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AM News: Common Core Testing Discrepancies, Intensifying Chicago Confrontation

PARCC Scores Lower for Students Who Took Exams on Computers EdWeek: Students who took the 2014-15 PARCC exams via computer tended to score lower than those who took the exams with paper and pencil—a revelation that prompts questions about the validity of the test results and poses potentially big problems for state and district leaders.

Classroom Cuts Move Ahead, Absent a New Chicago Teachers' Contract WBEZ: Claypool said the cuts -- which could mean one position per school, on average -- could still be avoided if the two parties reach an agreement soon.

Rauner: I'm no saboteur Chicago Sun-Times: On that issue, Claypool and CTU President Karen Lewis agreed, with Lewis blasting Rauner. “Please don't pay any attention to the ravings of a mad man,” Lewis said. “He knows absolutely nothing about real education. So that's a problem.”

School Network With Most Kindergarten Suspensions Says It Will Stop Them Boston Learning Lab: Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students were suspended 78 times at schools operated by a single nonprofit school management company in the 2014-15 school year, according to state data.

Nation's charter schools aren't growing as fast as once thought Washington Post: The 7 and 9 percent increases over the last two years were lower than the average 11 percent annual enrollment growth over the last eight years, according to the National Alliance.

Parents gather 'parent trigger' signatures a second time after LAUSD doesn’t make changes KPCC: Parents at 20th St. Elementary School first organized in 2014, but decided not to formally submit their petition when LAUSD administrators proposed an improvement plan that included promises to improve the administration of the school, provide teachers with professional development, and use data to measure teaching and learning.

School kisses Valentine's Day and other holidays goodbye AP: A Minnesota elementary school has kissed Valentine's Day goodbye. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, too....

New York High School Wrestlers Break Stereotypes in Coed Division NYT: At a number of public high schools, wrestling teams with male and female athletes are breaking gender stereotypes.

AM News: Teachers Unions Undaunted By Iowa (Plus: Detroit, Chicago Drama)

NEA, AFT Presidents: Hillary Clinton Can Make Things Happen PK12: Teachers' union leaders who put muscle and money behind Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton say they're not disheartened with her photo finish in the Iowa caucuses.

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager To Step Down NPR: The state-appointed emergency manager of the Detroit public schools system is calling it quits. Darnell Earley was a big target because of his job before this one — as emergency manager of Flint. See also NYT.

Chicago Teachers Union calls proposed cuts by district 'an act of war' Chicago Tribune: One day after the Chicago Teachers Union rejected a contract proposal from Chicago Public Schools, district officials said they would slash school budgets and stop paying the bulk of teachers' pension contributions — moves CTU's president quickly decried.

Chicago Schools Announce Cuts After Union Rejects Offer AP: Chicago school officials say they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after the teachers' union rejected the latest offer in contentious contract negotiations that have lasted over a year.

Senior Education official collapses after heated four-hour hearing on Hill Washington Post: A senior executive at the Education Department who was the target of a four-hour interrogation by members of Congress on Tuesday collapsed after the hearing and was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.

This 17-year-old is a rising voice in Baltimore’s Black Lives Matter movement Washington Post: A high-ranking police officer was reassigned after the teen called attention to his tweets, which she said showed “entrenched racism.”

Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City WNYC:  It didn't happen in the South; it happened in New York City, where the mostly white elected officials and Board of Education members said they believed in integrated education. 

Hoaxers increasingly going online to threaten schools AP: In December, Los Angeles, New York City and several other school systems received an email warning of a grisly attack. In late January, districts in Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and elsewhere received bomb threats phoned in using an electronic voice. In almost every instance, the threats disrupted the lives of thousands of students. Schools were closed or locked down. 

AM News: Clinton Wins Iowa With Teachers Unions' Help

School spending per student drops for a third year in a row Hechinger Report: Per-pupil spending in the nation’s public schools fell for the third straight year in 2012-13*, according to the most recent federal financial data, which was released on January 27, 2016. In that school year, U.S. public schools spent only $10,763 per elementary, middle and high school student, on average, across the country. 

Chicago Teachers Union Rejects 'Serious Offer' From District AP: The Chicago Teachers Union says it has rejected a contract proposal because it does not address school conditions, lack of services to some students and the long-term fiscal crisis of the nation's third-largest school district... See also Sun-TimesChicago Tribune.

Public Advocate Sues New York City over Glitches in Special Ed Tracking WNYC: Public Advocate Letitia James filed a lawsuit on Monday that alleged the city's computer system for tracking students with disabilities was such a failure that it led to the loss not only of basic services for children in need but also of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid reimbursements. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Public schools see influx of state funds but financial challenges still loom KPCC: Up and down California, public schools are enjoying a rapid rise in state funding. With the state’s economic gains and a temporary tax increase approved by voters in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $71.6 billion education budget for the next fiscal year is up more than 50 percent since 2011. Spending per student has increased more than $3,800, to a projected $14,550 this year.

S.F. considers giving condoms away to middle schoolers SF Gate: Public school nurses and social workers in San Francisco would be allowed to hand out condoms to individual middle school students under a proposal before the district’s school board, expanding school-based access to the contraceptive to younger teens and preteens.

GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards Washington Post: Eleven states have passed or debated legislation to create state-run school districts in the past year, according to the Education Commission of the States, which tracks state education policy.

Top Education official will acknowledge ‘poor judgment’ at hearing into his behavior Washington Post: Harris, 56, also failed to report $10,000 in income from his various businesses on his federal disclosure forms and to the Internal Revenue Service, according to investigators. The agency’s inspector general launched an investigation into Harris’s activities in 2011 after receiving anonymous complaints.

AM News: Chicago Teachers, NYC Special Ed, Koch Brothers Do Poverty

Will teachers accept CPS offer or start countdown to strike? Chicago Sun-Times: Forty members of the Chicago Teachers Union are slated Monday to consider a “serious offer” for a new four-year contract, a step that’s making another teachers strike look less likely. See also Chicago TribuneDNA Info.

NYC Rejects Federal Findings That Many Elementary Schools Defy Disabilities Law NYT: The de Blasio administration took issue with a report saying that the majority of city elementary schools are not fully accessible to disabled people.

Koch brothers' new group will take on poverty, educational quality USA Today: The organization, known as Stand Together, is still in its start-up phase but aims to raise $15 million this year, top officials told USA TODAY in the first interview about the new organization. The group will make its first public splash this week — launching its website and broadly sharing its plans as an annual winter seminar for hundreds of Koch donors opens Saturday near Palm Springs, Calif.

State Pre-K Funding Increases For Fourth Year Straight State EdWatch: Thirty-two states have increased funding while only nine states decreased funding for preschool.

Education Department Tells States: If Students Don't Take Tests, You Will Lose Funding
Huffington Post: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said states need support from the Education Department during the transition, "not the threat of sanctions."

School funding increases in California don't buffer from future uncertainties LA Daily News: Vallejo High School teacher Lewis Brown starts his morning government class with a question of the day that takes advantage of newly assigned iPads.

Baltimore schools lose hundreds of students, millions in funding Washington Post: The school system is investigating whether students were kept on the rolls after enrollment dropped.

The New Student Activists NYT: Black students and their allies are demanding change. Seven from colleges and universities around the country discuss the problem, their protests and themselves.

White House Announces 'Computer Science for All' Initiative PK12: Today, the White House announced what it's calling an "ambitious, all-hands-on deck" initiative to get every student in the United States coding. See also NYT, HuffPost

Students Say Racial Hostilities Simmered at Historic Boston Latin School NYT: Two black students, employing YouTube videos and a hashtag, started a campaign to expose what they see as a hostile climate at Boston Latin School, a beacon of high achievement that was founded in 1635.

AM News: Teachers Unions Sue Detroit Over Poor Conditions & State Oversight

Detroit Teachers Sue District Over 'Deplorable' Conditions AP: The Detroit teachers' union has filed a lawsuit against the district calling for repairing "deplorable" conditions and removing the state-appointed emergency manager. See also Washington Post, US News, Detroit Free Press.

Education Department Tells States: If Students Don't Take Tests, You Will Lose Funding AP: A letter from the federal department last month reminded state school chiefs that the requirement to test at least 95 percent of grade 3-8 students is still in place and will continue under the nation's new education law, passed in December.

Per Pupil Spending Down in Most States, According to Federal Data State EdWatch: Despite the economic recovery, districts spent 1.8 percent less per student in 2013 than they did the prior year.

At least 145 sickened from apparent gas leak at Texas school AP: Authorities say at least 145 students and staff members at a Southeast Texas middle school received hospital treatment after an apparent carbon monoxide leak Thursday....

Immigrants' Son Is 1 Of 12 Students Worldwide To Ace AP Calculus Exam NPR: Of the 302,532 students who took the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, Cedrick Argueta, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, was one of 12 to earn every single point.

