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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" »

Thompson: Oklahoma Education Drama Has National Implications

DormanThe Oklahoma State Department of Education annual Vision 2020 conference opened as Secretary of Education Robert Sommers announced his resignation. Sommers was a CEO of Carpe Diem charters, and a supporter of the former Indiana Chief for Change Tony Bennett.   

Sommers’s exit followed the resounding electoral defeat of State Superintendent and Chief for Change Janet Barresi. It also followed the legislative defeats of high stakes 3rd grade testing and the withdrawal from Common Core.

The week's biggest news was also education-related. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman had once been more of an underdog than those who challenged Superintendent Barresi, but now a Rasmussen poll shows that his Republican opponent, Gov. Mary Fallin, is in a freefall.  

Dorman was given the perfect opportunity to proclaim, “We cannot continue Fallin and Barresi’s destructive education policies.”

As Dorman pulled almost even with the incumbent, Fallin repudiated Barresi’s and her own agenda.

The story of how this happened will follow the break.

Continue reading "Thompson: Oklahoma Education Drama Has National Implications" »

Hot Vs. Hot: Campbell Brown Vs. Matt Damon

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 1.22.47 PM"Here's somebody whose influence on ed policy is in no way related to their hotness, unlike that bimbo Campbell Brown," quipped NY Mag journo Jonathan Chait, linking to Matt Damon's appearances at various anti-reform events a few years back.  

ICYMI, Ravitch questioned Brown's credibility on education issues about which the two people happen to disagree and in the process made several comments about Brown's looks.  

Damon has appeared at various anti-reform events in recent years, based in large part on his good looks and celebrity (and views on education with which Ravitch happens to agree).

Quotes: Union "Cannot Go On Denying Responsibility For School Quality"

Quotes2The fact is, that while NEA does not control curriculum, set funding levels, or hire and fire, we cannot go on denying responsibility for school quality. - Former NEA President Bob Chase (in 1997) via DFER's Charlie Barone

 

Afternoon Video: Schools Prepare For Surge Of Unaccompanied Migrant Kids

Here's a Bloomberg segment on school preparations for migrant Central American kids who have been in the news so much the past couple of weeks. Haven't seen tons written on this - which districts are being most affected? Did the White House ask for schools funding as part of his refugee relief package?

Thompson: Arne Duncan's "Secretary Under Improvement" Plan

140517_randi_weingarten_teachers_union_ap_605Was the AFT's call for Arne Duncan to be placed on a plan for improvement a stroke of political genius by its leadership?

Or was it another example of what rank-in-file teachers do when we are at our best?

Or, was it both?

Read on (below) to find out.

Continue reading "Thompson: Arne Duncan's "Secretary Under Improvement" Plan" »

AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support

Teacher union's national conference concludes with support for tenure laws LA Daily News: The American Federation of Teachers panel featuring educators from out of state shared their personal observations to bolster why current tenure laws work.

Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons AP: The veto by the Democratic governor sets up a potential showdown with the Republican-led Legislature, which could override Nixon if it gets a two-thirds vote of both chambers during a September session.

Jeb Bush Draws Tea Party Ire Touting Education Record Businessweek: The former governor is touting gains under his “A-plus” plan, which imposed statewide testing standards, provided financial rewards to improving schools and offered students a way out of those that were failing them. The state’s high-school graduation rate has increased to 75.6 percent, compared with 52.5 percent when Bush, 61, took office in 1999.

Exiting teachers-union leader Julie Blaha talks of tenure, retention — and improv MinnPost: She is possibly the funniest woman in education leadership circles in the upper Midwest. She’s capable of rendering even a seasoned journalist helpless with laughter, and thus unable to impose a linear structure on the conversation.

Arne Duncan Says Philadelphia District 'Starved for Resources' District Dossier: The U.S. Secretary of Education also said that Pennsylvania's current level of commitment to funding public schools in Philadelphia is "unacceptable."

Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors AP: After 14 years of separation from her parents and a harrowing journey across the U.S. border, Milsa Martinez finds solace in the ..

School officials try healthier cafeteria options AP: Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates - without turning off sometimes-finicky students....

