?

The deal doesn't last forever.  

The result is a situation that's "Like nothing you have seen in any school district anywhere," according to Ira Glass. NSFW (curse words).

Politics, budgets, religion, regulation -- it's all in there. Image via This American Life.

 

 

AM News: Union Chief Hopes Chicago Follows Newark

CTU President Karen Lewis meets with Newark Mayor WGN-TV: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Chicago Teacher's Union President, Karen Lewis, another possible candidate for mayor, was in Newark, New Jersey over the past few days. She was talking with Newark's mayor, who also had a background in education.

Karen Lewis in Jersey to talk to Newark educator-turned-mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Possible mayoral hopeful Karen Lewis last week traveled to Newark and apparently took part in a series of meetings and seminars, including with the city's mayor, who happens to have a bit in common with Lewis. 

Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD LA Times: The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified's $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down.

New York City Charter Schools Test New Rent Rules WNYC: Ascend is among the first wave of charters seeking to take advantage of a state law approved in April that requires the city to give charters free space in public school buildings or pay their rent.

For Teachers, Many Paths Into The Classroom ... Some Say Too Many NPR:  One in five newly hired teachers has skipped university preparation for teaching. Indiana is the latest state to make entering the classroom easier.

Room for Debate: How to Diversify Teaching NYT: What can be done to make a career in education more attractive to men and people of color?

With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise NYT: Parent groups and privacy advocates are challenging the practices of an industry built on data collection, and California has passed wide-ranging legislation protecting students’ personal information.

Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use Washington Post: His iPhone is on his desk, out in the open, and Joshua Perez’s teacher does not take it away. Instead, she asks the eighth-grader and his classmates in honors geometry at Argyle Magnet Middle School to Google the words “vertex form parabola.”

Using tablets to teach reading Marketplace: We're kicking off a week-long series on how technology is changing reading.

Ready To Work WNYC: Next, we'll spend time at a vocational school in one of America's wealthiest school districts in Lexington, MA. Then: a trip to Nashville, where failing schools have been turned into so-called "career academies" that focus on technical education.

San Diego School District's New 18-Ton Armored Vehicle Creates Stir NPR: The mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, will have teddy bears in it, school police officials say. The MRAP is a piece of military surplus equipment that's worth around $733,000.

California School Cops Received Military Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Armored Vehicles HuffPost: A Los Angeles Unified School District spokesperson who requested anonymity confirmed school police received the gear noted in the report. The district, which has 400 sworn officers, has been receiving military weaponry since 2001, the spokesperson said.

Twitter Erupts as Nicki Minaj’s Offer to School Is Declined NYT: Students at the rapper’s alma mater, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, post their dismay after a visit falls through.

AM News: De Blasio Forced To Accommodate NYC Charter Expansion

Mayor Agrees to Accommodate 4 Larger or New Charter Schools NYT: Under a new state law, New York City must offer free space in public buildings or or help with the cost of renting private space.

Palm Beach school leaders won't opt out of high-stakes testing Sun Sentinel: The Lee County board initially supported the anti-test stance, even though state officials said it's against the law and would affect funding, student grades, graduation and eligibility for athletics. The Lee board reversed itself earlier this month.

One Newark, Many Changes WNYC: Newark schools superintendent Cami Anderson talks about why drastic changes are required, despite protests and opposition from the mayor.

In-seat attendance up in D.C. schools Washington Post: DCPS in recent years has shifted away from measuring “average-daily attendance” which counts students with excused absences as attending on any given day, according to Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works, a national organization that has worked with DCPS. The new “in-seat attendance” measure only counts students who are actually there, which is a more meaningful number, she said.

Playgrounds For All Children: Here's How To Find One NPR: For kids with disabilities, a simple activity like going down a slide can be a challenge. An NPR crowdsourcing project maps inclusive playgrounds — fun and safe for all — across the country.

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music. NPR: A new study suggests that learning to play a musical instrument helps improve the brain's ability to process language. That means music lessons could give kids from low-income communities a big boost.

Duncan Looks to Tennessee's Turnaround School District as Model for Country PK12: On the last stop of his back-to-school bus tour through three Southern states, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used a panel discussion Wednesday to tackle the education crisis present in so many economically devastated communities across the country. 

D.C. Teacher To Apologize For Asking Students To Compare Bush To Hitler WAMU: As part of a discussion on the book "War and Peace," a sixth-grade teacher asked their students to compare and contrast President George W. Bush and German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Chicago Mayoral Race: Lewis, Fioretti Turn Up the Heat NBC Chicago:Two of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's most vocal critics are inching closer to making a decision on whether to challenge him at the ballot box this February.

UTLA tells LAUSD: 'The money is there' for 17.6 percent teacher pay raise LA Daily News: United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl on Tuesday told the Los Angeles Unified School board that it can clearly afford to give teachers a raise.

First Lady Michelle Obama Consoles Child Who Fainted ABC News:   The first lady called for paramedics and said, “If anyone is starting to feel tired standing up, bend your knees! And eat your breakfast, and lunch!”

Quotes: The Teachers Unions' Quandry

Quotes2The developments [Vergara, etc.] have left the nation's two largest teachers unions in a quandary: How to alter the perception that they are obstacles to change while holding on to principles such as tenure that their members demand. - WSJ (Teachers Unions Under Fire)

AM News: Mid-Term Election Results With Edu-Implications

U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., Longtime Ed. Committee Member, Loses Primary PK12:The liberal congressman with a thick Boston accent was a longtime member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and known for his aggressive style of politics. 

