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AM News: The Teacher With $410K In Federal Education Laons

Student Debt in America NYT: How a teacher ended up $410,000 in debt reveals the deep contradictions in the federal government’s approach to student loans.

To build a better teacher, Harvard launches program aimed at quality  Washington Post: As the country debates the best way to improve the quality of teachers in struggling public schools, Harvard University is launching a training program it hopes will serve as a national model.

Rising Enrollment In Northern Virginia Schools Outpaces Neighboring Districts WAMU: Student enrollment is on the rise across the D.C. region, but not uniformly so — putting more stress on school districts in places like Loudoun County.

In Indiana, Raising The Bar Raises Questions About Special Education WNYC: In Indiana, Nash must meet the same learning standards as other students and the same graduation requirements if he wants a diploma. He's currently working toward the state's General Diploma, which requires two years of math, including Algebra 1. But Nash's dad, Jeff, says his son isn't ready to take that class, so he's in another, remedial math class to help him prepare.

StopESEA? Conservative Blogger Who May Have Helped Derail ESEA Has New Qualms PK12: Last time, a conservative blogger was unhappy with the policy. This time, she's miffed about the process.

When A 4-Day School Week Might Cost More Than It Saves NPR: An Arizona school district slimmed down its budget by dropping class on Fridays. But parents say they're having to stretch their wallets to find something for their kids to do on that fifth day.

University of Chicago Cancels Classes After Online Threat NYT: The university president said that F.B.I. officials warned that “an unknown individual” had threatened gun violence on the main campus on Monday.

Peyton’s Awesome Virtual Self, a robot that allows girl with cancer to attend school Washington Post: Advanced robot gives 10-year-old a chance to be a part of daily elementary school classes, remotely.

Student Stabbed Inside Baltimore High School AP: The department wrote on its official Twitter page that a student was stabbed inside Renaissance Academy High School. Baltimore police and city school police were on the scene. The student's condition was not known, and no other details were immediately available.

Malia Obama scoping out colleges, preparing for future Detroit Free Press: She also doesn't have to worry about how to pay for her college education, unlike many of the students President Barack Obama and his wife regularly encourage to pursue post-high school education.

AM News: US Fares Poorly On New International Comparison

US falls behind other nations in the global knowledge economy, says 46-country report Hechinger Report: The United States continues to fall behind internationally in producing a college-educated workforce as other nations send more of their citizens to university. And in the very early years, many countries are now sending a much higher percentage of their kids to preschool than the United States. See also US News, AP.

Chicago Teachers Union  chief tells rallying teachers: 'When we must, we will withhold our labor' Sun-Times: In front of a screaming crowd of thousands who braved a frigid night to show their strength, and joined by legislators, pastors and other labor leaders, Lewis said, “It is time for us to act.”

More Proof That American Teachers Are Underpaid HuffPost: Elementary school teachers in the U.S. make 67 percent of what college-educated workers in other professions earn. High school teachers earn 71 percent of what other college-educated workers make.  Outside of the U.S., the picture is better -- but only slightly. On average, across OECD countries, elementary school teachers earn 80 percent of what college-educated non-teachers make. 

Admissions Quota Proposed in Brooklyn School Rezoning NYT: The Education Department said that students receiving subsidized lunches would be given admissions priority for half the seats at a Brooklyn school that is the subject of a contested rezoning proposal. See also WNYC: Decision to Rezone Two Brooklyn Schools Now Rests with Parent Council.

Sen. Murray: Revised No Child Left Behind law ‘great step forward’ Seattle Times: One day after House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement about a revised No Child Left Behind law, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray spoke about the law and its effect on Washington schools.

One year after launch, Fariña offers few new details about $400M Renewal program Chalkbeat:  After one year and millions of dollars, the de Blasio administration’s high-profile effort to revitalize its struggling schools has reduced the percentage of frequently absent students by three points, the schools chief told city lawmakers Monday.

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

NB: This Week In Education will be on Thanksgiving break from Wednesday through Friday.

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AM News: NCLB Overhaul & MA Testing Decision

The fight over K-12 education appears headed back to the states Washington Post: A new education law would shift fight over teacher evaluations, testing from federal government to 50 state capitals.

Accountability and the ESEA Reauthorization Deal: Your Cheat Sheet PK12: The compromise agreed to by a congressional conference committee is, in many key ways, a U-turn from the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act.

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S. NYT: As states have rejected tests tied to the Common Core standards, no about-face has resonated more than that of Massachusetts, known as a leader in education reform.

Chicago Teachers Union to flex muscle with downtown rally Chicago Tribune: CTU President Karen Lewis is scheduled to address the crowd during the afternoon rush hour "Winter Labor Solidarity Rally & Community Tailgate." The union has distributed leaflets urging members to "be a part of this striking scene." Buses will shuttle people downtown from some two dozen city schools.

Nevada releases Common Core test results after partial testing Mohave Daily News: Nevada was confident enough in the partial student results from its Common Core-aligned state test that it released them this week, even though 7 of 10 students weren’t tested because of computer glitches.

Five Years On, Henderson Keeps Up Pace Of Reforms In D.C. Schools WAMU: It was 5 years ago this month that Michelle Rhee stepped down as chancellor of D.C. public schools after a tempestuous three-year tenure. Her deputy, Kaya Henderson, took over as chancellor and continued many of her reforms. We explore how well schools are doing now.

Teen dead after shooting at suburban Las Vegas high school AP: Authorities are investigating a shooting at a high school in suburban Las Vegas that has left a 16-year-old boy dead....

Starting A High School From Scratch Hechinger Report: At 43, she is the founding principal of a charter high school that opened this fall in Brownsville, an impoverished Brooklyn neighborhood adjacent to where she grew up in East New York. Of all the educators in all the cities trying to get school right for students at risk, she brings the rare vantage point of someone who has learned not only from professional mistakes but tragic personal ones as well.

Teachers can make $15,000 more just by moving to the district next door Washington Post: A D.C.-area report shows that those in the top-paid district earn $20,000 more than those in the lowest.

AM News: Conference Committee Approves NCLB Rewrite

House, Senate ESEA Compromise Sails Through Conference Committee PK12: The compromise gives states acres of new running room on accountabililty, while holding firm on NCLB's requirement for annual testing, and data that shows how at-risk kids are performing compared to their peers. See also Washington PostAPNYT.

Study: Closing Low-Performing New York City High Schools Helped Students WNYC: According to the Research Alliance at New York University, most of the middle schoolers ended up going to smaller high schools that performed better both in terms of the achievement and attendance of incoming students. In turn, their overall graduation rate rose to about 55 percent compared to a 40 percent rate for the now-closed schools.

Rural schools pay more than double for slow internet Marketplace: The largest telecoms don't bother with these rural areas, leaving smaller companies to come in and fill the gaps. These providers find themselves with steep overhead but little or no competition.

Top 50 Local Education Foundations Ranked in New National Study EdWeek: A new study of the top 50 local foundations that support K-12 districts found that Florida and Texas are home to some of the top-performing nonprofits that support students and teachers in districts. It also shows that the Pinellas Education Foundation in Florida has, for the second year, taken the number-one spot among foundations with $2 million or more in revenues.

Congress blasts U.S. Education Department for vulnerabilities in data bases Washington Post: Department Inspector General Kathleen Tighe says her investigators were able to penetrate the department's data systems without being detected.

School Will Start Later For Many Seattle Teens Seattle Times: A lot of Seattle teens can hit the snooze button next school year. The school board voted 6-1 Wednesday night to push back start times for middle and high schools.

Charter-school ruling stands, except for one footnote Seattle Times: Charter-school supporters had asked the court to rethink its decision, hoping to preserve the publicly funded but privately run schools.

Utah school apologizes for terrorism poster assignment AP: A Utah school apologized Thursday for a classroom assignment in which students were asked to create a propaganda poster for a group such as Islamic State to understand the goals and methods of terror groups....

AM News: Congress Begins Final NCLB Revamp Stage

ESEA Conference Committee Kicks Off, NCLB One Step Closer to Extinction PK12: School districts and state officials have begged Congress to update the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, and it looks like they're on the verge of getting their wish. See also: MinnPostSlate.

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask. Washington Post: HUD estimates there are 127,000 homeless children in the country. The Education Department says there are 1.3 million.

At least 500,000 students in 7 states sat out standardized tests this past spring Washington Post: A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education could not confirm those numbers, saying that states are not expected to report opt-out data to the federal government until December, and some have indicated they may not do so until February.

Here's what parents have to say about union efforts at Alliance charter schools LA Times: At a news conference Wednesday, a small group of parents, community organizers and United Teachers Los Angeles members complained that they felt pressured by Alliance College-Ready Public...

Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000? NPR: A growing number of districts are looking to change that pay structure. The goal: Give teachers, even younger teachers, the chance to earn more. Reward them not for seniority or advanced degrees, but for how well they teach.

Texas Rejects Letting Academics Vet Public School Textbooks AP: Texas has rejected allowing university experts to fact-check its public-school textbooks in the wake of a 9th grade world geography book mistakenly calling African slaves "workers." It defeated 8-7 on Wednesday a proposal that would have included scrutiny from academic experts as part of its vetting process.

Dumbo School Rezoning Talks Didn’t Include Us, Say Some Parents WNYC: Families in Dumbo said they wanted to talk about school quality; the quickness of the rezoning proposal; how the city would help blend two communities with vast differences in wealth; and continued funding of P.S. 307 after the school's magnet grant for math and science ran out and if the school lost its Title I status.

Bloomberg’s early school closures benefitted future students, new study finds Chalkbeat: The new study did not examine how the years-long closure process affected educators, local communities that lost historic institutions, or surrounding schools that absorbed many challenging students. Over the years, the strategy became increasingly unpopular among parents and educators, eventually prompting lawsuits, rancorous public hearings, and scathing criticism by the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has largely rejected that approach.

Charter school supporters raise concerns about impact on LAUSD KPCC: “As part of the analysis of the Broad proposal, careful consideration should also be given to the effect of such alternative school expansion on the LAUSD. School initiatives in other cities have demonstrated that the intended reforms often fall short if they are done to communities rather than with communities,” the letter said.

Dave Isay On StoryCorps And The Great Thanksgiving Listen NPR: Since its inception 12 years ago, StoryCorps has recorded the conversations of 100,000 Americans. This Thanksgiving the oral history project hopes to double that number with the help of a new app. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay on "The Great Thanksgivig Listen" and the transformative power of the interview.

Charter group calls for closure of two of its own SI&A Cabinet Report: The state’s preeminent arbiter of charter school performance is calling this week for the closure of two campuses deemed to be falling short of meeting even minimum academic standards.

AM News: LA Unified Explores Becoming "Charter District"

L.A. Unified explores possibility of becoming an all-charter district LA Times:  On Tuesday, a board committee reviewed a report that outlines the process for becoming an entirely charter school district. Board members said the goal was primarily to identify how the district could benefit from the same flexibility currently provided to charters. See also LA Daily News.

Massachusetts Board Approves Hybrid PARCC, State Test State EdWatch: By an 8-3 vote, the state school board approved creation of a new English and mathematics test to be administered by all of the state's schools by 2017. See also WNYC, Boston Learning Lab.

Schools postpone D.C. field trips amid increased concerns about terrorism Washington Post: Schools in S.C., Conn., and Md. scrapped field trips to the nation’s capital after online threat of attack.

New York State Accuses Utica School District of Bias Against Refugees NYT: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a lawsuit that the city diverted immigrants over 16 and unsteady in English into alternative programs in which they could not earn diplomas.

Calls mount to remove metal detectors from NYC schools AP: A student has not been shot in a New York City school in 13 years, a heartening statistic in an era of commonplace school massacres. But there is a growing cry to rid the city's schools of metal detectors, the very tool some observers credit with keeping them safe....

Mark Zuckerberg on Philanthropy: Move Slow and Build Things AP: Last year, Zuckerberg and Chan announced they would give $120 million to public and charter schools closer to home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead of attempting to overhaul an entire school district, they are doling the money out to smaller programs that provide teacher training, classroom technology and attempts to develop more personalized instruction for individual students.

St. Paul becomes latest district to study doing away with school buses MinnPost: This year, St. Paul Public Schools launched a pilot program to study how feasible it may be to send their high school students to and from school via city bus. And if the program proves successful, St. Paul may soon be joining Minneapolis in doing away with most yellow buses for their public high schools. The district estimates the cost of providing the passes to be about the same as operating yellow buses.

Will Seattle schools start later? Vote gets national spotlight Seattle Times: Seattle Public Schools could become one of the largest districts in the country to push back start times for teens, thanks to parents, sleep scientists and a school board willing to make it a priority.

Nonprofit is formed to advance charter-school plan in Los Angeles area LA Times:  Great Public Schools Now will be run by two executives from ExED, a local company that specializes in helping charter schools manage their business operations. Eli Broad or a designee, however, is expected to occupy one seat on an 11-member board of trustees.

AM News: Schools Struggle To Talk About #ParisAttacks

Schools grapple with how to teach about Paris attacks Washington Post: Schools face a tough balancing act: Teaching about a scary event without scaring children. See also LA Times.

How Is the Big Year for Common-Core Tests Shaking Out? PK12: n some cases, those previous results were also from common-core tests, since some states began giving common-core aligned exams before 2014-15. And in some cases, we had to go back further than the 2013-14 scores to find the most recent relevant test scores before 2014-15. 

Early results of New York’s Common Core survey are mostly positive ChalkbeatNY: So far, more than 71 percent of responses have been positive, Elia told the Board of Regents — results she presented as an indication that there is more consensus around the standards than many realize.