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

Continue reading "AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support" »

Media: Politico Brings Up The Rear On StudentsFirst Reboot Story

Money_1The Minnesota Star Tribune posted the story last week that SF was pulling out of the state (StudentsFirst pulls up stakes), and reported that the group was getting out of FLA, too.

EdWeek added to the story (StudentsFirst Powers Down Five State Affiliates) by listing the 5 states that were being shuttered (Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, and Minnesota), explaining the the reasons for closing up shop differ by state, and noting that Travis Pillow at RedefinED got to the FLA part of story first.

Politico led with the story in its morning roundup today (Rhee’s group retrenches) but provided little by way of new information and (old habits die hard) failed to credit EdWeek or the Minnesota Star Tribune or anyone else for unearthing the news.

Sure, it's embarrassing having other folks break a story that probably should be yours.  But it only makes it worse when they pretend you dug it up themselves or assume their readers don't know/don't care where the story idea came from. Plus, it makes their hard-working counterparts really hate them.

Previous posts: StudentsFirst 14-State 2012 Candidate SpendingStudentsFirst 2012 Spending On Local Board RacesNEA & State Political Spending 5X Higher Than StudentsFirstWhy's Politico So Stingy With Crediting Others?

 

Quotes: Reform Debate Often Detached From Schools & Parents

Quotes2The policy debate has become so polarized that it often seems detached from the very people it is aimed at helping. - Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe via Annenberg Institute

Pictures: Michelle Obama's Tour of the Brown Museum In Topeka

ScreenHunter_02 Jul. 14 10.22The New Republic wonders if this is "the political photo of the year," which it probably isn't.  But it's still a prettyeye-catching image. (Michelle Obama Tours Brown v. Board National Historic Site)

 

 

AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National

Sleepy campaign for D.C. Board of Education goes national Washington Post:  When Tierra Jolly thumbed through her mail on Monday, she was surprised to see campaign literature touting her bid for a seat on the D.C. State Board of Education.

Districts Debate Merits of Master's for Teachers AP: Texas' two largest school districts, in Houston and Dallas, recently eliminated advanced degree pay going forward, following the example of North Carolina, where lawmakers last year started phasing it out. Yet the backlash in North Carolina grew so intense that the state is now looking at reinstating the extra pay for those teaching classes related to the subject in which they have an advanced degree. 

Ethics Panel Absolves Tony Bennett of Wrongdoing in School-Grade Changes State EdWatch: The Indiana State Ethics Commission said former state Superintendent Tony Bennett committed no ethics violation in changing certain school grades in 2012.

How a better summer vacation could help low-income kids in school Vox: On average, kids come back to school in the fall about a month behind where they were at the beginning of summer break, says Catherine Augustine, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation who has studied summer learning loss.

Union Leader Derides Obama Education Chief AP: Union president chides US education secretary but stops short of calling on him to quit.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National" »

AM News: Lawsuit Against Teacher Job Protections Filed In New York

Lawsuit Challenges New York’s Teacher Tenure Laws NYT: In the wake of a landmark court decision in California, an education advocacy group says the laws violate the State Constitution’s guarantee of a “sound basic education.”

Teacher tenure under fire Marketplace: The lawsuit comes on the heels of another challenge to tenure laws, in California. In that case, an LA judge said tenure laws, "have deprived students of the quality education they're entitled to."

New Obama Initiative Stresses Equal Access To Good Teachers HuffPost: By April 2015, states must submit "comprehensive educator equity plans" that detail how they plan to put "effective educators" in front of poor and minority kids. To help states write the plans, the Education Department will create a $4.2 million "Education Equity Support Network." And this fall, the Education Department will publish "Educator Equity profiles" that highlight which states and districts fare well or poorly on teacher equity. 

NEA Calls for Secretary Duncan's ResignationTeacherBeat: In a surprising vote at the Representative Assembly on July 4, delegates passed a new business item calling for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

Why more states are backing off Common Core PBS: One major battleground, a growing list of states that are dropping the Common Core standards. Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have done so. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an order for his state to join them. But now even places committed to keeping the guidelines are deciding to slow things down.

Big Data Comes To College NPR: The  exploding field of "learning analytics" raises ethical questions similar to those arising from the recent Facebook revelations.

Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men NPR: For five years running, 100 percent of the graduating seniors at Urban Prep Academies have won admission to four-year colleges. The schools work to promote positive examples of black masculinity.