Cuomo wins closer-than-expected primary race Vox: On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo beat back a left-wing primary challenge and won renomination, defeating Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout. 

Reform Candidate Closes Gap In Race To Be Calif. Schools Chief-Poll Reuters: A former charter school executive aiming to unseat California's education chief is in a statistical tie in a race shaping up to be a proxy war between school reform advocates and the state's powerful teachers unions, a poll showed on Tuesday.

Common Core 2.0: Common Core by another name WashPost: As the national debate over the Common Core K-12 academic standards rages on, most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards, though they’re calling them something different. See also State EdWatch

American Teachers Spend More Time In The Classroom Than World Peers, Says Report HuffPost:  American middle school and high school teachers spend more time educating students than peers in every OECD country except Chile, according to the report. In addition to classroom time, U.S. teachers are required to be at school for more hours than most of their international peers.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Mid-Term Election Results With Edu-Implications" »

Teaching: Vergara Decision Spotlights Administrator Practices As Much As Teachers

image from www.scholastic.comThe gist of my latest Scholastic Administrator column is that the Vergara decision in California -- and the slew of lawsuits that may follow -- put as much if not more pressure on school and district administrators as on teachers.

"The key task for educators is to decide whether to hunker down and keep doing what they’re already doing—a time-tested approach to change that is sometimes the wisest course—or take a hard look at what’s really possible under current law, start talking to counterparts about improving things in their districts in the short term and perhaps avoid the necessity of a wave of Vergara-like lawsuits in the first place."

But really, the star of the column is the graphic, right? A red apple with one of those small stickers on it (tenure) with an old-school wooden pencil crashing through the whole thing at high speed. 

Quotes: Top Obama Ed Official Endorsed Vergara Decision (ICYMI)

Quotes2

The students who brought this lawsuit are, unfortunately, just nine out of millions of young people in America who are disadvantaged by laws, practices and systems that fail to identify and support our best teachers. -- Arne Duncan responding to #Vergara decision as quoted in the WSJ (Teachers Unions Under Fire)

AM News: All Eyes On California & Rhode Island

Brown challenger targets CA Gov.'s ties to teachers’ union EdSource Today: In the sharpest exchange of the first, and most likely, only debate between the two leading gubernatorial candidates, GOP challenger Neil Kashkari on Thursday night accused Gov. Jerry Brown of putting the interests of teachers unions over those of students.

Dem divisions on display in R.I. race Politico: The race for an open governor's seat is shaping up as the most expensive in state history. 

Delaware Schools Struggle To Make Room For Unaccompanied Minors WAMU: It's not just the D.C. Metro area that has had to respond to an influx in Central American — Delaware's largest school district is also trying to figure out how to provide these kids the support they need.

First Lady Michelle Obama, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to visit The Republic: First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to visit Atlanta as part of her Reach Higher education initiative.

News Analysis: Why Don’t More Men Go Into Teaching? NYT: A change in the gender imbalance could sway the way teaching is regarded, and help it attract the best candidates.

Q&A: Dana Goldstein, Author, 'The Teacher Wars' NPR: Testing, tenure, pay, standards, business influence, poverty and inequality — the big education issues have been with us a long time, says a new book.

In Maryland's Poorest County, Free Meal Program Could Go A Long Way WAMU: Maryland's Somerset County is the first in the state to implement a federal nutrition program that will provide free breakfast and lunch to all of its public school students.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On California & Rhode Island" »

Quotes: Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"

Quotes2Her critics deserve shame for being so quick to paint her as the wicked witch. And the rest of us earned some shame for letting them get away with it a lot of the time. - TNTP's David Keeling (The High Price of Leadership)

Maps: 18 of 22 Smarter Balanced States Expected To Sign Contracts This Year

  image from edsource.org"California and eight other dark green states have signed a contract to give the Smarter Balanced tests next spring. Nine light green states are expected to contract with the consortium. Four blue Smarter Balanced member states won't contract next year." (State awards Common Core test contract) NB: Smarter Balanced says it's going to be run by a unit within UCLA that is separate from CRESST (which is also at UCLA).

 

AM News: All Eyes On NYC's First Day Under De Blasio

NYC School Year Starts with New Mayor's Imprint WNYC: While his signature campaign initiative to expand pre-kindergarten classes has received the most attention, it is just one of several policy changes expected to ripple through the system. 

Final Touches Range From Flowery to Frantic as Expanded Pre-K Awaits Start NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign promised free prekindergarten for every 4-year-old, and his administration has invested mightily in quickly bringing that plan to life.

Gentlemen, Preschool Is Calling NPR: New York City is scrambling to make good on its promise to provide preschool for all. That means hiring roughly 1,000 new teachers. But few will likely be men.

Texas Mimics New York in Pushing Back State Tests' Impact on Students State EdWatch: Texas is considering a timeline for phasing in the impact of new tests on students that resembles an approach recently adopted by New York state.

State awards Common Core test contract EdSource Today: With the State Board of Education’s approval, California became the ninth state Wednesday to award a contract to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for the standardized tests in the Common Core State Standards that students will take next spring.

Michael Bloomberg to Return to Lead Bloomberg L.P. NYT: When he left politics, Mr. Bloomberg, 72, was expected to devote most of his time to giving away his $32.8 billion fortune.

State of the Art: Grading Teachers, With [Survey] Data From Class NYT: Panorama Education, aided by prominent tech investors, is refining student feedback through innovative data collection. School systems are embracing the concept.