Clinton says ‘no evidence’ that teachers can be judged by student test scores Washington Post: She slams a key tenet of Obama administration education policies during closed-door chat with teachers. See also US NewsVox.

Weingarten Defends Hillary Clinton on Charter Schools NYT: Ms. Weingarten declined to answer a question about whether she hoped Mrs. Clinton, if elected president, would stem the growth of the charter school movement.

Four Ways Hillary Clinton Might Differ From Obama on K-12 Policy PK12: The roundtable also offered an opportunity for Clinton to raise issues where she might depart from President Barack Obama's policies, as well as such issues that didn't come up (at least directly) in her discussion with teachers

How Is the Big Year for Common-Core Tests Shaking Out? PK12: In addition to the scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Smarter Balanced, and other common-core tests from the past school year, the interactive presentation includes scores from previous state tests.

Hey, New Teacher, Don't Quit. It Will Get Better NPR: One new teacher in 10 will quit by the end of the first year. One teacher coined a phrase that explains why: Dark, Evil Vortex Of Late September, October and November, or DEVOLSON.

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

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Quotes: "Make Sure To Make Them Feel Safe"

From PDK's Joshua Starr: "Educators: tomorrow, please be especially mindful of Muslim children in your schools and be sure to make them feel safe."

AM News: Educators Respond To Paris Attacks (Plus NCLB Rewrite Agreement)

The California student killed in Paris saw herself as a driven, independent Mexican American LA Times: Gonzalez, a 23-year-old design student at Cal State Long Beach, had arrived in the city in September. She had never been out of the country and was looking forward to the semester abroad. See also TODAY and Joshua Starr tweet reminding educators to be aware of issues that may come up in American classrooms this week.

Paris Teachers Prepare To Discuss Attacks With Worried Students HuffPost: On Jan. 7, 2015, there was suffocating alarm, horror and fear in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The next day, wounds still fresh, it was necessary to keep going. It was a difficult day for schoolteachers in France, faced with students and their questions, and at times their anger.

Lawmakers Announce Preliminary Agreement On ESEA Rewrite PK12: Congressional negotiators announced they have a way forward to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with a conference committee to start working on a compromise soon. See also Washington Post.

Pell Grants, Sandy Hook Highlight Brief Nods to Education in Democratic Debate PK12: In keeping with the previous Republican and Democratic debates, there weren't any direct questions on K-12.

Four Chicago charter schools push back against sudden closings WBEZ: The school board passed a new policy 15 days ago, outlining which charter schools it deemed poor performing. A week later, district officials announced a list of four schools it wants to close at the end of this school year.

More than 11,000 school staff members are 'missing' from Virginia schools Washington Post: Study says that during the recession, school enrollment boomed but school districts didn't hire teachers and staff to keep up.

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

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AM News: Friday News Roundup

Sanders-scores-postal-union-endorsement CNN: The American Postal Workers Union announced their endorsement of Sanders Thursday, giving the insurgent Democratic candidate a small boost at a critical moment as his campaign tries to find its way. See also Bloomberg News.

Massachusetts Chief Recommends Hybrid State/PARCC Testing Approach State EdWatch: Massachusetts' education commissioner is recommending that students take a hybrid test in 2017 that would include material from both the state's own test and the PARCC common-core-aligned assessment. See also Boston Learning LabAP.

PARCC switches to a Chinese menu of standardized testing options Washington Post: Next year, states will be able to buy the entire Common Core test, or parts, or even just a few questions. See also EdWeek.

Education researchers caution against using students’ test scores to evaluate teachers Washington Post: Many states are now evaluating teachers using a method that researchers are calling questionable.

Sources: House and Senate Negotiators Have Reached Preliminary ESEA Deal PK12: Christmas seems to have came early this year for education advocates. After weeks of long and hard negotiations, House and Senate lawmakers have reached preliminary agreement on a bill to reauthorize the very long-stalled No Child Left Behind Act, multiple sources say.

Broad Foundation defends charter plan after concerns about public school impact KPCC: “We’ve got over 50,000 students on wait lists in charters. Why is that? It’s because parents want different choices, they want something different,” Broad's Gregory McGinity said, speaking publicly on the plan for the first time since it was leaked in September. See also LA Times.

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AM News: Unions Members For Sanders, Testing A La Carte, MA Hybrid Approach

Sanders-scores-postal-union-endorsement CNN: The American Postal Workers Union announced their endorsement of Sanders Thursday, giving the insurgent Democratic candidate a small boost at a critical moment as his campaign tries to find its way. See also Bloomberg News.

Massachusetts Chief Recommends Hybrid State/PARCC Testing Approach State EdWatch: Massachusetts' education commissioner is recommending that students take a hybrid test in 2017 that would include material from both the state's own test and the PARCC common-core-aligned assessment. See also Boston Learning LabAP.

PARCC switches to a Chinese menu of standardized testing options Washington Post: Next year, states will be able to buy the entire Common Core test, or parts, or even just a few questions. See also EdWeek.

Education researchers caution against using students’ test scores to evaluate teachers Washington Post: Many states are now evaluating teachers using a method that researchers are calling questionable.

Sources: House and Senate Negotiators Have Reached Preliminary ESEA Deal PK12: Christmas seems to have came early this year for education advocates. After weeks of long and hard negotiations, House and Senate lawmakers have reached preliminary agreement on a bill to reauthorize the very long-stalled No Child Left Behind Act, multiple sources say.

Broad Foundation defends charter plan after concerns about public school impact KPCC: “We’ve got over 50,000 students on wait lists in charters. Why is that? It’s because parents want different choices, they want something different,” Broad's Gregory McGinity said, speaking publicly on the plan for the first time since it was leaked in September. See also LA Times.


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AM News: DC's Henderson Reaches Five-Yeark Mark At Helm

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson celebrates 5 years at helm Washington Post: Most urban superintendents leave after three years; many credit stability at the top for D.C.’s improvement. See also Washington Post.

Ahead of Departure, Arne Duncan Reflects on Signature Education Programs US News: On Thursday, speaking at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, Duncan plans to reflect on his work thus far in conjunction with the department's release of two comprehensive assessments of its most significant programs, the Race to the Top competition and the School Improvement Grant.

New SIG Data Serves Up Same Old Conclusion: Mixed Results PK12: The latest Education Department report on the federal School Improvement Grant program paints an uneven picture of SIG's impact, just as Congress is about to decide its fate. See also Washington Post.

What the Ed. Dept.'s New Race to the Top Report Reveals, and What It Avoids PK12: The Education Department says all states in the competitive-grant program made progress toward their goals, but makes little mention of areas where they stumbled or backtracked.

How N.J. school distirct is making enrollment much easier NJ.com: Replacing a "patchwork" system of 17 different applications, the Camden City School District on Tuesday rolled out a better way of getting kids into school.

Montgomery County Schools Recognize Muslim Holiday of Eid Slate: Some districts in New Jersey have closed for Muslim holidays for years, while others, like Jersey City, recently voted against closing for Eid this year. And this spring, the New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the country, where an estimated 10 percent of students are Muslim, announced that schools would close for Eid al-Adha.

Common Core testing showdown in Massachusetts Hechinger Report: The Massachusetts Board of Education is deciding whether to use a multi-state test, the Partnership for Assessing College and Career Readiness, known as PARCC, or to stick with its own test.

Research Group Latest to Caution Use of 'Value Added' for Teachers TeacherBeat: The American Educational Research Association lists eight principles that it says must be considered before using VAM to judge teachers or teaching programs.

Want To Make A School Better? Get Kids To Show Up NPR: Students who miss 15 or 20 days of school a year may never catch up. The Department of Education is looking for prevention ideas, and one Baltimore school could provide some.

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AM News: LAUSD Eyes Charter Expansion, New Leadership (Plus Chicago Strike?)

LAUSD Board of Education eyes growth of charter schools LA Daily News: The focus of the board's deliberations will be a controversial $490 million plan to more than double the number of charter schools in Los Angeles. See also KPCC LA.

Next L.A. schools chief: A politically savvy educator who's a superhero? LA Times: The people have spoken about what they want in a new superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the hunt is on for Superman or Superwoman. 

Chicago Teachers Union Says Its Members Are Willing to Strike TeacherBeat: The Chicago Teachers Union took a "practice" vote last week to test how its members felt about walking off the job. See also Tribune, Sun-Times.  

Feds: Ex-CPS CEO 'fraudulently' steered $40M contract in Detroit Sun Times: An FBI agent believed corrupt former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett worked to “fraudulently steer” a $40 million contract to one of the country’s biggest educational publishers while she worked for the Detroit schools, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Education Continues to Struggle for Airtime in GOP Debates PK12: If you tuned into the Tuesday night GOP presidential debate hoping for education policy talk, once again, you got very meager scraps.

City Releases Latest School Quality Guides WNYC: The latest guides showed a slight uptick of graduating high school seniors last year enrolled in either a two- or four-year college, vocational program or public service program, up two percentage points to 53 percent. The city's overall college-readiness rate also was up, reaching 35 percent compared to 33 percent last year. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Video Shows School Resource Officer Slam Black Teen To Ground HuffPost: Damning video has surfaced in the case of a Florida school resource officer accused of abusing a 13-year-old black student.

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AM News: Obama On Mascots, De Blasio On Real Estate, Zuckerberg On Community Responsiveness

Obama: Schools 'Really Don’t Have An Excuse' To Keep Native American Mascots HuffPost: With Adidas' recent announcement that the company will help schools transition away from Native American mascots, "schools now really don’t have an excuse" for keeping them, President Barack Obama said Thursday at the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference.

De Blasio: City must respect families’ investments amid school diversity debates Chalkbeat: “You have to also respect families who have made a decision to live in a certain area oftentimes because of a specific school,” de Blasio said when a reporter asked what is stopping the city from creating new zones to promote school integration. Those families, he said, have “made massive life decisions and investments because of which school their kid would go to.”

Zuckerberg Talks Success, Lessons Learned in Newark Schools AP: "It's very important to understand the desires of a community, to listen and learn from families, teachers, elected officials and other experts," he wrote. "We now better understand why it can take years to build the support to durably cement the changes needed to provide every student with a high quality education."

Chicago lead way on charter school unions Catalyst:  Nationally, the movement to organize charter school teachers is just now gaining momentum. For example, the United Teachers of Los Angeles is working to organize teachers in that city's largest charter network, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

How to build a better teacher: Groups push a 9-point plan called TeachStrong Washington Post: A coalition of 40 education groups — including some strange bedfellows — is starting a national campaign aimed at “modernizing and elevating” the teaching profession.

A Hedge Fund Sales Pitch Casts a Spell on Public Pensions New York Times: “The report was really intended to give information to pension trustees so they could ask the tough questions and fulfill their fiduciary duties to the funds and their participants,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the teachers' union.

What kids saw on a Common Core test NPR: Amid all the political controversy over the Common Core and whether students should even take these exams, this gives us a chance to look objectively at the tests themselves. In this post, we picked a handful of those questions that jumped out at us (and likely would have jumped out at you, too). We ran them by a few experts who played no official role in developing them.

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AM News: Washington State Wants Its NCLB Waiver Back (& More)

With White House rethinking tests, Washington wants its ‘No Child Left Behind’ waiver back Seattle Times: With federal waivers — which Washington had for awhile — school districts didn’t have to set aside some of their federal funds to pay for private tutoring for students attending schools where test scores fell under certain levels.  

PARCC Exam Results for NJ Magnify Achievement Gaps Linked to Income, Race NJ Spotlight: While New Jersey’s so-called “achievement gap” between rich and poor and white and minorities has always been wide, the chasm appears even wider based on the first year of the new PARCC testing.

English learners struggling at NYC schools NY Daily News: Nearly half of roughly 95,000 students who speak foreign languages failed to meet city benchmarks for learning the language in 2014, according to the group’s analysis of Education Department data.

Less than half of Montgomery students are college-ready, new tests show Washington Post: In Prince George’s County, less than a third of public school students met that same benchmark on tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

Algebra pass rates fall amid Common Core shift, leaving at-risk students furthest behind ChalkbeatNY: Sixty-three percent of all test-takers passed the Common Core-aligned Algebra I Regents examination last school year, compared to 72 percent who passed an easier exam that students took the previous year, according to the data. The drops are even steeper for black and Hispanic students, as well as high-need students.

Report: CA 1 of 5 states without linking teacher reviews to learning LA School Report: “Student outcomes should be determined in a far more robust way than mainly using test scores, such as through student grades, projects, other student work and regular observations,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. 

Two Chicago public schools inch closer to integration after divided voteWBEZ: The local school council (LSC) at Ogden International School voted seven to six in favor of a possible merger with nearby Jenner Academy of the Arts. The meeting lasted four hours and included seven presentations from parents both for and against a merger.  

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AM News: Feds Tap Brakes On Ohio Charters

Federal government puts the brakes on $32 million to Ohio for charters Washington Post: More than a month after the Obama administration gave $32.5 million to Ohio to expand charter schools despite Ohio's history of multiple scandals involving charters, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to state officials in which it said it... See also Columbus Dispatch.

Portland Public Schools Proposes Boundary Changes That Could Affect Thousands Of Students NPR: Parents with kids in Portland Public Schools are reacting to proposals aimed at balancing enrollment and increasing equity across the district.

Study: Most States Link Student Learning to Teacher Reviews AP: The comprehensive state-by-state analysis released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality shows 42 states and the District of Columbia have policies on the books requiring that student growth and achievement be considered in evaluations for public school teachers. In 2009, only 15 states linked scores to teacher reviews. See also Teacher Beat, EdWeek.

