About this blog Subscribe to this blog

AM News: State Test Score Results, Teachers vs. Nurses, College Board Cave

Minn. student test scores show little change despite vow to improve Star Tribune: In reading, nearly 60 percent of students mastered state standards, compared with 59 percent in 2014. In math, 60 percent of students met math standards, down from nearly 62 percent in 2014. White students continued to outperform students of color by more than 20 percentage points on average.

Maury students excel in reading Columbia Daily Herald: For the state overall, students have shown significant gains in all areas of testing except English/Language Arts. This growth continues a five-year trend in student proficiency in math and biology across the state.

Ark. Common-Core Review Recommends a Smartphone App ... And Another Review State EdWatch: The latest state to complete a review of the standards is Arkansas. But its review has led to a somewhat unusual, if not unique, recommendation.

Hillary Clintons multi-step strategy to woo labor Politico: The first to make its own endorsement was the 1.6-million member American Federation of Teachers, which endorsed Clinton in July and whose president,Randi Weingarten, is among the most senior and influential members of the AFL-CIO's executive...

Labor debates Hillary versus Bernie Washington Post: Two women epitomize the divide inside labor: Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, defended her group’s early endorsement of Clinton. RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the 185,000-member National Nurses United, hinted that her group may endorse Sanders sometime in the next month. 

Conference Process to Rewrite ESEA Gets Underway PK12: All the expected characters were at the table: Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va.

College Board bows to critics, revises AP U.S. History course WP: Conservatives had blasted the 2014 AP U.S. History course framework as essentially being unpatriotic and presenting American history in a negatively biased light. After a year of defending the framework, the College Board just changed it. See also HuffPost.

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

Continue reading "AM News: State Test Score Results, Teachers vs. Nurses, College Board Cave" »

AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course

In a county that tried to amend US history course, a lesson in politics Washington Post: Voters in Jefferson County, Colo., are petitioning to recall three conservative members of the local school board who caused a national stir last fall after criticizing the Advanced Placement U.S. History course for being insufficiently patriotic.

Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism HuffPost: The company behind Advanced Placement courses for U.S. high school students will release a revision to the standards for AP U.S. history on Thursday morning, after significant pushback from conservatives who claimed the redesigned course framework, released last year, painted American history in too negative a light.

Pell Grants For Prisoners: An Old Argument Revisited NPR: The Obama administration is expected to announce a new program Friday that would once again allow some prisoners access to federal Pell grants.

The AFL-CIO has a perfect champion in Bernie Sanders. Is that enough for an endorsement? Vox: The AFL-CIO’s executive council meeting is this week, which means visits from presidential candidates: Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, and, of course, Hillary Clinton, who has a 1 pm with the union federation tomorrow. There's also a sole Republican visitor: Mike Huckabee.

Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow ProPublica: Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Track the Ebb and Flow of Public School Spending in 50 States State EdWatch: EdSource highlights both per-student spending figures per year and how much spending rose and fell during a single student's 13 years in a K-12 system.

Rep. Fattah Charged With Illegally Funneling Money Through His Ed Nonprofit PK12: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., who was previously a member of the House education committee, has pushed for legislation that would require states to equalize educational resources.

OC teachers union president, other officers relieved of duty WESH Orlando: "The AFT and the Florida Education Association have exhausted every possible effort to help the union operate by its own bylaws,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course" »

AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course

In a county that tried to amend US history course, a lesson in politics Washington Post: Voters in Jefferson County, Colo., are petitioning to recall three conservative members of the local school board who caused a national stir last fall after criticizing the Advanced Placement U.S. History course for being insufficiently patriotic.

Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism HuffPost: The company behind Advanced Placement courses for U.S. high school students will release a revision to the standards for AP U.S. history on Thursday morning, after significant pushback from conservatives who claimed the redesigned course framework, released last year, painted American history in too negative a light.

Pell Grants For Prisoners: An Old Argument Revisited NPR: The Obama administration is expected to announce a new program Friday that would once again allow some prisoners access to federal Pell grants.

The AFL-CIO has a perfect champion in Bernie Sanders. Is that enough for an endorsement? Vox: The AFL-CIO’s executive council meeting is this week, which means visits from presidential candidates: Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, and, of course, Hillary Clinton, who has a 1 pm with the union federation tomorrow. There's also a sole Republican visitor: Mike Huckabee.

Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow ProPublica: Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Track the Ebb and Flow of Public School Spending in 50 States State EdWatch: EdSource highlights both per-student spending figures per year and how much spending rose and fell during a single student's 13 years in a K-12 system.

Rep. Fattah Charged With Illegally Funneling Money Through His Ed Nonprofit PK12: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., who was previously a member of the House education committee, has pushed for legislation that would require states to equalize educational resources.

OC teachers union president, other officers relieved of duty WESH Orlando: "The AFT and the Florida Education Association have exhausted every possible effort to help the union operate by its own bylaws,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course" »

AM News: ESEA Next Steps, Effective Teachers, Clinton Vs. Sanders

Senate’s ESEA rewrite would do away with supplanting rule SI&A Cabinet Report: A compromise revision of the nation’s primary education law would essentially eliminate long-standing federal prohibitions on using Title I dollars to replace or supplant state and local funds, a top education policy expert said Tuesday.

To get support for education bill, senators conjure lost art: Compromise  Washington Post: Alexander, 75, and Murray, 64, had never worked closely but they were suited to the task. Murray had a growing reputation as a dealmaker after negotiating a budget with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2013; Alexander had stepped down from Republican leadership in 2011, saying he wanted to focus on bridging divides rather than scoring political points.

Schools are able to hire stronger teachers when economy is weak, study finds Washington Post: Teachers who entered the profession during recessions were roughly one-tenth of a standard deviation more effective in raising students’ math test scores than teachers who entered the profession during better economic times. The recession effect was smaller in reading — about half as large. Other factors — such as teachers’ age and race, and the characteristics of the schools they worked in — could not explain the differences that researchers found between teachers hired during recession vs. non-recession periods.

The Complicated Problem Of Race And Special Education HuffPost: A group of experts who spoke with HuffPost Live last week said that while minorities may be underrepresented in some categories of special education, they're overrepresented in the most "stigmatizing" groups.

Education officials say PARCC tests saved $2.5M compared to previous assessment Baltimore Sun: Statewide, 1.3 million tests were completed during the school year. More than 80 percent of students took the assessments online.

Teacher-Turned-Congressman: Rep. Mark Takano's Take on ESEA Rewrite PK12: Takano favors grade-span testing, supports the federal mandate that states and schools test 95 percent of students, and thinks accountability should be entirely left up to states.

Labor Wrestles Over Choice Of Clinton Or Sanders AJAM: “I don’t quite know where this is coming from, because it’s rare for AFL to endorse in the primaries,” said AFT head Randi Weingarten, whose union has already endorsed Clinton. “And AFL always waits for what its affiliates are doing. What would have been surprising is if AFL did any kind of endorsement now instead of waiting." 

Why schools are rushing to hire more bilingual teachers Fusion: Some districts are sending officials to Mexico or Puerto Rico to find qualified bilingual Spanish teachers. For many districts, however, it’s languages other than Spanish that are most in demand. Facing growing numbers of refugees from places like Iraq and Myanmar, the Lincoln, Neb. school district budgeted $1.2 million this month to hire more English Language Learner teachers, as well as bilingual liaisons to help families keep in touch with their schools. Most of the new students are young, in kindergarten and first grade, officials said.

The struggle to breathe life back into empty schools WBEZ Chicago: It's the same story across the country in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, where district leaders are facing the big question — what to do with all of those empty schools?

School Funding Fight Back in Hands of Washington State's Supreme Court State EdWatch: One of the most contentious K-12 spending battles in the nation could be close to a conclusion after over three years of legal and legislative wrangling.

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The SAT And ACT? NPR: George Washington University is the latest and one of the largest private universities to drop its admissions testing requirement.

How Squeezed Are the Schools? We May Get a Better Picture WNYC: Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration had convened a working group to examine the Blue Book, and six months ago, they submitted recommendations to the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

AM News: Columbia University-Affiliated School Reels Over Cheating Scandal & Principal's Suicide

Principal's Suicide, Forged Tests Rock Promising NYC School AP: The scandal has stirred sorrow and uncertainty after a promising start for Teachers College Community School and clouded the career of a Wall Street worker-turned-educator who'd earned praise for her approach. Meanwhile, Teachers College Community School seemed poised to prosper in its first round of Common Core tests, which factor in teacher and principal evaluations. See also NYTChalkbeatNY Post.

Colorado State Board of Education at Crossroads After Contentious Run Denver Post:  The item was not even on the agenda. The Colorado State Board of Education was supposed to spend the morning recognizing award-winning teachers and digesting a routine school-finance update.On that January day, Colorado Springs Republican Steve Durham sprung the first of many surprises that would shake the state's education establishment, prevailing in a vote to allow school districts to skip a portion of new state tests required by federal law.
 
Education Secretary Signals Push to Make Colleges More Accountable WSJ: One month after backing away from their plan to rate colleges, the Obama administration signaled it would take a harder line on issues of accountability in higher education over the homestretch of the president’s second term. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he wants to switch the nation’s focus from getting more students into college to getting more students out—with degrees.
 
The Effort To Stop Campus Rape Is Finally Starting To Focus On High Schools HuffPost: A provision in the Senate’s proposed rewrite of the nation's main education law governing K-12 schools would push for more sex education that focuses on dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Beyond the headlines: NCLB reform's lesser-known provisions MinnPost: If you followed the congressional votes, you no doubt know a few things: that the overhaul is almost a decade overdue, that the differing versions passed by the House of Representatives and Senate tackle hot-button policies concerning equity in funding, school accountability and student testing.

The Toughest Job In Education? Maybe Not NPR: It's been a theory of mine that the assistant principal has the toughest job in education. I got that idea a long time ago, when I was a student teacher at a middle school. 