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

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5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Bad Times For Democrats = Good For Progressives

Why a tough year for America’s Democrats could be a good opportunity for the party’s far left - Quartz ow.ly/B3ujx

Don't tell @davidsirota that the NEA is partnering with Walden ("Won't Back Down") Media ow.ly/B39yj

Ray Suarez interviews NEA head Lily Eskelsen Garcia re#vergara etc on AJAM ow.ly/B358X

Democrats, unions pour $25M into key Colo. races | Chalkbeat ow.ly/B3rYC via @RealClearEd

Zero (0) black/Hispanic students at 90 NYC schools passed state tests this year @NYDNBenChapman via @RedditEducation ow.ly/B3404

Teachers in Reno embrace the Common Core | American RadioWorks | ow.ly/B3caB

The Battle for NYC Schools: Moskowitz vs. de Blasio - NYT Sunday Magazine - http://ow.ly/B2FWF  Anything new or different here?

iPad is Running Into Trouble in the Education Market - Motley Fool via @RedditEducation http://ow.ly/B34CZ 

Advocacy: New Reform Group To Counter Relentless Criticism

image from educationpost.orgThe Washington Post has a story about Peter Cunningham's new education group (Education Post aims to take the sting out of national conversations about school reform) that hints at but doesn't quite get to the real story behind the organization.

Described as "a nonprofit group that plans to launch Tuesday with the aim of encouraging a more “respectful” and fact-based national discussion about the challenges of public education, and possible solutions," the $12 million Chicago-based organization (Cunningham, Mike Vaughn, etc.) is funded by Broad, Bloomberg, and Walton, among others.  

It's an obvious (and long-needed) attempt to address the insufficiencies of the reform movement when it comes to shaping the education debate -- the reform version of Parents Across America or the Network for Public Education or Sabrina Stevens' group (though I haven't heard much from them lately).

The purely communication-oriented outfit ((RSS FeedTwitter) is led by longtime Arne Duncan guy Cunningham and including blogger Citizen Stewart. A sampling of their blog posts (Public Education Needs a New ConversationSpeak Up, Don’t Give UpThe Right School for My ChildThe Common Sense Behind Common Core 

Versions of Education Post have been discussed for a while now, online and in the real world.  A version of the same idea almost came to being 18 months ago, tentatively called "The Hub." Why another group? Advocacy groups get embroiled in pushing for changes, and lack time and resources to coordinate among each other or to focus on communications. They barely have time or capacity to defend themselves, much less put out a positive agenda across multiple groups.  

Meantime, a small but dedicated group of reform critics and groups(many of them union-funded or - affiliated) has managed to embed themselves in the minds of reporters and generate an enormous amount of resistance to reform measures. 

Related posts: Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Rapid Response in Connecticut.

AM News: Oklahoma Loses NCLB Waiver Over Common Core Retreat

50-State Look at How Common Core Playing out in US AP: The Alabama state school board folded Common Core into the state's College and Career Ready Standards for public schools and has been defending the decision ever since.

Oklahoma Loses Waiver From No Child Left Behind Provisions NYT: The move comes as a result of the state’s retreat from Common Core, a set of reading and math standards adopted by more than 40 states.

Push To Revamp Federal Testing Requirements Unlikely To Gain Traction WAMU: Local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would like to see changes to federal laws mandating standardized testing, but legislation is unlikely before the midterm elections.

California schools chief to appeal ruling striking down teacher tenure AP: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says the ruling by a Los Angeles judge isn't supported by facts or the law and says it unfairly blames teachers for flaws in the education system. His opponent in the November race, Marshall Tuck, says Torlakson isn't sticking up for students. See also TeacherBeatEdSource Today.

Summer school motivates college dreams for middle school students PBS NewsHour:  This unusual start to a day is actually quite normal for a program called Breakthrough, a unique summer program with the sole focus of showing low-income, under-resourced middle school students how to get to college.

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

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AM News: Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits Likely To Be Merged In NY

Campbell Brown teacher tenure lawsuit likely to combine with NY group's case Washington Post: Lawyers in New York working with former CNN anchor Campbell Brown on a legal challenge of teacher tenure have agreed to consolidate their case with an earlier complaint filed by a group of public school parents that also seeks to change job protections for teachers.

School Districts Praise Ed. Secretary for Recognizing Over-Reliance on Testing District Dossier: The Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium, which represents 16 districts across the country, applauded Education Secretary Arne Duncan's recent statement that there is too much focus on standardized testing in the nation's schools.

Arne Duncan to Head South for Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour PK12: This year's trip, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 8, to Wednesday, Sept. 10, will take the secretary and senior department officials to schools in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Head Start grantees flagged for quality concerns state-by-state Washington Post: So far, about 360 of the nation’s 1,700 Head Start grantees have been required to compete for new funds, according to government data.

Comptroller, NYC Mayor Face Off on Pre-K Readiness WNYC: He said the mayor’s office is late to submit contracts with pre-k providers for his approval — he’s reviewed 141 contracts, out of more than 500, or about 28 percent. Without the contracts, he said he can’t check for fraud and corruption and ensure classroom safety.

Numbers: 27 State New Ed Reform Groups In 5 Years

Over the past five years, national K-12 advocacy organizations created 27 state affiliates, according to a May 2014 report  quoted in EdWeek (Leadership, Political Winds Buffet Education Advocacy Groups).  

That's up from 8 such groups created in the decade 1997-2007. 

You can read the report here.

