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AM News: School Closures Worsen Things For Ferguson-Area Kids

The other injustice in Ferguson: Schools are closed Quartz: The list of closures affects schools that are rich and poor, black and white, emblematic of districts that are more segregated today than before Brown vs. Board of Education. 

Oklahoma: Education Waiver Is Restored for State NYT: The Department of Education announced Monday that Oklahoma — which lost its No Child Left Behind waiver after repealing Common Core — would have its waiver reinstated. See also WPost, PK12.

N.J. High School Cancels Midterm and Final Exams WSJ: In a move likely to make many New Jersey teenagers jealous, Glen Ridge High School has scrapped its midterm and final exams.

Thought Bubbles And One-Liners From An Ohio Classroom NPR: Art imitates life for Chris Pearce — English teacher by day, comic artist by night. Inspired by his students, the material practically writes itself.

Tools Of The Trade: The Presidential Physical Fitness Test NPR: For many, the now-retired national fitness test evokes dread. A timed mile run, pull-ups, curl-ups, a shuttle run and the V-sit. All for a small blue patch.

Before LAUSD travel ban, former superintendent flew 100k miles last year KPCC: Former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy traveled more than 100,000 miles last school year, equivalent to circling the globe four times, according to a KPCC analysis of credit card records.

Debate Brews Over After-School Programs: Tutoring vs. Playing WNYC: Fort Greene Prep is part of New York City’s expansion of free after-school programs for middle school students. The city doubled the number of middle schools providing after-school programs this year, serving an additional 31,000 children — or more than 75,000 of the roughly 225,000 students in its public middle schools.

AM News: NYC Debates Whether Charters Push Out More Students Than District Schools

New York Chancellor Is Criticized for Remarks on Charter Schools NYT: Carmen Fariña said at a conference that some charter schools push students out before they take state tests and later replace them with high-scoring children.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan's communications chief leaving for Teach For TFA Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan is losing his second communications chief in two years. Massie Ritsch, the acting assistant secretary for communications and outreach, is leaving his job to take a new position at TFA.

At union rallies across L.A., teachers seek more than just a pay hike LA Times: The demonstrations were intended to make a statement about union solidarity over contract demands. United Teachers Los Angeles is seeking a one-year, permanent 10% raise, while also putting forward an agenda on staffing levels, classroom conditions and policies aimed at improving academic results.

Texas Approves Disputed History Texts for Schools NYT: Texas’ State Board of Education has approved new history textbooks, capping months of outcry over lessons that some academics say exaggerate the influence of Moses and negatively portray Muslims. See also WNYC.

Tennessee’s Common Core backtrack strands teachers, students Hechinger Report:  For the past three years, that’s included a significant shift away from the state’s traditional academic benchmarks and toward the Common Core, a set of more difficult standards.

School district near Ferguson cancels classes AP: A school district that includes some students from Ferguson, Missouri, is calling off classes Monday and Tuesday, citing potential unrest if a much-anticipated grand jury announcement occurs soon....

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

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AM News: Undocumented Parents, Duncan's Chicago "No Comment," & Bush Speech

Obama’s Immigration Plan Mostly Covers Parents FiveThirtyEight: According to numbers calculated by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan think tank, the bulk of that five million — about 3.7 million — will consist of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years. Obama’s plan would also expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), making another 300,000 undocumented immigrants eligible for the program.

Arne Duncan not taking sides on CPS' seeking delay on PARCC test Chicago Sun-TimesU.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Thursday he's staying out of a tussle between the Illinois State Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools over whether CPS students will take a new Common Core-aligned standardized test this spring.

Bush Seeks Common Ground With Common Core Critics AP: "For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher, be bolder, raise standards and ask more of our students and the system," Bush said. See also Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR.

Teachers Union Showcases Community Schools Model in Manhattan WNYC: There's been intense debate lately about whether struggling schools benefit more from additional services or by studying their data. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration closed down low-performing schools to get rid of ineffective teachers and supervisors. But Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña have embraced more professional development and the community schools model, while reserving their right to close schools as a last resort. 

Charter CEO: Fariña has ‘obligation’ to release enrollment data after push-out claims ChalkbeatNY: “The NYC DOE has access to enrollment and discharge data and now has an obligation to release such data not just for every charter school but for every district school as well,” he said. “I call on the Chancellor to instruct the DOE to do so promptly.”

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AM News: Obama Plan's Impact On Students With Undocumented Parents

Obama's Forthcoming Immigration Plan to Protect Millions From Deportation PK12: President Obama on Thursday will announce steps he will take to shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States from deportation, a move that could have implications for millions of America's K-12 schoolchildren. See also Vox story on impact on K-12 students with undocumented parents.

No Child Left Behind, Pre-K Programs Could Be On New Congress' Agenda NPR: With Republican majorities in the House and Senate, Congress may push for change on several big education issues, including a rewrite of the law known as No Child Left Behind. But it's also clear that, even on classroom issues that seem to have bipartisan support — including Pre-K funding — Democrats and Republicans may have trouble compromising.

Passing Rate Declines by 20% as State Uses New Certification Exams for Teachers NYT: The fall in certifications resembles, in some respects, the state’s experience with the Common Core, a set of more rigorous learning standards for students that has been adopted by New York and most other states.

Wash. school district tries arming administrators to protect students from shootings PBS NewsHour: A school shooting north of Seattle last month left five students dead, reviving questions of safety and violence for students and teachers. Another school district in Washington State is answering that question in an unconventional manner: arming school administrators.

Obama Makes Pitch to Expand High-Speed Internet Access to Schools NYT: The president, in a respite from the gridlock and sniping in Washington, also signed a bill that changes the child care rules for low-income families.

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AM News: Mixed Common Core Signals For Jeb Bush 2016

Jeb Bush, Common Core and 2016 WSJ: Races in which Common Core was raised as a campaign issue in the midterm election produced a mixed verdict. School superintendents who raised concerns about the national standards won in Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina. Arizona also elected an anti-Common Core governor, Republican Doug Ducey. On the other hand, Democratic governors criticized by their opponents for supporting Common Core, including Andrew Cuomo in New York and John Hickenlooper in Colorado, won re-election.

Department Of Education Investigating K-12 School Districts For Mishandling Sexual Assault HuffPost: As of Nov. 12, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights was investigating 24 elementary and secondary schools for potential mishandling of sexual violence incidents under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, according to numbers provided by the department to The Huffington Post [see list below]. One of these districts is under investigation for two cases, meaning that a total of 25 incidents are being investigated. Thirteen of these investigations were initiated in 2014.

Sen. Tom Harkin, Force on Education Policy, Begins Retirement Farewells PK12: Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who's set to retire after nearly four decades in Congress, gave what sounded like his closing oration late Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor. Though I've been assured it wasn't his official swan song, it was some dress rehearsal.

Billions more in spending for school Internet connections under FCC proposal Hechinger Report: Afte If the additional funding is approved, it would bring the cap on total yearly spending on this program to about $3.9 billion.

Pearson Charitable Foundation to Close Its Doors EdWeek: The activities of the charitable foundation came under harsh scrutiny last year, when the not-for-profit organizaiton agreed to pay $7.7 million in a settlement with New York state, which accused it of improperly using assets to benefit its for-profit arm, Pearson Inc. 

ClassDojo Adopts Deletion Policy for Student Data NYT: The maker of ClassDojo, a popular classroom app, said that starting in January it plans to keep students’ behavioral records for only one school year.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

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AM News: Get Ready For Low Common Core Test Scores This Spring

Under half of students projected to test well EdSource Today: Projections released Monday predict that fewer than half of students in California and other states will score at grade level on tests next spring on the Common Core standards.

Poll: Voters know little about Common Core EdSource Today: More than half of California voters said they knew nothing or very little about the state’s new Common Core standards for English language arts and math, according to a newly released report by the Policy Analysis for California Education/USC Rossier School of Education.

Teachers union sees ‘surprising common ground’ with Lamar Alexander Tennessean: But while Eskelsen García supports a rewrite of No Child Left Behind that would do away with that waiver approach, NEA has long drawn a hard line against school vouchers and charter schools — two areas that Alexander has promoted legislatively.

Phila. schools see 40 applications for new charters Philadelphia Inquirer: After the Philadelphia School District announced that it would accept applications for new charter schools for the first time in seven years, it received 40, the district said Monday.

Walton Family Foundation Funds Parent-Engagement Efforts in New Orleans EdWeek: A $1.2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation will help the Urban League of Greater New Orleans' increase its parent outreach efforts.

FCC Chair Wants Fee Hike to Expand Internet Access ABC: FCC chair proposes small hike in phone fees to expand Internet coverage to low-income areas.

Number of international students on U.S. campuses at an all-time high PBS NewsHour: More than 886,000 students came from foreign countries to study at U.S. colleges and universities during the 2013-14 school year, an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

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

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AM News: Nearly 30 State Supes Change Over In Under Three Years

What's the Turnover for State Education Chiefs in Recent Years? State EdWatch: In the past 33 months, 29 states have replaced their state K-12 chiefs at least once, or are officially scheduled to replace their state K-12 chiefs due to last week's elections or for other reasons. 