AM News: Untimed Testing In NY, Common Core Lawsuit In MA, Barr For Mayor?

New York Will Shed Clock for Some Statewide Tests NYT: The English and math exams given to third- through eighth- grade students will no longer be timed, the State Education Department said, ending the call of “pencils down.” See also WSJChalkbeatNY.

Group Sues to Prevent Common Core Question on Massachusetts Ballot State EdWatch: The lawsuit claims that the question scheduled for a vote on November's ballot is invalid and would revert the state to outdated academic standards. See also New Salem NewsTelegram.

Charter schools founder Steve Barr weighs 2017 challenge to Garcetti LA Times: Although the mayor in L.A. has no formal control over the school district, Barr said Garcetti had abdicated any meaningful involvement in the school system — in contrast to Garcetti's predecessor, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who placed education reform at the core of his agenda. See also LA Weekly.

Virginia's Charter School Amendment Is Prepped For Round Two In Assembly WAMU: An amendment to the state Constitution to make it much easier to create charter schools is expected to take its second big step forward during this session of the General Assembly.

The Latest: Teacher says principal pushed students to safety AP: The Latest on a bus crash at an Indianapolis elementary school that killed the school's principal.

Oakland pledges to fund college for poor SF Gate: The centerpiece of the Oakland Promise initiative is an infusion of grants, ranging from $500 college savings accounts for children born into poverty to college scholarships of up to $16,000 for low-income students.

AM News: School Spending Down (Again, Though Not As Much As Last Year)

Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states Washington Post: The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row, reversing more than a decade of funding increases, according to federal data released Wednesday. The national average was $10,763, down 0.6 percent compared with 2012, adjusting for inflation. That decline was less dramatic than the 3 percent drop the year before, but it shows that, in many places, funding for public education has not rebounded as the economy recovered from the Great Recession. See also Stateline.

Emergency food program in DC schools expands its reach Washington Post: The District of Columbia's experiment serving hot meals to hungry students during a school shutdown picked up steam Tuesday, with twice as many students participating as the day before.

Arguing for mayoral control, de Blasio sparks a spat over charter school funding ChalkbeatNY: Since Cuomo and some Republican lawmakers view the mayoral control debate as more a referendum on de Blasio’s education policies than a governance question, and both embrace charter schools, de Blasio’s remarks could undermine his argument to them.

Illinois students left out of state exams, labeled ineligible for testing Chicago Tribune: Nearly 20 percent of freshmen were left out of PARCC testing in English — but not because families opted out or reported students absent on exam day. Administrators labeled most of those youths ineligible to test, part of the new and controversial way Illinois is testing high school students across the state: Kids take state exams only if they're in particular courses, and not because they're in a certain grade.

Lowering The Bar For The New GED Test NPR: Many students had complained the new version was too hard. Because of the change, tens of thousands of students could potentially get their high school equivalency diplomas retroactively.

From L.A. Unified teacher to superintendent: Who is the real Michelle King? LA Times: At the announcement that Michelle King had been promoted from deputy superintendent to the top leadership position at the huge and troubled Los Angeles Unified School District, the small throng gathered at district headquarters rose to its feet in applause. The applause was a "Survivor"-like salute...

Growing Numbers Of Chinese Teens Are Coming To America For High School NPR: More than 23,000 have come so far, with California a top destination — especially the Los Angeles suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley. Many teens live with host families and attend private schools.

Driver: Principal fatally hit by bus pushed kids out of way AP: An Indianapolis elementary school principal was seen pushing several students out of the way of an oncoming bus before the vehicle fatally struck her, authorities said Tuesday.... See also HuffPost, NY Post.

Somali youth in one Maine city are learning to navigate several cultures WNYC: Maine is home to many Somali refugees in the US, but fitting in hasn’t always been easy. There's even tension among Somali communities — between those who arrived first and those who came later. That also plays out at public schools in Lewiston, Maine’s second largest city.

AM News: Snowstorm Recovery For East Coast Districts

Many Public School Students Get 2nd Snow Day AP: Students in Philadelphia, Baltimore and the District of Columbia will get a second consecutive snow day as officials said schools will be closed in those cities again on Tuesday.

For hungry DC kids stuck in snow, schools open their doors for meals Washington Post: The Jordan family — two parents and five children ages 3,6,8,9 and 10 — streamed into the cafeteria at the Columbia Heights Education Campus and made a beeline for the chicken nuggets sitting under heat lamps.

Chicago Public Schools gives layoff notices to 227 staff workers Chicago Tribune" Chicago Public Schools turned to a familiar tactic in the face of its latest fiscal crisis, slashing its nonteaching ranks and eliminating vacant positions in a bid to save tens of millions of dollars.

Educators Cobble Together a Post-Blizzard School Day WNYC: Student attendance was 74 percent compared to a typical day, when about 90 percent of students are in school citywide, according to Department of Education figures. Specifically, Queens and Staten Island had the lowest attendance rates, both hovering near 71 percent. 

For Some Schools, Learning Doesn't Stop On Snow Days NPR: It doesn't matter if they get 3 inches or 3 feet of snow — schools in Indiana can bring students into a virtual classroom if their physical classrooms shut down.

 

Teachers Union Calls for Stricter Charter School Laws in New York WNYC: According to a union analysis of charter schools sharing building space with district schools, 13.1 percent of students in the traditional public schools are English Language Learners, while the co-located charters served less than half as many. The charters also enrolled far fewer students with the most severe disabilities who require separate classrooms (1.5 percent compared to 7.1 percent of students in traditional schools). See also Chalkbeat.

Q&A: A look at the Detroit Public Schools teacher sick-outs AP: Detroit Public Schools teachers have complained for several years about poor pay, overcrowded classrooms, a lack of supplies, unsafe building conditions and uncertainty about their futures as the district struggles under a mountain of debt. Rolling teacher sick-outs have - so far in January - forced the district to close dozens of schools on some days. A preliminary hearing will be held next month on the district's lawsuit seeking to end the sick-outs....

In Efforts to Boost Teacher Diversity, Asians and Pacific Islanders Seek Inclusion EdWeek: Although Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders make up 5.1 percent of the U.S. population, census data show that the AAPI community is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country. Yet between 2000 and 2012, there was virtually no change in the percentage of AAPIs in the teaching profession.

Once-Lagging Neighborhood Schools Now Drive Improvement at St. Louis Public Schools St. Louis Post-Dispatch: For decades, children who have fared the worst academically in St. Louis have been those in its neighborhood schools. They tend to come from unstable housing situations, from the deepest poverty.

AM News: Schools Dig Out From Storm; Detroit School Closings Continue

Snow Clean Up Underway As East Coast Tries To Get Back To Normal AP: While New York City schools are open today, D.C. Public Schools remain closed. In Virginia, classes at Fairfax County schools have already been canceled for Tuesday as well. See also WNYC.

Detroit Teachers Plan Protest at Court Hearing on Sick-Outs AP: Detroit teachers plan to protest before a judge hears arguments in a case that could force teachers to stop skipping school. See also Detroit Free Press, Detroit News.

Chicago Public Schools Announces 227 Layoffs WBEZ: More than 200 administrative employees with Chicago Public Schools are being laid off and another 180 already-vacant positions will be closed, changes officials say will help save the nation's third-largest district $45.1 million a year as it grapples with deep financial problems.

Success Academy Founder Defends Schools Against Charges of Bias NYT: Eva S. Moskowitz says her network of charter schools has room to improve in how it serves students with disabilities but does not discriminate against them. See also Politico NY.

Millions take AP courses, but percentage of schools offering them drops Washington Post: In two landmark studies, quantitative data expert Nat Malkus has confirmed the rigor of the most successful high school program of the past three decades, Advanced Placement, and revealed what might be a troubling decline in AP use in small and rural schools.

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

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AM News: Detroit Schools Re-Open (Still Unclear What Candidates Would Do)

Clinton on Detroit schools: 'No one would tolerate these conditions in a wealthy suburb.' Washington Post:  Detroit Public Schools responded to Wednesday’s sickout by taking to the courts to stop further sickouts. The school system filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the Detroit Federation of Teachers and a number of individual teachers. Ivy Bailey, the interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, called the legal action “regrettable.”

Michigan Lawmakers Try to Toughen Strike Laws NYT: Angered by teacher sickouts that have closed many Detroit schools, majority Republicans in Michigan’s Legislature proposed legislation to make it easier to deem such work stoppages illegal strikes.

Detroit Schools in Session After Teacher Sick-out Shutdown AP: The Detroit public school district says all schools are in session Thursday, a day after a massive sick-out by teachers closed most schools

Here's How the Education World Thinks the Feds Should Regulate Under ESSA PK12: The online comment period for how the U.S. Department of Education should regulate under the Every Student Succeeds Act closed Thursday; here are some highlights.