I've asked them for updated figures, since some of the affiliates have closed up shop and others have opened since then.

Quotes: Why Unions Attack Obama Proxies For Reform Efforts

Quotes2Asking teachers to choose between Obama and the union line runs the risk that many teachers will decide the union is wrong. - Jonathan Chait in NY Magazine (The Proxy Fight for the Democratic Party Future)

Quotes: Union's Confounding Positions On Common Core Assessments

Quotes2It's like saying you're for interstellar travel but against warp drive.

- NYCAN's Derrell Bradford via Facebook on NEA Common Core position(s) -- see full quote below.

Continue reading "Quotes: Union's Confounding Positions On Common Core Assessments" »

Quotes: NYC Mayor De Blasio Praises Predecessor For Common Core Focus

Quotes2They were right to focus on the Common Core curriculum. -- NYC Mayor De Blasio on Bloomberg decisions that led to NYC test score increases (WNYC Five Things You Need to Know About NYC Scores on State Tests)

Morning Video: Reformers (Too) Quick To Dismissal Ed-Related Lawsuits?

As was apparent at last week's discussion of the Vergara case between Fordham's Mike Petrilli and AEI's Mike McShane, the current generation of school reformers is generally dismissive of legal cases in search of school improvements. 

Lawsuits don't work, or are at best crude measures compared to policies and statutes.Or, theyre good for quantity-related issues (like funding) but not for quality-related issues (like access to effective teaching). Check out Petrilli and McShane's responses to my Twitter query at the 30 minute mark.

They may be right. I'm no legal scholar, and it's certainly conventional wisdom that the wave of equity and adequacy cases of the 1970s and 1980s didn't result in any wholesale improvements in American education. Some would say the same about civil rights cases. 

But the Vergara case, its successors, and a whole host of non-education advocacy (same-sex marriage, for example), suggest that the conventional wisdom might be worth reconsidering, or at least examining.

Historically, it seems to me that legal cases have played an important role in shaping education -- perhaps as much or more so than laws that have been passed. I don't see any big advantage of one forum over the other.

Continue reading "Morning Video: Reformers (Too) Quick To Dismissal Ed-Related Lawsuits?" »

AM News: New York Scores Up (But Union Still Won't Endorse Cuomo)

Five Things You Need to Know About NYC Scores on State Tests WNYC: State Education Commissioner John King speculated on Thursday that the city showed more gains because it began training groups of teachers and principals in the Common Core learning standards a few years ago, ahead of other districts. 

N.Y. Union Won't Endorse in Governor's Race Teacher Beat: NYSUT opted not to endorse Cuomo or any other candidate for the 2014 governor's race.

Why The Atlanta Testing Scandal Matters NPR: The pressure placed on schools and educators by high-stakes tests can lead to unintended consequences.

Helping Students Make Sense Of A Young Black Man's Death In Missouri NPR: The shooting of Michael Brown may raise questions for students, and teachers need to be prepared.

 Philadelphia Schools to Open on Time Amid Millions in Budget Cuts NYT: The Pennsylvania legislature is considering a cigarette tax for the city that would make the budget reductions temporary.

LAUSD says it's not subject to state's 'parent trigger' law this year NYT: In a letter last year, a U.S. Department of Education official told Deasy the federal waiver did not exempt L.A. Unified from identifying schools for improvement, corrective action or restructuring, and did not affect any related state laws.

 

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

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Roundup: Rhee Departure Leaves Movement Without Ravitch-Like Figure

The Huffington Post's Joy Resmovits broke the news on Tuesday.  The Sacramento Bee followed up with a focus on Rhee's work on behalf of her husband, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, who may run for higher office in two years.  Beaten badly on the news, Politico published a misleadingly negative account of Rhee's accomplishments, noting her successes only in the bottom half of its story.

However, it's not really news that Rhee and her organization made crazy demands and didn't coordinate well with others or that she didn't reach her $1 billion fundraising goal.  Just recently, she listed a set of states suitable for Vergara-like lawsuits without (I'm told) consulting with Campbell Brown's organization. And no doubt, Rhee et al made a bunch of mistakes. (Focusing on ending seniority in layoffs was the biggest among them, in my opinion.)

But much of the criticism now focused on Rhee is the product of anti-reform advocates gleeful at her departure and thin-skinned reformer who didn't like being elbowed aside while Rhee was on the front pages and generally failed to support or defend her against the relentless critiques of anti-reform advocates who dominate the online discourse and influence many reporters.  (For a recent example of just how dominant reform critics are online, read this US News story: Common Core Opponents Hijack Supporters' Twitter Blitz.) 

Continue reading "Roundup: Rhee Departure Leaves Movement Without Ravitch-Like Figure" »

AM News: Teachers Union Wins Another LA School Board Election

Teachers union-backed candidate George McKenna elected to Los Angeles Unified school board LA Daily News: The 35,000-member union threw its weight behind McKenna, who was outspent 3 to 1 by Alex Johnson and his supporters, which included a political action committee affiliated with charter schools.

Outspent by rival, McKenna drew on connections in school board victory LA TImes: In this week's election for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education, one side had deep pockets and extensive political connections; the other side had people such as Orley Frost Jr.

McKenna victory gives appearance of a pro-teacher union board LA School Report: Since her upset win, board member Monica Ratliff has been held up as the epitome of the David and Goliath-style triumph over big money reform.

With Tueday's school board loss, charter advocates recalculate KPCC: After Tuesday's defeat of another of their candidates to the Los Angeles school board, charter school advocates are rethinking how to support local candidates.