Free lunch for all in Chicago Public Schools starts in September WBEZ: Under a relatively new program called the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) all school meals will be free starting in September 2014, the district confirmed to WBEZ Thursday. Although the CPS initially rejected the program in 2011, it had expanded it to 400 schools by last fall.

Neighborhood high schools again take hit in new CPS budget WBEZ: Schools with more than $1 million slashed from their budgets are overwhelmingly the city’s public neighborhood high schools.

Politics: Teachers Unions Spent $191M To StudentFirst's $62M*

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 1.33.41 PM
Earlier today, Politico reported that StudentsFirst has raised a whopping $62 million in campaign contributions in the past two years. However, EdWeek reports that national and state teachers unions spent a combined $191 million in 2012 alone (see chart alone). However imperfect, the comparison serves as a useful reminder that reform money, however new and on the rise it may be currently, remains substantially less than teacher union money. 

Correction: The initial headline said StudentsFirst spent "462M" since I neglected to hit the shift button at the right moment. 

Roundup: What They're Saying About Supreme Court's Union Dues Decision

You'll see the phrase "dodged a bullet" quite a few times reading through these reaction stories:

Supreme Court ruling on unions reverberates Washington Post: The Supreme Court ruling Monday against an Illinois requirement regarding union dues for home health aides could ease the way for another, broader legal challenge aimed at teachers unions.

Unions hit, but not fatally Politico: Even the fairly narrow ruling is a blow to the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers and other unions that have organized hundreds of thousands of home health workers in states including Illinois, California and Connecticut. Those workers can now decide whether they want to support the union financially.

Unions duck biggest threat from Supreme Court case — for now Washington Post: Now those workers can decide whether they want to pay union dues from their often meager paychecks, a change labor groups worry could cause their memberships and incomes to shrink.

Unions didn’t dodge a bullet at the Supreme Court today. They dodged the guillotine. Washington Post (Bump): Had the Supreme Court thrown out the 1977 case that allows public sector unions to collect fees from employees, it could very well have been the last push needed. Instead, the Court just made the cliff's edge shakier.

Public-Sector Unions Survive Supreme Court Review, Barely. Forbes: The decision drew a strong dissent from the court’s liberals, written by Justice Elena Kagan. She said the state of Illinois not only pays home-health workers but supervises their work. And the state had ample reasons for selecting a single bargaining agent for home-health aides since that could help it ensure a steady supply of workers and guarantees against strikes.

Mulgrew: Union cautiously optimistic after ruling allows some opt-outs from union dues Chalkbeat: United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement on Monday that while he “deplored” the ruling, which gives some public workers the ability to opt out of paying union dues, it might only affect Illinois, the state where the case was based.

Home healthcare ruling may inhibit growth of powerful union LA Times: The SEIU may have trouble maintaining its growth after Monday's Supreme Court decision allowing home healthcare workers to opt out of paying union fees even if the union bargains on their behalf. If history is any guide, once workers can opt out of paying fees, they also opt out of belonging to the union.

Plus as an added bonus -- an #edGIF of declining union membership by state (below)

Continue reading "Roundup: What They're Saying About Supreme Court's Union Dues Decision" »

Afternoon Video: Reconciling Due Process & Students' Rights At Aspen 2014

 

Here's a new video from the Aspen Ideas Festival in which it is discussed whether tenure reforms and students' rights can be reconciled -- and if so, how. Feat. Weingarten, Deasy, and hosted by Ray Suarez. Read blog post about here.

Charts: Mainstream Republicans Dislike Common Core Just As Much As Conservatives

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.comThis chart from Vox's Libby Nelson shows that recent Pew survey results reveal there isn't really as much debate within the Republican party over Common Core standards as we may have imagined.  Support among Democratic groups including "solid liberals" appears relatively strong and uniform, which may also be another surprise for some. 

Thompson: Another "Chief for Change" Is Dumped

Barresi

Of course I’m celebrating the overwhelming defeat of Chief for Change Janet Barresi in the Republican primary. Oklahoma State Superintendent Barresi embodies the brass-knuckled, scorched earth corporate reform that has driven young children to cry and vomit, and older students to drop out of school.