Quality of Teacher Hires Improved During the Recession, Analysis Finds Teacher Beat: The paper was written by Markus Nagler of the University of Munich; Marc Piopiunik, of the ifo Institute for Economic Research (also in Munich); and Martin R. West of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Fact Checking Donald Trump on Gov. Scott Walker's Education Record PK12: The developer and GOP presidential hopeful has hit rival candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on common core and education cuts. Are his criticisms valid?

Expect Education To Be Big Issue In 2016 Presidential Campaign, Survey Shows Forbes: The foundation’s recent Schooling in America Survey found that 17% of respondents said education was the most important issue facing the nation. That compares with 31% who put economy and jobs at the top of their list of concerns. Healthcare was the most important issue for 13% of those surveyed.

Watts riots, 50 years later: What has L.A. learned, and done? LA Times: Locke High School is now Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy and is run by charter school operator Green Dot rather than by the school district. Jordan Downs is in the midst of a remake, with its residents part of the planning process.

‘Parent trigger’ campaigns can continue despite lack of new test scores EdSource: Anaheim City School District officials argued in the Orange County Superior Court case that parents were ineligible to use the “parent trigger law” because no test scores were available from 2014 – the year when parents started collecting signatures for the transformation of Palm Lane Elementary School. Both sides filed legal complaints in April.

The Struggle To Breathe Life Back Into Empty Schools NPR: As urban schools across the country continue to lose students, the question districts like St. Louis face is: What to do with all of those empty buildings?

Transgender Teen Fights to Use the Boys' Restroom WNYC: Gavin is transgender. His family decided to sue the school after the school board prohibited Gavin from using the boys' restrooms at Gloucester High School. On Monday, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia argued in federal court for an injunction that would permit Gavin to use the male restroom facilities at his school during the pending legal proceedings.

AM News: Teachers Probably Saved Lives In Louisiana Shooting

After Lafayette theater shooting, union chief praises teachers NOLA.com: About 20 minutes into The Grand 16's showing of the film "Trainwreck" on Thursday night (July 24), gunman John Russell Houser stood up and began firing into the crowd, wounding Martin, Meaux and seven others and killing two more, authorities said. But one teacher jumped up to cover the other, and managed to pull the fire alarm to alert emergency responders, Weingarten said.See also Atlantic/EWAWashington PostPhilly.com.

Some Common Core tests are getting shorter. What are they losing? Hechinger Report: After a rough spring testing season, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two state consortia tapped by the federal government to develop tests tied to the Common Core educational standards, is making big changes to its tests, which were administered to over five million students across 11 states and the District of Columbia this year.

Missouri Law Can’t Block Scholarships for Undocumented Immigrant Students Kansas City-Star:  In a memo sent Thursday to college presidents, chancellors and directors, Missouri Department of Higher Education Commissioner David Russell said language in the title or preamble of a recently passed higher education appropriations bill “has no legal authority to withhold scholarship awards from otherwise eligible students.” 

Carnegie Mellon project revives failed inBloom dream to store and analyze student data Hechinger Report: LearnSphere, a new $5 million federally-funded project at Carnegie Mellon University, aims to become “the biggest open repository of education data” in the world, according to the project leader, Ken Koedinger.

Why a Fight in Massachusetts Over Kindergarten Funding Is Getting Ugly Slate: While Massachusetts has a long way to go, access to early childhood education is indeed slowly expanding in many nearby areas. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for universal pre-kindergarten continues with the announcement that preschool teachers at community-based early childhood centers, including day cares—who generally earn less than teachers

New GAO Report: Teacher Prep Programs Lack Performance Data PK12: Seven states ignored the federal higher education law's requirement to identify "at risk" and "low performing" teacher programs, some of them blatantly.

City Invalidates Test Scores of Third Graders at Harlem School NYT: The Education Department invalidated the results of the state exam taken by third graders amid allegations of testing improprieties by the principal of the Teachers College Community School. See also WNYC, NY Post.

What Do We Value More: Young Kids Or Fast Food? NPR: New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It's the fruit of a three-year labor campaign. But there's another group of workers out there that hasn't had a real wage increase in decades. Right now, at preschool programs around the country, teachers are tapping infinite reserves of patience to keep the peace among children at various stages of development and need. They're also providing meals, wiping noses and delivering a curriculum in math and reading that will get the kids ready for school. And there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders

Who Will the NEA Endorse for President, Clinton or Sanders -- & When? TeacherBeat: Hillary Clinton, obviously, is the odds-on favorite for NEA pick. But consider this: At the NEA meeting this summer, by far the loudest delegate cheer went to Bernie Sanders, when the names of the three Democratic candidates interviewed by NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia were announced. And officially, the NEA has been utterly silent about its endorsement plans. In a way, though, the "who" question is the wrong one to ask. The right question is whether the union can even get a primary endorsement together at all while it still matters.

In New White House Bid, Clinton Embraces Race as a Top Issue AP: At multiple stops in South Carolina, Clinton on Thursday bemoaned "mass incarceration," an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools and poisoned relations between law enforcement and the black community.

Judges Revive Claim that AT&T Overcharged Schools for Internet Service ProPublica: The little-noticed June 23 ruling concluded that the complaint by Todd Heath was properly filed under the U.S. False Claims Act – a decision that could lead to the disclosure of AT&T’s internal records about the federal program known as E-Rate. AT&T said then, and reaffirmed in a recent email to ProPublica, that it complies with the requirement that it charge such customers what is known as the “lowest corresponding price.”

Pool for Unassigned Teachers Swells in Newark Wall Street Journal: The pool swelled recently due to the cyclical flux between school years; many teachers are expected to find jobs in the fall. Many teachers, however, are there because they balked at longer hours in schools slated for overhauls. Under a union-district agreement, teachers joined the pool if they didn’t agree to a stipend, typically $3,000, for working about an hour more daily, several Saturdays and two weeks in the summer. A union spokesman said some who kept to contract hours and left at 3:05 p.m. were derided by other staffers as “Three-oh-fivers.”

Seven States Get NCLB Waiver Renewals, Including Opt-Out Friendly Oregon PK12: Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah can keep their flexibility from mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, no matter what happens with a pending rewrite of the law.

Pearson’s Fallon Seen Turning to Education Deals After FT Sale Bloomberg Business: Pearson Plc’s sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. clears the way for the U.K. company to pursue acquisitions in educational publishing.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders" »

AM News: White House School Discipline Summit, Plus Free Online AP Lessons

White House Hosts School Discipline Summit PK12: The department's civil rights data collection shows that more than 3 million students are suspended or expelled each year (including 4-year-olds). See also Washington PostHuffPost.

Education Groups to Leaders in Congress: Get ESEA Rewrite Over Finish Line PK12: Begin conferencing the House and Senate ESEA bills now, said 10 major education groups in a letter sent Wednesday.

As states drop out of PARCC’s Common Core test, faithful carry on Washington Post: The tests from PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — has come under fire for its length, for its technical glitches and for efforts by its test publisher, Pearson, to crack down on cheating via social media.

Teachers' union gets schooled for violating campaign law Philly.com: The union was flagged for giving a $11,500 donation to its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers - Pennsylvania Chapter, whose political committee on March 9 wrote a check for that amount to Gym's campaign.

The new frontier for Advanced Placement: Online AP lessons, for free Washington Post: First came MOOCs, or massive open online courses. Now there are MOOLs -- massive open online lessons -- to help high schools teach some of the toughest AP topics.

Issue of collective bargaining threatens California evaluation reform EdSource Today: Democratic leaders’ efforts to rewrite the state’s teacher evaluation law have stalled over the same disagreement that upended the last big push in the Legislature three years ago: stark differences in who gets to decide what goes into an evaluation.

From an ‘Undocumented’ Boyhood to a Doctorate NYT: A new memoir hopes to further the debate on immigration policy.

A Geek Speaks Out Against Tech WNYC: Computer scientist Kentaro Toyama used to use tech to help the poor around he world. But slowly, he started believing it wasn't the answer. He explains why tech isn't doing much to educate the underprivileged or spur social change.

74 percent of high school students failed Algebra 1 final in a Md. district Washington Post: The exam results were better than they were last year, but failure rates remain steep for Montgomery Co.

Parent petition results in Prescott School new principal LA School Report: A wave of angry complaints by parents of students at a small elementary school has succeeded in convincing LA Unified to replace a principal whom the parents described as unfit for the job.

Report: Mass. Schools Bans On Junk Food Are Working Boston Learning Lab: The Northeastern study compared thousands of food and beverage options available in about 75 middle schools and high schools over a one-year period, before and after the standards took effect.

AM News: Nearly 40 Percent Of Black Kids Growing Up In Poverty, Says New Report

The U.S. Is Letting Poor Kids Fall Further and Further Behind in Reading Slate: Break this figure into subgroups and the picture looks even grimmer, with 39 percent of black kids and 33 percent of Hispanic kids in poverty.

See also Bloomberg News: Brain Scans Reveal How Poverty Hurts Children's Brains, AP More U.S. Children Are Living In Poverty Than During The Great Recession, HuffPost The Heartbreaking Physical Toll Of High Achievement Among Disadvantaged Teens.

Teachers May Be Staying In The Classroom Longer Than Expected, Says Study HuffPost: A recent federal study found that a much smaller percentage of beginning teachers leave the field in their first five years on the job than the widely quoted figure of 50 percent. It’s 17 percent, according to the new research.

The declining D.C. school system hired political strategists. It seems to have worked. Washington Post: Last year, consultants trained principals of traditional schools to knock on doors in a direct appeal to families, an effort that continues this summer. Now they are refining their pitch with messages based on the new market research, which included the parent survey, focus groups and polling data, a package that cost the school system $95,000.

The K-12 Record of New GOP Candidate Gov. Kasich PK12: Gov. John Kasich doesn't have the kind of high-profile and polarizing history with public schools that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can claim. But he has an extensive record. See also ThinkProgress.