Ex-Head of Washington Schools Steps Down at Advocacy Group NYT: Rhee said that it was “time for my next step in life” and that she would focus on her family and support her husband, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, as “he continues to move forward with his career.” 

Michelle Rhee drops out of school group Politico: As she prepares to step down as CEO, she leaves a trail of disappointment and disillusionment.

State Attorney General wants two teacher tenure lawsuits to become one Chalkbeat NY: The attorney general’s office writes in the filing that the request was made “to avoid the possibility of conflicting findings” and because the two suits “involve the same legal and factual issues and seek the same relief.” The attorney general’s did not provide further comment.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Teachers Union Wins Another LA School Board Election" »

Tenure: Public Divided On "Too Easy/Hard To Fire" Teachers

Screen shot 2014-08-12 at 1.18.40 PM"Only 31 percent of respondents said they thought it is too difficult to fire public school teachers in their state. Conversely, 12 percent of respondents said it was is too easy to fire teachers, and 27 percent said the difficulty level was about right." (HuffPost). Image used with permission.

AM News: What Happens If/When Rhee Leaves StudentsFirst?

Michelle Rhee Prepares To Leave CEO Job At StudentsFirst, Group She Founded HuffPost: The change comes as the education reform movement that Rhee spearheaded has a new face: Former CNN news anchor Campbell Brown. 

Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School? Politico: In Memphis, Mayor A.C. Wharton, a Bloomberg ally, has engaged in what amounts to a four-year-running battle with his city council to pony up relatively modest sums (less than $1 million a year) to offset the roughly $6 million being invested by Bloomberg’s philanthropy and federal grants.

Kansas Union Challenges Tenure-Repeal Law TeacherBeat: The Kansas National Education Association is challenging provisions tacked onto a 2014 budget bill eliminating due process.

McKenna wins key L.A. school board seat, according to unofficial results LA Times: Veteran school administrator George McKenna won his bid for a key seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education besting political newcomer Alex Johnson, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night.

Smartphone Apps Help To Battle Campus Sexual Assaults NPR: Several new smartphone apps offer quick ways for college students facing dangerous or uncomfortable situations to reach out to friends, connect with resources on campus or call the police.

What Robin Williams Taught Us About Teaching NPR:  As a young, handsome, floppy-haired English teacher with the highly apropos name of John Keating, Williams makes the classroom a stage, pulling out all the stops to get his students excited about the wonders of poetry, and, by extension, life.

Video: School supplies cost $20-$100 more this year Today: A survey found that supplies for a middle school student will cost an average of around $312 this fall, up about $100 from last year. Outfitting a student in high school will run about $350, up by about $20. 

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

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5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Endorse, Oppose, Or Stay Out Of The Race?

Unions vary political strategies in places where they are at odds with Dem governors, notes @eia's Antonucci ow.ly/A7Xex

Fordham's @MichaelPetrilli interviews @elizwgreenabout her book-length followup to her 2010 NYT article ow.ly/A7bVn

Chicago releases improved test score results -- too bad they're not on the annual state tests - District299 ow.ly/A6wsS

Map: Handful of states (CA, TX, FL, NY, VA) getting biggest numbers of unaccompanied minorsow.ly/A7Nba @l_maxwell

New series on Dems & choice features opeds from @parentrev @dfer @rwhitmire Doug Tthill Myles Mendoza Gloria Romero ow.ly/A7pF4

30 Ed Applications of Google Glass include teacher eval, teacher's view, ow.ly/A7ftu

NYT Schools for Tomorrow Conf 9/9 includes @RickKahlenberg @paultough @MichelleRhee ow.ly/A6Ta9

 

Campaigns: Parent Revolution & The AFT Walk Into The Same Organizing Event

What happens when Democratic education advocates on opposite sides of many policy issues attend the same campaign training events?  Things get awkward.  That's apparently what happend at a recent New Organizing Institute event when members of the AFT and Parent Revolution both showed up and -- I'm speculating here -- didn't much want to be put at the same table brainstorming ideas together. 

The NOI is a relatively new outfit, and its work was written up earlier this week in the Post (Inside the Democratic party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry): 

"With the real midterms fast approaching, Democrats areager to put more people in the field who've been trained in the latest campaigning techniques... Boot campers have gone on to some of the most prominent left-leaning organizations in the country — such as AFL-CIO, Greenpeace and Planned Parenthood, not to mention the White House and political firms like Blue State Digital."

It makes sense that both groups would be there, given how hard everyone's trying to figure out/get better at campaign and mobilization work these past couple of years in particular.  I've heard that similar things have happened at the Marshall Ganz boot camp, too. 

Related posts:  NYC Parent Organizing Group Expands To BostonCommunity Organizing & School Reform;  The Left's Getting Itself Organized, Too.

 

 

 

Morning Video: Another Day, Another Campbell Brown Segment

 

"Campbell Brown, founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice, and Keoni Wright, a NY Parent who is a plaintiff in the Wright v NY lawsuit against the state, joined Inside City Hall with Errol Louis to discuss their call to change New York’s teacher tenure rules."

Influencers: 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds"

For me, the hands-down top new Twitter feed in education in 2014 is @thnkscommoncore, but I may be alone in that.

The much more official and deeply-considered Top Twitter Feeds in Education Policy 2014 are quite another thing, according to the folks at Education Next who put out the annual update.

This year's version includes three lists -- top overall, top individual, and top organization.  There's lots of overlap, and no doubt some of the accounts (Arne Duncan and USDE) are being run by the same social media manager.