Illinois Governor, GOP Legislators: State Should Take Over Chicago Schools State EdWatch: A state takeover plan would allow the financially struggling district to declare bankruptcy and the state to avoid any liability.See also WBEZ.

CTU president says union could 'possibly' give up pension pickup practice Chicago Tribune: Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, voiced optimism Thursday about the progress of contract negotiations with the school board and acknowledged her members could be in line to "lose certain things."

As charter schools rise, Dallas ISD rues loss of students — and millions in funding Dallas Morning News: DISD’s enrollment dropped by 2,000 students this school year, at a cost of at least $10 million in state funding provided on a per-pupil basis. About half the lost enrollment is kindergartners going to charter schools. The district’s chief financial officer expects another drop in enrollment next school year.

AM News: Detroit Schools Still Closed (DC-Area Schools To Follow)

Most Detroit Public Schools Close Due to Teacher 'Sick-Outs' Demanding Better Classroom Conditions AP: A city-wide teacher "sick-out" shut down 88 Detroit schools today, causing 44,790 students to miss class, according to the Detroit Public Schools system. Staff members at the closed schools were expected to report to work or take a leave day, the announcement said. See also NPR.

Prince William County cancels school Thursday, Fairfax schools to open two hours late Washington Post: Virginia's two largest school systems will lose out on class time Thursday because of inclement weather.

CPS calls GOP takeover proposal a 'sideshow' AP: Chicago Public Schools officials say top Republicans' proposal for a state takeover of the nation's third-largest school district is a "sideshow" to school funding formula problems in the state. In a Wednesday statement, schools CEO Forrest Claypool said that that the real need is to fix the school funding formula to make it more equitable.

Filing Alleges Bias at Success Academy Network Against Students With Disabilities NYT: Parents of 13 current and former students of Success Academy filed a complaint against the charter school network with the federal Department of Education. See also NY Daily News.

Lowell school board alters course, backs PARCC Lowell Sun: In a nearly complete turnaround from an earlier decision, the School Committee voted 5-2 Wednesday night to adopt the PARCC test this year for students across the district.

New report says Gates Foundation favors businesses, not poor Seattle Times: As Bill Gates hobnobs in Switzerland, a U.K. group is critical of Seattle Foundation’s emphasis on technology and capitalism.

Funders Fuel a Bigger Push for Family Engagement in Schools Inside Philanthropy: In 2014, a group of leading advocates for family and community involvement in schools banded together to create the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) to build greater support around this issue. Now, the Bethesda, MD-based group has received a big boost in its efforts, thanks to two leading funders.

AM News: Detroit Teacher Sick-Out, Plus Supreme Court Immigration Review

Most of Detroit's Public Schools Close Amid Teacher Sick-Out AP: Most of Detroit's public schools are closed Wednesday due to teacher absences, as disgruntled educators step up efforts to protest the governor's plans for the district, its ramshackle finances and dilapidated buildings.

U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh Obama Deferred-Action Immigration PolicyEdWeek: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would take up the Obama administration's policy offering relief for undocumented immigrant parents of children who are U.S. citizens. The case may also affect a related policy regarding undocumented children, and is connected to a larger debate over immigration policies that has drawn in students, educators, and schools in multiple ways.

Obama Proposes Expansion of Pell Grants to Spur College Completion Washington Post: The Obama administration proposed Tuesday to expand the Pell grant program for college students in financial need, giving them new incentives to take a full schedule of courses year-round in an effort to boost graduation rates.

 
Microsoft acquires ‘MinecraftEdu’ with eye toward school-age audience Seattle Times:  With the purchase, the company is hoping it can leverage the huge popularity of “Minecraft” into a bigger Microsoft presence in schools.
 
How have large donations affected education policy in New York City? ChalkbeatNY:  Though contributions from big donors amount to only a fraction of the city’s education spending, they still have a real impact on public school policy, said Jeffrey Henig, professor of political science and education at Teachers College. Henig recently co-authored a book called “The New Education Philanthropy: Politics, Policy and Reform,” which details how powerful individuals and organizations increasingly use donations to advance policies they support.
 
To Be Young, 'Gifted' And Black, It Helps To Have A Black Teacher NPR: A new study finds black students are half as likely as white students to be assigned to a gifted program. Unless their teacher looks like them.
 
Water Contamination Raises Health Concerns for Mich. Students EdWeek: Educators in Flint, Mich., have long taught students buffeted by the pressures of poverty and urban blight. Now, they're facing a new crisis: toxic tap water. 
 
Bronx School Embraces a New Tool in Counseling: Hip-Hop NYT:  A program called hip-hop therapy encourages students to give voice to their day-to-day struggles in neighborhoods where poverty and crime are constants.
 
 

AM News: Cold-Weather Delays, Deportation Fears, "Baked-In" NYC Segregation

Schools in Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William to open two hours late Washington Post: Public schools in Virginia’s Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties will open two hours late Tuesday because of the extreme cold forecast for the morning hours, including wind chills as low as the single digits, officials said.

Attendance Drops At Maryland High School, As Deportation Fears Rise Washington Post: In Prince George's County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., about 70 percent of the students at High Point High School are Latino. Principal Jimenez says the fear of deportation raids is making many immigrant students scared to come to school, despite assurances from government officials that there are no raids happening at schools.

Small number of schools enrolls large share of public housing residents, report says ChalkbeatNY: At 123 elementary and middle schools, or about 9 percent of schools, students who live in subsidized housing make up more than a third of the enrollment, according to a report released Friday by the city’s Independent Budget Office. By contrast, at over 700 other schools, such students account for less than 5 percent of the population.

Sexual violence isn’t just a college problem. It happens in K-12 schools, too. Washington Post: Twenty-one percent of middle school students reported that they experienced unwanted physical touching on school grounds, according to a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among high school students, 4 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls say they have been forced to have sexual intercourse against their will, according to a 2013 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Education Technology Graduates From the Classroom to the Boardroom NYT: Much of the money pouring into ed tech is going to start-ups focused on corporate training or professional skills, creating greater financing hurdles for companies that develop apps for school use.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Cold-Weather Delays, Deportation Fears, "Baked-In" NYC Segregation" »

AM News: Common Core Comes Up In Republican Presidential Debate

Fact-Checking Chris Christie on Common Core PK12: Does the exchange in the debate mean the Common Core State Standards are back in the mix as a campaign issue? Maybe. See also Slate.

NJ to Consider Eliminating Opt-Out Option For PARCC Standardized TestNew Brunswick Today: Students in New Jersey might no longer have the option to opt out of the controversial PARCC standardized testing, after a panel handpicked by Governor Christie released the results of a six month study on standardized testing and Common Core. 

New L.A. schools chief favors steady progress and collaboration over drastic change LA Times: Los Angeles' beleaguered school system doesn't need the aggressive shake-up some critics have called for so much as consistent, steady progress and collaboration, new schools Supt. Michelle King said in a meeting Thursday with The Times.

Nonprofit formed to promote charter school expansion plan gets new director KPCC LA: Castrejón was most recently the director of lobbying and advocacy efforts at the California Charter School Association, where she has held various leadership roles since the association was launched in 2003. 

Joel Klein, Ex-New York Schools Chancellor, to Join Health Insurance Start-Up NYT: Mr. Klein, who left the schools in 2010 to work for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation as leader of a digital education division, will become a top executive at Oscar.

Meet The Man DCPS Tapped To Head A New All-Male Public High School WAMU: Benjamin Williams says that when he was young, a DCPS teacher changed his life. The two recently met again as Williams gets ready ot head the first all-male public high school in the District.

Md. school system keeps Jewish holidays, adds days off for Diwali, Lunar New Year and Eid al-Adha Washington Post: Howard County had considered opening on Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, but took opposite course.

AM News: On Education, NY Gov. Cuomo Changes His Tune (Or At Least His Tone)

Cuomo Strikes a Different Tone on Education This Year WNYC: The Cuomo who presented his new budget on Wednesday sounded very different. He conceded a shift was necessary after roughly 20 percent of students opted out of the state math and reading tests in grades 3 through 8 this spring. Beyond the change in rhetoric, Cuomo's proposed budget included several education proposals. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Michelle King Becomes First Black Female Lead For L.A. School District HUffPost: For months, a high-profile head-hunting firm searched the nation for a new superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. On Monday evening, the Board of Education gave the job to a candidate who was part of the district all along: Chief Deputy Supt. Michelle King.

What we’re seeing with new SAT, PSAT tests Newsday: College-bound Americans, along with their parents and guidance counselors, exhaled with relief when the PSAT scores were announced last week. This college entrance exam was the first to reflect the much-debated Common Core learning standards, and the importance of a good score cannot be overestimated. Anxiety over the PSAT ballooned when the scores were delayed by nearly two months. Usually, scores for a test taken on Oct. 14 would have been available in early November. They came out Jan. 7.