School Funding Case Returns to Court WNYC: Nine years after the state's highest court found Albany failed to provide New York City with enough school aid, the case went back to court on Wednesday with plaintiffs arguing the state never lived up to that 2006 court order.

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AM News: Elections Change Landscape In JeffCo, St. Paul, & Seattle

Jeffco school board members who pushed controversial changes ousted in recall ChalkbeatCO: After two years of political acrimony in the Colorado’s second largest school district, three conservative school board members were easily swept out of office Tuesday in a recall election that cost more than a million dollars and attracted national attention. Replacing them are three candidates backed by a constituency of well-connected parents, high-profile county Democrats and the teachers union. They will serve the rest of the recall targets’ four-year terms. See also HuffPost, Washington Post.

St. Paul school board: 4 union-backed newcomers elected TwinCities.com: The union wanted more input on the district's major initiatives, such as the mainstreaming of special-education students and a shift away from out-of-school suspensions. Several candidates in April sought the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement under the banner of Caucus for Change, a union-backed, anti-incumbent movement of mostly teachers and parents. The four who emerged ran as a unified team, promising to hold district leaders accountable for missed enrollment goals, sagging test scores and racial inequities.

Four newcomers to join Seattle School Board Seattle Times: With incumbent Marty McLaren losing to challenger Leslie Harris, four newcomers will make up the majority of the seven-member Seattle School Board.

In Texas, Elementary Schools Mete Out More Punishment to Black Students Washington Post: An analysis of discipline in elementary schools across Texas shows that black students, especially boys, are suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates and are labeled as troublemakers as early as pre-kindergarten. The study by Texas Appleseed focuses on the second-most populous state, but it mirrors school discipline patterns nationwide. It also comes as concern grows about suspensions, which researchers have linked to greater risks of academic failure, dropping out of high school and involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Case Tests Whether New York Underfunds Schools WSJ: The governor’s lawyers have sought to dismiss the case, saying state dollars for education rose significantly in recent years. In state Supreme Court in Manhattan, JusticeManuel Mendez will hear arguments on the case Wednesday. A key question is whether the state has a constitutional obligation to abide by a 2007 funding formula, which was passed by the Legislature after years of litigation in a case brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

Two Chicago schools inch closer to integration after divided vote WBEZ: Ultimately, the council does not have jurisdiction to approve a merger, but Ogden principal Michael Beyer said he wouldn’t move forward with the idea without the council’s support. Although the vote was largely symbolic, six members of the 13-member council chose to abstain.

As Transgender Students Make Gains, Schools Hesitate at Bathrooms NYT:  Many schools have crafted policies that require transgender students to use private changing and showering facilities, drawing complaints of discrimination. See also NBC News.

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

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AM News: Conflict In JeffCo (Colo.), Big Vote In Mississippi

Elections in Three States Are Low-Profile, But High-Stakes for Education State EdWatch: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi hold gubernatorial elections, as well as down-ballot contests Nov. 3, and issues range from the Common Core State Standards to K-12 spending.

Colorado School District Immersed In Political Turmoil Amid Recall AP: While school-board spats typically are confined locally, these recall efforts have attracted spending from special-interest groups in a battle over what education reform should look like. It's no surprise the setting for that question is Jefferson County, a politically diverse swing district where rural, mountain, and urban communities mingle. See also District Dossier.

Mississippi voters to decide how schools should be funded PBS: Initiative 42 is a proposed amendment to Mississippi’s constitution that supporters say would “provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools.” If the state doesn’t continue to fund public K-12 schools at these current levels, courts could enforce the amendment to get more money and resources, according to the original filing with Mississippi Secretary of State’s office.

California's Attorney General Is Investigating The Online Charter School Industry BuzzFeed: The for-profit online charter school industry is the target of an investigation by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, according to a filing by K12 Inc., the country’s largest online charter management company.

Teachers need more time, money and prestige, report says LA Times: Changing the teaching profession by making it more prestigious and giving teachers more planning time are just two proposals that are part of a new report from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington. The report, which was provided to The Times and is being released Tuesday, calls for a comprehensive overhaul of the pipeline for becoming a teacher and staying in the classroom.

Help for Homework Help: Teaching Parents Common Core Math AP: They're holding special classes or giving out materials designed for adults so they can help children with their math homework. After parents learn the strategies, educators say, they're more willing to get on board with Common Core math amid criticism from some politicians, from fellow parents, on social media and from celebrities like Louis C.K., who complained Common Core math made his daughters cry.

Rift Emerges Among Gun Owners Over Concealing Weapons in Schools NYT: A dispute in a Michigan district is part of a larger debate over state legislation that is pitting open-carry groups — and gun control activists — against those who favor concealing guns at times.

Longtime Residents Witness Brooklyn Waterfront’s Changing Fortune WNYC: While a revitalized, polished Dumbo is open to anyone — like the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park  — many Farragut residents said they felt that development and progress have bypassed their community.

Seattle district seeks to sever ties with Alliance for Education Seattle Times: The Seattle School Board will vote this week whether to restructure or dissolve its two-decade relationship with its fundraising arm, the Alliance for Education.

Only 35 L.A. public schools get an A in supporting the arts LA Times: For the first time, L.A. Unified in September completed a detailed accounting of arts programs at its campuses that shows stark disparities in class offerings, the number of teachers and help provided by outside groups.

AM News: Denver Suburb Proxy Battle; Moskowitz Denounces Pushout List

In Denver suburb, a school board race morphs into $1 million ‘proxy war’ Washington Post: In Jefferson County, teachers unions and Koch brothers battle for votes and the future of public schools. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Success Academy Founder Calls ‘Got to Go’ List an Anomaly NYT: Ms. Moskowitz, who spoke on Friday at a news conference, said that the list existed for only three days before Mr. Brown was admonished and that he changed course. Nonetheless, nine of the students on the list eventually left the school. See also Chalkbeat, NY1Politico New York.

Judge Issues Restraining Order on L.A. Charter Chain in Unionization Fight Teacher Beat: A judge has granted a temporary restraining order against the 27-school Alliance College-Ready Publia S. Moskowitz, in response to a New York Times article about the list, said the charter school network did not have a practice of pushing out difficult students.

Charters grapple with admission policies, question how public they should be Washington Post: Some schools restrict admission to early grades, fueling a national debate about fairness and access to quality schools.

Big Education Groups to Congress: Finish ESEA Reauthorization PK12: Teachers, school administrators, principals and state officials have launched a digital ad campaign asking lawmakers to finish work to reauthorize the ESEA.

New York City School Suspensions Fell 17% in 2014-15, Officials Say NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced new and expanded initiatives to change how students are disciplined, following a national shift in techniques. See also WNYC.

Many Children Under 5 Are Left to Their Mobile Devices, Survey Finds NYT: Experts said a small, self-reported survey added to evidence that the unsupervised use of mobile screens is deeply woven into childhood experiences by age 4.

In a disadvantaged district, a parable of contemporary American schooling Washington Post: A community is closing its one high school to give kids a better education — at another troubled school. Will it work?

Recent Alabama teacher of the year resigns over certification issues NPR: Less than two years after being named Alabama's Teacher of the Year, Ann Marie Corgill resigned her post this week, citing her frustration with bureaucracy. After Corgill was moved from teaching second grade to fifth, she was told she wasn't qualified to teach fifth-graders. See also Valerie Strauss.

Texas case mulls if home-school kids have to learn something AP: Laura McIntyre began educating her nine children more than a decade ago inside a vacant office at an El Paso motorcycle dealership she ran with her husband and other relatives....

Students Protest Firing Of Spring Valley High School Officer HuffPost: Students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, left their classes on Friday to protest the firing of Ben Fields, a former resource officer at the school.

The Changing Role Of Police In American Classrooms NPR: Susan Ferriss has reported extensively on this issue for the Center for Public Integrity, and she is with us now. Welcome, thanks for joining us.

Deterioration of public school arts programs has been particularly jarring in L.A. LA Times: Normandie Avenue Elementary Principal Gustavo Ortiz worries that he can't provide arts classes for most of the 900 students at his South Los Angeles school. Not a single art or music class was offered until this year at Curtiss Middle School in Carson.

AM News: NYC Schools Face Rising Integration Pressures (Plus Success Press Conference At Noon)

On Upper West Side, Fariña says school integration can’t be forced on parents Chalkbeat: Fariña displayed little sympathy for parents seeking to keep hold of their 199 seats at all costs, saying that overcrowding will only be solved through “hard decisions,” not “fairy dust.” But she also declined to get behind alternative zoning proposals floated by parents, which they say would alleviate overcrowding while also doing more to integrate both schools. See also DNA Info: NYC Schools Boss Touts Pen Pal System as Substitute for Racial Integration [seriously]

How a Legal Footnote Stymied Efforts to Desegregate New York City Schools WNYC: Because of a confluence of trends any New Yorker would recognize — overcrowding, rapid development, the choice of whiter, wealthier families to raise their children in the city — parents and school leaders have become increasingly concerned about segregation. 

At a Success Academy Charter School, Singling Out Pupils Who Have ‘Got to Go’ NYT: Sixteen children at the Brooklyn school appeared on a list with that title; nine later left. Current and former employees say the network puts pressure on some parents to withdraw.

Moskowitz to face tough questions after reports of schools pushing out kids Chalkbeat: By the afternoon, the union-allied Alliance for Quality Education had started a social media campaign highlighting aspects of the story, including pictures of Moskowitz with facts from the story and #GotToGo. Two people from AQE attended the Success event on Thursday, one carrying a large poster showing the Times story.

Obama Backs Transgender Teen In School Restroom Dispute HuffPost: The administration's position in Grimm's case represents its clearest statement to date on a modern civil rights issue that has roiled some communities as more children identify as transgender at younger ages.

Pennsylvania Schools Short On Funds As Budget Stalemate Continues NPR: The governor and legislators can't agree how to fix the deficit or how much money schools should get. Meanwhile, districts are taking out loans and racking up interest costs to keep the lights on.

CAP Report: Congress Shouldn't Forget 'Subgroup' Students in ESEA Renewal PK12: Some of the biggest achievement gaps are found in schools that are performing well otherwise, a CAP analysis finds.

For At-Risk Kids, Mentors Provide Far More Than Just Homework Help NPR: At Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School, mentors help students cope with the trauma in their daily lives. The principal says the aim is not just to keep boys in school, but to keep them alive.

2 LAUSD students awarded $3 million each in Telfair molestation case LA Daily News: A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a day before reaching its verdict. The district previously admitted liability for the actions of ex-Telfair Avenue Elementary School third-grade teacher Paul Chapel III.

Most applicants for school-choice program are from wealthy neighborhoods Las Vegas Review Journal: Overall, half of the nearly 3,100 applications submitted as of Oct. 28 list an address in a ZIP Code among the top 40 percent of median households in Nevada. That's in contrast to just 10.7 percent of applications from households with median incomes in the bottom 40 percent.

Most Illinois high schools leave grads unprepared for college Chicago Tribune: •At 482 of 666 Illinois high schools with ACT scores, more than half of graduates were unable to score at least 21, the national average. That score is one method the state uses to determine if students are ready for college classes.

AM News: South Carolina Spotlight On School Police, Plus NAEP Followup

Rough Student Arrest Puts Spotlight on School PoliceNYT: As common as the officers and their arrests have become, there are no generally accepted standards for how they should be trained, used, armed or organized. No one even knows for certain how many there are — most experts estimate between 10,000 and 15,000 nationwide.

Assaulted S.C. Student Is A Recent Orphan Living In Foster Care, Attorney Says AP: The attorney for a 16-year-old student who was thrown across a classroom during an arrest says the officer should be jailed for his actions.

School Board Recall Vote in Colorado Tests Conservative Policies NYT: The vote here in Jefferson County, just west of Denver, has become a money-soaked proxy war between union supporters and conservative groups like the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, testing whether parents in an election-year battleground believe a rightward turn in their schools has gone too far.

Wisconsin holds steady while U.S. slips in national test report Journal-Sentinel Online: But, as is the case in so many measurements of academic success, the achievement gap between white and black students remains great in Wisconsin, ranking the second widest in the NAEP report for both reading and math.

Teaching the Common Core in China NYT: I learned some surprising things that day, as well as throughout the two years that followed. It was the last time, however, that I was invited to a parents meeting.

Fight over charter school signals philosophical differences in how schools are viewed WBEZ Chicago: For a decade, Chicago has followed the school reform strategy it laid out in its Renaissance 2010 program: improve the entire system by adding new “high quality” schools. But the city’s school reform strategy, and Noble’s expansion plans, have clashed this year with dire fiscal, political, and educational realities to a degree unseen before.

Montgomery County Schools To See Long Overdue Expansion And Modernization WAMU: School officials in Montgomery County are unveiling their construction plans for the next five years, and thanks to a backlog the northernmost part of the county will see a lot of construction. See also Washington Post.

LAUSD fires controversial lawyer in sex abuse case — again KPCC: W. Keith Wyatt represented LAUSD in arguing that a Los Angeles middle school student was mature enough to consent to sex with her 28-year-old teacher.

A Teacher Killed by Palestinians, Recalled as a Man of PeaceNYT: A civil rights activist and Connecticut elementary school principal, Mr. Lakin moved to Jerusalem with his family in 1984. He taught English to Israeli and Palestinian children, performed in musicals and, according to Rabbi Weiman-Kelman, never missed a peace rally.