On a related note, should individual accounts for folks like Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee that are presumably run by more than one person be included in the list of "people"?

As in the past, the list focuses on Klout scores rather than numbers of followers.  It's not clickable, or re-sortable (by followers, say).  I've asked for a Twitter list so that you can subscribe to all these folks with a single click, and crossed fingers it might happen (yay!).

As Petrilli notes, here are a couple of newcomers in the form of the Badass Teachers Association and founder Mark Naison, which should yet again have reform advocates reconsidering their disinterest in becoming involved in social media.  (Newcomer Campbell Brown is on the list, but I don't think anyone's expecting her or her organization to carry the reform message on Twitter and Facebook single-handedly.)

CAP and New America also made it -- apparently their first time.

Other observations, profound and otherwise are below the fold.  A few folks made it on the list with high Klout scores but very few followers, about which I have mixed feelings.  Some venerable education policy types aren't on this year's list, lots of mainstream media journalists and journalistic outlets aren't included either (for lack of policy or lack of activity, it's not clear).

Continue reading "Influencers: 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds" " »

Morning Video: AFT Head Debates Former LA Mayor On Tenure

In a followup to the Campbell Brown/David Boies segment earlier this week, Randi Weingarten and Antonio Villaraigosa talk teacher tenureon MSNBC's Morning Joe. (Other cable news shows, where are you?). More about the substance -- and the political back and forth -- at TeacherBeat.

 

AM News: NYC Mayor Touts National Pre-K Movement

De Blasio Cheers on National Pre-K Movement WNYC: The mayor spoke broadly about efforts to expand preschool access in cities such as San Francisco, Miami, and San Antonio—efforts he said are reshaping the national conversation.

Memphis-Area School Year Starts With Opening of Six Breakaway Districts District Dossier: Memphis-area suburban communities moved to form their own school districts in the wake of the merger of the Shelby County, Tenn., district with the financially-strapped city school system in 2011.

Michelle Rhee to Chair Her Husband's Sacramento Charter Group District Dossier: The former District of Columbia schools chancellor returns to the Sacramento charter school organization known as St. Hope Public Schools.

Dispute over Common Core gets personal AP via SF Gate: White issued a letter a few days later, saying he felt he was being personally attacked with suggestions of "unfounded malfeasance" within his office.

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain NPR: Children learn their most important lessons on the playground, not in the classroom, researchers say.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Mayor Touts National Pre-K Movement" »

Quotes: "No One Can Fire Parents"

Quotes2Even better would be widespread parent boycotts. No one can fire parents. They have it in their power to pull the plug on this mess. I hope it comes to that. - Diane Ravitch (Pick Your Fights Carefully)

 

Morning Video: Campbell, Boies -- & Weingarten -- On MSNBC

 

Here's Campbell Brown and David Boies on MSNBC's Morning Joe yesterday morning, with mention of a Weingarten appearance later in the week.

AM News: AFT Pressures Force Split In Dem. Consulting Firm

Former Obama Aides Broke With Democratic Firm Over Anti-Teachers Union Project HuffPost:  Gibbs' liberal colleagues reacted angrily when news of the marriage surfaced, and the American Federation of Teachers made its displeasure known. Gibbs said the teachers union put pressure on New Partners as a result of his new client.  

With Uncertainty, Schools Prepare for New Arrivals Texas Tribune: The average stay is about 35 days. During that time, federal case workers attempt to track down relatives or other caregivers, like foster parents, to sponsor the children as they go through the legal system. Once they are placed with sponsors, they can go to public schools in their communities.

Literacy Laws Challenge Third Graders and Schools NYT: Anthony is one of about 1,900 children from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School District who failed the standardized reading test given to all North Carolina third graders in the spring. Under a recent law similar to those in more than a dozen states, such students in North Carolina may be required to repeat the grade. 

Hillary Clinton’s Fee for a Hometown Speech: Free NYT: The former secretary of state, who regularly commands $200,000 for speeches, returned to Chappaqua, N.Y., to address seven high school seniors at their graduation from a summer scholarship program.

'Building a Better Teacher' explores the complexity of teaching USA TODAY: Greg Toppo spoke recently with Green, who co-founded the Web-based non-profit education news site Chalkbeat. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: AFT Pressures Force Split In Dem. Consulting Firm" »

Quotes: Only Thing Worse Than The Common Core Is The Alternative, Says Ravitch

Quotes2This is a terrible idea. Legislators have no academic competence to write academic standards. This is a sure way to politicize American education. Politicians should do their work and let educators do their work. Educators are the experts on what students should know and be able to do. - Diane Ravitch (What’s Worse than Common Core? Legislators Writing State Standards)

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Departing House Leader Rails Against Neighborhood-Based School Assignment

Cantor decries neighborhood/school quality linkage  ow.ly/zQlsp USA Today via @RedditEducation  

Fact-Checking UFT’s Attack on NOLA Schools | PE + COow.ly/zQlp0 @petercook

Snapshot of Teacher Union Spending on House, Senate Campaigns  @PoliticsK12  ow.ly/zQ8ez  @laurenonthehill

Vox points out big but little-known hole in union spending figures ow.ly/zR1Ob

2014's top lobbying spenders so far - Washington Postow.ly/zQmeg Labor unions/teachers *not* among them

Why poor kids fail to show up for college - and lie to college counselors about it - Jay Mathews ow.ly/zQmBG

Knowledge Isn’t Power - NYT ow.ly/zPUAI Krugman on politicians and the public ignoring expertise

Campaigns: Those Union Spending Numbers Are Only Half The Story

Quotes2Unions are important financial powerhouses in elections, but much of their spending is done in such a way that it doesn't show up on FEC reports — it involves getting out the vote or internal communication with their members rather than paid TV ads.  Vox

Books: The Unexpected Alliance Of Civil Rights & Women's Rights Groups

The best education-related article in the New Yorker of the past few weeks might not be Rachel Aviv's piece about the "burn-it-down-to-save-it" actions taken by some Atlanta teachers pressured to produce better results but rather Louis Menand's story about how women's rights and civil rights advocates came together uneasily.