How The Big New Education Law Could Cut Testing Time NPR: Marla Kilfoyle is a teacher on Long Island, New York, a center of the opt-out movement, and the general manager of the Badass Teachers Association, a national group that opposes standardized testing. Hundreds of its members will be on Capitol Hill this week lobbying Senators and the Department of Education to halt standardized testing, among other ideas aiming to empower teachers.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Nearly 40 Percent Of Black Kids Growing Up In Poverty, Says New Report" »

AM News: At 22 Percent, Child Poverty Rate Still Higher Than Before Recession

More children are in poverty today than before the Great Recession PBS NewsHour: Today, 22 percent of children live in poverty, up from 18 percent in 2008. Minnesota led the United States in children’s overall well-being, followed by New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It’s the first time in nearly a decade that a state outside of New England has ranked first nationwide.

ESEA Rewrite: What to Expect From House-Senate Conference PK12: Representatives from both parties and both chambers will attempt to find common ground between their dueling reauthorization bills, which contain some stark policy differences. See also Washington Post.

ESEA Rewrite and Waiver Issue: When Should ELLs Count for Accountability? PK12: The House and Senate bills to write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act go in different directions when it comes to testing English-language learners.

Pat Toomey background check amendment: Why the No Child Left Behind rewrite won't include it. Slate: Among the more unfortunate casualties was Sen. Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act, which proposed extending federal protections against bullying to LGBT students. Other amendments were adopted in extremely watered-down form.

Judge Rules Against Miss. Districts in K-12 Money Lawsuit as Ballot Duel Looms State EdWatch: A lawsuit and two opposing ballot initiatives over school spending in Mississippi promise to create a complicated picture for K-12 spending in the state.

Chicago Public Schools Propose Selling $1.16 Billion In Bonds Reuters via HuffPost: Proceeds would be used to improve school facilities, refund outstanding bonds, and pay banks to terminate swaps used to hedge interest-rate risk on variable-rate debt, according to documents posted on the CPS website.

'Breaking Bad' Actor Runs for Albuquerque Seat AP: Actor Steven Michael Quezada (keh-ZAH'-dah) is jumping in a heated race for county commissioner in Albuquerque. Quezada is a member of the Albuquerque school board.

The Test That Can Look Into A Child's (Reading) Future NPR: Researchers say they've come up with a 30-minute test that can predict a child's language skill and diagnose learning disabilities.

NYC Parents, Teachers and Students Give Their Schools High Marks WNYC: Consistent with last year's survey results, 95 percent of parents who responded to the survey were at least "somewhat satisfied" with their child's education and with the school's response to their questions.  [But no class size question?!] See also:  ChalkbeatSchoolBook.

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

Continue reading "AM News: At 22 Percent, Child Poverty Rate Still Higher Than Before Recession" »

AM News: Labor Dispute Over AFT's "Early" Clinton Endorsement

Unions seethe over early Clinton endorsement Politico: Labor leaders said there was a clear understanding that no national unions would make an endorsement before July 30. But the American Federation of Teachers jumped the gun. See also NY Post, WSJ.

Democratic 2016 Candidates Like Senate ESEA Bill, GOP Not So Much PK12: GOP lawmakers running for president don't think the bipsartisan Senate bill to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act goes far enough in restoring power to parents. See also LA Times, Atlantic Education.

President Obama Takes On the Prison Crisis New York Times: He talked about community investment, especially in early-childhood education and in lower-income minority communities, as the best way to stop crime before it starts. And he spoke of the importance of removing barriers to employment, housing and ...

Memphis students to meet Michelle Obama as part of higher education initiative WREG: 
The summit is part of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, which aims to inspire students continue theireducation after high school. 

Oakland educators say their success in school discipline relies on shared goals Seattle Times: Since 2012, the Oakland Unified School District has decreased suspensions by 47 percent — a dramatic drop that has drawn attention from those who wonder whether Seattle Public Schools can do the same. On Friday, four leaders of Oakland’s efforts came to Seattle to explain what they’ve done, and why.

Kansas’s Teacher Exodus EWA:  Frustrated and stymied by massive budget cuts that have trimmed salaries and classroom funding, Kansas teachers are “fleeing across the border” to neighboring states that offer better benefits and a friendlier climate for public education, NPR’s Sam Zeff reported. But it’s hardly an outlier.  And it doesn’t take much to find stories of teacher shortages in Arizona and Indiana, among many others.

USA tops International Math Olympiad for first time in 21 years Washington Post: If winning a youth math competition seems less important than vanquishing the Soviets back in 1980, consider this: the last time America won the IMO was 1994. Back then, Bill Clinton was president and Ace of Base was top of the pop charts. See also NPR.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Labor Dispute Over AFT's "Early" Clinton Endorsement" »

AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?

Senate Votes Overwhelmingly For Bipartisan No Child Left Behind Rewrite HuffPost: However, the bill’s next steps are unclear, since even its supporters concede President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign it in its current form. See also NYT, HuffPost.

Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue PK12: Here's a look at the Senate and House bills to rewrite the NCLB law, and how they compare to each other, current law, and the Obama administration's waivers. See also AP, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour.

Senate tweaks formula for Title 1 funds to educate children from poor families Washington Post: Burr rewrote the amendment so that the formula changes would not take effect until Congress funds Title 1 at $17 billion annually. It is unclear when that would happen; the program is currently funded at $14.5 billion, an amount that has been steady since 2012. In addition, the change in formula would affect only dollars spent by Congress in excess of the $17 billion benchmark.

Testing Revolt In Washington State Brings Feds Into Uncharted Waters NPR: As Congress debates the future of No Child Left Behind, one state falls short of federal testing requirements.

Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools SI&A Cabinet Report: A general decline in serious crime on K-12 school campuses nationwide appears to be reversing, perhaps reflecting an upswing in violence in some of the nation’s largest cities.

Some schools are still testing students for drug use APM Marketplace: Many schools are still testing students for drug use, despite the end of federal funding and mixed evidence on whether it's worth the expense. Some are expanding their testing.Research shows that while drug testing is associated with a very modest decline in marijuana use, surveys sometimes find an increase in the use of other drugs. How? For one thing, drug tests aren’t always accurate. Case in point, Goldberg says, the athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. 

Lawsuit says SoCal schools among those breaking law in teacher evaluations KPCC: A lawsuit filed Thursday in Contra Costa County alleges that 13 school districts are violating state law because they aren't using student achievement data when evaluating instructors. The suit was filed by four parents and two teachers. It's backed by Students Matter, a nonprofit founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. See also EdSource Today.

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

Continue reading "AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?" »

AM News: Senate Nears Finish To NCLB Rewrite

Senate Votes to End Debate on ESEA Rewrite; Final Vote Expected Thursday PK12: Senators also rejected a high-profile amendment from Democrats to beef up accountability measures in the underlying bill overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. See also AP.

Civil Rights Groups, Teachers' Union Spar Over Accountability PK12: The National Education Association sent a letter Tuesday to senators urging them to oppose a Democratic amendment that would beef up accountability in the Senate's ESEA rewrite.

Emanuel taps Claypool to take over at CPS, sources say Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to soon appoint longtime City Hall troubleshooter Forrest Claypool to head up the embattled Chicago Public Schools, two sources told the Chicago Tribune late Wednesday.

Why are Latinos teachers such a minority in Chicago? WBEZ:  That slow increase of Hispanic teachers comes at a time when Hispanic students make up the largest ethnic group in CPS, at 46 percent.

'Mr. Spider' Says Goodbye: An Art Teacher's Final Day At School NPR: For nearly a quarter century, Mathias Schergen taught in one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods. Now, he's moving on.

Gov. Cuomo continues to bring in money from donors with education ties ChalkbeatNY: he contribution is part of $2.4 million in donations Cuomo’s campaign reported receiving over the last six months — a slice of which again came from a cadre of money managers, executives, philanthropists, and lawyers who support charter schools, tougher accountability rules, or weaker job protections for teachers.

What was the Mark Twain quote that landed a teacher in jail? LA School Report: It apparently started when a technology coordinator who was in his Hobart Elementary School classroom on March 19 thought that what he said may have been a bit too much for his fifth graders, according to a chronology of events in the letter. She told the principal, Jonathan Paek. When he confronted Esquith, the teacher said the quote should be taken in the literary context that it was made.

Teachers back in school to master Common Core standards EdSource Today: Interviews with officials in six large California school districts and a major charter school system have found that several hundred of their teachers have signed up for – and in many cases by now already completed – summertime professional development programs provided at their schools to help them transition to the new standards.

Court Hands Major Victory to PARCC, Pearson in Challenge by Vendor EdWeek: Because the AIR lacks legal standing, the judge ruled, the other substantive complaints it made about the contract award—specifically, that it was biased in favor of Pearson—were effectively thrown out, too.

AM News: Pushback Against Early AFT Clinton Endorsement

CAMPAIGN 2016

The American Federation of Teachers Endorsed Hillary Clinton—and Not Everyone’s Happy About It Slate: The timing of the endorsement has attracted as much attention as its content. The obvious answer is that the Clinton camp choreographed the AFT endorsement as a safeguard against the unexpected threat posed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

See also: Clinton gets key union endorsement as Sanders enjoys a groundswell of support (Phil. Enquirer); Teachers union irks rank and file with Clinton endorsement (Watchdog); Will Hillary Clinton Continue Education Reform? (NYMag); Teachers’ union endorses Hillary Clinton over weekend. Backlash begins (AJ-C).

What Do Democratic Presidential Candidates Think of the Senate ESEA Bill? PK12: Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., take note: Hillary Clinton had nice things to say about your bill to revamp the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

CONGRESS

Senate Rejects Amendments on Portability, Opt-Outs, LGBT Protections PK12: As debate continues on the bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, senators turned down proposals on three contentious issues. See also Washington Post: Senate votes down federal protections for K-12 LGBT students.

In the Senate, another defeat for school vouchers Washington Post: The amendment, written by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was defeated on a 45-to-51 vote. No Democrat supported the measure and several Republicans, including Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in their opposition. Senate rules required 60 votes for passage.