Her opponent, Joy Hofmeister, condemned both the “toxic” environment created by high-stakes testing and the politics of destruction that Barresi exemplifies. Barresi  lost by a margin of nearly three to one.

As reported by the Tulsa World's Andrea Eger, a video has now been released showing Barresi's tirade at a Department of Education “Summer Convening” event. Barresi told teachers: 

Anybody that has any question what we’re doing, read Nehemiah. Open up your Bibles and read Nehemiah. I want you to put on your breast plate and I want you to fight off the enemy at the same time you’re rebuilding the wall. Because there’s a lot of people, a lot of enemies are going to try to creep up the back of your neck and say you can’t do it, it can’t be done. Do me a favor and tell ‘em to go to hell.

Honestly, though, I’m saddened that education policy disputes sank to this level. Fifteen years ago, I served with Barresi in a bipartisan reform coalition, known as MAPS for Kids. Before it was derailed by NCLB, MAPS was significantly improving our city's schools. 

Barresi started an excellent charter school just a block from my house. It is NOT a high-challenge school like the school it replaced. But, by bringing in high-performing students from outlying areas, it sure raised property values in our neighborhood.

Continue reading "Thompson: Another "Chief for Change" Is Dumped" »

Morning Video: Campbell Brown Previews NY Version Of Vergara Lawsuit

Local Fox News segment on NY version of Vergara that's being planned, featuring Mayor de Blasio and Campbell Brown.

Quotes: Smarick Rails Against Anti-Democratic Attitudes & Elites

Quotes2In too many other cases, our field has succumbed to the derision of politics, giving the impression that technocracy is preferable to democracy... I worry that too often education reform is falling on the wrong side of the democratic-technocratic divide. -- Andy Smarick (Has America Lost Democracy to Technocracc?)

Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength

image from www.educationnews.orgFormer New Yotk Times Magazine reporter Matt Bai has a fascinating and highly controversial (5,000-comment) story you might want to read about how the ultra-liberal Democracy Alliance ended up naming NEA executive director John Stocks (pictured) as board chairman (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it).

"So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders. You want to free the capital from the grip of powerful interest groups...Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course!"

Originally conceived as a venture fund for progressive think tanks and thinkers (CAP, MMA), the liberal group has funneled $500 million + to liberal groups over the past decade, according to Bai. But it didn't stay innovative very long, in terms of its backers and who got funding. Silicon Valley and Wall Street funders faded away.  Think tanks like the New Democrat Network and Third Way were cut off.

Now Stocks is at the helm, a move that "tells you something about the direction of Democratic politics right now," according to Bai, because of Stocks' role as the power behind the throne at the NEA (top of Bai's list of "political powerhouses that have been intransigent and blindly doctrinaire in the face of change").

Continue reading "Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength" »

Quotes: Rich Liberals Hire Union Head To Run Progressive PAC

Quotes2So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders... Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course! - Former New York Times Sunday Magazine reporter Matt Bai (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it)

AM News: LA Governor Can't Exit Common Core On His Own

News2

Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost:  But Jindal's own state education superintendent, John White, is incensed. "It is outside the bounds of both our state's laws and our state's aspirations for its children to think that we would turn back now," White said in a statement.  A lack of cooperation from White, who is in charge of implementing the state's education policies, could complicate Jindal's plan. 

Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost: Jindal issued a series of executive orders calling for the state to come up with "Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test" in place of the "one size fits all" Common Core standards. 

Bobby Jindal announces plans to get Louisiana out of Common Core NOLA: The governor did acknowledge he can't scrap Common Core by himself entirely. Jindal may have the ability to block a Common Core standardized test the state had planned to use next year, but he can't ditch the academic standards totally without the support of the Louisiana Legislature or the state school board.
 
Bobby Jindal can't quit the Common Core on his own Vox: Jindal can't actually get rid of the standards on his own. That requires cooperation from the state's top education official, among others — and that official says the state will stick with Common Core.

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal Declares State Dumping Common Core, PARCC Tests State EdWatch: Louisiana's governor wants the state to "develop our own standards and our own tests," but he will likely have a fight on his hands with the state schools' chief and board still backing the common core.

Governor Plans to Cut Ties to Common Core in Louisiana NYT: Louisiana’s governor said on Wednesday that his state would end its enactment of the educational guidelines, but other officials immediately said that he had overstepped his authority.