Lawmaker: School shootings have made teachers 1st responders AP: School shootings have turned teachers into first responders, and they deserve the same death benefits given to police officers and firefighters, a state lawmaker said Wednesday....

Bronx Science Bans Cellphones From Wi-Fi as Students Devour It NYT: Since New York City lifted its long-held prohibition on cellphones in schools, teenagers have been eating up their schools' bandwidth.

The father of a boy killed at Sandy Hook gets death threats from people who say the shooting was a hoax Washington Post: Parents of a Sandy Hook victim said they were harassed by a Florida professor who called the shooting a hoax. He was fired. And the father got death threats.

AM News: Veteran Insider To Head Nation's 2nd Largest School System

New LA Unified superintendent signs $350,000 contract KPCC: The new superintendent’s $350,000 salary is $50,000 more than what predecessor Ramon Cortines was paid, and it's roughly $47,000 more than her salary as chief deputy superintendent of schools. The nine-page contract provides King with a school district car and driver, and security if necessary. Outside consulting or employment must be approved by the school board.

L.A. Unified looked far and wide but found new superintendent Michelle King right at home LA Times: When the Los Angeles Board of Education began looking for an new superintendent last year, it vowed to aim high. Officials eyed nationally known school leaders in Miami and San Francisco. They even talked about high-profile politicians like such as Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro and U.S. Rep....

With new superintendent in place, LA school board gears for battle on charter plan Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Board of Education's resolution is effectively a symbolic gesture, but it highlights a key challenge for the district's new superintendent.

Study: Low-scoring teachers tend to work in schools with high poverty rates Tribune: Overall, the consortium concluded there was a bigger difference between teacher scores "within schools than there is across schools," noting that even the city's highest-poverty schools also had teachers that logged high scores on the district's evaluation system.

Conservative activist James O'Keefe targets Common Core with new hidden-camera video Washington Post: Video purportedly captures textbook sales rep saying companies embraced national academic standards because of their profit potential; she says comments were misconstrued, taken out of context.

Emanuel Brings Back High School Program He Cut During First Term WBEZ Chicago: The Freshman Connection program was eliminated in 2011, the first year Emanuel took office. In 2010, 100 coordinators for the program were eliminated to free up money for principal discretion. Some principals decided to use their discretionary money to keep it going.

Detroit Mayor: Dead Mouse, Cold Kids, Bad Floor in Schools AP:  More than 31,000 students stayed home Monday. School district spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski said the number of children affected Tuesday wasn't immediately known.

AM News: Detroit Public School Protest

Detroit Public School Teachers Protest WNYC: Earley called the "sickout" in Detroit yesterday an action by a minority of public school teachers, saying it "served no purpose other than to harm and disrupt the efforts intended for those who cannot afford to lose instruction time, social building time, and time in the classrooms." See also Washington Post.

Could Lottery Money Save Charter Schools In Washington? Seattle Public Radio: Charters would pull an estimated $9 million a year from the lottery account, which Litzow says stands at around $150 million. It is currently limited to paying for grants, scholarships and early childhood education.

New York City’s High School Graduation Rate Tops 70% NYT: The announcement, which also noted that just over 78 percent of state students earned a diploma, came as state officials met to consider changes in graduation requirements. See ChalkbeatNY.

State To Apply For Federal Waiver To Try Out New School Evaluation System  Politico NY: A new type of assessment system could be in the works for New York as the state Education Department plans to apply for a federal pilot program under the new Every Student Succeeds Act — a program lawmakers said was written with New York in mind.

Michelle King is new superintendent for Los Angeles Unified School District  Los Angeles Times: Michelle King, center, receives applause from L.A. Unified board member Scott ... On Monday evening, the Board of Education gave the job to a candidate ... 2 after serving three times as leader of the nation's second-largest school.

LAUSD board picks long-time administrator Michelle King as new superintendent KPCC: In brief remarks to reporters after the announcement, she thanked the board for "their confidence and support" and as the first African American woman to lead the district, sees herself as a role model for what can be achieved. 

100,000 NYC School Children Face Airport-Style Security Screening Every Day ProPublica: Almost as many New York City students run the gauntlet of x-ray machines each day as pass through the scanners at busy Miami International Airport. And the procedure is numbingly similar. Students must remove belts, shoes, and sometimes bobby pins as the wait stretches as long as an hour.

AM News: Supreme Court Hears Teachers Union Case

Supreme Court Case Could Weaken Government Workers Unions AP: While half the states already have right-to-work laws banning mandatory fees, most members of public-employee unions are concentrated in more liberal-leaning states that don't, including California, New York and Illinois.

Conservative group nears big payoff in Supreme Court case Politico: The conservative Bradley Foundation has spent millions over three decades to smash labor unions. Now an investment that could barely buy a house in Washington may bring it closer to that goal than ever before. The vehicle is a Supreme Court case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, to bar public employee unions from compelling payments from nonmembers.

CTU allies benefit from newly enriched union foundation Chicago Sun Times: Although most of the foundation’s grants were doled out locally, one of the biggest recipients — getting a total of $200,000 — is the Arizona-based Network for Public Education. The network’s co-founder and board president is Diane Ravitch, a New York University professor and nationally prominent blogger who has supported CTU in its battles with City Hall.

Detroit braces for 'sickout' by teachers frustrated by class sizes and conditions The Guardian:  A ‘substantial’ number of educators are expected to be absent from at least 40 schools in a district facing financial calamity with liabilities of $3.5bn

Gaps in preschool access largest for Latino kids KPCC LA: Kim Pattillo Brownson, director of educational equity at the Advancement Project, said only 41 percent of all kids countywide have access to licensed childcare seat. Since two thirds of all children under 5 in the county are Latino, even if seats were distributed equitably, Latino children would still miss out at higher rates than their counterparts.

Will California's booming economy pay off in pupil spending? AP: Soaring tax revenues have carried per-pupil education spending in California beyond where it stood before the Great Recession. But advocates and education officials say the record sum proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is unlikely to reverse the state's standing as a comparative miser when it comes to investing in public schools.

Principals’ Union Says Mayor de Blasio Has Lost Focus on Students NYT: The union’s president blames micromanagement from the top, with conflicting orders and too many school staff members being overwhelmed with paperwork and meetings.

A 'no-nonsense' classroom where teachers don't say 'please' NPR: The center has worked with more than 250 schools across the country since 2009. Many of those are charter schools, but some are traditional public schools in places like Denver and Cleveland. All of them have similar populations: students from low-income families, many of them black and Hispanic. Nine of those schools are in Charlotte.

L.A. schools insider and an outsider emerge as favorites to lead the district LA Times: As the Los Angeles Board of Education closes in on choosing a new leader, attention appears to be focused on two candidates: Deputy Supt. Michelle King, an LAUSD insider, and Kelvin Adams, a superintendent from St. Louis.

Montgomery schools superintendent could be selected as soon as March Washington Post: School board members say they are pleased with the pool of candidates for the district’s top job.

AM News: Oklahoma Cuts, California Boosts, Chicago Teachers Want Rahm Gone

 

Oklahoma cuts public school funding by $47 million AP: Some Oklahoma school districts could be forced to close their doors as a result of about $47 million in funding cuts due to the state's budget crisis, Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Thursday....

Calif. Budget Plan Boosts Spending but Democrats Seek More AP: The plan calls for significant increases in funding for education, health care and state infrastructure, while bolstering the state's Rainy Day Fund and paying down state debts and liabilities. In addition, per-pupil spending would increase to $10,591. Schools are guaranteed about 40 percent of general fund revenues under voter-approved Proposition 98. See also SI&A Cabinet Report.

Chicago Teachers Union calls for Emanuel, Alvarez to resign Chicago Tribune: The union said its House of Delegates "voted overwhelmingly" last week to support efforts aimed at getting Emanuel and Alvarez to resign. CTU President Karen Lewis will talk about the issue at the union's annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Breakfast on Jan. 15, the union said.

Maryland Near Top Of Education Rankings, But Do Grades Mask Poverty Gap? WAMU: Education Week put our their annual "Quality Counts" report this week, grading states on their efforts to improve public education. But researchers caution that rising tides do not raise all boats.

New High School Equivalency Exam Demands More of Teachers WNYC:  It’s now called the TASC, rather than the G.E.D. And it’s aligned with the Common Core learning standards, meaning it’s harder to pass.  But the teachers at CASES said the more rigorous standards were making them better at their jobs. And many students, too, were responding well to the extra demands.

Maine Common Core foes cross party lines to push repeal New Boston Post: The measure he submitted last month differs from the bill that failed last year in two ways, Tuell said. It would let local jurisdictions keep Common Core or revert to Maine’s former state standards, and it would create a stakeholder group to formulate new state standards.