RACE & INEQUALITY

Why are there fewer black teachers in Chicago? WBEZ: Just 15 years go, 40 percent teachers in CPS schools were black. Today, it’s 23 percent. Many black students are segregated into majority black schools -- like National Teachers Academy in the South Loop, where Porter teaches. Meanwhile, most of the students in Chicago’s public schools are Hispanic and African American. Black enrollment has gone down, but black students still make up 39 percent of the district.

Black Children in U.S. Are Much More Likely to Live in Poverty, Study Finds NYT: About 38.3 percent lived in poverty in 2013, nearly four times the rate for white children, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

PEOPLE & PLACES

Former N.Y. K-12 Official Ken Wagner Picked to Be Rhode Island Chief EdWeek: As a deputy commissioner in New York state, Wagner played a key role in overseeing how the state shifted to the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments.

After Testing Problems, Nevada Set to Hire New Assessment Vendor EdWeek: The state of Nevada, plagued by online testing woes earlier this year, is poised to award its next contract to oversee a suite of state assessments in a $51 million deal.

New York City Schools Ask Students to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ WNYC:  The Department of Education now encourages schools to leverage students’ devices — such as smartphones, laptops and tablets — as instructional tools by asking students to “Bring Your Own Devices,” a program referred to as “BYOD.” It’s part of a national trend of bringing student devices into classrooms.

Two major school districts eliminating some final exams Washington Post: The Montgomery County school board backed a plan to end final exams in middle-school- level courses Tuesday and is looking closely at a proposal to scrap high school finals, a shift that comes as officials in Loudoun County pursue a major change in how it will assess its students.

Few School Districts Have Anti-Bullying Policies Protecting LGBT Students HuffPost: Of the 70 percent of school districts that do have anti-bullying policies, fewer than half explicitly outline protections for students who get bullied because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Only about 14 percent of districts have protections based on gender identity or expression.

Beyond bake sales: New National PTA president wants to make organization more inclusive Seattle Times:  Poulsbo resident Laura Bay was installed as president of the National PTA earlier this month. She says early learning, health and safety, and family engagement are top priorities for her two-year tenure.

AM News: Wisconsin Governor Walker Joins Presidential Race

Gov. Walker Enters Presidential Race Claiming He 'Improved Education' in Wisc. EdWeek: As far as education is concerned, Walker is perhaps most prominent for his successful push to strip collective bargaining rights for teachers and other public employees in 2011.

Study Paints Sobering Picture of Unequal Access to Teacher Quality TeacherBeat: Any way you slice it, disadvantaged students get shortchanged on teacher quality, the study finds.

Major teachers union ready to work with charter schools Washington Examiner: Teachers unions want public schools to be the centers of communities, and they are ready to work with charter schools to achieve that goal, according to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. 

Nevada's Clark County Hopes to Lure Retired Educators Back to Teaching District Dossier: The nation's fifth-largest school district, which started the year searching for about 2,600 teachers, is turning to retirees to fill critical positions in elementary schools.

Few parents opt elementary children out of new state tests The Bellingham Herald: Complaints about the new statewide tests based on the national Common Core curriculum have been heard loudly on social media. But few Washington parents acted on those complaints and opted their children out of the new tests, according to data...

Many Kids Feel 'Unimportant' When Parents Are Distracted By Smartphones, Survey Says HuffPost: The survey results showed that 54 percent of kids think their parents check their devices too often and 32 percent of them "feel unimportant" when their parents are distracted by their phones.

How Textbooks Can Teach Different Versions Of History NPR: About 5 million public school students in Texas this year will get new and controversial textbooks that critics say water down history.

A New Look at Apprenticeships as a Path to the Middle Class NYT: After facing a steep falloff during the recession, apprentice programs are making a comeback, and have caught the notice of students, parents and even some presidential candidates.

Lisa Ruda leaves her D.C. schools post, and also leaves a revitalized system Washington Post: When Lisa Ruda arrived in Washington to help Michelle A. Rhee begin a transformation of D.C. Public Schools, Ruda had less than eight weeks to clear her first major hurdle — preparing the city’s schools for opening day.

Am News: Senate Returns To #ESEA, AFT Endorses Clinton On Eve Of Economic Speech

Senate ESEA Debate: What to Expect This Week PK12: Pressure rises, with nearly 150 amendments filed so far on the bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, though it's unclear how many will make it to the floor.

GOP senator: Let states fix No Child Left Behind The Hill: "Continue the law’s important measurements of academic progress of students but restore to states, school districts, classroom teachers and parents the responsibility for deciding what to do about improving student achievement,” he said.

AFT Endorses Hillary Clinton in Democratic Race for White House PK12: The American Federation of Teachers kicks off primary season by throwing its muscle behind the former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. See also HuffPostWashington PostPoliticoWSJNYT.

Hillary Clinton Will Call for Economic Policy Changes to Lift Middle-Class Wages NYT: A major teachers’ union voted on Saturday to give Hillary Rodham Clinton an early endorsement for president, a boost to her pro-labor credentials as she prepares to outline in more detail an economic vision focused on lifting middle-class incomes and tries to fend off a stronger-than-expected challenge from the left.

Report: Most NYC Charter Schools Replace Students who Leave WNYC: The I.B.O. looked at attrition patterns at 53 privately managed charter schools between 2008 and 2014. Most of them backfilled between 70 and 100 percent of their empty seats. But Raymond Domanico, the education research director, found six of them only filled a third or less of their available seats, which can be relevant when looking at their test scores. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Study calculates low-income, minority students get the worst teachers in Washington State Hechinger Report: No matter which of these three measures of teacher quality they used, guess what? They got the same result. Disadvantaged students across the state’s elementary, middle and high schools ended up with the worst teachers — the ones who not only produced the smallest test score gains, but also had the fewest years of experience and the lowest licensure exam scores.

Malala Turns 18, And Opens A School For Syrian Refugee Girls NPR: The Pakistani education activist, who was shot in the head in 2012 by a Taliban gunman, marked her birthday with refugees in Lebanon. She warned that the world is "failing ... Syria's children." See also PBS NewsHour.

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

Continue reading "Am News: Senate Returns To #ESEA, AFT Endorses Clinton On Eve Of Economic Speech" »

AM News: Senate Debates NCLB, New York Drops Pearson

Some states would lose big money with proposed education funding changes Washington Post: Congress’s debate about rewriting the nation’s main education law has featured high-profile disagreements over testing, vouchers and school accountability, but there is another issue that has just as much potential to derail the legislation: Money. See also Hechinger Report.

Senate Rebuffs ESEA Amendment to Let States Opt Out of Federal Accountability EdWeek: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., slammed the A PLUS amendment, knowing that if adopted it would have sunk his chances of getting the ESEA reauthorization across the finish line. See also AP

What should replace No Child Left Behind? PBS NewsHour:  Hari Sreenivasan talks to Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and former Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Students' Reading And Math Skills Are Still All Over The Map NPR: A federal report out today reinforces that states have huge differences in their definition of "proficiency." See also Boston Learning Lab.

N.Y. Has 'No Current Plans' to Give PARCC EdWeek: The Arkansas state board voted to use the ACT Aspire test instead, concluding a public spat over which common-core exam the state would use next year. See also WNYCNYTChalkbeatBuzzFeedWSJ.

Smarter Balanced Opt-Out Rates Top 25 Percent for Washington State 11th Graders EdWeek: Officially, 27.4 percent of eligible students were "confirmed refusals" for taking the Smarter Balanced English/language arts exam, and 28.1 percent of them were confirmed refusals for the math exam.

Duncan's Children to Attend Private School in Chicago EdWeek: Duncan's children will attend the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where he himself attended and where his wife will return to work. See also Washington Post, Politico.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Senate Debates NCLB, New York Drops Pearson" »

AM News: House Passes, Senate Debates - Plus OR Common Core Results

Senate Rejects School Voucher Amendment During ESEA Debate PK12: Democrats cleared their first school choice policy hurdle, defeating a voucher amendment on the second day of debate on an Elementary and Secondary Education Act overhaul bill. See also National JournalAPNYT, WP, Marketplace.

House Passes ESEA Rewrite 218-213; Senate Debate Continues PK12: The House vote came as the Senate is debating its own rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the two versions would have to be reconciled.

States Still Differ Dramatically In Their Academic Expectations, Study Finds HuffPost:  What does it mean to be passing math class? The answer to this question varies from state to state, according to a new report released by the research arm of the Education Department... For example, it’s possible for a fourth-grader to be passing reading in New Jersey, but as soon as he or she moves across the Hudson River to New York, to be suddenly considered failing -- despite not knowing any less. 

Common Core: Oregon students smash expectations in reading, writing Oregonian: Oregon students performed far better than expected on the rigorous Common Core tests they took for the first time this spring, especially in reading and writing, preliminary results show. But high school juniors bombed in math.

Amid Cries of Overtesting, a Crazy Quilt of State Responses EdWeek: The Council of Chief State School Officers says that 39 states are examining how to reduce overtesting or cut redundant tests in some fashion, as part of their efforts to "reduce unnecessary burden" from testing. Yet many states, rather than placing hard caps on testing time or cutting specific exams through legislation, are choosing to hand responsibility for reducing testing to new state commissions or to work directly with local schools.

Even as Congress moves to strip his power, Arne Duncan holds his ground Washington Post: Christina Waters’s cellphone rang, and she looked down to see that the number was blocked. Waters belongs to a circle of strivers that Duncan has quietly cultivated, students across the country who are clearing hurdles that would discourage many others. He calls regularly to offer support and advice.

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

Continue reading "AM News: House Passes, Senate Debates - Plus OR Common Core Results" »

AM News: Accountability Divide Behind ESEA Reauthorization Push

Day One of Senate ESEA Debate: Rift Over Accountability Grows PK12: Below the surface of pleasantries and backslapping, a policy split continues to grow over whether to beef up accountability provisions in the bill to overhaul the education law. See also HuffPost, AP, NPR, Washington Examiner, Washington Post.

Conservatives likely to lose education reform battle in Congress Washington Examiner: But the amendments aren't likely to make it into law, and the underlying House bill will likely be pushed to the left by House and Senate leaders eager to move the bill out of Congress and onto the president's desk for signature.