Montgomery schools chief cites both successes and urgency in closing gaps Washington Post: Montgomery County must redouble its efforts to close the achievement gap between students of different racial and socioeconomic groups, while preparing all students for success in a 21st century world, the school system’s leader said this week in his yearly “State of the Schools” address.

Smarter Balanced tests are still a work in progress EdSource Today: The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium provided a sneak peek for their final computer-adaptive tests in early October, tests to be administered to roughly 25 percent of the country’s grade 3-8 and 11 students in spring 2015 to measure, initially, status and, eventually, growth in achievement on the new Common Core academic standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.

Privacy Concerns for ClassDojo and Other Tracking Apps for Schoolchildren NYT: Many teachers say the ClassDojo app helps them automate the task of recording classroom conduct, but some critics say such apps are being adopted without sufficiently considering the ramifications for data privacy and fairness.

Common Core Reading: Difficult, Dahl, Repeat NPR: Backers of the Common Core say it's important for kids to tackle complex texts. Critics argue that reading shouldn't be a struggle for kids. We'll visit one classroom that borrows from both sides.

Info on 8,000 Seattle Schools students improperly released Seattle Times: Seattle Public Schools is asking for federal help to figure out how a law firm working for the district released the personal information about students receiving special-education services.

Child Homelessness on the Rise in US ABC News: New report details rise of child homelessness in US, says more affordable housing needed.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

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AM News: Huffman Resigns From Top TN Spot; Newark's Anderson Visits DC

Kevin Huffman Leaving Post as Tennessee K-12 Chief State EdWatch: Huffman was appointed state education commissioner in 2011, and has overseen major changes in Tennessee education policy, many of them tied to the common core. See also ChalkbeatTN.

In DC to talk education, Newark schools chief faces protest over reforms Washington Post: Cami Anderson, who runs the largest school district in New Jersey, came to Washington on Thursday to give a quiet talk about education at a think tank. But the staid event quickly turned dramatic when a busload of angry residents followed Anderson from Newark in a display of the slugfest politics that have infused debate over public education across the country.

Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle NPR: This idea, that kids really need to grapple with complex reading material, says a lot about the soul of the Common Core. And it's controversial, raising fears among some parents and educators that kids, in the process, are being asked to struggle too much.

A Botched Study Raises Bigger Questions NPR: The report attempted to use an approach called value-added modeling. And value-added is currently the golden fleece for anyone questing after what's really working in education. Value-added models promise to provide a detailed, nuanced picture of school performance — to screen out the background noise and zero in on the impact of individual schools and even individual classrooms. But value-added modeling, it turns out, is really, really hard.

Decades of Neglect Show Starkly as Indian Schools Cry Out for Repairs NYT:  Officials are working to improve congressionally funded schools in 23 states on reservations with decaying facilities where students struggle to meet academic standards and teacher turnover is high. See also AP.

Young and inexperienced, a new principal tries to turn around a New Orleans charter school Hechinger Report: “We know effective teachers are crucial to moving our students forward,” says Hardy, pausing for a few seconds before she enters a second-grade classroom. “We have good teachers. My challenge is this: How do I, as a school leader, grow their effectiveness and grow it more quickly?”

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AM News: School Funding Lawsuits On The Move In CO & PA

Denver court rejects dismissal of education funding lawsuit Colorado Public Radio: A Denver trial court has rejected the state of Colorado’s request to dismiss a lawsuit that has major implications for how much money school districts get from the state.  

Common Core Reading: The High Achievers NPR:The Common Core State Standards are changing reading instruction in many schools. And that means new challenges for lots of students, even traditional high achievers.

Why so few white kids land in Chicago Public Schools — and why it matters WBEZ: Roughly half of all white children who could go to CPS do, while the other half gets their education somewhere else. We’ll get into the ramifications for the district a little later, but first let’s take a closer look at how white parents make this decision.

Using data to predict students headed for trouble Marketplace: These school interventions take a lot of forms, everything from special-ed evaluations, to behavioral counseling, to mentoring, to intervention classes in a subject area back at Principal Birch’s middle school in Vacaville.

School district scraps religious names on calendar AP: Presented with the opportunity to recognize a Muslim holiday on the school calendar for the first time, leaders of Maryland's largest school district went a different direction: They removed all mention of religious holidays from the calendar.... See also WashPostVox.

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AM News: Ed School Teacher Prep Programs Still Way Too Easy, Says NCTQ

Teacher Training Is A Ridiculously Easy Way To Ace College, Report Says Huffington Post: At 58 percent of 509 schools, "teacher preparation programs are much more likely to confer high grades than are other majors on the same campus," the report says. While an average of 30 percent of all students graduated "cum laude," 44 percent of teacher preparation students received the honor. The report calls the results "a wake-up call for higher education."

What Obama’s Inequity Nudge Means for San Diego Schools Voices of SD: The new union president, Lindsay Burningham, made clear when we talked with her in August that she didn’t see much need to change the evaluation process, putting any room for error on the administrator carrying out each review.

Fight Is On for Common Core Contracts WSJ: As states race to implement the Common Core academic standards, companies are fighting for a slice of the accompanying testing market, expected to be worth billions of dollars in coming years.

Seeking Big K-12 Plans From Governors for 2015? Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber Delivers State EdWatch: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, has presented a wide-ranging package of education initiatives that include a focus on early education, reading, and English-language learners.

Portland Schools Urged To Scrap Transfers To Boost Racial Diversity Huffington Post: These allow students to switch to schools in different neighborhoods, but they must enter a lottery if spots are limited. There is also a separate lottery system for students hoping to transfer to selective "magnet" schools which offer advanced curriculums.

Goodbye, Snow Days: Students Study From Home ABC: Goodbye, snow days: Students across the nation increasingly hit the books from home.

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AM News: US Teacher Distribution Disgrace, PA Funding Lawsuit

U.S. to Focus on Equity in Assigning of Teachers NYT: Federal officials want states to ensure that poor and minority students will not be disproportionately taught by inexperienced educators.

Trying to get better teachers into nation's poor classrooms Washington Post: The Obama administration on Monday ordered states to devise plans to get stronger teachers into high-poverty classrooms, correcting a national imbalance in which students who need the most help are often taught by the weakest educators.

What The White House Is Doing To Make Sure Low-Income Students Get Good Teachers HuffPost: Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education shows that teachers in wealthy districts are more likely to have received a master’s degree or higher than in districts where a majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. 

Ed. Dept.: States Must Address Teaching Gaps TeacherBeat: The Education Department's latest push to ensure disadvantaged students get their fair share of high quality teaching ducks the controversial topic of "teacher effectiveness."

Pa. Districts, Parents Sue Over 'Irrational and Inequitable' School Funding District Dossier: The lawsuit filed Monday by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Small and Rural Schools, and state's NAACP, argues that the state has failed to devise a funding mechanism to provide its public school students with a thorough and efficient education. See also here, here.

Chromebooks Have Officially Taken Over The Education Market BuzzFeed: For the first time, Google Chromebooks were the best-selling device in the education market this quarter, beating out Apple's iPad in the K-12 sphere, according to data from market research firm IDC.

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AM News: Showdown Looming Over LA School Board Control

Four L.A. school board members likely to face reelection challenges LA Times: A majority of the Los Angeles Board of Education is up for reelection this spring, and all four are likely to face challengers based on the election filing period that closed Saturday. See also LA School Report.

Hispanic students are making steady math progress Washington Post: Hispanic students have made significant gains on federal math tests during the past decade, and Hispanic public school students in major cities including Boston, Charlotte, Houston and the District have made some of the most consistent progress, according to a report released Monday.

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F NYT: Parents, students and school officials have joined a national protest of consequences of Common Core testing.

Common Core unscathed in California elections EdSource Today: The Common Core State Standards, the principal reform now underway in California schools, emerged unscathed from the state's fall electoral battles, including one of the most combative races for state superintendent of public instruction in decades.

City Deal to Fix Two Struggling High Schools Includes Replacing Staff WNYC: Two Brooklyn high schools will begin reviewing all of their staff members to determine which ones will stay, while developing a longer school day for students, under a long-awaited intervention plan that was originally due in the summer.

After a Dip More NYC Teachers Get Tenure WNYC:  Roughly 60 percent of 4,662 eligible city teachers were approved for tenure this year. That's a little higher than last year's approval rate of 53 percent, but enough of a change to prompt debate about whether Mayor Bill de Blasio was tough enough on teachers.

Five Great Teachers On What Makes A Great Teacher NPR: For our 50 Great Teachers series, a panel of experts shares thoughts on great teaching: past, present, and future.

Seattle Residents Choose To Raise Their Own Taxes To Subsidize Preschool, Increase Teacher Pay HuffPost: Seattle Proposition No. 1B will authorize a $58 million property-tax levy to fund a four-year pilot program of city-subsidized preschool on a sliding scale while raising academic standards and the pay of preschool teachers.