AM News: New NAEP Scores Show First-Ever Lack Of Progress

American Kids Have Disappointing Reading And Math Scores, But There Are Some Bright Spots HuffPost: "One downturn does not a trend make, and that’s what we’re comfortable in saying about the data," Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of NCES, said on a call with reporters. "We’re trying not to read too much into a decline at this point."

Consistent with national trends, city and state NAEP results show little change ChalkeatNY: “We’re trying not to read too much in a decline in at this point
,” said Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center of Education Statistics, which administers NAEP. “We understand it’s a pattern consistent across many states, but … we don’t know yet if these changes we’re talking about today are long-term.

A decade of academic progress halts, NAEP standardized test scores show LA Times: Overall, Los Angeles, where the test has been given since 2003, landed in the bottom third of the 21 big cities whose results were reported. In fourth-grade reading, 21% of L.A. Unified students reached or exceeded proficiency, compared with 27% in the big cities overall, 27% in Chicago and 26% in New York.

U.S. student performance slips on national test Washington Post: Recent demographic shifts mean that schools are grappling with the challenge of educating an increasing number of students who come from low-income families and are learning how to speak English. And in recent years, most states have adopted sweeping educational policy changes, including teacher evaluations tied to test scores and Common Core academic standards that have changed what and how students learn in the classroom.

Nationwide Test Shows Dip in Students’ Math Abilities NYT: Education officials said that the first-time decline in math scores was unexpected, but that it could be related to changes ushered in by the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states. For example, some of the fourth-grade math questions on data analysis, statistics and geometry are not part of that grade’s guidelines under the Common Core.

Anemic report card for nation’s school kids AP: "Having the higher academic standards caused the states and teachers and districts to change the way they’re teaching certain things,” CCSSO's Chris Minnich said in an interview. “We may be in a place where some of the questions that are asked on this national test aren’t being taught at the same time they were being taught before.”

Deputy Who Flipped Spring Valley High Student Acted Reprehensibly, School Officials Say HuffPost: Richland School District 2 Chair James Manning and Superintendent Debbie Hamm didn't mince words at a press conference to decry Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields' actions on Monday.

More Chinese students enroll in U.S. high schools WBEZ:  Li is a senior at St. Laurence High School in Burbank, Illinois. He’s living with about 20 other Chinese high school students, dorm style, at the Write Inn in Oak Park. Chinese students alone make up 10 percent of the freshmen class at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Q&A: Inside the search for the next LAUSD superintendent KPCC: Hank Gmitro, the man who heads the hunt for the next Los Angeles Unified superintendent says the size of the 650,000-student school district and its high-profile search are adding to the challenge of finding a new leader. 

7 percent of U.S. kids have had a parent in jail PBS NewsHour: More than 5 million children in the U.S. have had a parent in jail. That’s roughly 7 percent of the nation’s kids 17 and under, or one out of every 14 children.

Student suspended following lockdown of West Virginia school AP: Police say a student has been suspended after reports of a gun prompted the lockdown of a West Virginia school....

 Oracle to Build High School on Its Silicon Valley Campus AP: Oracle adding public high school next to Silicon Valley headquarters to teach tech to students.

AM News: More About Test Reduction (Plus Detroit, Free Lunch)

Arne Duncan, John King: Don't Cap Testing at the Expense of Testing Quality PK12: "Everybody has had a hand in what our current testing system looks like—this situation was not created by just one entity," said Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools. See also Washington Post, EdWeekPBS NewsHour.

Obama calls for less school testing: What California's classrooms do now KPCC: "California has cut testing under Gov. Brown by over 50 percent since 2013, so I don't think the state in California is anywhere close to 2 percent. But the locals have the right to add on and do whatever they want. So you need to pay attention to each school district," he said. See also EdSource.

USDA Sees 20 Percent Increase in Schools Offering Free Meals to All Students EdWeek: More than 17,000 high-poverty schools now offer free federally subsidized meals to about 8 million students through the provision, Vilsack announced at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Washington. 

FBI looked into Byrd-Bennett before she worked in Chicago Sun-Times: Byrd-Bennett was the Detroit schools chief academic and accountability auditor, making $18,000 a month, when Houghton Mifflin Harcourt won the giant contract for textbooks and online training that began in August 2009.

Video Shows Officer Flipping Student in South Carolina, Prompting Inquiry NYT: A white school police officer is seen flipping a black female high school student backward in her desk and dragging her on the floor. See also Washington Post, Huffington Post.

Merryl Tisch to Leave N.Y. Regents After Busy, Polarizing Tenure State EdWatch: Tisch oversaw big changes to Empire State K-12 policy during her six-year tenure as the leader of the Regents, and unleashed a torrent of political controversy in the process. See also NYT, ChalkbeatNYT.

Louisiana State Board Elections Give Boost to Common Core State EdWatch: Of the eight seats on the 11-member Louisiana state school board that were up for election, six were won by those that favor the common core.

Education group says school choice could be what unifies Illinois lawmakers WBEZ: WBEZ got a draft of Mendoza’s plan. It hasn’t been introduced in the Statehouse, but Mendoza’s looking for a lawmaker’s backing. It’s early in the process, but Mendoza was willing to explain why, in spite of all of the financial issues facing Illinois, lawmakers should support tax breaks to corporations.

Urging Students to Apply to College, New York City Will Make SAT Free for Juniors NYT: The change, which Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced, is intended to encourage more students to apply to college.

Many Montgomery teachers say they don’t want to eliminate final exams Washington Post: Teachers union survey finds an “overwhelming number” object to the idea of scrapping county final exams.

New financial problem at state's first charter school AP: The Washington Supreme Court's September ruling that the state's new charter school law is unconstitutional is causing new financial problems for the state's first charter school.

AM News: Clinton Endorses Obama Test Reduction Proposal (Sanders?)

Obama encouraging limits on standardized student tests AP: Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced the principles laid out by Obama. "We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward," she said in a statement.

See blizzard of testing coverage here: 

Too Much Testing? Ed. Dept. Outlines Steps to Help States and Districts Cut Back PK12: The U.S. Department of Education has released some general principles for states and districts to help them figure out how to cut back on assessments and ensure that they're used to drive instruction.

Study says standardized testing is overwhelming nation’s public schools Washington Post: Typical student takes 112 required tests from pre-K through 12th grade; federal officials vow to help reduce redundant, low-quality exams.

Obama encouraging limits on standardized student tests AP: And from the 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced the principles laid out by Obama. "We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward," she said in a statement.

Obama proposes capping standardized testing at 2% of classroom time Los Angeles Times:  The Obama administration executed a significant about-face in its education policy Saturday, calling for a cap on the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests.

Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools NYT: The administration acknowledged its own role in the proliferation of tests, and urged schools to make exams less onerous and more purposeful.

Ed Dept.: Too Much Testing, Partly Our Fault Politico: The Education Department took some of the blame for the sometimes stressful, excessive and time-consuming testing at many schools and said Saturday that it hasn't done enough to help states tackle the problem.

A Standardized Test Parents Need to Take LA Times: The Obama administration has announced a plan to limit the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests -- and to ensure that such examinations are limited to "tests that are worth taking."

Obama Wants To Limit Class Time Devoted To Standardized Tests AP: Students spend about 20 to 25 hours a school year taking standardized tests, according to a study of the nation's 66 largest school districts that was released Saturday by the Council of Great City Schools. But it's not known how much class time students spend preparing for tests that became mandatory, starting in third grade, under the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind law and are a flashpoint in the debate over the Common Core academic standards.

Following President's Call, New York Touts Efforts to Reduce Overtesting WNYC: In New York, state education officials have taken steps to reduce over-testing, and indeed the Obama administration called New York a leader in this effort. These steps include limiting the amount of time students spend on required standardized tests and establishing a grant to allow administrators to review the assessments given to students.

Students Take Too Many Redundant Tests, Study Finds EdWeek: The comprehensive report by the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools examines testing in 66 of the council's 68 member school districts, looking at the types of tests administered, their frequency, and how they are used. The findings are expected to add hard numbers and evidence to the fractious national debate around whether U.S. students are being overtested.

President Obama Calls To Curb Number Of Standardized Tests NPR: The Obama Administration has a plan to limit the number of standardized tests that children take. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks to correspondent Anya Kamenetz about what changes the efforts might bring.

Teaching Teachers To Teach: It's Not So Elementary NPR: How are great teachers created? Practice, practice, practice, says Deborah Ball, dean of the University of Michigan School of Education.

The Online College That's Helping Undocumented Students NPR: There are no federal laws in this country that prohibit undocumented students from enrolling in college. But few can afford it. Now, one online college is offering them an option.

With Switch From Pencils To Computers, GED Gets Tougher For Inmates NPR: Formerly, the test to get a GED diploma was multiple-choice, and taken with a pencil. Not anymore: Now, it requires computer skills some inmates simply don't have.

Superintendents in Florida Say Tests Failed State’s Schools, Not Vice Versa NYT: Superintendents are arguing that student tests imported from Utah were flawed and should not be used to give schools A-to-F grades.

Grading on the Curve: Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores NYT: A new analysis, taking into account student demographics, finds the states in third and fourth place, after Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Setting Bold Course, Delaware Serves Up Info on Teacher-Prep Performance Teacher Beat: The reports also contain data on some of the measures the U.S. Department of Education wants states to use to grade their preparation programs.

Porter Ranch bucks trend of students flocking away from LAUSD LA Times:About a third of the campus' 1,100 students in kindergarten through eighth grade have come from nearby charter and private schools – a development that caught officials off-guard. "We didn't anticipate that; these students were off the grid," said Principal Mary Melvin.

How a growing Arkansas town avoided segregation in its two high schools PBS: In 2006, the Rogers school district faced a difficult choice. The student population had grown enormously over the past decade and school officials didn’t relish the prospect of a massive high school of more than 4,000 students. They wanted to open a new school, but they didn’t want schools to be segregated by ethnicity, which would surely happen if the schools were zoned by neighborhood. Nearby Springdale had been in the same position and had ended up with one school that had almost twice the percentage of Latino students as the other.

AM News: LA Searches For Acceptable New Schools Leader

Who might head L.A. Unified, and what are officials looking for in a leader? LA Times: In its search for a new superintendent, the Los Angeles Board of Education is out to find that rare leader who can tame political turmoil, manage a multibillion-dollar organization and somehow drive academic achievement upward. See also KPCC.

Sesame Street Reveals New Character, A Girl With Autism NPR: There's big news from one of the world's most famous neighborhoods. "Sesame Street" has a new character. Her name is Julia, she's 4, and likes chocolate milk and playing with Elmo. She also wears lime green tights that match her eyes. And one more thing - she has autism. Here's Cory Turner of the NPR Ed team.

New report shows disconnection among black youths in Montgomery Washington Post: Survey showed more than one in four black youths feel people have discriminated against them at school.

Why Calling Slaves 'Workers' Is More Than An Editing Error NPR: This high school geography textbook calls slaves "workers" and "immigrants." The publisher is working to correct the error, but what does it tell us about teaching history? 

Teach For America Pledges to Recruit More Latino Teachers NBC News: Mario Benabe, 24, teaches special education mathematics at Bronx River High School in New York City as a Teach For America corps member. The school is just minutes away from where he grew up, so he shares the same background as many of the students he teaches. Benabe is just the type of teacher thatTeach For America wants more of.

LeBron James And Michelle Obama Take Stage To Promote Education HuffPost: One is from Chicago’s south side, the daughter of a city pump operator. The other was raised by a single mother, who bounced around Akron looking for a better life for her talented son. But as they stood side-by-side Wednesday, Michelle Obama and LeBron James were proof to kids that dreams do come true.

'Say Something' slogan, born of terror, adopted for schools AP: A variation on the adage "If You See Something, Say Something," first introduced in a jittery New York City after 9/11, is being adopted for schools at a time of heightened vigilance for the next classroom shooter....

U.S. Department of Education Approves More State Teacher-Distribution Plans PK12: The states are: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. See also EdSource Today.

A Disadvantaged Start Hurts Boys More Than Girls NYT: Poverty and related problems hurt all children in things like school readiness, but a study finds boys are more sensitive to such factors.

When Students Become Patients, Privacy Suffers ProPublica: Under FERPA, the fact that Andrea was no longer a minor did not matter. FERPA allowed the university to share information with her parents.

AM News: Obama Administration Reports Grad Rate Increases

Most states show increase in high school graduation rates AP: High school graduation rates for most states continue to improve, according to preliminary data released Monday by the Obama administration.... See also Washington Post.

White House hosts Texas student arrested for homemade clock Washington Post: The president and Ahmed did not have a formal meeting at the White House Monday, but they spoke briefly during the Astronomy Night event, according to the Associated Press.

Graduation Rate Gap Between Black And White Students Is Closing In Most States HuffPost: Thirty-six states experienced an increase in graduation rates, while six saw decreases, according to a press release from the Education Department. Twenty-eight states saw decreases in the graduation rate gap between black and white students, as shown in the graph below.

Michelle Obama announces new education push WBEZ Chicago: Michelle Obama is continuing her push to get every young person to pursue some form of higher education. At the White House Monday, the First Lady is expected to launch a new public awareness campaign geared toward students aged 14 to 19. See also Tubefilter.

Arne Duncan, John King Talk Higher Graduation Rates, ESEA, and Testing PK12: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a piece of good news to announce on his way out the door: High school graduation rates appear to be on track to rise for the third year in a row.

How one Chicago high school built a college culture WBEZ: To catch up, Gallick started making college part of the conversation at Washington. The school staged a phonathon, reaching out to parents to answer their questions about applications and financial aid.