Common Core opponents say states' repeal boosts momentum Wyoming Tribune: Since March, governors in three states have signed legislation to repeal the Common Core.

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA Governor Can't Exit Common Core On His Own" »

People: It's A Small, Small World [For Power Couples]

HiresCatherine Brown has been named to head the education policy team at the Democratic think tank Center on American Progress.  

At CAP, Brown will report to Carmel Martin, who held the job until she was promoted to head of domestic policy.  

Martin's previous job was as head of policy and planning at the USDE.  

That's the job Brown's husband Robert Gordon has been named to take.

To recap: Brown replaces Martin. Brown's husband replaces Martin. 

Plus: Does this mean Clinton's looking left for education advice in 2016?

Previous posts: Policy Wonk Named OMB Education PADFlashback To 2005 (How Much Has Changed?)On The Move: Miller Staffer Heads ...NYT Covers Wedding of NYC DOE & DFER Couple Power Couples: Emily & David Sirota.

AM News: What Next For Unions, Districts, Democrats After Vergara?

News2

The fall of teachers unions Politico: But union leaders can’t spend all their time promoting [popular initiatives like arts classes]: They must also represent their members. 

With California tenure ruling, a Democratic divide Washington Post: When a California judge struck down tenure and other job protections for teachers this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) both applauded, revealing fissures in the once-solid alliance between labor unions and the Democratic Party.

Is Teacher Tenure Really The New Brown V. Board Of Education? NPR: A California judge ruled that the state's teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. Education Week's Stephen Sawchuk explains.

But is Arne Duncan Going To Do Anything About Tenure Reform? Daily Caller: Almost immediately, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cheered the ruling, saying it offered “a mandate” to build “a new framework for the teaching profession.”

Los Angeles Judge's decision to toss teacher tenure shows strength of union adversaries KPCC: “It’s really up now to the state legislature to say: what can we do better to serve our kids and to serve our teachers," said USC education researcher Katharine Strunk. "And I think the union has a very strong - should have a very strong - role to play in that discussion, as should other groups that represent parents, taxpayers, and other stakeholder groups.”

After Vergara, activists expect court battles over teacher tenure across the U.S. Hechinger Report: California teachers unions are confident they will win on appeal, which could take as long as two years. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: What Next For Unions, Districts, Democrats After Vergara?" »

Charts: The *Real* Reason Some Educators Are So Grouchy?

image from espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.comBasically, schools were protected by the Stimulus (including Race to the Top) during the early years of the Great Recession, but since then state and local funding hasn't (yet) rebounded and federal funding has fallen. Class sizes haven't taken a giant hit but -- see here for lots more charts -- it still isn't pretty. Changes in Per Student Funding 07-12 Via Vox (anyone seen Libby Nelson recently, BTW?)

AM News: Advocates Consider Additional Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits

News2

Teacher Tenure Ruling in California Is Expected to Intensify Debate NYT: Copycat lawsuits are expected in other states after a judge’s landmark finding on Tuesday that California’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional.

Some states roll back teacher tenure protections AP: The nonpartisan Education Commission of the States, which highlighted the changes in a recent report, says 16 states — up from 10 in 2011 — now require the results of teacher evaluations be used in determining whether to grant tenure. Not all changes have stuck, and few are without a political fight.

De Blasio defends teacher tenure as critics mull copycat suit Chalkbeat: Mayor de Blasio defended the city’s teacher tenure process Wednesday, the same day new research showed the process has become better at blocking ineffective teachers from receiving tenure.  Lawyers and advocates say that New York's tenure rules could be vulnerable to a lawsuit like the one that successfully challenged teachers' job protections in California.

See also: Vergara ruling gets mixed reaction from school board LA School Report; Schools' next test is getting tenure ruling to pay off in class LA Times; LAUSD exploring next steps after teacher tenure ruling LA Daily News; Does Tenure Protect Bad Teachers or Good Schools? NYT.

Obama Defends College Ratings Inside Higher Ed: “A lot of colleges and universities say if you start ranking just based on cost and employability, et cetera, you're missing the essence of higher education and so forth,”Obama said.

In salute to seniors, Obama holds up technical high school as model for skills ... U.S. News & World Report: At Worcester Technical High School, Obama praised students and teachers alike for giving more than just "lip service" to the idea of skills-based education. 