PARCC test pros and cons debated at Massachusetts Board of Education hearing Mass Live: More than 100 people, most of them educators, attended the public hearing at Springfield Technical Community College. Some shared overall concerns about excessive testing and others argued the PARCC test is needed to ensure children are prepared for the future. See also Modesto Bee.

Texas Textbooks And Teaching The Civil War And America's History Of Racial Segregation WAMU: This fall five million public school students in Texas will use textbooks that critics say misrepresent the Civil War and the nation's history of racial segregation. The battle over how the Civil War is taught in public schools. See also Slate

Ken Wagner, top state ed deputy, a finalist for Rhode Island ed chief job Chalkbeat: Wagner has effectively helmed the department alongside acting Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin over the first half of 2015 after John King’s departure last year. Wagner would be the latest in a string of state education officials to leave over the last year, which has been marked by tumult over education policies and the end of the state’s Race to the Top funding, as well as the choice of new Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who started Monday.

Rahm Emanuel on Budget Cuts and Teacher Layoffs The Atlantic: At an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday, Emanuel was defiant. “Everybody’s going to hate what they’ve got to do,” he said. But the budget arrangement is “what we call a grand bargain, or a fair deal.” Emanuel made it clear that he harbors no love for the education-reform movement. For example, he said, the common debate that pits public schools versus charters is “nuts.” “I am not an education reformer,” he said. “My job as mayor is to make sure you have quality.”

Marco Rubio’s Education Plans Echo Some Obama Ideas NYT: Many of the ideas on higher education outlined by Senator Marco Rubio in an economic speech on Tuesday sounded similar to policies that President Obama has called for during his time in office.

On Talking Race to Young Teens, Teachers Say It's Been a Tough Year WNYC: One morning in May, Stephanie Caruso had a question for her seventh graders at West Side Collaborative Middle School. She wanted to know if they’d ever been stopped by police when leaving the Upper West side campus for lunch.

AM News: All Eyes On Possible ESEA Reauthorization

White House: ESEA Rewrite Needs to Focus on Struggling Schools and Students PK12: The Obama administration worries the House and Senate bills to rewrite ESEA don't do go far enough on accountability. see also National Journal.

House Could Vote on Parent's Right to Opt Out of Tests Under ESEA PK12: The opt-out movement hasn't really been a key issue as Congress wrestles with reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but that could change this week. See also Washington Post.

NEA 2015 Convention Wrap-Up: Mixed Messaging Teacher Beat: Final details of this year's convention include the union's legislative war chest, mixed messaging on race, and other matters. See also EIA.

Are Test Scores Proving Fears About Common-Core High School Math Correct? State EdWatch: In three states that released preliminary common-core test scores in July, high school students failed to meet predictions for math proficiency. Did experts warn us this was coming? See also: Idaho Smarter Balanced Test Scores Largely Beat State's Projections

Lawsuit: L.A. Schools Failing Needy Students, Flouting California Funding Law State EdWatch: A California lawsuit filed last week claims that the Los Angeles Unified School District is failing to abide by the state's Local Control Funding Formula.

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

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On Possible ESEA Reauthorization" »

AM News: Bush Fdn. Donor Lists, Clinton Email Traffic, Plus Idaho Test Results

Jeb Bush's education foundation releases donor list a day after his tax returns Washington Post: The new donation records show that a large number of contributions came from for-profit education companies and that at least three donors also paid Bush for speeches.

Clinton Emails Show Image Management WSJ: She also planned dinner with Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, and Hilary Rosen, a Democratic political consultant. In another email, she asks for a phone number for Terry Murray, whom she describes as “President of the Mass State Senate and was a big supporter of mine during the primaries.”

Idaho students fare well on new testing program Spokesman: Idaho students scored higher taking new standardized tests compared with the national benchmarks used to measure English language arts and math proficiency. The Idaho state Department of Education released the preliminary scores Wednesday. Scores were supposed to be released June 5, but a delay with the vendor pushed back the release date.

LA Unified board votes in Zimmer as new president LA School Report: LA Unified board member Steve Zimmer was unanimously elected today to become the new board president, giving the board its strongest pro-teacher president in more than a decade. Zimmer, vice president for the last two years, succeeds Richard Vladovic, who served as president since 2013. See also KPCC: Lawsuit says LAUSD short-changing neediest students, LA Times.

Mayor: Chicago school cuts include layoffs, less maintenance AP: Chicago school and city officials detailed $200 million in cuts - including layoffs, scaled-back maintenance and reduced transportation - to the nation's third-largest school district Wednesday, one day after the district paid a $634 million pension bill officials said it couldn't afford.... See also  WBEZ Chicago, NYTHuffPost.

Ronald Thorpe, National Board President and Education Advocate, Dies at 63 Education Week: In a statement, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called Thorpe a "fierce advocate" for having teachers lead the work in the profession. "When he became president of the NBPTS, he pushed us all to the highest standards of ...

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

Continue reading "AM News: Bush Fdn. Donor Lists, Clinton Email Traffic, Plus Idaho Test Results" »

AM News: Big Union Case Looms, PARCC Down To 11 States, Chicago Drama

Justices Take up Dispute Over Union Fees AP:  Supreme Court to consider power of public sector unions to collect fees from non-members. See also NYT, EdSource Today.

Ohio dumps the PARCC Common Core tests after woeful first year Cleveland Plain Dealer: PARCC spokesman David Connerty-Marin said Ohio's decision is a "disappointment."But he said the Common Core standards and improved tests are "a huge advance and a big victory for students across the country." The 11 PARCC states now include Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, District of Columbia. [Arkansas is in the middle of a battle between the governor, legislature and state school board over PARCC's future there.]

At eleventh hour, CPS makes huge pension payment WBEZ Chicago:  The head of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund says Chicago Public Schools deposited its full $634 million pension payment Tuesday evening.  “The need for long-term solutions is not erased with this payment,” CTPF’s executive director Charles Burbridge said in a statement. See also Sun-TimesAPDistrict Dossier.

De Blasio blasts Cuomo for making mayoral control a ‘political football’ ChalkbeatNY: “An issue that was not politicized in the extreme in the past has now been turned into a political football,” de Blasio said in his office, in remarks reported by Capital New York and WNYC. “How on Earth does the city of New York get only one-year extension of mayoral control of education?”

Hillary Clinton to huddle privately with top labor leaders  Politico: Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley have also all trekked down to Washington, D.C. in recent weeks to court the American Federation of Teachers, helmed by longtime Clinton ally Randi Weingarten. The union has yet to make an official endorsement in the race.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Big Union Case Looms, PARCC Down To 11 States, Chicago Drama" »

AM News: Christie's Ironic Campaign Kickoff Locale, Plus Court Cases (KS & CO)

Chris Christie Slashed Education Funding, But He's Announcing His Presidential Bid At A Public School HuffPost: Christie is expected to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday at the high school.But the venue may be an odd choice, given that the school's district has experienced significant cuts in state funding during Christie's time as governor.After coming to office in 2010, Christie cut about $1 billion in education spending, according to Politifact, to help close gaps in the state's budget. See also EdWeek: Newark to Regain Local Control of Its Schools.

Guide Shows Teachers How To Talk With Kids About Gay Marriage HuffPost: The educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the National Education Association on Friday released a guide for educators to talk with students about marriage equality. 

Kansas Court Orders Immediate Increase In School Funding AP: State officials and an attorney for four school districts challenging the law said the decision from the three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court would force the state to provide between $46 million and $54 million in extra aid next week, distributing the money under an old formula that legislators junked.

Colorado's high court blocks school voucher program AP: A school voucher program in suburban Denver violates the state constitution because it provides funding for students to attend religious schools, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday.... See also Washington PostEdWeek.

Ohio Poised to Ditch PARCC Common-Core Test in Budget Sent to Gov. Kasich State EdWatch: House Bill 64, the biennial 2015-17 budget that lawmakers sent to Gov. John Kasich, prohibits the state from purchasing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam

What Should the Next Version of Accountability Look Like? PK12: Under one vision, states and the federal government would set goals for student achievement, but the states would be able to use any strategies they wanted to get there.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Christie's Ironic Campaign Kickoff Locale, Plus Court Cases (KS & CO)" »

AM News: Duncan Addresses Parent Priorities

Duncan: These Are The Things Parents Should Demand From Schools HuffPost: While speaking at the 2015 National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duncan detailed a handful of rights he said all parents should be able to demand from their children's schools. The rights, which span preschool through college, include free quality preschool, affordable quality college and high, challenging standards in a well-resourced school. 

Obama Administration Further Dials Back College Rating Plan WSJ:  The Obama administration continues to dial back once-aggressive plans to rate colleges and draw off federal dollars from the weakest schools, saying instead they intend to present new information about performance to empower consumers.

Changes for teachers bring CPS contract talks to a halt Tribune: Emanuel has had regular and productive talks with Lewis in recent days, but the mayor and his team have been unwilling to bend on the district's teacher evaluation system, said a City Hall official familiar with the negotiations. The administration contends that its changes to how CPS grades teachers has led to improved academic performance.

Kansas Court Rules Against Parts of State School Funding Law AP: State officials and an attorney for four school districts challenging the law said the decision from the three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court would force the state to provide between $46 million and $54 million in extra aid next week, distributing the money under an old formula that legislators junked. See also EdWeek.

News Corp. Is Winding Down School Tablet Sales Bloomberg Business: The media company, whose executive chairman is billionaire Rupert Murdoch, is no longer ordering new tablets from its manufacturer in Asia, though it has stock on hand for existing school customers, according to the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Have Millennials turned away from teaching profession? SI&A Cabinet Report: The U.S. Department of Education reports that the nation’s elementary and secondary schools employed close to 3.5 million full-time equivalent classroom teachers. Of that total, 44 percent were under age 40 in 2013 – which is why federal officials say schools will need to hire 1.6 million new teachers to replace baby-boomer educators that will retire over the next ten years. See also KPCC LA.