St. George’s School Agrees to Inquiry Into Sexual Abuse NYT: The Rhode Island school said it would commission a third party to investigate reports spanning several decades of abuse of students.

AM News: Mass. Ranks First (Again), Walton Puts Up (Another) $1B For Charters

Massachusetts Education Again Ranks No. 1 Nationally Boston Learning Lab: Education Week’s annual national report, Quality Counts, gave Massachusetts the top spot because it has the nation’s top fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores, high postsecondary degree attainment and rising AP test scores.

Walton foundation puts up $1 billion to boost charters AP: A foundation run by the heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton said Thursday it will spend $1 billion over the next five years to improve public education by backing new charter schools and helping programs already up and running....

Feds quietly close long-running probe of Milwaukee voucher program Journal Sentinel: The U.S. Department of Justice has closed a long-running investigation into whether the Milwaukee private school voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities, with no apparent findings of major wrongdoing.

Emanuel appoints Guzman to Board of Ed Chicago Sun-Times: Guzman also ran CPS’ department overseeing the approval of new privately run but publicly funded charter schools from 2007 to 2009, according to the district

School Superintendents Think Parents Just Don't Understand, Gallup Poll Finds District Dossier: The survey also reveals that most superintendents believe that measuring the success of schools should include factors such as student engagement and student hope.

How To Help Kids In Poverty Adjust To The Stability Of School After Break NPR: Returning to school after a few weeks away is a tough transition for many kids, but it's even harder for children living in stressful homes.

Florida Professor Who Cast Doubt On Mass Shootings Is Fired NYT: James F. Tracy suggested that the 2012 massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary and other mass shootings were a hoax designed by the Obama administration.

Georgia Town Teaches ‘Fight Back’ as Option in Mass Shootings NYT: In Douglasville, Ga., and other cities, seminars instructing residents to stay alert, and to attack the attacker if necessary, have become increasingly common.

40 Alumni Assert Sexual Abuse at a Rhode Island Prep School NYT: The scope of the scandal at St. George’s School in Rhode Island has expanded, with reports covering three decades.

AM News: LA Struggles To Replace Cortines, NYC Rezones Brooklyn School, Friedrichs Looms

5-hour meeting ends without a decision on an LA schools chief LA Times: "This is very, very hard work, as it should be," school board President Steve Zimmer said after the meeting.

2 Brooklyn Schools in Gentrifying Area Will Get New Zones NYT: The Department of Education proposed the rezoning to alleviate crowding at a mostly white school, Public School 8. But the debate over the move has raised thorny issues of race and class. See also WNYC, ChalkbeatNY.

High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court EdWeek: Abood held that state interests in maintaining labor peace and eliminating "free riders" justified requiring nonmembers to pay such fees, which are also known as service fees or "fair share" fees. The Friedrichs case holds high stakes for the future of public-sector unions, not least the teachers' unions that are parties to the case.

Washington Charter Schools Get Creative To Keep State Funding Seattle Public Radio: While school was out for winter vacation, charter operators and their supporters were hard at work to keep the doors open and state funds flowing to the schools. See also AP.

Some Families Lie To Get Their Kids Into Top CPS Schools WBEZ Chicago: The report cites more than a dozen cases of families using false city addresses to gain access to selective schools this year. Some were found to live in suburbs — including a Des Plaines family with a student at Walter Payton College Prep and an Elmwood Park family with a student at Whitney Young Magnet. This violates requirements that all CPS students — with rare exceptions — live in the city.

He’s acting, but the nation’s new education secretary is for real Washington Post: King, who turned 41 Tuesday, will retain the “acting” modifier for the rest of President Obama’s time in office. He has not been nominated by the president, and he will not undergo the confirmation process required of Cabinet-level officers under the Constitution.

Hillary Clinton Unveils Proposals to Support Children With Autism PK12: The front-runner for the Democratic nomination wants to restrict the use of seclusion and restraints for children with autism and other students in special education.

In California, federal sanctions on failing schools don’t die easy SI&A Cabinet Report: Officials at the California Department of Education have recommended that local educational agencies identified as needing Program Improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act must continue to meet all of the old obligations through August, 2016.

AM News: USDE Urges Schools To Prevent Anti-Muslim Discrimination

Amid Growing Anti-Muslim Sentiment, Education Department Urges Schools to Prevent Discrimination The Washington Post: The U.S. Education Department is urging the nation’s colleges and K-12 schools to guard against harassment and discrimination based on race, religion or national origin, a response to anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiments that appear to be on the rise.

Rauner: No Help for Chicago Schools Unless Emanuel Pushes AgendaWBEZ Chicago: Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois won't help Chicago Public Schools avert a financial "disaster" unless Mayor Rahm Emanuel starts pushing some of the Republican governor's legislative agenda.

Good Budget News For Pa. Schools - Sort Of  Philadelphia Inquirer: Philadelphia schools will remain open past Jan. 29, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Tuesday. Beyond that, not much else is certain. Hours after Gov. Wolf announced that he would veto parts of the state budget but allow some emergency aid to flow to schools and social-service agencies.

Success Academy Principal Who Created ‘Got to Go’ List Takes Leave NYT:  The principal at a Brooklyn Success Academy charter school who created a “Got to Go” list of difficult students was sued by four parents last month.

San Francisco Supt. Carranza withdraws from consideration to head LA schools Los Angeles Times: Richard Carranza, a leading candidate to head the Los Angeles Unified School District, has pulled out of consideration, according to a spokeswoman.

'A Bit Of A Montessori 2.0': Kahn Academy Opens A Lab School NPR:  The education nonprofit that pioneered free, online tutoring and lectures is venturing into brick-and-mortar private schools. Is this the start of a two-tier Khan Academy?

AM News: NYC Taking Steps To Promote Diversity, Limit Screening

NYC took steps to boost academic diversity in 2015, new report shows ChalkbeatNY:  The department stopped most middle schools in three districts from screening applicants based on their academic records, and allowed 51 low-performing middle schools to recruit students from beyond their normal catchment areas, the report said. The department also added 20 new “educational option” high school programs.

Effort to Recall Arizona Schools Superintendent Fails State EdWatch: Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas has battled with Gov. Doug Ducey over funding and education department staffing decisions.

Parent Council Readies for Vote on Brooklyn School Rezoning WNYC: The Jan. 5 vote by the District 13 Community Education Council, made up of parent leaders, will be the latest-ever vote on a school rezoning proposal to take effect in September. More pressing, the decision to rezone affects the current kindergarten application process, already underway. 

At the 10th largest school system, a violent threat comes every other day Washington Post: Retired Secret Service agent Tom Vaccarello analyzes threats to schools in Fairfax County.

Chicago Seeks More Charter Schools WBEZ: A CPS spokesperson providing written responses “on background” said CPS will host public hearings on any charters that make it through the application process. The applications will be viewable online, and a “feedback portal” is being set up for community members to share their views. 

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AM News: NYC Schools Violate Disability Act, LA Charters Show Some Benefits

Feds: Most NYC elementary schools violate disabilities act AP: In a letter addressed to the city Department of Education's top lawyer, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Monday said the two-year investigation also showed that six school districts, serving over 50,000 elementary students, did not have a school that was fully accessible. The entire system serves about 1.1 million students. See also ChalkbeatWNYCNYT.

Charter students start off higher academically, but some also learn faster in these schools LA Times: Students who enter Los Angeles charter schools are more academically advanced than their peers in traditional public schools, according to a study released Monday by researchers at UC Berkeley.

Public schools struggle with lessons about Islam amid renewed fears of terrorism LA Times: Experts say what's often not understood by parents today is that it's legal to teach about religion in public schools, a key exception carved out by the Supreme Court back when the battle was over Protestant Christianity's common appearance in the classroom.

D.C. Region May Not Be Prepared For Expected Surge Of Migrant Youth WAMU: Authorities in the Washington, D.C., region are worried about a new influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America as thousands of young people cross the Mexican border to enter the U.S.

Over Half of Race to the Top Cash Directly Supported Educators, Report Says PK12: The Center for American Progress highlights the program's successes, but will future Education Department leaders embrace Race to the Top's competitive-grant model?

Teacher shortage has schools in ‘crisis mode,’ survey finds Seattle Times: A state survey shows that principals are scrambling because there aren’t enough substitute or full-time teachers.

AM News: Funding Increase, Clinton Donors, School Bomb Threats

Education Comes out on Top in Federal Spending Bill US News: The $1.2 billion increase for the Department of Education largely consists of a $500 million boost for Title I, the pillar of the federal K-12 law that provides funding for poor students, and a $415 million increase to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which funds special education programs.

Clinton Views on Charter Schools, Teacher Evaluations Upset Some DemocratsWSJ: Democrats backing the effort to overhaul American education have become increasingly concerned that presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton isn’t committed to their cause, and some donors are holding back support for her campaign.