Seattle School Board races: Transparency, funding issues loom large Seattle Times: At least three and possibly four of the Seattle School Board’s seven members will be newcomers after the November election.

State labor panel to file injunction in charter school unionization push LA Times: Leaders of United Teachers Los Angeles had asked the Public Employment Relations Board to seek the injunction, accusing Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter organization, of intimidating employees, denying organizers access to school buildings and blocking emails. In its request, the union said there would be irreparable harm if the courts did not intervene.

Noble maps out massive charter school expansion, feds support it WBEZ Chicago: Despite a financial crisis in Chicago Public Schools and increasingly organized opposition to the prospect of more charter schools, Chicago’s largest charter network has plans for a massive expansion in the city, according to a successful grant application it submitted to the federal government.

New York City Seeks Teacher Evaluation Waiver WNYC: "We want to make sure that our teacher development and evaluation system is high quality and works best for students, teachers and school communities as a whole," said Devora Kaye, spokeswoman for the Department of Education. "Learning to implement a brand new system of teacher development and evaluation at this time would not be best for students and school communities."

Nevada Fights Against ACLU Suit Over Voucher-Like Program AP: The program, which is considered the broadest school choice program in the country because it's not limited by factors such as family income, allows parents to claim most of their child's per-pupil state education funding and use it toward private school tuition or other qualified education expenses.

As Campus Fears Rise, So Do Efforts to Enact School Gun Laws NYT: While California passed a ban on concealed weapons at schools, other states considered bills to ease restrictions on concealed firearms on campus.

Brooklyn Mother Fights for Changes After Disabled Son Misses Graduation by One Point NYT: New York State students who come within three points of passing a Regents exam can appeal in certain cases, but that option isn’t available to some disabled students.

How a diverse yet divided school blended ‘segregated’ classes Seattle Times: After experiencing a striking racial imbalance, Leschi Elementary altered a popular program that had drawn white families to a traditionally black school.

Keeping Black Men In Front Of The Class NPR: Studies show high rates of teacher turnover — especially among minorities. One researcher is trying to figure out why and how schools can reverse the trend.

LAUSD holds first community forum on superintendent search KPCC: As about two dozen more people trickled into the auditorium, Hank Gmitro, president of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the company helping to search for the next superintendent, talked about the search process. Then he asked those present what kind of superintendent they would like to see selected.

AM News: Schools Trying to Reduce Suspensions (Is It Working?)

Schools across US find alternatives to suspending students AP: The school districts in New York, Los Angeles and Denver are just some of those that have moved away from discipline policies that relied heavily on suspensions. State governments have also been taking action: This year, Connecticut limited out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students up through the second grade, Texas decriminalized truancy and Oregon limited when suspensions and expulsions can be applied to students up through the fifth grade.

Why Test Prep May Be Key to Improving School Diversity WNYC: WNYC spent the summer and fall talking with students across the city, many of whom hope to attend a specialized high school. We wanted to know who prepared for the test and how. Now that the high school application season is about halfway through, with the deadline on Dec. 1, we've created five short vignettes about the pressure city students face to get into a good school.

For two sharply divided Manhattan schools, an uncertain path to integration ChalkbeatNY: In order to stem overcrowding at 199, where soaring demand created the city’s longest kindergarten waitlist this year, the city education department has proposed new zone lines that would reroute some would-be 199 students to 191, which has many open seats. In that way, a solution to overcrowding could spur integration.

The Evidence That White Children Benefit From Integrated Schools NPR: It's long been established that poor and minority children do better in integrated classrooms. But there's more and more to suggest that the benefits spread to all students.

As Charter Schools Become Divisive, Two Parents Give Their Take NPR: The number of charter schools that are suing the Baltimore City Public Schools is increasing and some parents need to make a choice between two big options: district vs. charter.

The surprising power of the ninth grade WBEZ Chicago: Years ago, researchers at the University of Chicago discovered that how students perform during their freshman year is the best predictor of whether they’ll graduate — better than their previous grades or attendance or their family’s income.

A Tiny School District Reaches Far And Wide For New Teachers NPR: Across the country, school districts are struggling to find new teachers. One rural town in Colorado is reaching outside the 50 states.

Are School Dress Codes Sexist? WNYC: Parents in some public school districts in New Jersey are saying the dress codes are sexist: they argue it singles out girls and shames them, saying their bodies are a distraction to the boys.

LAUSD iPad settlement now coming out of Pearson’s pocket KPCC: But on Thursday, the district said it will be Pearson that will pay the settlement. The company will pay $4.2 million directly to LAUSD and reimburse Lenovo for a $2.25 million account credit that Lenovo is providing the school district.

Some Mississippi educators told to stay quiet on school funding battle Hechinger Report: Tucker is among the Mississippi educators, including teachers and superintendents who say they’ve been pressured to keep quiet about Initiative 42, which will be on the ballot on Nov. 2 along with a competing amendment filed by lawmakers who are against 42 and want to keep funding fully in the hands of legislators.

AM News: A Peek At Hillary Clinton's NEA Answers, Plus Chicago Probe Spreads To Detroit

What Hillary Clinton Told the NEA Board of Directors PK12: Earlier this month, the National Education Association voted to endorse Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary for president. But what went into that decision beforehand?

Authorities probing ex-Chicago schools CEO's Detroit tenure AP:Authorities are investigating Detroit Public Schools contracts awarded by a former official who has pleaded guilty to her role in a kickback scheme while she was CEO of Chicago's school system, DPS said Thursday.... See also Sun-Times: Barbara Byrd-Bennett's Detroit contracts under federal investigation.

Teacher Rafe Esquith's misconduct investigation is a high-profile test for LAUSD panel LA Times: When a colleague complained that Rafe Esquith, the most celebrated teacher in Los Angeles, had made a joke about nudity to his fifth-grade students, the district called into action a newly formed squad of investigators to get to the bottom of it. See also KPCC: Lawyer for fired LAUSD teacher responds with class-action lawsuit, Washington Post L.A. school board fires Rafe Esquith, one of nation’s most lauded teachers.

New financial problem for state’s first charter school Seattle Times: The chairman of the Charter School Commission revealed at a meeting Thursday in Tacoma that First Place Scholars is being forced to quickly refund an overpayment in state dollars it received last school year.

Chiefs Share Insights From School-Turnaround Efforts in New Mexico, Utah State EdWatch: Has any state cracked the code when it comes to turning around schools that have been foundering for decades?

Months After Promise of Help, Atlanta Students Still Waiting AP: The Atlanta Redemption Academy states on its website that cheating on standardized tests deprived students of educational help and left Atlanta with an under-educated workforce. The website says the academy aimed to provide them with tutoring, GED classes or job training.

Clashes Erupt in the Streets of Santiago over Education Reforms NBC News: Protesters battle with police in Chile’s capital, after thousands of students demonstrated over government measures regulating free education.

McTeacher's Nights: Teachers Unions Say No To School Fundraisers NPR: During McTeacher's Nights, teachers stand behind the counter at McDonald's, serving up food to their students who come in. At the end of the event, the school gets a cut of the night's sales.

Long Island Assistant Principal With Role in Racy Rap Video Is Reassigned NYT: Esther Adler-O’Keefe has been given other duties in the Southampton, N.Y., school district after appearing in a video by the rapper J.R.

The surprising power of the ninth grade Marketplace: The school year is just a few weeks old, and ninth graders at George Washington High on Chicago’s southeast side are still trying to get the hang of things. They’re at a much bigger school, with hundreds more kids, and a more complicated class schedule. To help ease the transition, the school has grouped most of the freshman classes along one hallway.

Iraq Vet Offers A Final Lesson For His Former Student: 'Real Men Cry' NPR: Erik Booker is a seventh-grade teacher in Sumpter, S.C. He also happens to be an Army veteran who served in Iraq — just like the father of one of his students last year, Jenna.

AM News: LAUSD Moves To Fire Nationally-Acclaimed Teacher

L.A. school board votes to fire teacher Rafe Esquith, accused of misconduct LA Times: The Los Angeles Board of Education voted this week to fire nationally recognized teacher Rafe Esquith, following a misconduct investigation that included allegations he made an improper joke to students and inappropriately touched minors, according to sources with knowledge of the decision.

NYC shows gains in SAT and AP scores Chalkbeat: Nationally, SAT scores dropped by eight points last year. In New York State, average test scores fell in math and writing, while staying the same in critical reading.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett co-defendants plead not guilty in kickback scheme Tribune: An education consultant with long ties to the Emanuel administration pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he promised Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for steering lucrative no-bid contracts to his firm.

Bill Gates: Too Many Schools Use Teacher Evaluation For Personnel Decisions, Not As Tool For Improvement iSchool: "Many systems today are about hiring and firing, not a tool for learning," Gates said.

D.C. bill aims to increase fiscal oversight of charter schools Washington Post: Public hearing raises broader questions about how much the public knows about D.C. charter schools.

Sex Ed Lesson: ‘Yes Means Yes,’ but It’s Tricky NYT: California requires high schools to teach affirmative consent, defining when and how people agree to have sex, but critics say the lessons sow confusion.

Bear wanders into Montana high school AP: Students got a first-hand lesson in wildlife biology at a Bozeman, Montana, high school when a black bear wandered through the hallway before the start of classes....

Parent protests won’t stop teacher transfers in Seattle Seattle Times: The process of transferring about two dozen teachers to other buildings or positions will continue and be finalized by Oct. 26, Seattle Public Schools said.

AM News: Byrd-Bennett Pleads Guilty, Arkansas Clarifies PARCC Cutoff, LA Unions Ally Against Charters

Ex-Chicago schools chief pleads guilty in federal corruption scandal WBEZ: “I am terribly sorry,” Barbara Byrd-Bennett said after her arraignment at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. “They deserved much more. Much more than I gave to them.” See also WSJ, District DossierAPNYT.

State clarifies PARCC scoring standards; description of lowered cutoff said to be error Arkansas Online: In a statement, state Education Commissioner Johnny Key said that score information from the department last week "left a misleading impression that Arkansas was backing away from high standards" on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, exams.

Unions forge alliance to fight growth of charter schools in L.A. LA Times: The union representing Los Angeles teachers has pulled together a coalition of other employee unions to oppose a controversial plan to more than double the number of local students attending charter schools.

Plenty of College Talk, But K-12 Takes a Backseat in First Democratic Debate PK12: If you were hoping for a meaty discussion of the big issues facing K-12, including testing, teacher evaluation, fixing low-performing schools, you were out of luck. See also Washington Post.

Young, Gifted Students Facing a Gap WSJ: Her district is one of four in the city without a gifted program. The city’s other 28 districts each have at least one gifted program; District 20 in southwest Brooklyn, which includes Borough Park, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, offers 10.

Educators try to come to terms with low math scores on Smarter Balanced tests EdSource: Only one-third of California students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 met the math standard – compared to 44 percent of students who met the standard in English language arts. That is also significantly lower than the percentage who scored at a proficient level in math on the old California Standards tests.

Montgomery’s Hispanic student enrollment surges in early grades Washington Post: Hispanic students represent the largest ethnic group in most elementary school grades.

Colored Pencils, Watercolors, Brushes: Art Supplies Add Up NPR: Teachers spend a lot of their own cash on school supplies. But art teachers, with all kinds of special materials, can spend even more.

Hundreds Of Thousands More Students Will Be Learning Mandarin Soon. Here's How. HuffPost: McGiffert, president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which was formed in 2013 to oversee the eponymous initiative, is also leading the new 1 Million Strong push.

Scranton Teacher Strike Ends After Two Weeks of Stalemate Teacher Beat: The Scranton Federation of Teachers ratified a new two-year contract; students will return to class Wednesday.

Experiment Tests If Teacher-Student Relationship Helps Performance NPR: Let's take a minute to explore the relationships between students and teachers. A good teacher tends to be well- trained and well-informed. Turns out, though, it might help kids just to have a teacher they like. 

Why American Schools Are Starting To Recruit More Teachers From Foreign Countries Stateline: A major target for their efforts is Puerto Rico: the teachers, already U.S. citizens, don’t require a visa if they decide to leave the island and its struggling economy to go work on the mainland.

AM News: Common Core Cut Scores, Clinton Endorsement, Chicago Scandal

How Common Core quietly won the war Politico: Ask most any third-grader: Just as Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the cheerleader in chief for the Cmmon Core and rigorous standards, prepares to step down, the standards that naysayers love to call “Obamacore” have become the reality on the ground for roughly 40 million students — or about four out of every five public school kids.

What Counts as Proficient on the PARCC Exam? Arkansas Moves Up the Limbo Stick State EdWatch: Arkansas joins Ohio as a state that will report PARCC scores differently than the testing consortium when it comes to student performance. See also Washington Post.

Some teachers hesitant about backing Clinton Detroit Free Press: Nearly 5,000 teachers signed a petition demanding the endorsement be reversed, and members accused their president — Clinton friend, adviser and fund-raiser Randi Weingarten — of cronyism and imperiousness.

Charter School Battle Heats Up in Boston & Elsewhere WSJ: Natasha Brown spent five years trying to get her 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son into one of this state’s 80 charter schools. After entering at least 25 lotteries, she secured slots for them this fall. Those tough odds have sparked a dispute in the state. At least 37,000 families are on waiting lists for charter schools statewide, with 13,000 of them seeking spots in Boston alone, according to data reported to the state.