Favorite GOP Primary Game: Bashing Jeb Bush on Common Core PK12: The 2016 election season is just getting started, but there's already a favorite sport among GOP contenders: Hitting Jeb Bush for his support of the Common Core standards.

State Relaxes an Order Preventing Teachers From Discussing Standardized Tests NYT: Teachers who grade standardized tests, who are required to sign confidentiality agreements, can now discuss some test materials once they’ve been released by the state.

Marva Collins, Educator Who Aimed High, Dies at 78 NYT: At Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, which she opened in 1975, Ms. Collins set high academic standards, emphasized discipline and promoted a nurturing environment.

Report Criticizes Walton Foundation Funding Methods for Charter Schools EdWeek: Under accountability, for example, the AFT and In the Public Interest, a watchdog group that is skeptical of charters, call for requiring companies and organizations that run charter schools to make board meetings public in the same way that traditional public schools are required to do, release financial information on annual budgets and contracts, and allow regular state audits.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Addresses Parent Priorities " »

AM News: Clinton Hears About School Inequality On St. Louis Trip

St. Louis-Area School and Community Leaders Highlight Inequities for Clinton District Dossier: Tiffany Anderson, the superintendent in Jennings, Mo., appeared with other local leaders to talk frankly with the Democratic presidential candidate about racial and socioeconomic issues in their communities.

Panel recommends continuing districts’ waiver from NCLB EdSource Today: An oversight committee is recommending that the U.S. Department of Education again extend a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law to six California school districts, collectively known as CORE.

Senate Committee Approves Bill Cutting Ed. Dept. by $1.7 Billion in FY 2016 PK12: Democrats on the committee unsuccessfully attempted to restore funding for a host of education programs that were eliminated or gutted in the Senate appropriations bill.

Contract talks break down between Chicago teachers and city WBEZ Chicago: CTU President Karen Lewis said the union’s latest proposal was cost neutral—no annual raises, no cost-of-living increases—but did ask the Board to continue picking up 7 percent of the 9 percent employee pension contribution. See also Sun Times.

California Lawmakers Vote To Remove Vaccine Exemptions For Schoolchildren NPR: A similar bill, which eliminates all but medical exemptions, has already passed the state Senate. Gov. Jerry Brown has not said whether he will sign it. See also WSJ.

Lost and Founds Overflow at the End of the School Year NYT: A single shoe. Underwear. By each June, as teachers and students prepare for summer, the detritus of the school year can reach impressive heights.

Guide to Albany’s final deal Chalkbeat: State lawmakers wrapped up last night, passing a bill that included a one-year extension of mayoral control, allows 25 additional charter schools to open in New York City, appoints a commission to review state test questions for grade-level appropriateness, and lets teachers talk about those questions — but only after the questions are released over the summer.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderruso.

AM News: Tenn. Test Scores, Vergara Counter-Claims, AFT Walton Report

Five things to know about Tennessee’s 2015 test scores, out today Chalkbeat: Tennessee officials’ annual test-score announcement on Thursday will mark the end of an era. This year’s scores are the last for the multiple-choice tests known as TCAP that the state has administered for more than two decades. Next year, students are set to take a new exam that officials say will be a better measure of students’ skills. 

Respondents File Brief Countering Unions' Claims in Vergara Appeal TeacherBeat: The most interesting new wrinkle here concerns a new Calif. law, AB 215, that was approved shortly after the verdict. Unions have claimed that the legislation renders the entire suit moot, since it aims to slim the amount of time for a dismissal hearing. But the plaintiffs contend that the law potentially makes dismissal even harder. It doesn't state what happens if the deadlines are ignored, for instance, leaving open the possibility that any such hearing would have to be relitigated from scratch.

Report Criticizes Walton Foundation Support for Charter School Expansion District Dossier: The American Federation of Teachers and In the Public Interest argue that the Walton Family Foundation's ideology has led to rapid expansion of a charter sector that lacks transparency and accountability and is undermining traditional public schools.

How Can States Cut Tests Without Losing Crucial Information? State EdWatch: "Some states don't even know what tests they're giving next year," CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich told attendees at a conference about student assessment on June 23.

Nearly 200 schools are named for Confederate leaders. Is it time to rename them? Washington Post: The backlash against public use of Confederate flags has built quickly since nine parishioners were gunned down inside a South Carolina church last week. Alabama removed the flag from its state capitol grounds Wednesday, and political leaders in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina have moved to remove Confederate flag symbols from their state license plates. Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears and eBay all have said they will stop selling the Confederate battle flag, viewed by many people as a symbol of racism and slavery. 

More than a day after ‘framework’ agreement, questions remain on education issues ChalkbeatNY: Chief among those for Assembly Democrats is the strengthening of rent regulations, although changes to the charter-school law were also being discussed. “There’s nothing closed down. Everything is still open,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said after emerging from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Wednesday evening. See also NY Mag.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Tenn. Test Scores, Vergara Counter-Claims, AFT Walton Report" »

AM News: Test Streamlining Guidance, NCLB Waivers, Anderson Reflects

State Chiefs Group Offers Guidance on Reducing Testing EdWeek: Several states and districts are using Achieve's assessment inventory to get a more accurate look at the amount of time students spend on tests, the CCSSO paper said. Ohio surveyed its districts to build a detailed picture of what tests are given and how long they take. Connecticut is awarding grants to districts to support their work in evaluating their own assessment routines.

8 Education Waivers Granted AP: The Obama administration is giving seven more states and the District of Columbia continued flexibility from the requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. See also Washington Post.

English Class in Common Core Era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and Court Opinions NYT: At first, many English teachers and other defenders of literature feared that schools would respond by cutting the classics. That has happened, to some extent. But most districts have managed to preserve much of the classroom canon while adding news articles, textbook passages, documentaries, maps and other material that students read or watch alongside the literature, sometimes in strained pairings.

Years Into Common Core, Teachers Lament Lack of Materials AP: Schmidt's analysis of 34 widely used math textbook series found that those released after 2011 were, predictably, better aligned to Common Core than older ones but still left out about 20 percent of the standards. Such findings have given rise to a nonprofit website funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, EdReports.org, which reviews materials for alignment and quality.

Dispute Over Union Fees Could Return to Supreme Court AP: Half the states currently require state workers represented by a union to pay "fair share" fees that cover bargaining costs, even if they are not members. The justices could decide as early as next week whether to take up the case.

Schools Chief in Newark Says Debate Lost Its Focus NYT: Cami Anderson, in an interview one day after she resigned as schools superintendent, lamented that the fight over education reform had become “personalized.”

Testing Opt-Out Bill Signed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown; Delaware Next? State EdWatch: The Oregon measure makes districts send notices to parents twice a year about their right to opt out of state exams, and about the purpose of the tests.

More Minority Students Should Be In Special Ed, Study Says HuffPost: A study released Wednesday, led by Penn State education professor Paul Morgan, suggests that's the case. Schools have been identifying too few minority students for placement in special education, he claims -- in some cases, by a margin as large as 60 percent.

National, state teachers' unions split on East Ramapo Capital New York: The state teachers' union and its national sibling appear to be at odds over a proposal for state oversight in Rockland County's troubled East Ramapo school district. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Test Streamlining Guidance, NCLB Waivers, Anderson Reflects" »

AM News: Newark's Cami Anderson Steps Down

Cami Anderson, Picked by Christie, Is Out as Newark Schools Superintendent NYT: Ms. Anderson, who oversaw the New Jersey city’s troubled public school system, had feuded openly with the mayor, teachers and many parents. See also NJ.com, WSJDistrict DossierWashington Post.

Teacher Rafe Esquith files claim against L.A. Unified, blames controversy on joke LA Times: From his modest classroom at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Koreatown, Rafe Esquith became an education superstar. His teaching techniques brought him worldwide recognition, and his books became models for how to engage young students. See also LA School Report, KPCC LA.

Grading the Common Core: No Teaching Experience Required NYT: Pearson, which operates 21 scoring centers around the country, hired 14,500 temporary scorers throughout the scoring season, which began in April and will continue through July. About three-quarters of the scorers work from home

Despite progress, D.C. students are still not up to par, report says Washington Post: The District’s education leaders emphasized the progress that they have made in reforming the city’s schools in recent years but acknowledged Monday that they must increase efforts to improve prospects for thousands of underperforming students.

School Scrambles To Preserve Newly Discovered Chalkboards From 1917 NPR: Behind the walls at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City, construction workers found old chalkboards with drawings and class lessons, written almost a century ago and in remarkable condition.

Fariña, de Blasio and Mulgrew aim to fire up principals at Renewal event ChalkbeatNY: A private event for the 94 low-performing schools on Monday featured words of encouragement from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña, along with time for schools to refine their improvement plans for next year. Principals said the event was part pep rally, part professional development session, and was designed to energize those who will be on the front lines as the city tries to prove it can improve those schools with a combination of academic help and resources to meet students’ non-academic needs.

Innovative teacher-training program spreads to the Tri-Cities Seattle Times: Heritage University is expanding a teacher-training program that gives students up to two years in on-the-job training.

No drama, little fanfare as MPS and teachers begin talks MinnPost: Goar is adept at managing divergent constituencies, but is thought to be unlikely to rock the boat with any of them while on an extended tryout. He reports to a board that boasts three new members (four if you count nonvoting student member Noah Branch) that is still something of a cipher politically.

AM News: Teachers Details Problems At Virtual Schools

Teachers allege problems at California virtual schools run by Va.-based company K12 Inc. Washington Post: A group of teachers at a network of California virtual schools has alleged a number of problems with the online operator, including inflated enrollment to increase per-pupil funding; violation of student privacy laws; misuse of federal funds meant to serve poor children; and inadequate services for children with disabilities. See also TeacherBeatEdSource Today.

Virginia Online High School Pilot Is Ahead of the Curve US News: Come this fall, 100 students from across Virginia will have the chance to participate in the commonwealth's first fully online high school through a pilot program recently announced by state officials. And if the program comes to full fruition after the pilot, it would be the first of its kind in Virginia, and only the second of its kind in the country.