Students evacuated at two D.C. high schools Washington Post: Police responded to a bomb threat at Ballou and a report of a suspicious package at Anacostia.

Long Beach schools among several in US to receive threats KPCC: The Long Beach Unified School District was among several school districts throughout the nation that decided to remain open Thursday after receiving email threats. Long Beach officials deemed the threat it received late Wednesday night to be not credible and decided to keep schools open and on the usual schedule for the district's 79,000 students.

Days from leaving office, Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks about successes, failures Washington Post: Duncan addresses efforts to boost preschool, college funding for undocumented students and the problem of gun violence in the U.S.: "Other countries just value their kids more than we do, and that's heartbreaking. ... It's hard to educate a kid that's dead."

Furor over Arabic assignment leads Virginia school district to close Friday Washington Post: The assignment asked students to copy the Muslim statement of faith to learn about Arabic calligraphy.

Learning Soft Skills In Childhood Can Prevent Harder Problems Later NPR: There's more to learn at school than reading and math. Teaching kids to control their emotions, solve problems and work well with others can help them succeed as teens and adults.

This champion of bilingualism remembers her mother's stories of being paddled in school for speaking Spanish WNYC: The woman tasked with revamping language education in the Boston Public Schools grew up in East L.A. with a mother who was punished for speaking Spanish in elementary school.

At Prestigious Rhode Island School, an Investigation Into Sexual Abuse NYT: St. George’s School has been investigating what it says are “multiple credible reports” of sexual abuse of students in the 1970s and ’80s by three former employees.

Experiment with StoryCorps in schools yields more than 50,000 interviews Washington Post: High schoolers' intimate interviews with relatives are revealing, and as much about the interview experience as the recordings themselves.

AM News: Scrutinizing LAUSD Shutdown, Success Slims Down School Day

Read the emailed threat that closed LAUSD schools on Tuesday LA Daily News: The emailed threat to the Los Angeles school district that resulted in an unprecedented closure of all campuses included specific references to "bombs hidden in lockers," "nerve gas agents" and "Kalashnikov rifles."

Threats sent to schools in South Florida, Houston AP: School officials in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Houston say they're beefing up security on campuses after receiving threats similar to the ones received by the Los Angeles and New York school districts earlier this week....

Los Angeles Schools Reopen With Many Parents on Edge NYT: Even though the threat from the previous day had been deemed a hoax, many parents were wary of sending their children back to class.

Investors Rebel Against Controversial Online School Operator K12 BuzzFeed: Investors weren't the only ones voicing discontent Wednesday: outside the shareholder meeting in Washington D.C. a throng of protestors from national teachers' unions, along with representatives from a school operated by K12, marched and chanted. Protestors accused one of the company's largest school networks, the California Virtual Academies, of failing its 15,000 students.

Leaving 'No Child' behind: New law heartens educators AP:  School leaders and teachers who have argued that test scores alone shouldn't make or break a school are hopeful the new federal education law will offer a truer picture of success....

Success Academy Schools, in Shortening Their Day, Shed a Distinction NYT: Eva S. Moskowitz, the head of the charter network, said the move to reduce class time was made because improved teaching and training had enabled students to achieve mastery faster.

Maintaining Order So Students Can Learn WNYC: There's a word you hear a lot at M.S. 22 in Morrisania: RORS. It's a cute slogan, because the school's mascot is the tiger. But it's also an acronym for a code of conduct: Respectful, Organized, Responsible and Safe.

High Schools Listening to Scientists, Letting Teens Sleep AP: The movement still has a long way to go: There are more than 24,000 U.S. high schools. Supporters expect that such decisions will be made more quickly now that people have mostly stopped debating the underlying science.

Schools Are Incredibly Segregated, But Teaching Kids In Two Languages Could Help HuffPost: A walk through Heritage Elementary School in Woodburn, Oregon, can make you feel like you're touring Europe. In one classroom, a group of third-graders learn to read in Spanish. In another, students recite multiplication tables in Russian. In other parts of the school, students are receiving instruction in English. 

Bid to Spike Federal Teacher-Preparation Regs Fails TeacherBeat: Overall, all this gives the Education Department the green light to release its regs. They are supposed to drop this month, although the department hasn't given many hints about when. 

AM News: Grad Rate Uptick, Contrasting LA/NYC Bomb Threat Responses

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Ticks Up To 82 Percent AP: The U.S. high school graduation rate inched up to 82 percent and the achievement gap narrowed, according to new federal data that raise concern among education officials and others that too many students still aren't getting a diploma. Read more in NPR, EdWeekWSJ, Huffington Post, Washington Post.

Emailed threats to NY, LA highlight worries schools face AP: When it comes to assessing threats, New York City and Los Angeles schools likely have more experience than most other districts in the country. See also ReutersNYT, Washington Post, KPCC.

School Segregation Persists in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Maps Suggest NYT: Researchers at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs mapped the median family income and racial makeup of schools against those of surrounding neighborhoods, and found many of the schools to have markedly less variety. 

In This High School, Reading and Writing Happens in Every Class, Even Math and Chemistry Washington Post: The chemistry students at Northwestern High School were not fiddling with Bunsen burners or studying the periodic table one recent weekday morning. They were sitting at their desks, reading an article about food coloring, underlining key ideas and preparing to analyze it in an essay.

AM News: Big-City Tuesday Roundup (NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston)

New York City to Close 3 Troubled Public Schools in Brooklyn NYT: It is the first time Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has elected to shut down any noncharter public schools. See also WNYC, Chalkbeat.

Chicago Teachers Say Yes To Strike OptionWBEZ: Under state law, the earliest that teachers could walk off the job this time around is March, but union leaders say it could happen closer to the end of the school year or even into next fall.  See also TribuneAP, Washington PostNYT.

Baltimore schools officials warn that students may face consequences for protesting Freddie Gray verdict Washington Post: As Baltimore braced for a verdict in the first trial related to Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody, Baltimore schools officials warned students that they may risk disciplinary action for taking part in certain protest activities, including walking out of class.

Black, Latino Students Speak Up About Problems in Boston Schools Boston Globe: For two hours Saturday at the city’s public education headquarters in Dudley Square, officials with impressive titles outlined how Boston public schools struggle to educate black and Latino boys.

Coming To Texas: Special-Ed Cams To Protect Students From Their Own Teachers NPR: A new state law will require cameras in special needs classrooms at parents' request. But the schools must pay for recording systems, and there's no way for other students in the room to opt out.

New York Regents Vote to Exclude State Tests in Teacher Evaluations NYT: The board, which was acting on a report from a task force created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, also heard recommendations for addressing problems at a Rockland County school system. See also Chalkbeat.

In this high school, reading and writing happens in every class, even math and chemistry Washington Post: The chemistry students at Northwestern High School were not fiddling with bunsen burners or studying the periodic table one recent weekday morning. They were sitting at their desks, reading an article about food coloring, underlining key ideas and preparing to analyze it in an essay.

AM News: Maryland Struggles To Explain Unusual NAEP Decrease, Cuomo Hits Common Core Reset Button

Can States Use Special Needs, ELL Students To Manipulate Test Scores? WAMU: Maryland was the only state this year that showed declines on all four tests — reading and math for both 4th and 8th graders. It’s the first time this has happened for any state in the history of the test. Gov. Larry Hogan and Interim State Superintendent Jack Smith said some of that decline is because the state was more inclusive in who took the test, meaning more special education students and English language learners.

N.Y. Governor-Appointed Task Force: Rename Common Core, Reduce Testing State EdWatch: The Common-Core task force was commissioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo to "overhaul the Common Core system — to do a total reboot." See also NY Daily News.

Threatened with closure, ChicagoQuest drops “gaming” focus Catalyst Chicago: During a long and emotional meeting Wednesday night, Chicago International Charter School board members wrestled with a tough question: Should they close a campus that has performed poorly on most academic metrics, but whose few remaining students believe in its mission of “game-like learning.”

Even In Diverse Schools, New Immigrants Face Bullying WAMU: “Anyone that’s not Americanized is basically a 'chanchi' [piglet] but that only goes for the Hispanic kids. If you are from India and don’t speak English you just don’t speak English, there is no code name,” explains Jennifer.

Wanted in New York City: A thousand black, Latino and Asian male teachers Washington Post: New York City, which has the nation's largest public school system, wants to hire 1,000 black, Latino and Asian male teachers by 2017 to create a teaching corps that more closely matches the student body.

Black and Latino students vow to overcome their failing schools Boston Globe:  Saturday marked the first of a two-day session designed to give male students a voice in the changes looming over Boston’s public schools. Motivational speakers led chants about having the confidence and excellence of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in the morning, and held workshops about male empowerment in the afternoon.

Rapid response unit aims to counter criticisms of Teach for America Washington Post: A nonprofit group has begun a public relations campaign to defend Teach for America against critics of the program that places newly minted college graduates in teaching jobs in some of the country's most challenging classrooms.