Ex-head of Chicago Public Schools expected to plead guilty A{: The former head of Chicago Public Schools is expected to plead guilty in what prosecutors say was a scheme to steer more than $23 million in no-bid contracts to education firms for $2.3 million in bribes and kickbacks.... See also WBEZ Chicago.

First Democratic Debate: Five Things to Watch on Education PK12: Will anyone talk about K-12 education? Will standardized testing come up? Those and other K-12 questions surround today's Democratic presidential debate between five candidates.

'We want more charter schools!' Backers cite survey showing L.A. public demand NewsLA: The poll of 1,150 Los Angeles voters — commissioned by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and California Charter School Association — found that 74 percent of voters within the Los Angeles Unified School District support the expansion of charter schools in neighborhoods where existing schools are struggling. See also LA Times.

Malala Yousafzai's Mom Opens Up About Going Back To School HuffPost: Three years after her daughter was shot in the head by the Taliban for daring to promote girls' education, Malala Yousafzai’s mother has spoken publicly for the first time about her own experience in returning to school.

Publisher apologizes for textbook calling slaves 'workers' AP: One of the biggest publishers in the U.S. apologized Monday for calling slaves brought to America "workers" in a geography textbook used widely in Texas, where the wording went unnoticed during the state's combative and politically charged classroom curriculum reviews....

Experiment Tests If Teacher-Student Relationship Helps Performance NPR: A study measured the performance of kindergartners who either had close or distant relationships with their teachers. It found that students reminded of close relationships solved problems faster.

Meet The Mind-Reading Robo Tutor In The Sky NPR: An ed-tech company says its free online platform will revolutionize individualized learning. Skeptics call it digital snake oil.

School A Welcome Escape From Reality For Calif. Area Ravaged By Fire NPR: The Valley Fire leveled hundreds of homes and businesses in the small community of Middletown, Calif. School is helping students and educators alike make it through the recovery process together.

Superintendent Will Resign in East Ramapo District Under State Scrutiny NYT: The superintendent, Dr. Joel Klein, is retiring from a district whose school board has been accused of diverting resources to private yeshivas.

St. Paul becomes latest district to study doing away with school buses MinnPost: For St. Paul high schools, which host a large population of free and reduced lunch recipients, officials say the program will also help break down barriers for students of color and low income families, who often can’t participate in certain activities or obtain work because of a lack of good transportation options.

Site News: Road Trip Tuesday

I'm heading off to Seattle to the Gates conference so I'll be posting a bit here and mostly via Twitter (which also posts to Facebook). Or you can just see it all stream by below here.

AM News: NEA Council Endorses Clinton

NEA Endorses Hillary Clinton in Democratic Primary PK12: The endorsement comes despite serious misgivings from some affiliates, who were hoping a slower endorsement process would give the union more time to extract more policy promises from Clinton. See also PoliticoNYTLA TimesWashington Post, Education Intelligence Agency.

Federal judge agrees to hear charter schools’ case alleging unequal funding Washington Post: The lawsuit was filed by the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools, along with Eagle Academy and Washington Latin public charter schools, in the summer of 2014.

Black leaders visit schools in D.C. and elsewhere to inspire students Washington Post: Four hundred African Americans visited classrooms in 200 schools and 67 cities this fall, the sixth time that HistoryMakers has organized the back-to-school event.

How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers PBS NewsHour: Renee’s lengthy training period is part of a transformation in the way Boston and handful of other cities prepare their teachers. While some teacher training programs require only a few weeks in the classroom, these residency models require far more. In 2003, Jesse Solomon, who taught math in Boston public schools for ten years – co-founded the program that he likens to a medical residency.

For D.C. Second-Graders, It's All About The Bikes NPR: This is all part of the D.C. public schools' mission this year to teach every second-grader how to ride. In partnership with the city's transportation department and private donors, the district bought nearly 1,000 new bikes. Those bikes will rotate throughout the year to every elementary school in the city.

Mayor to CPS on graduation rates: ‘Go back and be accurate.’ WBEZ: Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he told Chicago school officials to go back and fix the errors in the graduation rate that were first reported in June by WBEZ and the Better Government Association. “Soon as there were questions raised, I said, ‘Go back, and analyze what’s going on and be accurate,’” Emanuel said. “And that’s exactly what they did.”

Handcuffing Little Kids May Not Be 'Reasonable,' Says Obama DOJ HuffPost: In a statement of interest on Friday, Justice Department lawyers said the court needs to decide whether "handcuffing two elementary school children with disabilities, behind their backs and around their biceps, for failure to follow instructions" was "objectively reasonable."

Calif. Teens Had Detailed Plans For a Massacre at School NBC News: KCRA's Tom Miller reports that it was fellow students, at California's Summerville High School, who told school administration about fellow students plans to create a massacre at the school soon.

AM News: NEA PAC Endorses Clinton, But Not All Teachers Agree

National Education Association PAC likes Clinton for 2016 Washington Post: The recommendation now goes to the NEA’s 174-member Board of Directors, which is meeting on Friday and Saturday. To win the endorsement, Clinton needs at least 58 percent of the board to vote for her, and most observers believe she’ll clear that hurdle. But that doesn’t mean there is unanimous support for Clinton among teachers. See also Teacher Beat, Politico, LA Times.

A look at deadliest shootings on or near US college campuses AP:  A shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday left 10 people dead and seven wounded, authorities said....

Chicago lowers graduation rate after errors found WBEZ: One school, Curie Metropolitan High School, labeled more than 100 dropouts every year as leaving to be homeschooled. Another 1,300 of the so-called transfers had no explanation of what school they were supposedly transferring to or were vaguely listed as going to different states or countries.

Head of DC schools addresses teacher and principal turnover in annual event Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson focused on signs of progress during her third­ annual State of the Schools event Wednesday night, including a recently released uptick in graduation rates, new investments in electives and college-level classes in the city’s high schools, and more engaging courses systemwide.

Following Charter Schools' Lead, One D.C. Public School Adopts Longer Year WAMU: Raymond Education Campus in Petworth is the first D.C. public school to try an extended school year, keeping students in school for 200 days instead of the traditional 180 days.

Bengali Students Need Teachers Who Speak Their Language WNYC: Most Bangladeshi immigrant students in New York City do not have a teacher like Chowdhury to help ease their way. While the Bangladeshi population has exploded — the city’s schools now enroll more than 6,500 Bangladeshi students — the number of Bengali-speaking teachers and bilingual programs has not kept pace. There are only three Bengali bilingual programs in the New York City schools. By contrast, there are more than 40 Chinese programs and upwards of 400 Spanish ones.

Closures, Charter Conversions and New Schools Proposed in Philadelphia District Dossier: Two school closures, two new schools, three charter conversions, and up to three district-led turnaround schools. Those were among the proposals announced Thursday in Philadelphia as Superintendent William Hite presented updated plans for the school district's future, one shaped by diminishing resources and the urgent need to improve school options for more students.

Newark Teachers Express Frustration With Current Merit Pay System HuffPost: But three years later, the contract has expired, and the new president of the local union says that it hasn't worked and that it's not a sure thing the teachers union will agree to keep the provision in its current form. Several Newark teachers said that they had real problems with the contract and that the merit pay hasn't worked, though none were willing to speak on the record for fear of reprisals.Talks for a deal to replace it haven't started, and the contract with the merit pay remains in place.

AM News: Duncan Presses On ESEA; NEA Ponders Clinton Endorsement

Arne Duncan challenges the country to deal with educational inequity Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan thinks the chances that Congress will replace No Child Left Behind, the main K-12 federal education law now eight years overdue for revision, took a nosedive with House Speaker John Boehner's decision to retire.

Rank and file revolt? NEA's expected backing of Clinton has members fuming Fox News:  "Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members and is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a July press release. See also American Prospect: Hillary's Relationship Status with Labor: It's Complicated, also LA Times.

Suit to limit use of teacher union dues for political purposes is tossed Los Angeles Times: A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a lawsuit that, if successful, would have hindered the ability of teachers unions to raise money. 

Three quarters of traditional public schools in D.C. now require uniforms Washington Post: Most of the city’s affluent students don’t have to wear uniforms, following a national trend.

Three Urban Districts Lauded for Strong Governance, Strategic Vision District Dossier: The school boards in Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Lincoln, Neb., were awarded the 2015 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

With D.C. Schools No Longer 'Broken,' Next Step Is More Relevancy, Chancellor Says WAMU: Graduation rates are up, truancy is down, enrollment is up, and now DCPS must start focusing on doing even more for students, Chancellor Kaya Henderson said in her "state of the schools" remarks and in earlier comments to reporters.

American Graduate Day 2015 celebrates efforts to build student success PBS NewsHour: Those efforts will be celebrated Saturday, October 3 on PBS with American Graduate Day, a seven-hour event featuring celebrities, public figures and journalists like PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan exploring innovative solutions to the challenges that millions of students face every day.

A Tale of Two Schools WNYC: The Department of Education just released its new plan to rezone two schools in Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Presses On ESEA; NEA Ponders Clinton Endorsement" »

AM News: NEA To Endorse (Hillary), Apple (But Not Pearson) To Pay LAUSD

National Education Association Could Be Close to Endorsing Hillary Clinton PK12: Sources say that the National Education Association, the country's largest union, could endorse the Democratic candidate in a presidential primary battle as early as Friday.

LAUSD board to vote on $6.4M settlement proposal with Apple over iPad software KPCC: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told board members this week he’s negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with Apple Inc. and tech company Lenovo to resolve a dispute over faulty software on the tablets they sold to the district.

Arne Duncan to Charter Schools: Here's Millions in Grants, Be More Responsible PK12: The U.S. Department of Education is awarding millions under the Charter School Program to fund new charters and expand high-performing networks. See also Washington Post.

School Choice Fan Rep. Kevin McCarthy Could Be Next Speaker PK12: The California Republican, elected in 2006, doesn't have nearly as long a resume on K-12 as did current Speaker John Boehner going into the job.

New numbers show teacher prep numbers still falling SI&A Cabinet Report: Despite school districts statewide complaining about a shortage of credentialed applicants, a new report shows enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California continues to decline.

Teachers Union Criticizes Charter Perk WSJ: The new ability of New York charter schools to set aside seats for employees’ children drew fire Monday from the United Federation of Teachers, which said such “nepotism” defied charters’ stated goals of serving the neediest children. 

Michelle Obama highlights education with #62milliongirls CNN: On Saturday, first lady Michelle Obama announced a new campaign during the star-studded Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park to raise awareness of the issue. 

As Worries Rise and Players Flee, a Missouri School Board Cuts Football NYT: With safety concerns growing and more students choosing to play soccer and other sports, the football team at a suburban St. Louis high school was disbanded.

Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education NYT: Expeditions, a field-trip simulation program, will be offered free to schools as Google works to further develop virtual-reality technology.

Why wealthy Loudoun County does not have universal full-day kindergarten Washington Monthly: The superintendent of Loudoun County schools wants to expand full-day kindergarten, but it will be costly.

Chicago principals blindsided by more cuts to special needs WBEZ: In an unprecedented move, Chicago Public Schools plans to cut another $12 million from special education based on official enrollment numbers released late last week. Typically, special education staffing is left alone once the school year begins.

3 years later, results of LAUSD's arts experiment are mixed KPCC: In 2012, Los Angeles Unified school board members made arts instruction a core subject, designating it as important as subjects like math and English.  A KPCC analysis of the most recent district data found that at about 100 elementary schools, the vast majority of students get no arts instruction.

Aurora Bridge Crash: International Students Far From Family, But Not Alone Seattle Public Radio: Seattle-area community college students are planning a vigil this week to remember the five international students who lost their lives on the Aurora Bridge. That’s just one example of how students here help each other. Foreign students are thousands of miles away from their families, but they’re not alone.

AM News: Boehner Resignation Could Hinder ESEA Reauthorization

House Speaker Boehner, Key Architect of NCLB, to Resign From Congress PK12:&nbsdivp;Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce committee when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, and played a key role in shepherding NCLB through the legislative process. See also Washington Post.

LAUSD board to vote on $6.4 million settlement proposal with Apple over iPad software KPCC: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told board members this week he’s negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with Apple Inc. and tech company Lenovo to resolve a dispute over faulty software on the tablets they sold to the district. Most of the settlement money will come from Apple.

Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, and Malala Yousafzai Unite to Push for Girls' Education
TIME: Women and girls took center stage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City on Saturday night, with Beyoncé, Michelle Obama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai rallying more than 60,000 fans in support of girls' education. See also USNWR.

Study: Principals Satisfied with TFA Teachers Atlanta Journal Constitution: Most principals are satisfied with the Teach for America teachers in their buildings, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation. 

Black math scores lag the most in segregated schools Hechinger: More than half of the achievement gap could be attributed to factors inside the school.  Only about 15 percent of the achievement gap could be attributed to inequities in funding and resources between schools. The remainder of the achievement gap is an unexplained mystery. See also Washington Post.

Test scores complicate the debate over expanding L.A. charter schools LA Times: As the battle to greatly expand charter schools in Los Angeles begins, both sides are touting statistics they claim make their case.

White House honors teenager who inspires girls to do computer coding Washington Post: Swetha Prabakaran, 15, runs a nonprofit to teach elementary schoolers about computer coding.

Education Department Restarts Peer-Review of Tests PK12: States that have adopted new tests, or made significant changes to their old ones, will have to undergo peer review by the U.S. Department of Education within the next four to eight months, according to department officials.