Texas Law Decriminalizes School Truancy AP: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has signed into law a measure to decriminalize unexcused absences and require school districts to put preventive measures into effect.

Measuring the Impact of Common-Core Test Disruptions in Three States State EdWatch: A Smarter Balanced testing vendor has released completion rates in three states that had serious challenges giving the common-core aligned exam.

When Research Projects Replace State Tests WNYC: ICE is one of 48 [consortium schools] with a waiver from the state to offer alternatives to most of the five Regents tests required to graduate. Students still must take the English exam but for the others they can provide portfolios or special projects. 

English Class in Common Core Era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and Court Opinions NYT: The standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, mandated many changes to traditional teaching, but one of the most basic was a call for students to read more nonfiction.

Poverty's enduring hold on school success WBEZ Chicago: Our analysis shows a vast expansion of poverty--2,244 schools have seen their proportion of low-income students increase by at least 10 percentage points over the last decade. And the number of schools struggling with concentrated poverty—where nearly every child in the school is low-income— has ballooned.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Teachers Details Problems At Virtual Schools" »

AM News: Proposed New Funding Formula For Worst-In-Nation Pennsylvania

Pa. Lawmakers Propose New School Funding Formula, as Tax Hikes Loom State EdWatch: The formula would provide additional funding for individual students from low-income backgrounds, as well as for students in districts with large concentrations of poverty. See also WashPost: Pa. proposes new school funding formula to help low-income students.

How Much Learning Actually Happens in June? WNYC: The grades are in. Brains are fried (young and old). The number of days left in the school year can almost be counted on one hand. With summer break so close, students and teachers are in a different mode. And that requires different activities.

Civil Rights Groups Demand More Accountability in Senate ESEA Bill PK12: A coalition of 36 organizations say in a letter to senators that without changes, the bipartisan ESEA measure "will not fulfill its functions as a civil rights law."

Teachers Union Leader Weighs In On Democratic Contenders For President HuffPost: García separately interviewed the former Maryland governor and the current Vermont senator Thursday as part of the NEA's endorsement process for the 2016 presidential election. O'Malley emphasized the importance of educating the "whole child," according to excerpts of the meeting released by the NEA.

What Happened After New Orleans Fired All of Its Teachers—and Why It Still Matters to Diversity in the Classroom Slate: A better understanding of why, and how, it matters for children, particularly the most disenfranchised, could help New Orleans teachers and schools become more effective in the wake of a 10-year-old tragedy. And it could help all educators, everywhere, in their bid to reach and teach a rapidly diversifying student population whose needs and backgrounds are more varied and complex than ever.

Kids' Art Show Takes Over 2 Billboards In Times Square NPR: Through the weekend, art by 23 public school students will be seen on two large billboards in the heart of New York City.

'Freedom' fries: Texas repeals ban on deep fryers in schools AP: It's about freedom, not the fries. So says new Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who announced Thursday that the state is repealing a decade-old ban on deep fryers in public schools - an unappetizing reversal to national health advocates, school nutritionists and even his predecessor in the post.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Proposed New Funding Formula For Worst-In-Nation Pennsylvania" »

AM News: Jindal Loses Common Core Appeal

Jindal loses appeal on Common Core lawsuit in state court AP: A Louisiana appeals court Wednesday upheld a judge's ruling that barred Gov. Bobby Jindal from suspending testing contracts tied to Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards.

House Appropriators Prepare Fiscal 2016 Education Spending Bill for Markup PK12: The subcommittee markup is the first to occur in more than three years, as Congress has been dysfunctional in its ability to draft fiscal year spending bills.

Tough Tests for Teachers, With Question of Bias NYT: Minority candidates have been lagging whites in passing the tests, jeopardizing a goal of diversifying the teaching force so it more closely resembles the makeup of the country’s student body.

Elements of 'Portfolio' Strategy Taking Root in Some Districts District Dossier: A new snapshot from the Center on Reinvention Public Education (CRPE) looks at the progress school districts have made in implementing components of the portfolio model strategy.

10 Years After Katrina, the Education System in New Orleans is Still Evolving District Dossier: The annual "State of Public Education in New Orleans" report, which is published by the Cowen Institute at Tulane University, examines the education reforms in the city's public schools since 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

Johnny on the Spot: Ohio Gov. Kasich, Common Core, and the 2016 Campaign State EdWatch: Unlike fellow Republican Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is a sitting public official and common-core supporter who has parried a variety of attacks on the standards.

Usher’s curriculum with ‘swag’ could help D.C. students find their passion Washington Post: The day started with a simple question: What’s your “spark”? The dozen teens, all students at Cardozo High School in Columbia Heights, shared their interests: Hip-hop, football, music, singing and pottery.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Jindal Loses Common Core Appeal" »

AM News: Tulane Report Says 2005-2015 New Orleans Changes Working

New Orleans school changes worked, Cowen Institute says NOLA.com: Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, have New Orleans' massive education changes worked? Tulane's Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives issued its answer in a Wednesday (June 17) report:

Ed. Policy Irony: Union Pushes Back on D.C. Plan to Shield Evaluation Data Teacher Beat: In a reversal of roles, the union says that the district is trying to hide crucial information on the controversial educator-evaluation system.

Schools official mistakenly leaks student data in PowerPoint document Washington Post: When the chief technology officer for Montgomery County schools gave a talk at a conference in Missouri a few years ago, he used a PowerPoint presentation that mistakenly included the names and photos of 16 Bethesda kindergartners, along with phone numbers.

Decriminalizing truancy while focusing on family engagement SI&A Cabinet Report: A landmark revision of truancy laws in Texas would give schools and the courts more options for dealing with scofflaw students other than sending them into the criminal justice system.

A Vision For Teacher Training At MIT: West Point Meets Bell Labs NPR: Arthur Levine, the former president of Teachers College, Columbia University, is launching a $30 million project that he says will shake teacher education to its core.

A Soft Eraser Won't Fix This SAT Mistake NPR: The College Board won't score two of 10 test sections after a printing error on the instructions for the exam given earlier this month.

After years of reform, a sign of hope for a rural Mississippi school Hechinger Report:The number of Mississippi third graders moving on to the fourth grade has jumped from 85 percent to 90 percent, according to third-grade reading test retake scores released last week by the Mississippi Department of Education. Still, 3,400 third graders could be held back a year. Jackie Mader went to one of the poorest areas of the state in the Delta to see how third-grade testing went where kids are most behind.

LAUSD summer school enrollment jumps 20 percent as graduate requirements get tougher KPCC LA: In years past, the college-prep course load was an option that L.A. Unified's academically inclined students could elect to take, but now the school board is requiring all students to complete the so-called A-G classes that are necessary for University of California or California State University entry.

Missouri Schools and Parents Are Divided on Proposed Fixes to School Transfer Law District Dossier: Gov. Jay Nixon, who vetoed the legislature's attempt last year to fix the controversial 1993 school transfer law, has until mid-July to act on this year's version.

Teacher Resigns After Reading Students Book About Gay Couple AP: NC teacher resigns amid outcry over reading 3rd-graders story of princes who marry each other.

Morning Video: A Different Kind Of (Charter) School Model

"Right away, when visitors walk into an Intrinsic Schools classroom, they notice its size. Each classroom holds roughly 50 to 60 students." (A Charter School Model Different from Most WTTW Chicago)

AM News: Common Core Reporting Slowdown, SAT Misprint, UPK For Hillary

State can’t explain slowdown on scoring of new Common Core tests Seattle Times: Scoring the new Common Core-based tests is taking longer than anticipated in Washington state, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction doesn't know why.

Test Scores Trickling in after Statewide Delay Idaho Times News: Students across Idaho began taking new standardized tests months ago, but two weeks into summer break and most still don’t know how they performed.

Advocates Hope Common Core Will Rub Off on Special-Needs Students Education Week: As nearly all states adopted college- and career-ready standards in the past five years, many advocates in the special education community crossed their fingers, hoping that the trend would press the K-12 world to extend those higher expectations to students with special needs, too. But whether high schools are doing a better job building those expectations into their postsecondary-transition plans for students remains an open question.

After SAT Misprint, Two Sections Won’t Be Scored NYT: The College Board also says it will waive its fees for students who want to take the test again, afte, Ur an error regarding the allotted time for a reading section on June 6.

Inside Obama's Stealth Startup [18F] Fast Company: President Obama has quietly recruited top tech talent from the likes of Google and Facebook. Their mission: to reboot how government works. [Featuring USDE's "digital services" officer]

Teen shot and killed on Dorchester street was making gains in school Boston Globe: Hours before he was fatally shot while riding his bicycle to his aunt’s house in Dorchester on Wednesday, Jonathan “Jo Jo” Dos Santos enjoyed a special school outing that he had worked all year to earn.

Hillary Clinton Calls for Universal Prekindergarten PK12: The Democratic presidential candidate wants to give every 4-year-old in America access to high-quality preschool over the next decade. [what about universal kindergarten, too?] See also AP.

Big K-12 Dog Off the Porch: Jeb Bush Enters 2016 Race With Long Policy C.V. State EdWatch: Bush, who served two terms as Florida governor before leaving the office in 2007, has perhaps the most extensive and complicated track record in education among all the Republican candidates.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core Reporting Slowdown, SAT Misprint, UPK For Hillary" »

AM News: Waiting For ESEA Reauthorization (& Common Core Test Results)

Refresher: What's in the House ESEA Bill? PK12: The measure was not on the Majority Leader's weekly schedule for action, but sources said it could be called to the floor as early as Wednesday.

Common Core tests largely over; now comes the wait for scores KPCC LA: California Department of Education spokeswoman Pam Slater said it’s up to each of the state’s 1,028 school districts to decide how to use the test scores. The state has put on hold any school penalties or rewards for standardized tests scores while students get used to taking the assessments.

More States Are Creating Turnaround School Districts District Dossier: Louisiana's Recovery School District is proving to be a model for many state governors who are intent on turning around struggling schools.