Called The Sex Amendment, Menand's piece uses a couple of new books to tracethe work of women's rights advocates -- in almost total opposition from the rest of the liberal establishment (including civil rights leaders). "The last thing any of these people wanted was a group with a different agenda crashing the party."
 
Key takeaways for education types include the strong differences within the civil rights movement and with the women's rights movement, and the unexpected turns of events that created new opportunities and turned enemies into reluctant allies.
 
No time to recap or make all the connections, but trust me it's a good read for anyone trying to figure out how things end up getting done even when groups generally aligned (say, Democrats, or education advocates) have ended up in staunch opposition on the particulars.  I have no idea how or when this kind of thing could happen in education, but have the sense that it will -- some surprising set of events and alliances not currently part of the stalemated war between reformers and their critics.
 

Update: West Coast Reboot For DFER & Steve Barr

image from www.dfer.org

 

 

DFER California is re-launching operations for 2014 and beyond, kicked off with a few events and announcements (see press release below).  

As a big part of that effort, DFER has hired Steve Barr to be the state chapter head.  Former state legislator Gloria Romer was the previous head.  

Barr founded Green Dot Schools and more recently headed FIN Schools, which I'm told has been winding down its operations in recent months.

Previous posts:  Pro-Charter Dem PAC Expands To CA [2010]; Strange Times In California [2012]; Green Dot & Steve Barr Finalize Their "Divorce" [2011]; Barr Nonprofit Re-Focuses On Teacher Advocacy [2013]

Continue reading "Update: West Coast Reboot For DFER & Steve Barr " »

Quotes: The Coming Union Backlash Against Reform Democrats

Ultimately, the union backlash is likely to be channeled into the 2016 Democratic primary. Of the various sources of liberal dismay that may be brought to bear upon Hillary Clinton — Warren-esque concern with inequality, unease with the Clinton’s hawkish record — the most focused and organized may well be the cause of the unions.

-- Jonathan Chait NY Magazine (Teachers Unions Turn Against Democrats)

AM News: Union Defends Tenure/Seniority Rules Against Lawsuits

New York Educators Fight Back on Attacks to Tenure NYT: The United Federation of Teachers sent out a memo defending tenure laws after two parents groups in New York filed lawsuits to challenge it.

Union Claims Weak Teachers Are Shown the Door WNYC: With its cherished tenure system under scrutiny, the New York City teachers union claimed on Tuesday that hundreds of teachers leave the city schools every year for failing to meet professional standards or as a result of disciplinary actions, even though very few of them are actually fired.

Q&A: Michelle Rhee On Teacher Tenure Challenges NPR: Her group played a supporting role in both the California and New York challenges and is now considering action in several other states.

COMMON CORE

Bobby Jindal Is Being Sued By His Own School Board Over The Common Core HuffPost: On Tuesday, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 6-4 to join the lawsuit against Jindal, known as Navis Hill, et al., v. Louisiana State. 

Can special education students keep up with the Common Core? The Hechinger Report: On a morning in late May, the pace was slow and deliberate as seven students formed a semicircle around their teacher to work on a lesson about finding the main idea in a story.

AFTER-SCHOOL

Can after-school programs help shrink the ‘opportunity gap’ for low-income students? PBS NewsHour: Middle School 223 in the Bronx, NY, is one of about 1,000 public schools in the U.S. offering low-income students a host of fun and educational classes after the final bell rings. But despite their best intentions, after-school programs may be overlooking the “elephant in the room”.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Union Defends Tenure/Seniority Rules Against Lawsuits" »

AM News: NY Gets A Vergara Lawsuit (MN, CT, NJ & TN Could Be Next)

New York’s teacher tenure faces second challenge as Campbell Brown’s group files suit Chalkbeat:  In the past, Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended teacher tenure as a way to recruit and retain effective teachers. A spokesman from the state said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Second Vergara-Inspired Lawsuit Filed in New York Teacher Beat: "Campbell Brown may be tearing up, but her secret hedge-fund supporters will be crying all the way to the bank if she succeeds in her mission to undercut public education and privatize our schools," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "Parents know that attacking teachers is not the answer to the problems of New York's public schools.  We expect New York's courts to reject the fact-challenged and legally questionable assertions in this case."

Teacher Tenure Fight Comes to New York City NPR: Seven parents filed a lawsuit with New York State Supreme Court on Monday seeking to overturn teacher tenure laws that they said prevent their children from receiving a "sound basic education" that is guaranteed by New York State’s constitution.

Campbell Brown takes on teacher tenure in New York Washington Post: An advocacy group headed by former television journalist Campbell Brown filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday that seeks to overturn the state’s tenure laws and other job protections for teachers.

Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread NPR: Rhee's group is considering additional suits in Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey and Tennessee.

The Common Core PR war Politico:Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. The millions have proved no match for the moms. 