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

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Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)

 Yau Hoong Tang FlickrThere's a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read -- but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that's cobbled together in the piece isn't entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).

Basically, the Post's piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core's rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates "pulled off" the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift. 

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes." Both left and right -- Diane Ravitch and NRO's Stanley Kurtz  -- are already calling for Congressional hearings.

Gates' support is clear, and no doubt played a role.  There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece.  But let's be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn't merely a function of Gates' enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that. 

Continue reading "Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)" »

Quotes: Anti-Common Core Movement "All Bark, No Bite"

Quotes2After two straight years of vitriol and bombast, well north of 40 states are moving forward with the Common Core. Meanwhile, with very few exceptions, politicians who support the Common Core are winning their primaries handily. The anti-Common Core movement is all bark and no bite. - Mike Petrilli via Politico [yesterday].

Charts: Finance Lawsuits Continue To Play A Big Role Behind The Scenes

image from www.edcentral.orgHere's another chart dug out by EdCentral you might want to see, showing that equity lawsuits may have flatlined the last 20 years but adequacy cases have been on the rise and have played an important role in shaping public education even as other approaches (like deseg and accountability and choice) have won the lion's share of public attention.

AM News: Oklahoma Dumps Common Core, Ohio Stays The Course

News2Oklahoma Just Dumped The Common Core And It Could Cost The State Millions HuffPost: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said in a press release that while “Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind ... federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards."

Ohio Bucks The Conservative Trend, Sticks With The Common Core StateImpact OH: On Wednesday Ohio’s legislature, which is heavily Republican, reaffirmed the math and English standards it adopted along with 43 other states and the District of Columbia.

Obama to Take Education Questions on Tumblr The Hill: On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will do an education-focused Q&A on Tumblr. The company’s founder and CEO Tim Karp will moderate from the White House. Questions can be submitted here. The president’s recent push on education policy includes initiatives in the STEM fields.

U.S. graduation average improves, but with wide racial disparities Seattle Times: As high schools graduate students across the region this spring, parents may be wondering how Washington stacks up against other states. A handy interactive map published by Education Week shows six years of graduation rates, state-by-state, ending with the Class of 2012.

ACT college admission test to report new scores in 2015 Washington Post: Starting next year, students who take the ACT college admission test will face a more complex task if they choose to write an essay and will receive new scores for English language arts and the combined fields of science and mathematics.

Shooting At Seattle Pacific University; 3 Wounded, 1 Dead NPR: Officials say a lone gunman who opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University is in custody.

New Orleans rebuilds education system with charter schools PBS NewsHour: As the school year comes to a close across the country, one of the issues that’s been grabbing major attention in a number of cities this year is the continuing growth of charter schools. New Orleans has been ground zero for this change, and the end of this school year marks a historic moment for the city.

Quotes: Union Resources & Organizing Will Dominate 2016 Campaign

Quotes2"The DFER PAC donated $43,000 to parties, committees, and federal candidates in the 2008 cycle and $17,500 in 2012. And reform-friendly Students First gave just $10,000 in 2012—to a single congressional candidate. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers combined to give over $5.5 million in 2008 and nearly $20 million in 2012." - Conor Williams in TNR (Hillary Clinton's Education Policy: Other Implications for 2016)

AM News: Reformer Forces Runoff In CA Superintendent's Race

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New Jersey May Loosen Control Over Newark and Paterson Schools District Dossier: The State Board of Education is to consider resolutions that would allow Newark's school board to vote on issues on financial management and the Paterson School board to vote on operations.

Case's Revolution Fund Invests in Supplier of Children's Lunche NYT: The Revolution Growth fund, which Mr. Case started with two former AOL colleagues, is expected to announce on Wednesday that it has invested in Revolution Foods, an Oakland, Calif., company that makes healthier lunch meals for children. The investment is worth $30 million, according to a person briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Lawmakers Pressure FCC Ahead of Changes to E-Rate Rules PK12: As schools begin to break for summer, lawmakers and lobbyists are turning up the heat on the Federal Communication Commission, which has promised to revamp its E-Rate system before the start of the next school year.