Death Toll Rises to 5 in School Shooting AP: Andrew Fryberg, 15, died of wounds sustained when his cousin, a freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, opened fire in the cafeteria two weeks ago.

'Pioneer Schools' give a peek at what CPS's longer school day will look like Chicago Tribune: Chicago Public Schools principal Nancy Hanks prepares three binders that will be given to each teacher outlining Rahm Emanuel's signature...

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AM News: Dissecting California's $30 Million Showdown (Torlakson v. Tuck)

Torlakson talks Democratic divisions, teacher tenure, Inglewood Unified KPCC: “I think this election was more about getting someone who could continue the momentum forward, doing some exciting and historic changes to education in California,” he said. “I believe the voters wanted someone with experience and I have that.”

Opinions differ on impact of Tuck’s campaign EdSource Today: In the hours since Marshall Tuck’s daunting but failed effort to unseat incumbent State strong Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, education and political observers have reached different conclusions about the election and its significance.

See also Politico's Morning Edu.

School Choice a Top Priority for Republican Leaders in House, Senate PK12: Be on the lookout for charter school or school voucher proposals to pop up early during the 114th Congress, as school choice legislation was named a top priority by the assumed Republican leaders in the House and in the Senate, which will flip to GOP control in January.

Arne Duncan on Minnesota's achievement gap Minnesota Public Radio News: Pre-school teacher Jody Bohrer and her students in Bloomington, Minn. gave U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan a poster during a classroom visit on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. At Duncan's left is Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Average Urban School Superintendent Tenure Decreases, Survey Shows District Dossier: Significant turnover in the top job for big-city districts reversed what had been an uptick in length of service for urban superintendents, according to a new survey by the Council of the Great City Schools.

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AM News: Democrats -- Not Unions -- Lost In Midterms, Say Teachers Unions

Teachers Unions Say Midterm Losses Don't Reflect On Them HuffPost: Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, told The Huffington Post that she sees the election results differently -- and does not understand how Democratic reformers could possibly claim they were a success. “It’s hard for me to understand … what the business types and the testing types of this education debate think they won here.” 

Teachers unions defend their ground by getting Torlakson reelected LA Times: In races where education was the main issue, such as the Torlakson-Tuck contest, union-backed candidates and measures fared better, Weingarten said. Voters, she said, still side with teachers on issues such as the need to lower classes sizes, limit standardized testing and provide more funding for schools.

Torlakson victory ensures continuity in reforms EdSource Today: One immediate consequence of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s rebuff of challenger Marshall Tuck is to ensure the continuance of the cohesion in state education policy that has been forged since Gov. Jerry Brown returned to Sacramento four years ago.

Unions' Sliver Of Hope In Devastating Midterm Elections BuzzFeed: The success of progressive initiatives in typically red states is being treated by labor as a signal that what they are doing is working, even if those votes didn’t carry over into the governor and senate races.

Teachers unions spent $60 million for the midterms but still lost many elections Washington Post: The nation's major teachers unions suffered losses across the country Tuesday, despite pouring about $60 million into federal, state and local races in the midterm elections. 

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AM News: Unions Win CA, PA But Lose Elsewhere (IL, MI, RI, WI)

Torlakson wins superintendent race EdSource Today: Tom Torlakson has won a second term as state superintendent of public instruction. The 65-year-old incumbent defeated Marshall Tuck 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

See also: Torlakson declares victory over Tuck for California schools chief SacBee; Tom Torlakson takes early lead in race to be California's school superintendent AP; Incumbent Torlakson takes the lead in race for state schools chief LA Times.

NB AFT has cancelled its s scheduled press call this AM.

NEA’s and AFT’s Awful Election Day Dropout Nation: In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker won a second term over Mary Burke ... In Michigan, Rick Snyder beat the NEA- and AFT-backed Mark Schauer by a four-point margin. Then there is Rhode Island, where State Treasurer Gina Raimondo won a first term as governor in spite of opposition from the NEA earlier this year... And let’s not forget Bruce Rauner, the private-equity fund boss who defeated incumbent Illinois Gov.

Fiorettio snub prompts growing outrage in CTU Substance News: Even those union members who might have considered a honest plea on behalf of the Garcia campaign [endorsed by Karen Lewis] were angered by the way in which the night was handled.

Rocketship wins green light for its first charter school in D.C. WashPost: The D.C. Public Charter School Board gave full approval Monday night for Rocketship Education, a California-based charter operator, to open its first school in the District in 2016.

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

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AM News: All Eyes On California (Plus Pennsylvania & NYC, Too)

California’s biggest race will surprise you: It’s for state school superintendent WashPost: Perhaps the most important — and definitely the most expensive — election in California on Tuesday is the down-ballot battle for state school superintendent. The $30 million race has generated three times as much spending as the contest for governor, with money pouring in from across the country.

AFT's Political Blitz to the Midterm-Election Finish Line PK12: The blitz began last week, with several ads paid for by AFT's Solidarity Fund, one of its political financing arms. It will continue through Tuesday, when Weingarten is slated to be on hand in Philadelphia, where Democratic gubernatorial challenger Tom Wolfe is expected to trounce Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett.

De Blasio Unveils New Plans for Troubled Schools in New York NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio said his tactics of offering more help to failing schools, and providing social services to students and families there, differed sharply from his predecessor’s. See also WNYC, WNYC, ChalkbeatNY.

Marysville students return amid grief, outpouring of support Seattle Times: Hundreds of parents, relatives, alumni and other community members turned out to support students at Marysville-Pilchuck High on the first day of school since the shooting 10 days ago. Also offering support were visitors representing other U.S. communities that have endured school shootings.

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

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AM News: In California & Elsewhere, Unions Employ Conservative Arguments To Block Reform Efforts

California Race Brings Democrats’ Differences on Education Into Focus NYT: Traditional alliances have been scrambled as some teachers’ unions have found more common cause with conservatives than with members of their own party. Mr. Torlakson, the union-backed candidate, has expressed views that at times echo conservative mantras.

Superintendent race turns on future of reform EdSource Today: Donors to incumbent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck are spending record sums to influence what they consider is at stake in this election: the direction of education reform.

Close state schools superintendent race coming down to the wire KPCC: "His [Tuck's] backers were able to recruit a very strong and effective candidate," said David Plank, the executive director of the research center Policy Analysis for California Education. "It is something of a surprise that he has mounted as strong a challenge as he has done."

Education issues often contentious in Maryland governor’s race Washington Post: As the Maryland governor’s race has heated up in recent weeks, education issues have flared up, too, with clashes over pre-kindergarten, college tuition increases and school construction funding.

Once Sleepy Campaign Issue, Education Gains Clout AP: Once a sleepy campaign topic, education policies gains political heft in races against GOP. Walker is the chief target, but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett face similar, educator-led campaigns against them. Those first-term Republicans all took steps to stabilize state budgets with dramatic shifts in how many tax dollars go to schools and teachers.

States Slashing Education Spending HuffPost: State-level K-12 education spending has fallen dramatically in many states since 2008. In that time, 29 states cut per pupil spending, shifting the burden of financing education to local school districts and, in many instances, forcing schools to cut costs and even teachers.

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

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AM News: Minneapolis School Board Showdown Attracts $500K In Campaign Donations

The sea of cash in the Minneapolis school-board race just became a tsunami MinnPost: Along with six-figure spending by state and local unions, the eye-popping donations bring the total amount of cash going to influence the race to easily twice what many candidates for state office spend on competitive races. 

Large Suburban Districts Call for More Testing Flexibility District Dossier: The Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium is made up of 16 school districts across the country. Earlier this year, the group also called for reduced emphasis on testing. See also PK12

SAT Cheating Inquiry Delays Scores for South Korea and China NYT: The Educational Testing Service said it had reliable information that tests had been compromised for thousands of South Korean and Chinese students applying to American colleges and universities. See also TIME.

Taylor Swift to Donate 'Welcome to New York' Proceeds to NYC Public Schools AP: The singer announced on "The View" today that she's donating the proceeds from the sale of her single, "Welcome to New York," to New York City Public Schools. See also ChalkbeatNY

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AM News: Unions Weigh In On CA & NOLA Races, NY Tenure Lawsuit

UFT asks court to toss lawsuit challenging teacher tenure ChalkbeatNY: The union also claims that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the lawsuit. Only one of the parents participating in the suit says her child has had an ineffective teacher, and the suit does not argue that the state’s laws protected that teacher, the union notes.

Union power on the ballot Politico: Interest groups have poured nearly $25 million into the race for California schools superintendent. The California Teachers Association alone has put more than $7 million behind Torlakson.

National teachers union pours $450,000 into Jefferson Parish School Board election NOLA.com: The American Federation of Teachers has spent almost $450,000 on the Jefferson Parish School Board elections, recent campaign finance reports show. That's more than all individual candidate contributions combined. It had no such presence in Jefferson Parish in 2010, when a business-backed slate of candidates ousted four union-friendly incumbents and took control of the School Board.