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AM News: New Federal Education Statute Signed Into Law

Obama signs education law rewrite shifting power to states AP: Calling it a "Christmas miracle," President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law on Thursday, ushering in a new approach to accountability, teacher evaluations and the way the most poorly performing schools are pushed to improve. See also Washington PostNYTNPREdWeek, NPR.

State Chiefs' ESSA Accountability Pledge: 'There Will Be No Backpedaling' PK12: So what do state superintendents plan to do with the new power they'll have under the Every Student Succeeds Act? And how much do they see accountability changing?

Some States' Share of Federal Teacher Funds Will Shrink Under ESSA TeacherBeat: The change to the Title II program will benefit Southern states, while Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, among others, will see their allocations shrink.

Cuomo Panel Calls for Further Retreat From Common Core Standards NYT: The panel, in recommendations released on Thursday, is calling for changes in what New York State students learn and how they are assessed. See also WNYC, The Seventy Four.

Divided On Arrival: Even In Diverse Schools, New Immigrants Face Bullying WAMU: Immigrant students face a number of challenges coming to the U.S., and as some Montgomery County schools are finding, young people face bullying, fights and attempts to "otherize" them.

Achievement gap in D.C. starts in infancy, report shows Washington Post: New report shows stark disparities in the health and well-being of infants and toddlers in the city's richest and poorest neighborhoods.

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AM News: Senate Passes NCLB Rewrite -- Obama Signature Next

New Education Law Passes, With A Power Shift Back To The States NPR: States are thankful for the opportunity, but critics say there's no guarantee that states will succeed in two crucial areas the old law — known as No Child Left Behind — failed. See also Washington Post, HuffPostAPNYTPK12.

ESSA Spin Patrol: How Various Groups Are Claiming Victory PK12: You know you're looking at a bipartisan, compromise bill when everyone rushes the field after the final touchdown, claims partial credit, and proceeds to explain what it means.

CDC grades American schools on how well they teach sex education Los Angeles Times: The CDC gives American schools generally good grades for teaching sex education, but federal health officials see plenty of room for improvement.

Tim Cook: Apple Won't Make The "Test Machines" Taking Over Classrooms BuzzFeed: "We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no," Cook said. "We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level."

Minneapolis Taps a Former Massachusetts Superintendent to Lead the District District Dossier: Sergio Paez most recently served as superintendent of the Holyoke, Mass., district, which the state of Massachusetts took over this year because of years of chronic underperformance.

How some low-income students discovered the unwritten rules of high school admissions ChalkbeatNY:  Breakthrough tries to help close that knowledge gap, first by helping students sort through the 649-page high school directory. Then, Breakthrough staffers coach them on all of the other ways they can improve their chances for a coveted admissions slot at public and private schools alike, from basics like handshakes to more complicated strategies for advocating for oneself.

Man Acquitted of Killing Aspiring Teacher During iPod Theft AP: Zabel moved from Austin, Minnesota, to Philadelphia to start work in the public schools a few weeks before he was killed in June 2008 during a street robbery that netted an iPod. Zabel had been walking home after finishing a shift at a Starbucks store.

AM News: Senate Vote On NCLB Rewrite (Plus Rafe Esquith Revelations)

Senate prepares to vote on No Child Left Behind rewrite AP: Although the federally mandated reading and math exams in grades three to eight and in high school continue, legislation expected to be voted on by the Senate on Wednesday encourages states to set caps on overall testing. Senate approval would send the bill to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

ESEA-Rewrite Bill Includes Controversial Teacher-Prep Provisions Teacher Beat: One little-noticed provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, seems to be raising some consternation in the teacher-prep field: a proposal to allow states to use federal teacher-quality funds to sponsor a new kind of teacher-preparation program.

New documents provide details of LAUSD probe that led to firing of famed educator Rafe Esquith LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District’s internal investigation into celebrated fifth-grade teacher Rafe Esquith found that he allegedly fondled children in the 1970s and that in recent years he inappropriately emailed former students describing them as hotties, “sexy” and referring to himself as their personal ATM, according to new documents.

Most Maryland students in grades 3 to 8 not on track in math, new tests show Washington Post: Just 37 percent of Montgomery students and 15 percent in Prince George’s meet math benchmark.

Pro-Charter Think Tank Downgrades City's Rating, Citing 'de Blasio' Effect WNYC: Priscilla Wohlstetter of Teachers College, who co-authored the report with Dara Zeehandelaar of the Fordham Institute, said there's still “more fragmentation than unification” between the choice sector and traditional public schools. For example, only six cities had a common application process, and many did not provide publicly funded transportation for students to attend non-traditional schools.

Mayor de Blasio Draws Criticism for Plan to Pay for Security in Private Schools NYT: The New York City Council has passed a bill that will reimburse private and parochial schools for the cost of hiring unarmed guards, at a cost of nearly $20 million.

School Segregation Debate Hits Home in Bronx High School WNYC: Sigaran is taking a new elective class on integration in public schools. Their teacher, Sarah Camiscole, said she started the project partly in response to a 2014 study by UCLA researchers finding New York has some of the most racially segregated public schools in the country.

High Schoolers Get CPS’ Attention with Website and Lunch Boycott WBEZ:  Their civics teacher Tim Meegan said that 143 boycotted on Thursday and 437 (more than a third of students) boycotted on Friday, according to lunch staff counts. Monday that number blew up to 952 (or more than 80 percent of students), Meegan said late Monday afternoon.

If You Build Affordable Housing For Teachers, Will They Come? NPR: In North Carolina and around the country, districts are facing a problem: low teacher pay that means new hires can't afford to live in the community.

Millions of teens are using a new app to post anonymous thoughts, and most parents have no idea Washington Post: The After School app has exploded in popularity this school year and is now on more than 22,300 high school campuses, according to its creators. Because it is designed to be accessible only to teenagers, many parents and administrators have not known anything about it.

AM News: San Bernardino Shooter Inspected Several School Cafeterias

San Bernardino shooter inspected school cafeterias before massacre KPCC: San Bernardino school officials tell KPCC that Syed Rizwan Farook visited eleven school sites to inspect cafeterias through his job as a San Bernardino County health inspector. Officials found out less than a day after the shootings that Farook had been at a high school campus two months before the shootings that left 14 people dead and 21 wounded.

Senate Republicans celebrate ahead of vote to replace No Child Left Behind Washington Post: A new Republican video refers to legislation that was a forerunner of the bill that is teed up for a vote on Tuesday.

With Federal Budget Deal Expiring in Four Days, Where Does K-12 Spending Stand? PK12: With Congress poised to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, eyes are now turning to how congressional budget negotiations will impact K-12 aid.

Google Hit With A Student Privacy Complaint NPR: 50 million students and teachers use free Google Apps. A civil liberties organization says their data is being misused.

NYC Council OKs funds for guards at some private schools AP: New York City officials have given the go-ahead to spend nearly $20 million on security guards at private and religious schools.... See also The Answer Sheet.

The Teachers Who Educate Our Youngest Kids Are Struggling To Make Ends Meet HuffPost: A new report out from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that a majority of voters think early childhood educators deserve more pay. This makes sense given that a survey of preschool teachers also featured in the report reveals that some are struggling to get by. Early childhood educators earn notoriously little money.

One Way to Boost Achievement Among Poor Kids? Make Sure They Have Classmates Who Aren’t Poor. Washington Post: In a small number of school districts, officials are trying a different approach, assigning children to school based in part on their family’s income. And when poor kids mix with richer kids in class, they tend to do better academically, especially in math, according to a new study of large North Carolina school districts that was published in the journal Urban Education.

Backlash over Common Core extends to US Catholic schools AP: The backlash against standardized testing is rippling through some Roman Catholic schools as they balance the college-driven Common Core learning standards with spiritual goals.

New York Education Dept. Clarifies Goals for Poor-Performing Schools NYT: The School Renewal Program is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt to improve troubled schools instead of shutting them down, but how they were supposed to improve has been difficult to discern. See also ChalkbeatNY.

New group names 28 L.A. schools--more of them charters--as models LA Times: Those schools, which include charters, magnets and traditional public campuses, are viewed as stellar examples of how to educate students in the L.A. Unified School District. They are being touted by those who, at least initially, had proposed enrolling half of L.A. students in charter schools over the next eight years.

AM News: Outlawed Washington Charter Schools Explore Alternate Funding Source

Washington Charter Schools Find Another Source Of Public Money Seattle Public Radio: Washington state’s charter schools are about to lose state funding, so they’re exploring an option that might allow them to stay open. See also Seattle Times.

Montgomery County Group Educates Teachers About Sikh Culture WAMU: After a man who may have mistook Sikhs for Muslims attacked a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012, students in Montgomery County, Maryland, started a group to educate their peers and teachers about their religion. 