What Happens When High School Administrators Get Caught Plagiarizing HuffPost: Although high school students are regularly warned to avoid plagiarism and are often punished when they slip, a steady stream of high school administrators have come under fire lately for engaging in that very practice. 

Boston Plan for Cameras and Microphones on School Buses Comes Under Fire District Dossier: An editorial in The Boston Globe Monday called the plan to install microphones on school buses "bad public policy and a bad lesson for students."

NYC Uses Food Trucks to Bring Summer Meals to Kids AP: NYC uses food trucks to bring free summer meals to kids; more mobility, less stigma.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

AM News: Lawsuits Filed In NY & CA Against Tenure Protections & Inadequate ELL Service

Campbell Brown’s group to file teacher tenure suit ChalkbeatNY: A group of seven families led by the news-anchor-turned-education-activist Campbell Brown will file a complaint in state court on Monday. The suit, to be filed in Albany by Brown’s group, is the second such case in New York and follows a California ruling in June that deemed teacher tenure laws in that state unconstitutional.

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state EdSource via Hechinger: The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. The lawsuit, filed in April 2013, is set for a one-day trial next week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Washington state stands alone on US education law AP: When the past school year began, four states were in danger of losing their waivers from aspects of the law. But only one has actually lost the flexibility Duncan began promoting in 2011: Washington. The three others - Oregon, Kansas and Arizona - appear to be on the path to resolving their differences with the federal government.

Learning To Read May Take Longer Than We Thought NPR: A Dartmouth study suggests that fifth-graders are still "learning to read," not just "reading to learn."

Gene I. Maeroff, Education Reporter and Author, Dies at 75 NYT: A former education reporter for The Times, Mr. Maeroff found a second career working as an author, a researcher and an adviser on education issues.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Lawsuits Filed In NY & CA Against Tenure Protections & Inadequate ELL Service" »

Maps: Which States Are Changing Which Charter Laws To Do What?

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 12.18.16 PMFrom ECS: "42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have charter school laws. Important, evolving elements of these state laws include: Statewide authorizing bodies (33 states); Standards for authorizers (quality school authorizing) (15 states and D.C.); Requirements that authorizing bodies report annually on their portfolios of schools (15 states and D.C.); Explicit performance thresholds below which charters must be revoked or non-renewed (11 states and D.C.); Explicit attention to one type of charter: the Internet, or cyber charter (24 states define or permit; 20 outline elements of oversight)."

 Charter Schools Database via EdWeek.

Image Flickr CC via

Quotes: That Campaign Field Worker Might Well Be A Teacher

Quotes2If someone knocks on your door and says, ‘I’m Mark, I’m from the state Democratic Party,’ you take the literature and shut the door. “If you say, ‘Hi, I’m Karen, I’m a third-grade teacher at Hillsmere Elementary and I’m here to tell you what’s at stake for public education,’ that gets a very different reaction from the voter. - Karen White, political director for the National Education Association in today's Politico story (Unions put teachers on streets — for votes)

Quotes: Why Teachers Unions Usually Don't Turn Against Reform Democrats

Quotes2However strongly they disagree with Obama and the education reformers about the design of education and teacher pay, they do agree on the principle of paying teachers more. This is in contrast to Republicans, who generally support all the reformers’ accountability measures and lower public budgets as well. - Jonathan Chait in NY Magazine last week.

Media: EdWeek Leads Way On Coverage Of Unaccompanied Migrant Kids

image from fullframe.edweek.org

Though not entirely alone in covering the education (and political) angles to the unaccomanpied migrant story, EdWeek and Lesli Maxwell have been leading the way in recent weeks.  Examples include a late-June story this photo spread (Documenting the Immigrant-Children Influx), some recent statistics, and a backgrounder. Image courtesy EdWeek. 

AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies

The Daily News Flickr swanksalot

Teachers union steps into legal battle over tenure, against a former ally ChalkbeatNY: The lawsuit pits the union against a former ally, Mona Davids, who is among the parents suing to undo the tenure laws. Davids heads the New York City Parents Union, which consulted with the UFT on a union-sponsored parent advocacy group two years ago. [See also TeacherBeat]

Bobby Jindal Sued By His Allies Over Common Core HuffPost: Two years ago, Jindal visited a charter school operated by the Choice Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages a chain of charter schools in Louisiana. Now, Jim Swanson, chair of the Choice Foundation schools, is joining a group of parents and teachers to sue Jindal for trying to reverse his state's adoption of the standards. 

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers Hechinger Report: The case in New Haven tells a cautionary tale of what can happen when a low-performing school rushes to add time to close that gap. It also reflects the latest focus of the expanded-time movement: making extra time for teachers to learn. 

Charter and traditional schools bridge divide under one roof PBS NewsHour: Charter schools have often been seen as a threat to traditional schools, diverting resources and students to these publicly funded but privately run institutions. In Houston, Texas, the superintendent of one school district has invited competing charter schools to set up shop alongside a regular middle school. Special correspondent John Merrow reports on their evolving partnership.

Is There a Mismatch Between Ed. Dept.'s Teacher-Equity Plans and NCLB Waivers? PK12: For the past five-plus years of the Obama administration, the big teacher-policy emphasis has been on educator effectiveness, meaning tying teacher performance to student outcomes, including  on standardized tests. States had to develop teacher evaluations that take test scores into account, both to get a slice of the Race to the Top money, and later, to get flexibility from the No Child Left Behind Act.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies" »

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.