Sharp policy divide in schools chief race Politico: The candidates for California superintendent of public instruction are both Democrats. But they have plenty of substantive policy differences. 

Cuomo’s vow on teacher evals prompts flip-flop charge ChalkbeatNY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent statements that he wants to toughen up the state’s teacher evaluation system prompted confusion and anger from his critics on Tuesday.

New Jersey schools promise to correct racial disparities Washington Post: A school district serving two suburban communities in New Jersey has agreed to expand access to Advanced Placement classes and other higher learning opportunities to African American students, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.

Teachers on the Common Core: Familiarity Breeds Approval Teacher Beat: Teachers are about evenly split on whether they approve or disapprove of the common core; elementary teachers and those with the most experience implementing them view them the most favorably.

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AM News: Ebola, Seattle Shooting, Cuomo!

NYC Officials Try to Calm Concerns Over Ebola in Schools WNYC: The letter, which was translated into nine languages, laid out several facts about the disease for families to understand "how low you and your child's risk of Ebola exposure is."

Washington School Gunman Used Texts to Gather Victims at Lunch, Police Say NYT: Jaylen Ray Fryberg’s final moments were etched into greater clarity Monday when the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office said he had committed suicide. See also AP.

Cuomo will push new teacher evaluations, vows to bust school 'monopoly' if re-elected NY Daily News: Higher standards for teachers and competition from charter schools are needed to advance New York's underperforming education system, Gov. Cuomo said during a meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board.

A New Push to Get Low-Income Students Through College NYT: Michael Bloomberg’s charity announced an effort to reduce the number of poor students who excel in high school and fail to get through college.

Judge orders D.C. charter to stop payments to company founded by school leaders Washington Post: A Superior Court judge ordered a D.C. public charter school to stop payments to a private management company set up by the school’s founder,

Empowering students with disabilities to find exercise they love PBS NewsHour: Physical education for these students in Miami, Florida, looks nothing like the calisthenics and kickball of yesteryear. The teenagers from American Senior High School are getting ready for a workout at Oleta River State Park on Biscayne Bay.

U.S. News rolls out global university rankings, with some surprises Washington Post: On Tuesday, the magazine declared Harvard best in the world — one of nine U.S. and three British universities listed ahead of the Ivy League school in New Jersey.

Students Finding New Ways to Sneak Pot into School NBC News: Colorado’s marijuana decriminalization moved the drug from the parking lot to the classroom and teachers are trying to keep it out of school. 

AM News: Union Vs. Reformer CA Superintendent's Race Reaches $23 Million

App details state superintendent race spending EdSource Today: With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the race for California state superintendent of public instruction has been fueled by a combined $23 million in total campaign spending for incumbent Tom Torlakson and candidate Marshall Tuck.

Teacher Is Praised for Her Intervention in Washington School Shooting NYT: Details have begun to emerge about the attack, especially on the role of a young teacher many students are calling a hero. See also NBC News: Shooting Eyewitness: '3 or 4 People Fell at the Same Table'; WBEZ: 2 dead, including gunman, in high school shooting.

The Ad Campaign: Cuomo, With a Daughter’s Help, Tweaks His Education Image NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Education” television ad appears to be a response to criticism from his opponent, Rob Astorino, of his support for the Common Core standards.

L.A. Unified students could take iPads home soon LA Times: Los Angeles Unified students could take school-issued iPads home as soon as next month under a new plan that officials say has dealt with security concerns.

In D.C.’s erratic schools landscape, families debate how hands-on next mayor should be Washington Post: Carla Ferris can name the moment that local elections in the District changed from background noise on the radio to something personal: the day she enrolled her daughter in school. Before that, she said, “I really couldn’t have told you much, if anything, about politics in D.C.”

The Secret Lives Of Teachers: Mei-Ling Uliasz NPR: The second installation of our Secret Lives series continues with a profile of a second-grade teacher with a passion for making "upcycled" jewelry.

A New Orleans Family's Lives Changed In An Instant NPR: A stray bullet took 5-year-old Kyle Romain's sight. His mother fears the violence in her neighborhood will continue: "There's no hope. These little boys are just trigger-happy and gun-crazy."

An American School Immerses Itself in All Things Chinese NYT: At Yinghua Academy in Minneapolis, most classes are taught in Mandarin, and students are near fluency by eighth grade.

AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards

Despite History, N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Says: 'I Have Nothing to Do With Common Core' State EdWatch: Although he's previously stressed the importance of the common core, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an Oct. 22 debate: "I have nothing to do with common core."

See also:  NY TimesBuffalo NewsThe Post-Standard.

NY State to Review Schools' Immigration Compliance AP: New York officials ordered a statewide review Thursday of public school compliance with enrollment policies for unaccompanied minors and immigrant children following reports that several dozen children who had recently arrived from Central America were not admitted to a Long Island high school.

Second immigration wave lifts diversity to record high USA Today: Small metro areas such as Lumberton, N.C., and Yakima, Wash., and even remote towns and counties — such as Finney County, Kan., or Buena Vista County, Iowa — have seen a stunning surge in immigrants, making those places far more diverse.

Ed. Department Teacher Prep Regulations Delayed (Again) PK12: Rumors have it that the U.S. Department of Education was set to release new proposed regulations this week requiring teacher-preparation programs to do a better job identifying weak programs. But they have yet to appear in the Federal Register. Earlier this year, the White House promised we'd see new regulations, which have been overdue since 2012, by summer. So what gives?

Common Core revolt goes local Politico: School districts from New Hampshire to Oregon are revolting against the coming Common Core tests.

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AM News: Record Campaign Spending Mixes Unions & Reform Advocates

Education-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines PK12: In Illinois, teachers' unions gave more than $775,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard, an ALEC member, ended up losing a close primary to Bruce Rauner, a businessman and newcomer to politics.

Early Voting Kicks Off In Maryland As Candidates Spar On Schools WAMU: As the statewide races build toward a climax, Marylanders looking to vote before Election Day can cast their ballots starting Thursday morning at locations throughout the state.

Obama Administration Clarifies Anti-Bullying Protections For Students With Disabilities HuffPost:   This week, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon sent a letter with new legal guidance to the nation's public schools in an effort to clarify that federal anti-bullying protections extend to about 750,000 more students than schools think.

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution Hechinger/Lens: As public school students settle into the school year, they can’t seem to shake off a bit of inaccurate national attention: The belief that New Orleans has the country’s first all-charter school system. That’s wrong on two counts. The city still has a handful of traditional public schools, and the array of more than 70 charter schools can hardly be called a system, though that’s beginning to change.

Immigrants’ School Cases Spur Enrollment Review in New York NYT: Officials will determine whether districts have discouraged undocumented immigrant children through rigid enrollment requirements.

On campus, fight Ebola panic with information PBS NewsHour: "Mr. Aguilar, we have students texting and saying that a student on campus has Ebola,” Nurse Belk told me after a student was sent home for an ear problem.

New Orleans public school teacher evaluation results, 2014 NOLA.com: The Louisiana Education Department released teacher evaluation results Wednesday. New Orleans results were below the state average. 7 percent of teachers were considered ineffective and 21 percent highly effective. 

Karen Lewis’ Replacement at the CTU Has a Message for Rahm Emanuel In These Times: Though Sharkey doesn’t yet have much of a relationship with Mayor Emanuel, if his gutsy 2012 debate with Emanuel ally, venture capitalist and current Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is any indication—in which Sharkey blasts Rauner’s anti-union, corporate education reform agenda—Rahm’s life is not about to get any easier when it comes to dealing with the new head of the CTU. 

How One District School Is Tackling English Language Learning WAMU: Teaching students for whom English is a second language can be a challenge, but a specialized program at Cardozo Education Campus is making it work.

From a Rwandan Dump to the Halls of Harvard NYT: Justus Uwayesu’s life was changed by a chance encounter in Rwanda with an American charity worker.

U.N.C. Investigation Reveals Athletes Took Fake Classes NYT: A report found that classes requiring no attendance and little work were common knowledge among academic counselors and football coaches.

AM News: In LA, Duncan Talks Early Childhood & Tech With Cortines

Education Secretary Duncan talks tech with L.A. Unified's Cortines LA Times: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a brief visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, met with newly installed L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines to talk about local technology problems and the state of local schools.

Education secretary says time to debate preschool is over KPCC: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a conference of preschool advocates in Los Angeles Tuesday that the value of early education to young children is undisputed and the effort should shift to expanding it to more kids.

Baker, Coakley to Face off in Gubernatorial Debate AP: GOP's Baker, Democrat Coakley face each other in debate in race for Massachusetts governor

Schools Face Fears of Ebola, Drop in Attendance Texas Tribune: Fear over possible exposure to Ebola has triggered campus closures in some Texas school districts and additional safety measures at many more in the almost three weeks since a Dallas hospital diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States.

Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds NYT: With funding formulas that cap or redirect local property tax revenues to state coffers, some places are looking for other ways to capture local money.

New York City Council to Look at School Segregation NYT: Though the Council has very limited power over public schools, the bill’s sponsors say they do have the ability to increase the volume of the conversation.

Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing Hechinger Report: Steve Jobs once called the personal computer “a bicycle for our minds,” a tool that helps us go farther with the same amount of energy. But for many teachers, it has been a bumpy ride. 

New York Schools Chancellor Replaces 8 Superintendents NYT: The major personnel reshuffling was the first since Chancellor Carmen Fariña took over in January.

Why Patrick Henry High is the perfect school to host Michelle Obama MinnPost: There are any number of reasons why Henry deserves the spotlight, including academic indicators that have earned it the state’s “reward” label — designating it as a school where students are able to achieve despite a 90 percent poverty rate. 

AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)

CA Schools chief race may be election's tightest AP: Tuck has nearly matched Torlakson in campaign fundraising, with $1.9 million, while a Southern California businessman who often supports Republican candidates, William Bloomfield Jr., has independently picked up the tab for at least $900,000 worth of slate mailers and ads on his behalf.

Deasy's exit reflects other school battles across the U.S. LA Times: Top leaders in some of the largest districts — in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Texas and elsewhere — have come under tremendous pressure: some lost their jobs, one faced a massive teachers strike, and lawsuits have been filed against them, among other things.

New LA schools superintendent won’t use district-paid Deasy as adviser KPCC:  New L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said his improvement plans for the school district’s most pressing problems won’t involve the man who arguably knows the district best: resigned Superintendent John Deasy. “Dr. Deasy did many things well, but I will not be using his services,” Cortines said in an interview with KPCC’s Take Two on Monday.

The Short Shelf Life Of Urban School Superintendents NPR: If you're a 12th grader right now in the Los Angeles schools, that means you probably started kindergarten back in 2001. It also means that, as of this week, you've seen four superintendents come and go.

Teacher who flew to Dallas for Common Core seminar put on leave out of Ebola fear The Answer Sheet: A Maine teacher flew to Dallas to attend an educational conference — miles away from the hospital where three cases have been diagnosed — and was told to stay away from the elementary school where she works for 21 days.

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AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]

Teachers Unions Are Putting Themselves On November’s Ballot TIME: The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers union, is on track to spend between $40 million and $60 million this election cycle, while the smaller American Federation of Teachers (AFT) plans to pony up an additional $20 million—more than the organization has spent on any other past cycle, including high-spending presidential election years.

GOP schooled on education politics Politico: Just this week, the NEA’s political action committee went on the air with two new attack ads: One accuses Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton of seeking to cut student loan programs. Another blames Hawaii gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona for budget cuts that closed K-12 schools on Fridays for months. And there’s more to come.

Marshall Tuck on mission to overhaul education Fresno Bee: "I wouldn't send my son to every single Partnership school today," he said. "But I can tell you, in '08, there's zero chance I would have sent my son to any of them ... and I'm confident that in three or four years, it will be all of them."

John Deasy, former LAUSD superintendent, might run for public office KPCC: In a conference call with reporters organized by the advocacy group Students Matter, Deasy said he had not decided what he would do after leaving the position, but he has three options in mind: working in youth corrections, supporting the development of future school board supervisors or making a run for political office.

Too many maverick moments finally led to Deasy's undoing at LAUSD LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District dumped a heap of trouble on its schools this fall when it rolled out a new student records system.

L.A. Unified says it believes Deasy acted ethically on iPads LA Times: As part of its settlement this week with former schools Supt. John Deasy, the Los Angeles Board of Education declared that it did not believe Deasy had done anything wrong in connection with the project to provide students with iPads.

School District on Long Island Is Told It Must Teach Immigrants NYT: The guidance came after complaints that children who are in the U.S. illegally had been barred from public school classes in Hempstead.

National school boards group ends tobacco partnership EdSource Today: The National School Boards Association ended its health curriculum partnership with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. last week, highlighting the longstanding efforts of tobacco companies to influence what students are taught about cigarette smoking. 

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AM News: Gates-Funded Small Schools Work After All, Says New Study

Small high schools send larger shares of students to college, new study says ChalkbeatNY: The multi-year study examines a subset of 123 “small schools of choice” that opened between 2002 and 2008 with private funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and support from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

New Research Suggests Small High Schools May Help After All NPR: A New York City entrant in a long-running research controversy over the effectiveness of small high schools.

Deasy Resigns as Los Angeles Schools Chief After Mounting Criticism NYT: John E. Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, had clashed with the school board, and drawn flak for a flawed $1.3 billion plan to give iPads to students.

LA Schools Superintendent To Leave After iPad Controversy NPR: The Los Angeles schools superintendent is stepping down. John Deasy's resignation follows a contracting scandal that put him on the defensive. He talks to Steve Inskeep about why he resigned.

Deasy resigns as superintendent of LA Unified EdSource Today: Los Angeles Unified School superintendent John Deasy submitted his resignation this morning, after more than a year of turmoil and conflict with the seven-member elected school board. Deasy reportedly cut short a trip to South Korea to negotiate the terms of his departure. 

Los Angeles Unified announces Deasy's exit after secret vote to pay him through end of year LA Daily News: The separation agreement was approved in a 6-1 vote Tuesday. Board member Monica Ratliff, one of two elected officials representing the San Fernando Valley, cast the sole dissenting vote. Ratliff’s office declined to comment on why she voted against the agreement.

Cortines faces challenging tasks as he steps in behind departing superintendent KPCC: This time, Cortines may be in place for a long haul as the board searches for a permanent superintendent. There is little desire among school board members to send the district into more turmoil with another swift change at the top. 

How Schools Are Responding To The Threat of Ebola HuffPost: Schools around the country are taking steps against Ebola, screening students, passing out information and, with the air travel of an infected nurse between Texas and Ohio, closing schools in those two states.

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AM News: States, Big-City Superintendents Pledge To Reduce Overtesting (Plus Deasy Departure)

School standardized testing is under growing attack, leaders pledge changes Washington Post: The standardized test, a hallmark of the accountability movement that has defined U.S. public education since 2002, is under growing attack from critics who say students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade are taking too many exams.

National school leader ask if it’s time to curb standardized testing PBS: On average, the survey found, 11th graders take the most standardized tests in any given year. In one surveyed district, those students spent 27 days, or 15 percent of their school year, taking tests. That count didn’t include tests given in their classes or optional exams like the APs, SAT or ACT.

State and District Leaders Vow to Reduce Testing, Stick With Annual Assessments PK12: Featured on the phone call were New York State Commissioner John King, Louisiana State Superintendent John White, and District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson--all young, energetic school leaders who have been strong supporters of the common core and teacher-accountability efforts. 

LA Unified superintendent John Deasy poised to resign KPCC: The move follows months of controversy over Deasy’s administrative decisions and technology initiatives. His aggressive management style strained relations with some members of the school board and moved the teachers union to call for his resignation.

The Beginning Of The End For Controversial For-Profit Charter Schools BuzzFeed: Three years after the New York Times exposé, K12 appears to finally be taking a step away from virtual charter school operation — not because it is bowing to critics' continuing complaints, but because virtual charters are no longer the lucrative or growing business they once were.

Karen Lewis thanks her supporters as she battles illness Chicago Sun-Times: Addressing the public for the first time since she was hospitalized on Oct. 5 for a brain tumor, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis released a statement Wednesday, thanking well-wishers for supporting her.

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AM News: Ailing Chicago Union Leader Decides Against Mayoral Run, May Have Brain Tumor

Karen Lewis has brain tumor, not running for mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who just pulled out of mayoral contention, is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor that was diagnosed shortly after she experienced a severe headache last week.

Union Leader Will Not Run for Chicago Mayor NYT: Karen Lewis, the Chicago union leader who had been considering a bid to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will not run as she continues treatment after surgery for an undisclosed medical condition, her exploratory committee said Monday.

Chicago Union Head Decides Against Mayoral Bid AP: Emanuel issued a statement after her announcement wishing her a quick recovery. "I have always respected and admired Karen's willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city's future," said Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff. 

Karen Lewis not running for mayor WBEZ: Emanuel already faces several declared challengers, including his vocal critic in the City Council, Ald. Bob Fioretti; Dr. Amara Enyia, an urban development consultant; former Chicago Ald. Robert Shaw; Chicago police officer Frederick Collins; and conservative activist William J. Kelly.

As Apprentices in Classroom, Teachers Learn What Works NYT: A charter school training program reflects the belief that teachers, like doctors, need to practice repeatedly with experienced supervisors before they can take the reins in classes of their own.

It's 2014. All Children Are Supposed To Be Proficient. What Happened? NPR:  No Child Left Behind law famously set this year as the date when, well, no children would be left behind. So now what?

Classes, homework and working with refugees USA TODAY: Typically, a college student's schedule is packed with classes, homework and maybe a job or two. For some, working with refugees is also on the list. There are nearly 300,000 refugees and 90,000 asylum-seekers currently residing in the U.S.