Thousands of children are coming from Central America to Texas — alone Vox: Different federal agencies are responsible for taking the children in, finding housing for them, and processing their immigration cases. But, as the number of children crossing into the country from Central America has exploded — rising fivefold since 2011 — those agencies haven't received the resources to keep up.

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

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AM News: CA Proxy Battle Obscures Common Core Agreement

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Race for state superintendent heated despite agreement on two key issues EdSource Today: Torlakson and Tuck fully support the state’s new school financing system. And both are firmly behind the Common Core State Standards, which have replaced California’s state standards in math and English language arts.

Gov. Jindal, in newspaper column, championed for-profit-colleges that his brother represented in court NOLA.com: Gov. Bobby Jindal didn't disclose in his newspaper column this week supporting for-profit colleges in their fight with the Obama administration that his brother, attorney Nikesh Jindal, represented the schools' association in an earlier legal fight with the administration.

L.A. Unified suspension rates fall but some question figures' accuracy LA Times: In the heart of Watts, where violence in nearby housing projects can spill over onto campuses, two of the city's toughest middle schools have long dealt with fights, drugs and even weapons.

For Lessons About Class, a Field Trip Takes Students Home NYT:By visiting classmates’ homes during the school day, 4- and 5-year-olds at the Manhattan Country School learn to celebrate their differences.

Is The Deck Stacked Against Black Boys In America? NPR: A new White House report exploring the intersection of race, poverty and justice suggests the answer is still a resounding yes.

Chicago Teacher Killed in Gang Crossfire AP: Chicago special education teacher at 2nd job killed in what police say was gang crossfire.

D.C. to release refined set of school boundary recommendations Washington Post: Two months ago, D.C. officials released three politically charged proposals to overhaul the city’s school boundaries and student-assignment policies, setting off vigorous debate about the future of the city’s neighborhood schools.

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

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Advocacy: 5 New Orgs Bring PIE To 49 Members

Puzzle_pieces1025 The PIE Network is adding 5 new members to its group of reform-oriented advocacy groups, I'm told, bringing them up to 49 education advocacy organizations working in 31 state capitols and Washington D.C.

The newbies include Children's Education Alliance of Missouri  BEST NC, StudentsFirstNYNevada Succeeds, and JerseyCAN.

Previous posts: PIE Annual Summit (Boston September 19-20)Quotes: Talk About "Love" (Not "Rights")Reform Celebration In SeattleState Advocacy Groups Talk Policy - Not Tactics.

 

 

Charts: Which 13 States Still Looking For A Test Provider?

ScreenHunter_01 May. 22 13.25
There are lots of Common Core maps and charts out there these days, but RealClear Education's Emmeline Z. has one that's particularly useful because it breaks down "what each state is planning in the coming years for its Common Core-aligned assessments for grades 3-8 and high school" -- and in particular which testing comany (Pearson, AIR, or someone else) they're going with ((Mapping Common Core in the States). Click on the link for lots of interactive goodies -- maps, charts, and circles.

Media: Four Observations About Education Journalism From #EWA14*

There was no big news made at #EWA14.  No loud arguments, or big deals (other than the announcement that the next conference will be at the UofC). That's why we were all Tweeting about cakepops and other diversions. But there were still a bunch of tidbits to be noted about the state of education media and the people who provide it:

4. The rise of the nonprofit news outlets.  Chalkbeat rolled deep with a rumored 21 staffers in attendance, but there were also lots of other nonprofiteers in attendance (EdWeek, EdSource Today, SCPR/KPCC, Hechinger, etc.) In comparison, there was just a single NYT and LA Times reporter there,* and but a handful of AP reporters. (There are other reasons they don't feel the need to attend, but still...)

3. Changing of the guard (from journalism to other pursuits).  Banchero is out.  McNeil is out.  Turner is out (a year ago). Others are but a memory. They say they're sad but also look a little relieved.  It feels like there may be more moves out of journalism (as well as between outlets) to come. 

2. Notable outsiders/new faces in attendance included Nikole Hannah-Jones from ProPublica (who had some things to say about attendance zone "gerrymandering" that might make progressives reconsider their defense of neighborhood schools), the new communications team from College Board (fresh off their big SAT rollout success), Xian Barrett and Anthony Cody (teacher advocate/activists who've attended on and off for the past couple of years) but no Ray Salazar, alas.