How One Principal is Trying to Get More Black Men Into the Classroom Washington Post: One Philadelphia principal is trying to do his part by launching a new organization that aims to bring together Philly’s black male educators and provide them with professional support to thrive in their jobs.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Boehner Resignation Could Hinder ESEA Reauthorization" »

AM News: Seattle Tragedy, NYC's Muslim Holiday, & Chicago Next Steps

Sadness in international-student community after tour-bus tragedy Seattle Times: North Seattle enrolls about 900 international students each year, and the students on the bus, including the four who died, were among this year’s group.

For 1st time, New York City schools close for Muslim holiday AP: Thursday was the first time the schools serving 1.1 million pupils closed for a Muslim holiday. Eid al-Adha is known as the Feast of the Sacrifice. It commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim - Abraham to Christians and Jews - to sacrifice his son.

With Hunger Strike Over, Chicago Activists to Focus on Elected School Board District Dossier: Activists ended a 34-day hunger strike to reopen Dyett High School. They will channel their energy into advocating for an elected Chicago school board.

Black males struggle in segregated schools Washington Post: A new nces/AIR study using federal data finds that black students who attend schools that have a majority of black students score lower on achievement tests than black students who go to school with fewer other black students.

More than 1 in 5 U.S. children are (still) living in poverty Washington Post: The proportion of American children who live in poverty began rising during the recession, and it continued rising after the recession officially ended. In 2013, the child poverty rate finally fell for the first time since 2006 — a dip that advocates hoped was the beginning of an enduring trend.

D.C. School Takes New Approach To Fighting Poverty: Teaching Parents & Kids WAMU: We go inside an innovative partnership between a health clinic and a school, that aims to create healthier, more resilient communities in the nation's capital.

Some Concerned Union Too Involved In Pittsburgh Public Schools As Crucial ... CBS Local: But Randi Weingarten has shown a particular interest in Pittsburgh. Not only its teachers, but in who sits on the Pittsburgh Public School Board. “Why would the AFT be contributing to local neighborhood school board elections?” asked KDKA's Andy Sheehan.

Kids Who Are Time-Crunched At School Lunch Toss More And Eat Less NPR: Many public school students get 15 minutes or less to eat. A study finds that kids who get less than 20 minutes for lunch end up eating less of everything on their tray.

As city acts on their cause, community school advocates carve out a new role ChalkbeatNY: For the advocates, the challenge is to back Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious plan to transform nearly 130 schools into community schools, while also ensuring that those changes are made with public input and result in service-filled schools that outlive this mayoral administration. For de Blasio’s side, the trick is to move quickly enough that the public sees an immediate return on its expensive investment while ensuring the continued support of advocates.

AM News: None Of These Items Are About The Pope

High school students give Chinese president football AP: Chinese President Xi Jinping received a football, a personalized jersey and instruction on America's most popular sport during a tour of a Washington state high school....

Detailed MCAS Results: Mostly Up, But Some Concerns Boston Learning Lab: Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts commissioner of elementary and secondary education, is “very concerned” about this year’s MCAS reading scores in the early grades, he said in a telephone press conference Wednesday. But he said he is “very pleased” with overall results on the 2015 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests. The state released district-by-district and individual school results Thursday.

Joe Biden inches past Bernie Sanders in new poll New York Post:  say those unions are waiting for Biden to make his decision, whereas the American Federation of Teachers — led by Clinton ally Randi Weingarten — made an early endorsement of Clinton. 

English-Learners New to the U.S. Are Focus of Education Department Initiative PK12: John King, a senior adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, acknowledged that the recently completed English-learner tool kit is merely the department's "first installment" in support of ELLs.

Seattle School Board halts suspensions for elementary students Seattle Times: The Seattle School Board’s resolution calls for a one-year moratorium on some out-of-school suspensions for elementary students, and a plan to reduce such suspensions for all students.

Making College More Affordable, One Text At A Time NPR: The right text or email message can help students get enrolled, find the right payment plan and remind them to pay, White House research shows.

Test results expected for Common Core-aligned exams in Maryland Washington Post: Officials will release the first results in late October, with home reports expected at the end of the year.

High-flying flips is the trick to keeping away bad feelings PBS NewsHour: Tonight, we discover a young man who fights the demons in life through meditation and the kind of high-flying acrobatics seen in video games. It’s an art form known as tricking. The video was shot and edited by teachers from Miami, Detroit and Aurora, Colorado.

How Eva Moskowitz’s growing bureaucracy handled a school-supply fiasco Chalkbeat: A team of staffers from the network was dispatched to Long Island to sort the furniture and supplies into boxes destined for the right schools, staff members said, volunteering nights and weekend days to complete the work.

AM News: LA Charter Expansion Plan Sets Off Deep Divisions

Group Led By Billionaire Proposes Overhaul Of LA Public Schools NPR: A memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times reveals a controversial plan to put half of the city's public school kids in charter schools. Renee Montagne talks with Times education reporter Howard Blume. See also LA TimesKPCC LA.

Rezoning Plan for Two Brooklyn Schools Riles Up Parents WSJ: Parents from both schools say the proposal was thrust on them suddenly this month without their input. Department officials say urgency mounted when 50 children expecting to attend P.S. 8’s kindergarten this fall had to be put on a waitlist. See also NYT: Race and Class Collide in a Plan for Two Brooklyn Schools.

Possible merger of contrasting schools one step closer WBEZ Chicago: Because the move would be considered a “school consolidation” under the law, CPS will have to make an official announcement by December 1 and hold three more public hearings before making a decision.  Gad said she thinks if the merger is approved, parents will leave Ogden.

Brown signs $500m teacher training bill SI&A Cabinet Reoprt: Brown signed legislation Tuesday authorizing the distribution of $490 million in teacher training money to school districts based on their number of full-time equivalent certificated staff.

Shavar Jeffries and the color of education 'reform' Washington Post: Shavar Jeffries is the new president of Democrats for Education Reform, making him a prominent African American leader in a movement that's been criticized for being too white and elitist.

Chicago’s brand of teacher organizing goes viral Catalyst Chicago: As in Chicago in 2012, the Seattle teachers union connected with community concerns about standardized testing to argue against attaching tests to teacher evaluations. The new contract takes student test scores out of teacher evaluation altogether. “There’s a mood shifting out there among teachers and parents about what’s going on in the schools, and who has a say over it,” said Knapp.

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AM News: Walker's Out, LA Charter Plan Revealed

Scott Walker Suspends Presidential Campaign After Late Anti-Union Push PK12: In what turned out to be his last major campaign push, Walker this month had once again played up his opposition to unions. See also State EdWatch.

$490-million plan would put half of LAUSD students in charter schools LA Times: The timing of the charter plan is troubling, said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. She said the district has made recent strides, "but instead of building on this success ... Mr. Broad and his allies are trying to ...

Boy withdraws from school that suspended him over clock AP: The family of a 14-year-old Muslim student who got in trouble over a homemade clock mistaken for a possible bomb withdrew the boy Monday from his suburban Dallas high school. Ahmed Mohamed’s father, Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed, said he has pulled all of his children from their Irving Independent School District schools. 

Dispute Over Validity of Common-Core Exam Ignites New Florida Testing Fight State EdWatch: There's a new political dispute over assessments in Florida. This one involves a study about the common-core test given to students earlier this year.

Merger would mean first integrated neighborhood school in a former public housing area WBEZ:  Beyer says a committee of Ogden parents researched multiple options to relieve overcrowding and felt this was the best approach. But he says Ogden won’t pursue the option unless the local school council supports it; a vote is scheduled for tonight. “Nothing is a done deal,” Beyer says.

Chicago Mayor Prepares Large Property Tax Hike AP: It's unclear how residents and businesses will respond. Emanuel has faced raucous crowds at public budget hearings, but the political fallout for the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama could be delayed because he doesn't face re-election until 2019.

Charter leaders continue to battle de Blasio over space in public school buildings ChalkbeatNY: In an open letter to de Blasio, the leaders accuse the de Blasio administration of “hurting some of the city’s most vulnerable students” by denying their requests for space in public-school buildings.

State’s first charter school was overpaid $200,000 Seattle Times: First Place Scholars, the state’s first charter school, got more state money than it should have after providing inaccurate information, says the audit, part of an investigation that began last year when the school was put on probation. See also AP, Seattle Public Radio.

Six D.C. schools had ‘critical’ testing violations, 11 others had irregularities Washington Post: One test administrator coached students to change answers, others erased stray answer sheet markings.

How TV Can Make Kids Better Readers NPR: In their new book, two education scholars argue new media can be a key part of building literacy.

5 years after Facebook pledge, Newark schools struggle AP: So has Zuckerberg's donation, which was matched with another $100 million from other donors, shown that big-scale philanthropy guarantees quick change? "We've proven at this point that answer is no," said Derrell Bradford, a supporter of Zuckerberg's effort and leader of the New York school reform group NYCAN, who previously worked for similar groups in New Jersey. 

AM News: Democratic Candidates' Education Silence, Seattle Teachers Ratify

Why Aren't Democratic Presidential Contenders Talking About K-12 Policy? PK12: Democratic contenders for the White House have focused on early-childhood education and college access, but not said much about K-12 policy.

Seattle teachers ratify contract Seattle Times: With approval of the contract with Seattle Public Schools, the strike, which was suspended, now officially ends.

Homework: A New User's Guide NPR: School's back in session, and that means the homework's back, too. Here's what you need to know about how much work U.S. students have to do and how to tell the difference between good work and bad.

De Blasio Says NYC Policies Support More Diverse Schools WNYC: Appearing on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, he said his goal was to increase equity and opportunities for all children through his affordable housing plans, pre-k expansion and after-school programs. 

Unions push to cancel classes for pope’s visit Washington Post: Aona Jefferson, president of the Council of School Officers, said that the parade, street closings, Metro disruptions, bus route changes and huge crowds will lead to “commuting nightmares.”

Clever, a Software Service, Gives Schools a Way to Manage Data Flow to Apps NYT: A new company, Clever, is addressing questions raised by politicians and parents about the data on students, and how it is secured and used.

Illinois test results plummet under new Common Core exams WBEZ Chicago:  This first look at the controversial PARCC test may not be representative—the results, which Smith called a “super draft,” leave out between 25 and 30 percent of the nearly 1.1 million tests taken, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Dyett high school hunger strike ends after 34 days WBEZ Chicago: Protesters demanding Dyett High School reopen as a neighborhood school with a green technology curriculum have ended their hunger strike after 34 days. The end of the strike comes after protesters won a number of key demands but never declared victory. See also AP.

Safety experts question classroom barricade devices AP: A nationwide push allowing schools to buy portable barricade devices they can set up if an active shooter enters their building has school security and fire experts questioning whether they're really safe....

New Mexico Gives Every Teacher $100 for School Supplies TeacherBeat: The state's plan has been unenthusiastically greeted by one local union, though, that says it's a distraction from larger issues of education funding.

Teachers union plans protest outside new Broad museum in downtown LA LA Daily News: Protesters are expected to gather outside Eli Broad's new $140 million museum that houses his 2,000-piece contemporary art collection Sunday, to call on the billionaire to halt plans to back a charter school plan that could enroll half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

AM News: School Starts In Seattle, Illinois Gets Tough Results

School Begins in Seattle NYT: Thousands of Seattle students started the school year Thursday after it was delayed by a weeklong teachers strike. See also Seattle Times, Seattle Public Radio.

Illinois test results plummet under new Common Core exams WBEZ Chicago: In elementary school, where students are tested in grades 3 through 8, between 33 percent and 38 percent of students met or exceeded standards in English. The percentage meeting standards in math was generally lower—between 26 percent and 36 percent.

KIPP DC schools, other charters, to close during parts of papal visit Washington Post: All 16 KIPP charter schools in the District will be closed on Sept. 23 for the second day of the Pope's visit to Washington, and other charter schools also plan to close due to expected traffic congestion.

Boston Proposes Combining Charter, District Enrollment Applications Boston Learning Lab: The proposed plan could also effectively change charter schools that opt into the enrollment process from citywide schools to neighborhood schools. Currently charter schools may accept students from throughout the city. Under the proposed process, Weinstein said, students would be given a choice of charter schools based on where they live, just as they are for district schools.

Yeshivas Probe Faces Political Heft of Hasidic Community WNYC: The ultra-orthodox communities in the city and state are powerful political entities, and elected officials seek favor with them to secure their votes at election time.

Expert panels weighs in on reversing school segregation in New York City WNYC: The panel comes at a time when school segregation has garnered attention in New York, following a UCLA study that detailed how the the state’s schools are deeply divided along racial lines. Panelists disagreed about whether the issue is best understood as divisions along socioeconomic or racial lines. 

Learning To Code In Preschool NPR: A group of educators, researchers and entrepreneurs like Hosford is taking that analogy very seriously. They're arguing that the basic skills of coding, such as sequencing, pattern recognition and if/then conditional logic, should be introduced alongside or even before traditional reading, writing, and math.

Florida Girl Arrested Under Similar Circumstances as Ahmed Mohamed Has Advice for Teen AP: Wilmot said she activated the volcano outside the cafeteria of Bartow High School that morning, when the lid popped off and the bottom of the device began to smoke. No students were hurt and no school property was damaged. Wilmot was then brought to the juvenile detention center where she was arrested on bomb charges.

On the Bus With Arne Duncan: Wheelchair Basketball and Tough Questions PK12: Duncan's been dogged by questions about his controversial moves on K-12, including championing new Common Core State Standards tests, expanding charter schools, and evaluations.

High School Football Inc. NYT: The latest experiment in prep football is taking root, and coaches and officials around the country are watching with curiosity and wariness.