High-poverty schools often staffed by rotating cast of substitutes Washington Post: The ACLU branch has brought several lawsuits related to public schools’ teacher churn and heavy use of substitutes. “There are a narrow set of schools where this happens all the time, and until that gets really unpacked and resolved, there’s only so much that can be done to close the achievement gap,” Sapp said.

L.A. school board holds its first interview for job of superintendent LA Times: After meeting for eight hours in private, board members returned to district headquarters, reconvened in open session and adjourned until 8 a.m. Tuesday. They also have set aside time for interviews on Dec. 13.

Tragic deaths of home-schooled kids rarely lead to new rules AP: A Detroit brother and sister vanished more than two years before they were found dead in a freezer in their home, and an 11-year-old Florida girl disappeared more than a year before she, too, turned up in a family freezer. 

How A School's Attendance Number Hides Big Problems NPR: 'Average daily attendance' has long been a trusted measure — but the number conceals an important metric in identifying kids at risk of failing or dropping out: chronic absence.

Police swarm Utah high school, discover gun report a hoax AP: A Utah teenager was arrested after authorities say he lied about seeing a man with a gun inside his high school, triggering a two-hour lockdown and massive police response that illustrated a climate of fear amid repeated mass shootings....

New York City's Struggling Schools' Program Under Fire District Dossier: Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of New York state's Board of Regents, said New York City's $400 million "Renewal Schools" program for low-performing schools was, in some cases, allowing "failure" to persist.

AM News: San Bernardino Teachers Help Students Cope With Nearby Violence

What San Bernardino teachers are doing to help their students cope LA Times: Frank Dominguez Elementary School, for example, is close to the attacks and to the site where suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik were killed in a shootout with police. Members of the district’s crisis team, which consists of counselors and psychologists, were dispatched there, Strachan said.  

Education 101: Google Chromebooks Multiply in U.S. Classrooms  CNBC: So Apple is taking a different approach— win over teachers. The Cupertino-based company is developing an app to provide teachers with real-time student data analytics, which many expect will be rolled out in the spring in partnership with IBM, according to Fisher. (Neither Apple nor IBM would comment.)

Charter schools appealing to more diverse families as D.C. gentrifies Washington Post: Charter schools that serve the greatest mix of students tend to be in central parts of the city, in proximity to gentrified neighborhoods such as Columbia Heights and Brookland. They are in high demand, with an influx of higher-income families who are looking for alternatives to lower-performing, segregated neighborhood schools.

Online Classes Appeal More to the Affluent NYT: Residents of poor neighborhoods are less likely than those in wealthier ones to enroll in free online courses, a study finds.

Learning is an ‘expedition’ at schools that enhance class with field work Washington Post: The expeditions are typically interdisciplinary. Pre-kindergarten students are learning this fall about nutrition. In an art class on a November morning, they told their teacher Leah Carpenter Quinter about some of the food groups they have been learning about, including vegetables, proteins and grains. Quinter told them: “I have some exciting news: Artists often use food in their artwork.”

School Board Approves Controversial Deal In Transgender Student Case WNYC: About 400 people — mostly adults and a few students — filled row after row of folding chairs in a high school cafeteria turned into an auditorium for District 211's special school board meeting.

Ex-Vice Principal Pleads Guilty to Buying Booze for Student AP: A former vice principal at West Potomac High School has pleaded guilty to buying alcohol for one of his students after last year's homecoming dance.

For A Schoolboy With AIDS, A Principal Opened Doors — By Opening His Arms NPR: At a time when even doctors refused to see his adoptive son, Tom Graziano found solace in the way his elementary school principal embraced him. "I want to thank you," Graziano tells him years later.

AM News: House Passes NCLB Rewrite

ESEA Reauthorization Coasts Through House; Next Stop: U.S. Senate PK12: The House on Wednesday voted 359 to 64 to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act, which would scale back the federal role in education for the first time since the early 1980s. See also NYT, AP, Washington PostNPR.

Teachers' strike vote set for next week, union says Tribune: he voting will come after union leaders and allies urged thousands of teachers during a Grant Park rally last month to confront the city with the threat of what could be the city's second teacher walkout since 2012.

Police: 5 students detained for plotting to attack school AP: Police have detained five New Jersey fifth-graders for allegedly plotting to attack a high school during a field trip....

Before Minecraft The Blocks Were Made Of Wood NPR: Today we explore the simple, powerful tool that is still alive and well in some early learning classrooms: the wooden block. You might call it the anti-app.

AM News: Brewing Dissent Over NCLB Revamp, Plus Zuckerberg Newark Revision

House to Vote on No Child Left Behind Rewrite AP: House members are expected to vote on a bill Wednesday, followed by a Senate vote next week.The bill would continue the requirement for annual testing of children in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. But it would end federal efforts to tie scores to teacher evaluations and to encourage schools to embrace academic standards such as Common Core.

With vote planned on No Child Left Behind replacement bill, revolt brewing on right and left Washington Post: Conservatives say the bill leaves too much power in federal hands; civil rights groups say it leaves too little.

Civil Rights, Disability, Education Groups Give Lukewarm Nod to ESEA Rewrite PK12: Thirty-six disability, civil rights, education, and other organizations—including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—offered a measured endorsement of the Every Student Succeeds Act. See also Al Jazeera.

Facebook CEO, Now a Father, Will Give Away Most of His Money AP: In the same post, Zuckerberg said he and Chan will commit 99 percent of their Facebook stock to such causes as fighting disease, improving education, harnessing clean energy, reducing poverty and promoting equal rights. They are forming a new organization, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to pursue those goals.

Newark Launching Community Schools With Facebook Money AP: The Foundation for Newark's Future will invest $1.2 million now and up to $12.5 million total on two initiatives unveiled Tuesday in Newark. They will include additional support to students living in poverty, including programs in school and the community.

PAC shielded $2.3 million in donations by LA charter school backers Sacramento Bee: The charter PAC was the biggest money player in these contests, spending about $2.7 million. The teachers union spent about $1.6 million, according to state and local records.

LAUSD board gets first names of superintendent candidates KPCC: The names are confidential, but a source involved in the search process tells KPCC the school board will begin “three to four days” of first round interviews with top candidates starting this Sunday.

Wyoming Schools Get Poor Report Card For Native American Absenteeism NPR: One in three Native students are what's considered "chronically absent," in this state. Educators on the Wind River Indian Reservation say that's a major factor holding back student achievement.

To Measure What Tests Can't, Some Schools Turn To Surveys NPR: Social-emotional skills? Growth mindset? Grit? To see how students are doing in important areas beyond reading and math ... there's a survey for that.

Adelanto will not renew charter for Desert Trails parent trigger school San Bernardino Sun: The problem isn’t with what’s happening academically at Desert Trails Prep, school board president Teresa Rogers said Tuesday, but with what’s happening administratively. Tarver and other officials had failed to file the necessary paperwork for multiple issues, Rogers said, putting the school and district afoul of state regulations.

AM News: DC Gets Common Core Test Results

Only A Quarter Of D.C. Students Ready For College And Career, Per New Test WAMU: A quarter of all third- to eighth-graders in D.C. public and charter schools are considered “on track” for college or a career, according to the results of new, more rigorous tests in English and math. See also Washington Post, Washington Post.

Paying To Cut Seattle Class Sizes Doesn't Necessarily Make Them Smaller Seattle Public Radio: The Washington state Legislature has directed funding to reduce class sizes in elementary schools. But as KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, that doesn’t mean classes are getting much smaller.

In Denver, Charters and District Team Up on Special EducationEdWeek: Over the last five years, Denver district officials have been opening special centers for students with significant disabilities inside high-performing charters across the city.

California leads drive to reverse focus on standardized tests EdSource Today: The only standardized tests left are the Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts, which all students in 3rd through 8th grade and 11th grade are expected to take. Students still take a science test in 5th, 8th and 10th grade because they are required to do so under the No Child Left Behind law. (Students with special needs take a variety of tests designed to accommodate their specific disabilities.)

The Outgoing Education Secretary Reunites With A Former Student NPR: Arne Duncan catches up with one of the young students he mentored more than 25 years ago — a young woman who, he says, "inspires him."

Praise From Governors, State Chiefs Highlight Reactions to ESEA Bill PK12: The National Governors Association gave the legislation its "full endorsement," the first time the group has given a federal bill that kind of backing since 1996.

'Star Wars' mania becomes a force in schools and classrooms KPCC: "Star Wars" mania is in full force just weeks before the seventh film hits theaters. Riding that wave, some Los Angeles Unified schools will host "Star Wars"-themed, anti-bullying assemblies next year.

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.

Continue reading "AM News: US Fares Poorly On New International Comparison" »

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).

Continue reading "AM News: Schools Struggle To Talk About #ParisAttacks" »

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.

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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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