1. Soft interviews with Weingarten and Duncan.  All due respect to the Washington Post's Layton and NPR's Drummond, but their interviews lacked the friendly but tough questions and followups that I recall John Merrow and others (Jay Mathews?) providing at past events when public officials rambled through their usual talking points. It wasn't just me who thought so -- lots of grumbling from the back rows (though not on Twitter - cowards!).

What'd I miss or get wrong?  When do we get to see or hear the panels we missed?  Did everyone get home safely and easily?

*EWA's Caroline Hendrie tells me that there were two other LAT reporters there -- Stephen Cesar and Larry Gordon. 

Quotes: Former Kennedy, Obama Official Calls Chicago Teachers Union "Foolish" Over Common Core

Quotes2Teachers are understandably asking for appropriate training and other resources needed to implement the standards and expressing concerns with high stakes decision-making attached to new tests. But the CTU has gone further and called for abandoning these new standards and better tests, with no alternative but to fall back on outdated standards that consistently failed students. It is irresponsible to turn back the clock on raising standards. -- Carmel Martin in the Chicago Sun Times (CTU foolish to fight Common Core)

Afternoon Video: Reform Leader Connects Common Core To Racial Integration

John King gave a speech yesterday linking Common Core to the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case, which is having a big anniversary.  Transcript here. He was on WNYC local public radio this morning, making liberal listeners crazy I'm sure. 

 

 

Quotes: Initial Wins Are Nice, But Only The Beginning

Quotes2When advocates of a particular education policy are victorious in the legislative arena, they have only won a battle, not a war. Opponents will show up again and again during implementation—in schools, or before school boards, or in other local forums—to continue the battle. - Brookings' Tom Loveless via Robert Pondiscio

Morning Video: Rand Paul Nobody In DC "Knows A Damn Thing" About Education

 

This video from last month shows Rand Paul talking education reform in Milwaukee. Rebel Pundit via RCe. Link here.

Afternoon Audio: New Yorker Reporter Talks Newark

Check out this podcast in which Dale Russakoff talks about her Newark story, and also be sure to read her post about the mayoral election that just happenedL Ras Baraka's Newark Victory

 
In her post about the election, Russakoff notes that Jeffries was rising quickly in the polls, thanks to reform money (no figure is given for union money behind Baraka - has anyone seen how much they spent?) and notes that the mayor-elect's position on charters has recently evolved. NB: I think she was also on WBUR's On Point earlier today. 

Morning Video: Principal Slams Threatening Bosses, Calls On Colleagues To Take Stronger Leadership Role

Interviewed here on local public television, a Chicago principal describes how administrators need to stand up for what they know -- but haven't. See also his oped in the Chicago Sun-Times. A Chicago Reader blog post delves deeper into LaRaviere's views on tenure, among other things.

AM News: A New Era For Newark School Improvement Efforts?

News2

Ras Baraka declares victory in Newark mayoral election | NJ.com. The councilman and fiery community activist who campaigned on the vow to "take back Newark" from outsiders, was elected mayor of New Jersey’s largest city in decisive fashion Tuesday night, declaring victory before the votes were even fully counted.

Newark, N.J., Schools Plan Opposed By Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka Takes Big Step Forward HuffPost: The letters sent home to parents this week seek to assuage at least some of the concerns. On Friday, the district sent enrollment decision letters to families who participated in the plan’s universal enrollment system, which allowed students to rank their top eight choices for schools in one application. 

Newark Voters Elect New Mayor, Signaling Major Shift in Direction for City Schools District Dossier: Newark voters heavily favored Ras Baraka, a city councilor and former high school principal who has been an outspoken critic of the state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson.

The Broad Foundation's Bruce Reed on education reform, teachers and charters LA Times: The Broad Foundation's education initiatives began 15 years ago, but the organization is just now getting its first president, and his surname isn't Broad. 

Who watches the watchers? Big Data goes unchecked Politico: Private companies already collect, mine and sell as many as 75,000 individual data points.

The feds' push for Big Data Politico: The Obama administration seeks to leverage, not crack down.

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

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Maps: Which Are The 13 States Not Participating In Smarter Balanced or PARCC?

image from thumbnails.visually.netdna-cdn.comHere's the map of states, and links to a couple of education articles here and here

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