House Republicans want to give teachers a break Washington Post: Teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies — most of the nation's nearly 4 million K-12 teachers — would be eligible for a permanent tax credit of up to $250 annually for unreimbursed expenses, under a bill 

AM News: GOP Debates Education, De Blasio Unveils New Initiatives

Common Core, Choice, and a Teenage Clockmaker Highlight Ed. in GOP Debates PK12: Fans of discussions about K-12 policy had little to cheer about Wednesday, but education did get occasional mentions from some of the GOP candidates. See also Washington Post, LA Times.

Obama Invites Ahmed Mohamed And His 'Cool Clock' To The White House For Astronomy Night HuffPost: President Barack Obama on Wednesday invited 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed to the White House for some stargazing next month. See also NBC NewsSlateNYT.

De Blasio’s Plan to Lift Poor Schools Comes With High Costs and Big Political Risks NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio framed his $186 million commitment to help struggling schools as a way to address income inequality, but questions remain about how these programs will work. See also WNYCChalkbeatNYChalkbeatNY.

Teachers' union head spars with education reformer over New Orleans Washington Examiner: During the event's final panel, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Paul Pastorek, former Superintendent of Education in Louisiana, exchanged words.

Head of firm chosen for new Wisconsin test gave Scott Walker $10,000 Journal-Sentinel: The president and CEO of the Minnesota firm chosen to produce the new Wisconsin Forward Exam is a former Wisconsin Republican lawmaker who last year donated $10,000 to Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign.

Spurred by strike support, groups continue education fight Seattle Times: With the Seattle teachers strike suspended, public-education advocates are hoping to harness the outpouring of support for the city’s teachers toward the ongoing effort to boost state spending for public education.

KIPP’s explosive growth came with slight dip in performance, study says Washington Post: For the analysis, researchers looked at eight elementary, 43 middle and 18 high schools in 20 cities, including Washington. They compared test scores of KIPP students with those of students who had applied to a KIPP school but failed to win a seat through a lottery and enrolled elsewhere. They also conducted student and parent surveys. See also Houston Chronicle.

New Type of Public School Becomes Reality in Camden AP: Renaissance Schools, which started last year, are run by large, nonprofit charter school organizations. But unlike charters, they fall under control of the local school board and are responsible for educating all children who live in their areas. They also receive more taxpayer money per student than charters do.

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AM News: Seattle Teachers Strike Coming To An End (Plus NYC Coding Plan)

Seattle Teachers Reach Tentative Agreement To End Strike HuffPost: Initially, the district had offered teachers a 9 percent pay increase over three years, although the association countered by demanding a 10.5 percent increase over two years. Details of the latest agreement have not yet been revealed. See also AP, NPR, NBC News, PBS NewsHour, NYT, Seattle Times.

City Wants to Spend Millions to Make School Kids Tech Savvy WNYC: On Wednesday, the mayor will offer details on a plan to require that all New York City public schools offer computer science to students within at least 10 years. The city is planning to spend $81 million dollars to ensure that it happens, half of which will come from private contributions. See also New York TimesNew York Post.

New York Mayor Outlines Education Policies AP: De Blasio, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, said he would outline a series of expansive new proposals meant to achieve three major goals: to have all children reading by third grade, to improve on-time graduation rates and to give all students a shot at attending college.

The number of black teachers has dropped in nine US cities Washington Post: The study by the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank funded by the American Federation of Teachers, looked at teacher data from nine cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

School bus crash kills 2 students, seriously injures 3 AP: A school bus plunged off a highway overpass in Houston after being hit by a car driven by a teacher Tuesday, killing two students and seriously injuring three other people, police and school officials said....

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AM News: Ferguson Commission Highlights Equity & Whole-Child Issues

Ferguson Commission: Schools Must Prioritize Whole-Child Issues, Equity District Dossier: A 198-page report by the Ferguson Commission recommends a focus on whole-child issues like hunger and school discipline and an overhaul in how the state of the Missouri deals with unaccredited districts.

Discrimination begins early and immigrant preschoolers notice, report says KPCC LA: Teachers may make derogatory comments or act in ways that are patronizing to immigrant parents. Examples that Adair gives include teachers commenting about a parent's accent or home-language. A child may watch as their parent is repeatedly ignored by a teacher or in the school office, she said.

Obama Makes College Aid Application Earlier And Easier NPR: "It's really a win-win for everybody," says Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. "Ultimately, this is gonna mean less work for [students] and less work for schools." See also Washington Post.

Scott Walker proposes national 'right-to-work' law Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "His whole theory of the case is fighting workers rather than helping working families,"Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said before Walker unveiled his plan. 

Putting More Technology In Schools May Not Make Kids Smarter: OECD Report HuffPost: You may want to think twice before you laud your local school district for investing in technological resources. As it turns out, too much technology in schools can be a bad thing, says an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report released Monday.

Parents Scramble for Child Care Amid Seattle Teacher Strike AP: Seattle Parks and Recreation spokesman David Takami said 21 community centers are taking care of some 2,000 children in kindergarten through sixth grade free of cost, and that number is rising. Many of the centers are at capacity, and the effort is costing the city about $21,000 a day, he said. See also Seattle Times, Seattle Public Radio.

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AM News: Jobs Announces New $50M HS Redesign Project

Laurene Powell Jobs Commits $50 Million to Create New High Schools NYT: With an advertising campaign that looks as if it came from Apple’s marketing department, the initiative [XQ: The Super School Project] is meant to create high schools with new approaches to education. Over the next several months, the teams will submit plans that could include efforts like altering school schedules, curriculums and technologies. By fall next year, Ms. Powell Jobs said, a team of judges will pick five to 10 of the best ideas to finance.

Common Core test scores show achievement gap, even in high-performing schools KPCC: At Wonderland Avenue Elementary, this week's test score release prompted celebration: 94 percent of the 330 students who took the test met or exceeded the grade-level standards in English language arts and 82 percent did so in math.  The school’s Latino students, about 4 percent of the student population, scored lower on the standardized tests when compared to white and Asian children.

School Canceled for 4th Day as Seattle Teachers Strike AP: Seattle Public Schools is canceling classes for a fourth day Monday as a strike by teachers enters its second week. The strike, over issues that include pay raises and teacher evaluations, has delayed the start of the school year for about 53,000 students. The sides resumed negotiations Saturday and continued to talk Sunday. Seattle Times.

Obama Seeks to Make Applying for Federal Financial Aid Easier PK12: The president is unveiling changes aiming to give students information about how much aid they qualify for earlier and encourage more low-income students to go after federal grants and loans. See also Reuters, PBS NewsHour.

Gaps in Earnings Stand Out in Release of College Data NYT: At some expensive colleges, the salaries of students 10 years after enrollment are bleak, and there is an earnings gender gap at every top university. See also NPRBuzzFeedAP.

School choice complicates Promise Neighborhood’s efforts to help kids Washington Post: Less than a third of the 1,600 students who live there attend neighborhood schools; the rest are enrolled in 184 others, scattered across a city that has embraced school choice more than almost any other.

Charter School Head Says Newark Schools Are Better Since Facebook Gift WNYC: "Your odds have doubled of being in a good school if you're an African American kid in Newark," said Ryan Hill, director of Kipp New Jersey, which operates five charter schools in the city. 

Authorities identify special needs student found dead on bus AP: Authorities have identified a special needs student who was found dead on a school bus as a special needs student who regularly rode the bus to his home in Whittier....

Another clue that school's in session: the traffic WBEZ Chicago: For many in the Chicago region, the start of a new school year marks the beginning of another season: nine months of traffic headaches. People block the alley, park illegally. People park in places that block the buses. 

Matthew Levey's Charter School Quest NYT: Late last month, on a warm, luminous morning, Matthew Levey, a 48-year-old former McKinsey consultant, stood on Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn and shook hands with his new charges: 65 kindergartners, a sea of neon sneakers, starched dresses and cotton golf shirts. It was the first day — ever — for the International Charter School of New York. And Mr. Levey, who had spent the last 36 months planning, developing and hiring for his new elementary school, was in high spirits. 

AM News: More About Those CA Common Core Test Results (& Comparisons)

Less Than Half of CA Students Made the Grade on New Common Core–Aligned Test Slate: A total of 12 million students in 29 states took some version of these new Common Core–based assessments developed by Smarter Balanced and PARCC this year. See also EdSource Today, LA School Report, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

2016 Candidates Slam Common Core, But Education Standards Take Root Reuters: Despite years of effort, Common Core's critics have largely failed to repeal the standards, which aim to emphasize critical thinking over rote memorization.

New online credential program aims to turn out 10,000 new teachers in the next five years Hechinger Report: Although TEACH-NOW’s model offers traits similar to traditional preparation programs, like a student teaching experience, the model also differs. Students take online classes with 15 or fewer students and work through a sequence of individual online modules, instead of taking several different classes at the same time. Classroom observations, projects and school-based experiences, like tutoring, are integrated throughout the curriculum, and all aspiring teachers must complete a 12-week module of student teaching at the end of the certification program.

These 16 States Are Implementing Plans To Make Sure Good Teachers End Up In Poor Communities HuffPost: A state plan approved Thursday by the Department of Education seeks to reverse these disparities in Missouri. Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin also had educator equity plans approved. More will be implemented in other states on a rolling basis. See also Washington Post

Arne Duncan visits Harper College, praises scholarship program Chicago Tribune:  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised officials at Harper College in Palatine on Wednesday, saying the northwest suburban college's new scholarship program is reflective of a White House initiative to make community colleges nationwide tuition-free.

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AM News: CA Publishes Common Core Test Results, Seattle Strike Continues

Less Than Half of Students Achieve Proficiency on Calif. Common-Core Exams State EdWatch: California students performed better on the English/language arts section of the Smarter Balanced exam than in math, according to scores released by the department Sept. 9. See also KPCCLA Times, Bakersfield Californian

Obama Promotes College Affordability Plan on Michigan Trip NYT: At an event near Detroit, Mr. Obama announced the creation of a national advisory board to push the idea that community college should be free for many students across the country. “Education has always been the secret sauce, the secret to America’s success,” Mr. Obama said to a small but enthusiastic crowd of students at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich. “Every American willing to work hard should have a shot at higher education.” See also The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.

Rep. John Kline is still optimistic on No Child Left Behind rewrite this year Washington Post: House Education Committee chair wants bipartisan deal that Obama will feel “a lot of pressure” to sign.

No classes Thursday as Seattle strike continues  AP: There will be no classes again Thursday for tens of thousands of public school students in Seattle as teachers will remain on strike. District spokeswoman Stacy Howard said both sides would be back at the negotiating table Thursday morning. See also NPR, HuffPost, EdWeek, Seattle Times.

One of Teach For America's Top Executives Is Stepping Down TeacherBeat: The organization had been run by co-chief executive officers, but now one of them is stepping down. More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso)

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AM News: Seattle Teachers Strike For First Time In 30 Years

Seattle Teachers Strike On First Day Of School AP: Members of the Seattle Education Association, which represents about 5,000 teachers and support staff, said they will picket at all 97 schools Wednesday. See also NPR, NYT, Seattle Public Radio.

What makes a public school public? Washington state court finds charter schools unconstitutional Washington Post: Opponents of charter schools have long argued that the schools are private because they don’t have to answer to the public and in some states aren’t subject to key rules that apply to government agencies, such as open meetings and public records laws. 

2 WA charters say they will stay open this year despite Supreme Court ruling Seattle Times: Charter schools are organizing parents to lobby the Legislature for a long-term fix to the state Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday that such schools are unconstitutional.

Poll: California voters still unsure about Common Core EdSource Today: About one-fourth say they have not heard about the new standards. See also Hechinger Report.

Rand Paul Links Jeb Bush to Former President George W. Bush's Edu-Record PK12: The Kentucky senator wants to paint rival GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and the former Florida governor's brother with the same brush on education policy.

New York City Mayor Goes All-In On Free Preschool NPR: NPR's Robert Siegel talks with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about the early days of his effort to provide free, high-quality preschool to all of the city's 4-year-olds. See also Washington Post.

Parents May Spend Less This Year on Back-to-School Supplies, Despite Growing Need NYT: In the last decade, the average amount families spent on school items grew 42 percent, according to the retail federation’s projections this summer. It estimated that families with children in grades K-12 would spend an average of $630 this year, about 6 percent less than in 2014.

One of nation’s largest school districts ditches high school final exams Washington Post: Maryland’s Montgomery County will replace the two-hour tests with shorter assessments taken during the quarters.

Traffic on first day of school is smooth in Fairfax despite new start times Washington Post: Shift in bell times gives students more sleep but push more buses onto roads during rush hour.

Five big questions facing New York City schools as a new year begins ChalkbeatNY: This is school year number two for the mayor, who will be trying to pull off a number of complicated education initiatives at once.

How an unconventional principal turned around a struggling urban school Hechinger Report: Since then, the first-time principal and her team have made significant strides in student achievement, teacher satisfaction, technology upgrades and parent involvement. Today, due to improved test scores and a positive school culture, the school is one of only four of 33 that is on track to emerge from intervention status in Rhode Island.

A Door-to-Door Push to Get Parents Involved at Struggling Schools NYT: With the second full school year of his administration beginning on Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio is already under pressure to show improvement at these schools, which are among 62 low-performing schools targeted by the state for possible takeover. One of the keys to transforming them, his administration believes, is to get parents to show up more by turning schools into one-stop community centers offering services like medical and dental clinics, adult courses and counseling.

National union leader calls for settlement for Scranton teachers Scranton Times-Tribune: Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6-million member national union, told the board that education is the “great equalizer,” and teachers only want to make a difference in the lives of their students. 



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.