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Scheduling: Canceling School For Columbus Day Is The Worst Idea Ever

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.comCanceling school for Columbus Day is the dumbest idea ever, according to Vox, but I'm still taking the day off (reserving the right to post things on Twitter).  Really, really need a morning news roundup? Check out RealClearEducation, Annenberg Institute, or Politico. 

AM News: Chicago Union Head Steps Down; Ed Trust Slams NCLB Waiver School Ratings

CTU President Karen Lewis 'not well,' but union mum on details Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is "not well" but under top-notch medical care, the union said Tuesday, refusing to detail the health crisis that has landed Lewis in the hospital. [Several more stories on this below the break]

Should a School Get an 'A' Even if Poor and Minority Students Underperform? PK12: In Florida, which rates schools on an A-F scale, the average proficiency rate for African-American students in "A" schools is lower than for white students who attend "C" schools.

NY State Commissioner Suggests a Way Around Charter Schools Limit WNYC: King said it was up to the governor and legislature to find a solution. But he added, "We have work to do to continue to grow high-quality seats, whether it's in charter schools or district schools." 

On Professional Development Days, D.C. Teachers Become Students WAMU: Today is the first of 10 professional development days for teachers at D.C. public schools, an opportunity for them to sharpen their skills as educators.

Video: SAT vs. ACT: What’s the Difference? NBC News: The ACT and the SAT are both standardized tests that help colleges evaluate students and are accepted by all schools. So what sets the exams apart? 

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AM News: NYC To Get 17 More Charters, Despite District Opposition

SUNY green-lights 17 more city charter schools, 14 for Success Academy ChalkbeatNY: A State University of New York committee unanimously approved 17 additional charter schools to open over the next two years, with 14 of the charters going to Success Academy, the city’s largest and most controversial network. The other three charters went to Achievement First, a Brooklyn-based network of schools.

City Nears Charter Cap as 17 More Schools Win Approval WNYC: A State University of New York committee charged with overseeing charter schools authorized 17 more charter schools to open in New York City over the next two years, 14 of them operated by the city's largest and in many respects most controversial network.

17 Charter Schools Approved for New York City, Expanding a Polarizing Network NYT: The decision by a state committee substantially increased the size of Success Academy, one of the city’s largest and most polarizing charter networks.

Philadelphia Teachers' Union Vows to Fight Contract Cancellation District Dossier: The School Reform Commission cancelled the teachers' union contract on Monday, prompting backlash from some educators and other supporters of the union.

D.C. public schools enrollments continue to climb Washington Post: Enrollment is up in both D.C. charter and traditional public schools this year, according to unofficial numbers released this week by officials from the D.C. Public Charter School Board and D.C. Public Schools.

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan On Common Core WBUR: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was back in Massachusetts Wednesday visiting Springfield Technical College to talk about the important role that community colleges play in job training. 

Boston Superintendent's Job Draws Numerous Candidates District Dossier: Candidates hail from Canada to Florida. The majority have been superintendents, and the group is predominantly male.

Seattle School District Settles Rape Allegation AP: Seattle school district to pay $700,000 to family of girl who said she was raped on field trip

AM News: Big Education Decisions For 11 States

Education Measures on Ballot in 11 States EdWeek: The initiatives could have a significant impact on school funding, class sizes, the use of technology, and teacher evaluation and tenure systems. Voters in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New York will see proposals that would increase funding for public schools paid for through a new tax or bond.

Ed. Dept. Churn Brings New Faces to Key Initiatives PK12: We're closing in on the twilight of the Obama administration and, at this point, many of the folks originally in charge of major initiatives, including Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind Act waivers, and School Improvement Grants, have left the building—literally.

Common Core tests now a ticket out of college remedial classes Seattle Times: A new agreement among the state's public colleges will raise the value of a couple of Washington's high-school exams.

Study: New York preschool push benefits wealthier families first WPost: The push to provide universal preschool to the city’s 4-year-olds has so far disproportionately benefited children from middle- and upper-income families, according to a report released Wednesday that the mayor’s office is disputing. See also WNYC.

Karen Lewis' health scare puts mayoral contest in flux Chicago Sun-Times: It would apply to women, too, of course, even strong-willed teachers union presidents gearing up for a campaign for mayor. CTU President Karen Lewis' hospitalization for as-yet unspecified health concerns continued to reverberate Tuesday. See also Chicago Tribune.

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AM News: Flat SAT Scores, Philly Contract SNAFU, Lewis Hospitalized

SAT scores for Class of 2014 show no improvement from previous marks Washington Post: High school graduates this year fared no better on the SAT college admission test than their predecessors in 2013, a stagnant result that exam overseers said should sound an alarm for the nation to get more students on track for college. See also HuffPost, Baltimore Sun, AP.

Pennsylvania: Health Costs Imposed on Teachers NYT: Philadelphia teachers vowed to fight a sudden move by the district Monday that cancels their union contract and requires them to start paying health premiums of $55 to $140 a month. See also District Dossier.

Chicago Teachers Union head Karen Lewis hospitalized WBEZ: Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis has been hospitalized after experiencing discomfort over the weekend. See also National teachers union contributes $30000 to Karen Lewis.

Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data NYT: The participating companies are publicly committing themselves not to sell information on kindergartners through 12th graders. See also Politico.

See the AP U.S. History course changes and take a sample exam Washington Post: Readers asked what specifically the College Board has changed in its Advanced Placement U.S. history course and what the questions on the exam are like.

Where Do We Stand on NCLB? A Progress Report for Congress Education Week: More than 40 states may have waivers from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Department of Education is off the hook when it comes to reporting on states' progress toward meeting the goals of the NCLB law.

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AM News: Washington State Schools Suffer Over Refusal To Use Student Scores

In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools in a Bind NYT: The state refuses to base teacher evaluations on student scores, which triggers an outdated standard: that every student be proficient in reading and math.

New TV ad from UFT presents rosier view of public schools ChalkbeatNY: After a week where charter school advocates highlighted the public school system’s failures, the United Federation of Teachers is taking a rosier view in a new television ad. 

California, other states to set test cutoff scores EdSource Today: During the next few weeks California educators will play a pivotal role in a crucial phase of work for the new Smarter Balanced assessments California students will take this spring: setting the cutoff scores that will indicate how well a student is performing.

The Education Battle of 2014 On The Media: Conservatives in Colorado and elsewhere are alarmed by the College Board’s new Advanced Placement US history test, which the  Republican National Committee has called  a “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history.”  See also PBS NewsHour

Chicago District Puts Hold on Approving New Charter Schools This Fall District Dossier: Some speculate the decision to put off new proposals this fall is related to next year's mayoral election.

Tuck, Torlakson debate union power, lawsuit EdSource Today: Marshall Tuck and Tom Torlakson, the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction, disagreed on the condition of education in California, the influence of teachers unions and who is best qualified for the job during a recent debate.

L.A. Unified reports big rise in its graduation rate LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday reported a huge rise in its graduation rate, but left out the students most at risk of not making it to commencement ceremonies.

Philadelphia schools crippled by budget crisis PBS NewsHour It’s a tough time to be a student, a teacher or a parent in the Philadelphia public schools. The nation’s eighth largest school system is experiencing a severe budget crisis. Special correspondent for education John Tulenko of Learning Matters looks at the impact hitting the classroom and what’s being done about it.

Change in Admissions Rules Muddles NYC Middle School Search WNYC: There are 48 competitive middle schools and programs that used test scores as the main criteria in their admissions. But they are among the best neighborhood schools in the city, and competition is fierce.

Abuse Cases at 2 Schools, With Technology at the Root NYT: Recent cases in New Jersey and Brooklyn highlight how online communications have blurred boundaries between students and teachers. See also SchoolBook

Tony Bennett Talks Lady Gaga, Arts in the Schools, Secret to His Success ABC EdNews: Tony Bennett, who made history this week by becoming the oldest artist with a No. 1 album, said he has a secret to his success. One, he said, most may not believe. 

AM News: NYC Charter Rally, Dallas Ebola Scare, Denver Walkout, & Deasy Departure?

 Charter School Backers Rally, Hoping to Influence de Blasio’s Policies NYT: Demonstrators filled Foley Square to highlight what they said was a crisis of quality in New York City public schools. See also WNYC.

Rally organized by charter schools sparks controversy WPIX-TV:  haven't added up all the expenses,” said Families for Excellent Schools CEO Jeremiah Kittredge. “What we've focused on is the amazing turnout." See also ChalkbeatNY.

In Dallas Schools, Fear of Possible Ebola Exposure NYT: Parents and schoolchildren wrestled with their fears after learning that five school-age children had had contact with a man who is ill with Ebola.

School Board Wants Civil Disorder Deemphasized. Students Walk Out. NPR: For two weeks the Colorado high school students have been protesting an official's proposal that the AP history curriculum promote patriotism and free-market economics, and not condone civil disorder. See also PBS NewsHour

John Deasy's future Los Angeles Times (editorial page): At least two more, Steve Zimmer and board President Richard Vladovic, are independent thinkers who could be persuaded to support him more often.

Cutting higher ed costs for Chicago’s disadvantaged students PBS NewsHour: Two separate pushes were announced today in Chicago aimed at improving access to higher education among lower-income students. The moves, announced separately, will eliminate costs at one of the nation’s most elite universities and at the city’s community colleges.

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

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Twitter Thursday: It's All Here -- Just In A Different Format

Still traveling, so I'll be updating the site via Twitter again today -- back to normal blogging tomorrow. You can read it all here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso).

Twitter Wednesday: Rainy Wednesday (Rabbit, Rabbit!)

Happy Wednesday -- Happy October. I'm on the road today so I'll be updating the site via Twitter. You can read it all here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). Have a great weekend!

AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments

Superintendents Support Common-Assessment Consortia EdWeek: About two-thirds of district superintendents say states should stick with their common-core testing consortia, while 16 percent remain on the fence over the issue, according to results from a new survey.

AFT Set To Spend More In 2014 Than Any Other Election Cycle Huffington Post: An AFT official told The Huffington Post that the union is on track to spend more than $20 million this cycle to "try to dial back some of the damage done by the cuts to public education and public services and elect people who will fight for kids, families and communities."

NEA Sues New Mexico Schools Chief Over Teacher Evaluations TeacherBeat: NEA officials say that the state has violated local districts' purview in dictating aspects of the evaluation systems, particularly by requiring a certain portion to be based on growth in students' standardized-test scores.

De Blasio stays mum on plans for struggling schools ChalkbeatNY: Mayor Bill de Blasio needs another extension. Four weeks into the school year, de Blasio said he wasn’t yet ready to detail his vision for improving with the city’s worst-performing schools, saying those plans would be released soon for the second time this month.

Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static NPR: One Los Angeles school is working technology into the learning process, while avoiding the traditional screen-time pitfalls.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments" »

AM News: Dem. Accountability Hawk Cong. George Miller Isn't Gone Yet

Miller on Common Core, Teacher Evaluation, and NCLB Renewal PoliticsK12: Miller's comments pack a special punch because he is one of the most hawkish members of Congress when it comes to accountability. Miller, an architect of the No Child Left Behind Act, said that tying test-scores to Common Core exams before teachers are ready would be repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the NCLB era.

George Miller: 'Students are Enthusiastic' About Meeting Common-Core Challenge State EdWatch: The retiring U.S. representative also says that politicians are attacking the standards largely to position themselves better for the 2016 presidential elections.

Karen Lewis and Corey Brooks duke it out over Twitter Chicago Sun-Times: A Twitter exchange between Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis grew heated today as the two traded digs on the governor's race.

Teens who crossed US border alone enter schools AP: The group of mostly Spanish-speaking teenage boys with styled spiky hair and high-top sneakers enthusiastically pecks away on hand-held tablets at the G.W. Carver Education Center, pausing to alert the teacher when stumped. See also PBS: Wave of child migrants pose challenges for Florida schoolsBacklog of children’s immigration cases challenges judges, lawyers and schools.

The campaign to keep Karen Lewis out of the mayoral race Chicago Tribune: Out of nowhere nearly two weeks ago, Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter schools organization backing Mayor Rahm Emanuel's re-election, issued a news release demanding that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis step down.

Trial To Begin In Atlanta Public Schools' Cheating Scandal NPR: On Monday, opening statements begin in the trial of 12 educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy. Originally, 35 were indicted but more than half took plea deals. See also WSJ.

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

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AM News: Just 5 Percent Of High-Poverty NYC Schools Have 50 Percent Pass Rates

Charter schools help poor kids hit 50% pass rate, says report by pro-charter group NY Daily News: A survey by Families for Excellent Schools found that only 46 of 925 high-poverty city schools surveyed reached 50% pass rates — and half of those were charter schools.

Attorney General Holder to Step Down, Promoted Changes in School Discipline EdWeek: In the education world, he is perhaps best known for his efforts to address disproportionately high discipline rates for students from certain racial and ethnic groups. Alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Holder also encouraged schools to step back from zero-tolerance policies that the two said could sometimes lead to heavy-handed punishments for minor rule violations.

Winners of Federal Teacher-Prep Grants Include Many Familiar Names Teacher Beat: Two-thirds of grantees have been funded in the past, but the results of their efforts aren't clear.

With Climbing Graduation Rates Come Renewed Doubts Texas Tribune: In a decade, Texas has gone from an example of the nation’s dropout crisis to the second-highest graduation rate in the country. But that climb has not been matched by success in measures of college and career readiness.

D.C. Says It Now Knows Why Forty Percent Of Students Don't Graduate WAMU: Forty percent of ninth graders in D.C. public schools don't graduate on time, and now city officials say they have identified some of the characteristics and challenges faced by those students. See also Washington Post

The Challenges of a Youth Complicated by Poverty WNYC: Daniel Cardinali is president of Communities in Schools, a federated network of nonprofits that are locally controlled, locally financed, and aim to bring case workers and resources to at-risk students and communities that need it most. And he argues that to help students like Jairo, education policy makers need to change some of their assumptions about how school works.

School board takes on cleanliness controversy WBEZ: The parent who read the comment, Jennie Biggs, has three children at Sheridan Elementary in Bridgeport and is also part of a parent group called Raise Your Hand. That group released the results of an informal survey they did over the last week, which got 162 responses across 60 schools.

AM News: NYC Charter Schools Flex Political/Parent Muscle (Again)

For a third year in a row, pro-charter groups plan large political rally ChalkbeatNY:  Calling itself the “Coalition for Education Equality,” a group led by the pro-charter Families for Excellent Schools announced they will stage a large education rally on Oct. 2 at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. 

Is there too much testing in the public schools? PBS NewsHour: Alberto Carvalho is the superintendent of Miami-Dade County School District, who’s calling for changes. His district is dealing with dozens of mandated tests throughout the year. And Kathleen Porter-Magee is with the Partnership for Inner-City Education. She’s also a fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

When the digital classroom meets the parents Marketplace APM: On a recent night at High Tech Los Angeles, a charter high school in Van Nuys, California, a group of parents got a lesson in just what that means. One of them was Nooneh Kradjain, who has two sons at the high school, and was busy scribbling notes. She said she was struck by how much things have changed since she was in school. 

Emanuel says he 'made a mistake' in naming school after Obama Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he “made a mistake” in his “rush to honor” President Barack Obama — which is why he dropped plans to name a new, $60 million selective-enrollment high school on the Near North Side after his former boss.

White high school dropouts are wealthier than black or Latino college graduates Vox: When it comes to building wealth, whites have a vast advantage over their black and Hispanic peers. Writing at Demos, Matt Bruenig dug into the Federal Reserve's latest Survey on Consumer Finances and found a huge wealth gap by race and ethnicity.

Center for Union Facts says Randi Weingarten is ruining nation’s schools Washington Post: The 11-page mailing, on expensive paper stock, was sent first class to 125,000 households across the country this week.

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

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AM News: NCLB-Required School Changes Beneficial To Students, Says Study

New Study: Adequate Yearly Progress Not So Bad PK12: Some of AYP's sanctions actually proved beneficial. Leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring— one of the most onerous sanctions for schools that chronically failed to meet AYP— yielded the most positive impact from schools.

New report reveals surprising facts about Hispanic children and teens WPost: Hispanic children, the largest minority group in public schools as well as the fastest growing, are increasingly showing up in preschool programs,  have made significant gains on national math tests, and are posting record high school graduation rates, according to a new study released Wednesday. But they still lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement and were more likely to live in poverty and not finish college.

Camden Public School Activists Up in Arms WNYC: The bill, backed by the Christie Administration and passed 32-1 by the Democratic-controlled State Senate, loosens the restrictions on so-called "Renaissance Schools" in Camden, as well as in Newark and Trenton. Camden already has three "Renaissance Schools," charter schools which work more closely with the district on enrollment and receive more funding than traditional charters.

Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level NYT: A new study indicates that the higher the income level of a student’s family, the more adept the student will be on how to use the web.

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams WAMU: Kojo sits down with Eric Williams, Loudoun County's new superintendent, to talk about about the issues facing one of the area's fastest-growing school systems.

Arne Duncan says Ray Rice, NFL send 'terrible message' Chicago Sun-Times: Education Secretary Arne Duncan has one message for Ray Rice and the NFL. And it's that they're both sending a "terrible message" to America's youth. “These folks are so interested in making money, they've lost a sense of values."

AM News: Record High Student Homelessness, Broad Prize Shared

Record number of public school students nationwide are homeless Washington Post: Elementary and secondary schools reported that 1.3 million students were homeless during the 2012-2013 year, an 8 percent jump from the prior year.See also AP.

Districts in Florida, Georgia Split School Prize ABC News: In a first for the largest education award given to public schools nationwide, jurors decided to split the $1 million Broad Prize between two urban districts - a past winner with an established record in Georgia and an up-and-coming district showing recent gains in Florida. See also AP.

The politics of Common Core don't matter nearly as much as what happens in classrooms Vox:  While the political debate is far from settled, it now appears likely that the Common Core standards will hang on in the vast majority of states. Second, the Common Core will be the basis for end-of-year standardized tests in many more states, making the stakes for students and teachers much higher.

Common Core can help English learners in California, new EdTrust study says Hechinger Report: The rigorous new Common Core standards represent both a daunting challenge and a promising pathway that could help close the achievement gap for the growing number of American students who enter school knowing little or no English. See also EdSource Today.

'The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace' NPR: Robert Peace, a 30-year-old African-American, was a Yale University graduate and an almost straight-A student in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He also dealt marijuana. And had taught at his former high school. See also here.

In Washington Heights, Students Greet Spanish Queen With Selfies and Song WNYC: At Dos Puentes Elementary in Washington Heights on Monday, first graders sang a stirring rendition of "Let it Go" in Spanish, and eighth graders took selfies with Queen Letizia of Spain. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Interim Superintendent Aims To Keep Seattle Public Schools On A Steady Course Seattle Public Radio: Marcie Sillman speaks with Seattle Public Schools Interim Superintendent Larry Nyland about the challenges ahead as he takes charge of Seattle Public Schools.

AM News: Duncan Criticizes Jindal, CA Predicts Spring Testing Success

Duncan criticizes Jindal The Times-Picayune: Jindal announced late last month that he would sue Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education directly over the Common Core academic standards. The lawsuit followed an initial loss for the governor in state court over the use of a Common Core test

Officials optimistic about spring assessments EdSource Today: Last spring more than 3 million students in California, the largest number ever to take an online test in the state, took field tests of new assessments aligned to the Common Core state standards without major technical breakdowns or system crashes, according to state officials. See also: Scores on exit exam hold steady.

TX Education Board Members Question Teacher Prep Requirements Texas Tribune: The three SBOE members, all Republicans, who backed the veto said they hoped it would persuade the board of educator certification to reconsider an August decision against raising the required GPA — from 2.5 to 2.75 —for admission to educator preparation programs. The full SBOE will take up the recommendation Friday. 

Harmony Project Offers More Than Just Music In LA NPR: With public schools across the country cutting music instruction to save money, the Harmony Project in Los Angeles is trying to make up the difference. The nonprofit offers free music lessons to kids.

Nine People, One Bedroom: A Teen's Take on Life In Poverty WNYC: Jairo Gomez never thought he was poor, even though he was one of seven kids and his family lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

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

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AM News: Chicago's Emanuel Backs Down On Obama High School

Connecticut Governor To Arne Duncan: Let's Start a Dialogue About Testing PK12: He's considering allowing eleventh graders who, he writes, may be among the most overtested students, to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT, during the school day, in lieu of the Smarter Balanced high school exam. 

Amid controversy, Emanuel drops plan to name school after Obama Sun Times: Top mayoral aides stressed that the selective enrollment high school — with space for 1,200 high-achieving students — would still be built on the Near North Side, but the park location may change in response to community concerns.

DC mayoral candidates clash over education AP: Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser has pledged to speed up school reform in the District of Columbia, where hundreds of teachers have been fired for poor performance under an evaluation system installed by the previous chancellor, Michelle Rhee. Bowser has pledged to retain Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who is less politically polarizing than Rhee but has maintained and fine-tuned her policies. The chancellor reports solely to the mayor.

To Get More Out of Science, Show the Rejected Research NYT: A proposal aims to address the problem of studies that go unpublished even though their findings can be important.

Karen Lewis on CTU and mayoral run: 'Yes, I can do both jobs' Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said on Thursday she doesn't see a problem with staying put in her high-profile position with labor should she decide to run for mayor. 

Report critical of charter school oversight EdSource Today: A lack of oversight of the nation's charter schools has led to too many cases of fraud and abuse and too little attention to equity, according to a new report that offers recommendations to remedy the situation

Karen Lewis Tweets for Donations: 'Help Me Make a Decision' NBC Chicago: Still undecided on running for mayor, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewisis soliciting supporters on Twitter to help pad her campaign war chest with enough money to go up against Rahm Emanuel's millions.

Why Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys Do The Atlantic: Grading policies were revamped and school officials smartly decided to furnish kids with two separate grades each semester. One grade was given for good work habits and citizenship, which they called a “life skills grade.” A “knowledge grade” was given based on average scores across important tests. Tests could be retaken at any point in the semester, provided a student was up to date on homework.

Districts Faced Challenges Implementing Federal Performance-Pay Grants Teacher Beat: Teachers seem to have been confused about some of the details of a federally financed bonus-pay program.

How do you find high school dropouts? WBEZ: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a bunch of promises three years ago when he was running for office—especially when it came to education. He’s checked off some of them – a longer school day, more preschool, a focus on principals. But now his administration is ramping up attention to one the stickiest challenges: re-enrolling the city’s more than 50,000 dropouts.

Embrace The Common Core NPR: This episode of Intelligence Squared comes on the heels of four weeks of education specials from American RadioWorks aired on WNYC.Airs Saturday, September 20 at 6am on 93.9FM and 7am and 2pm on AM 820.

AM News: Triggering 20 Columbus Schools, Paying Rent For 70 NYC Charters

Nearly 1 in 5 Columbus Schools Qualify for Overhauls Under Parent-Trigger Law EdWeek: Three years after Ohio enacted a limited "parent trigger" law, nearly one-fifth of Columbus schools now qualify for major leadership overhauls if parents choose to initiate them.

Nearly 70 city charter schools covered by suit seeking facility funds ChalkbeatNY: Most of the nearly 200 charter schools that opened under Mayor Michael Bloomberg received free space in city-owned buildings. But 68 charter schools, serving 25,000 students, operate in private buildings and spend, according to one tally, an extra $2,300 for every student on facilities.

TFA Founder Voices Skepticism of Edtech EdSurge: Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America and Teach for All, is skeptical about the potential of technology as a cure-all in education. At a NationSwell Council event on September 12, she described her visit to Microsoft’s School of the Future in Philadelphia.

How To Make The Most Of Your 10 Minutes With Teacher NPR: Like a good Boy Scout, parents should be prepared: Educators agree that doing your homework can make a big difference. Here's expert advice on how to ace your next parent-teacher conference.

Rethinking A Fall Classic: The Parent-Teacher Conference WNYC: The New York City schools are overhauling the time, and format, of these conferences in an attempt to add depth and meaning. Among the changes: They'll be held four times a year instead of just two.

School district police stock up free military gear AP: School police departments across the country have taken advantage of free military surplus gear, stocking up on mine resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles....

What's Happening At East Ramapo? WNYC:  Governor Cuomo has appointed a fiscal monitor, there's a district lawsuit over special education funding, and public school buildings have been sold. 

Hey Karen Lewis, I can still read your Tweets Chicago Sun-Times: This might come as a shock to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. But I can read her Tweets. I say this because for some reason months ago, Lewis blocked me as a follower after I tried sending her a direct message to follow up on a story.

What’s next *if* Deasy is out? Speculation abounds LA School Report: The seven-member elected school board, often split between Deasy supporters and Deasy critics, could deem his performance over the last year “unsatisfactory” at a his annual review slated for next month, automatically preventing his contract from rolling over into a new year. Or Deasy could choose to quit.

Some Chicago Parents Say School Closures Created Problems EdWeek: After the closure of 49 schools in 2013, some Chicago Public Schools' parents say they are concerned about classroom overcrowding and $50 million in district budget cuts this year.

School Held Ring Until Mom Paid for Summer School NBC News: An Ohio mom's diamond ring is held by the local school district, until she can pay her son's summer school tuition in full, and he could move into the 8th grade.

AM News: Another CA Lawsuit Challenges Teachers Union Practices

Lawsuit challenges teachers’ compulsory dues EdSource Today: A lawsuit working its way through the courts is striking at the core of the California Teachers Association’s power: its authority to automatically deduct hundreds of millions of dollars a year in dues from the paychecks of both members and non-members.

LAUSD police to give up some weaponry obtained in federal program LA Times: Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. The move comes as education and civil rights groups have called on the...

Teachers union urges board to fire Deasy LA School Report: UTLA says it wants the board to downgrade Deasy’s performance to “unsatisfactory” at his annual evaluation, scheduled to take place behind closed doors on October 21. That would effectively spell the end to the superintendent’s contract which – at his own insistence – stipulates he meet performance targets set by the board.

What’s the best way to teach teachers? PBS NewsHour: An annual poll out today by Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa finds that majorities of Americans believe teacher preparation should be more rigorous.  There was also support for stronger certification requirements and evaluations, more training and practice time for teaching candidates, and opposition to using student test results to evaluate teachers. A new book explores what better teaching may look like.

Bobby Jindal Trusts Science Except When He Doesn't Huffington Post: America needs a leader to bridge the widening gulf between faith and science, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a devout Roman Catholic with Ivy League-level science training, thinks he can be that person.

Wealthy L.A. Schools' Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan's Hollywood Reporter: Hollywood parents say not vaccinating makes "instinctive" sense. Now their kids have whooping cough.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Another CA Lawsuit Challenges Teachers Union Practices" »

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.

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.

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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.