When Guarding Student Data Endangers Valuable Research NYT: Some proposed privacy laws for students could unintentionally choke off the data’s original purpose: assessing and improving education.

Union-backed group calls for pause in federal money for charter schools Washington Post: A labor-backed group is objecting to a U.S. Education Department proposal to expand federal funding for public charter schools, after the agency’s inspector general issued a scathing report that found deficiencies in how the department handled federal grants to charter schools between 2008 and 2011.

With clock ticking, mayoral control debate recedes for now ChalkbeatNY: With just days left in the legislative session, renewing mayoral control and lifting the state’s cap on charter schools seem like distant priorities in negotiations among state lawmakers.

Moskowitz finds a new way to undermine de Blasio Capital New York: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten accused Moskowitz of being a hypocrite. "[Moskowitz] totally wanted mayoral control when Mike Bloomberg was here but now that she doesn't like a decision the P.E.P. made, she's against ..

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

Continue reading "AM News: Waiting For ESEA Reauthorization (& Common Core Test Results)" »

AM News: NY Teachers Call For Modified Mayoral Control

Teachers' union leaders talk of changes to mayoral control Capital NY:  The U.F.T., Mulgrew said, wants the mayor to have less control over the Panel for Educational Policy (P.E.P.), the governing body of the Department of Education. See also NYDN.

Cuomo Seeks to Link Bills on Rent Regulation and Private School Tax Credits NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was trying to play mediator by getting Assembly to approve the tax credits and the Senate to continue rent regulations.

CPS acknowledges errors, takes steps to count dropouts correctly WBEZ Chicago: “CPS is committed to ensuring the accuracy of our data, and we are taking four additional concrete steps to further guarantee the integrity of our data,” Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz said in an email sent late Wednesday.

Arkansas Board Rejects Switch From PARCC to ACT, Defying Gov. Hutchinson State EdWatch: The Arkansas Times reported that the board's 7-1 vote not to switch to the ACT Aspire test for 2015-16 school year was a "surprising rebuke" of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Student teaching key to teacher retention, report says EdSource Today: The report, “A Million New Teachers are Coming: Will they be Ready to Teach?” found that 82 percent of teachers who were trained by  UTRU, which partners with both San Francisco Unified and Aspire, the charter school organization that has 36 schools in California, were still teaching after five years on the job. In contrast... only 28 percent of TFA's teachers remain in the profession after five years.

Police Allegedly Enrolled Kids in School Illegally Washington Post: The District is suing two D.C. police officers for more than $224,000 in back tuition and penalties for allegedly enrolling their three children in D.C. public schools while they lived outside the District.

Texas Teacher Fired After Disturbingly Racist Post In Response To Pool Party Incident HuffPost: A teacher has been "relieved of her teaching duties" after posting a racist Facebook rant in response to recent events at a McKinney, Texas, pool party.

Federal Money for [Higher] Education Surpasses States’ Contributions NYT: Much of the growth of federal higher-education spending has been increases in veterans’ education benefits and Pell grants.

City Offers Summer 'Bootcamp' for Aspiring CTE Teachers WNYC: New York is among five communities receiving funds from the American Federation of Teachers to work with local business leaders on career and technical education opportunities. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Colorado schools to track marijuana offenses by students AP: Colorado schools will begin compiling data on students who get busted for using or distributing marijuana, an effort aimed at gauging the effects of the drug's legalization in the state....

Renovation Reveals 98 Year-Old Treasure NBC News: When it came time to renovate an Oklahoma City high school, no one had any idea what would be found behind the walls; the original blackboards complete with lesson plans and drawings intact, 98 years later. 

Pre-K Year Two; Public Pools; Biking and Breathing WNYC: Seventy thousand rising pre-kindergartners received their acceptance letters for year two of New York City's universal pre-k program. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery answers parents' questions about registration and other educational matters.

Transgender student files lawsuit against schools over bathrooms Washington Post: A 16-year-old transgender student has filed a federal lawsuit against a Virginia school board, calling its policy on school restrooms discriminatory.

'D' grade may get LAUSD students out of high school, but not into 4-year college KPCC LA: Ten years ago, the district established a requirement for students to pass college preparation courses that would make them eligible to enter University of California and California State University campuses. Starting with the Class of 2017, students would be required to pass the courses with a "C" grade to get them college ready.

Embattled Dallas Schools Chief Defies Board, Fires Principals District Dossier: Superintendent Mike Miles' own job security has been a hot topic of late after several school board members tried, but failed, to fire him in April.

AM News: Common Core, Charter Groups Spending Big In Iowa & NY

Pro-Common Core Group Tops Political Ad Spending in Iowa via Sunlight Foundation: The advertising campaigns have not targeted a particular candidate, but there is no doubt it benefits former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who is announcing his campaign next week and will travel to Iowa on Wednesday, June 17 for an event at the Molengracht Plaza in Pella at 5:15p.  The ads will also benefit the only other prospective candidate who hasn’t backed away from Common Core, Ohio Governor John Kasich who is coming to speak at a Greater Des Moines Partnership event on June 24th.

NY groups spend more than $13 million to push education reform NYDN: The study from Hedge Clippers, a union-backed activist group, says New York City-based Families for Excellent Schools has spent more than $10 million on ads and lobbying since January 2014 to lift the charter school cap and allow for the creation of more of the publicly funded, privately run schools.

Fairfax County Supervisor Gross fights off challenger in Democratic primary Washington Post: in the last quarter, Swanson outraised Gross nearly four to one, mostly due to a large donation from Leadership for Educational Equity, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that helps teachers and other educators run for public office.

House Looks to Resurrect ESEA Bill for Action as Early as Next Week PK12: The stalled renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could start moving again in the U.S. House of Representatives, sources say.

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids? Washington Post: From Rand Paul on the right to Elizabeth Warren on the left, members of the Senate education committee pushed aside their policy disagreements earlier this spring when they voted unanimously in favor of a bipartisan revision to the widely reviled No Child Left Behind law.

Fact Checking Gov. Scott Walker on His Education Record PK12: Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., is expected to announce his presidential candidacy really, really soon. So exactly what might his education platform be? And how have his policies played out in Wisconsin? See also APJS Online

Former Florida governor’s reforms – acclaimed by Obama – may become a liability Hechinger Report: When he was asked about the Common Core during his recent visit to Iowa – a sparsely populated state that nonetheless enjoys great influence because it’s the first to select the parties’ nominees for president – Bush never referred to the initiative by name, and insisted that he opposed the federal government’s meddling in education.

What Can We Learn From the Investing in Innovation Program Five Years Out? PK12: The Investing in Innovation program will have been worthwhile, even if some of the grantees haven't yielded the results they were initially hoping for, a top official at the Department said.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core, Charter Groups Spending Big In Iowa & NY" »

AM News: LA School Board Retreats On College-Ready Course Requirement

 As 22,000 students risk not graduating, LAUSD board eases requirements KPCC: The school board is modifying a commitment made a decade ago to require so-called A-G courses, the classes required to become eligible for University of California and California State University entry, to earn a high school diploma. See also LA Times.

Senate Gears Up for ESEA Floor Debate PK12: Alexander said that he and his staff have been working in close concert with the President Obama and his staff on substance of the reauthorization. See also NatJourn: Sen. Alexander Vows to Block new Obama Education Regulations

Raising Graduation Rates With Questionable Quick Fixes NPR: The nation's high school graduation rate is at a record-high 81 percent. Why? Because states are doing good things ... or using some sleight of hand. [does ECCA fix/address this?]

Duncan: Soon-to-be educators need more time in classroom Chalkbeat New York: Denver Public Schools is “way ahead of the curve” in teacher preparation due in part to the Student Teacher Residency program offered through the University of Colorado Denver, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday.

Oregon Opt-Out Bill Could Lead to Loss of Federal Dollars, Ed. Dept. Warns PK12: The state's House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would inform parents twice a year of their right to exempt children from standardized tests.

Student poverty, lack of parental involvement cited as teacher concerns Washington Post: Student poverty is a major barrier to learning, according to teachers polled in a new national survey of educators released Tuesday. Lack of parental involvement and overtesting were also identified as big problems, as well as student apathy, according to an online Public Opinion Strategies survey of 700 elementary and secondary teachers across the country.

Hillary Clinton makes a promise to union leaders: I'll listen to teachers Washington Post: Hillary Rodham Clinton told the president of the National Education Association that she would listen to teachers if elected president, a simple promise Monday that impressed the president of the nation's largest labor union.

Weingarten, de Blasio to announce five-city 'compact' Capital New York: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten will announce a compact with five cities to increase career and technical education offerings in New York City this Thursday, and will be joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA School Board Retreats On College-Ready Course Requirement" »

AM News: This Week, Hillary Clinton Meets With The NEA

18621979691_fffac926a2_z
Hillary Clinton Meets With NEA, Talks Testing, Accountability
 PK12: With the AFT, she talked about the importance of teachers, and made it clear that they shouldn't be "scapegoats" for broader problems in K-12.  And in speaking to the NEA, Monday Clinton sounded, perhaps, a shade or two more skeptical of standardized testing than she has in the past. And she hit on another issue that many parents and educators (and their unions) consider critical: the need to invest in arts, music, and other enrichment classes, alongside academics.

Hillary Clinton makes a promise to union leaders: I’ll listen to teachers Washington Post: The NEA will make its candidate videos and questionnaires available to its members, according to Carrie Pugh, the union’s political director. NEA leaders have not decided if the union will make an endorsement before the primaries, Garcia said.

MI bill reduces impact of test scores on teacher evals  SI&A Cabinet Report: Although many support the move toward allowing for more local control, others are concerned that the bill could stall progress districts have already begun to make in upgrading their evaluation systems.

Teachers union continues to push for class-size funding Seattle Times: Even as lawmakers are on track to limit the school class-size reduction measure that voters approved last November, the state’s largest teacher union continues to push for full funding of Initiative 1351. I-1351 requires the state to reduce K-12 class sizes and would cost billions of dollars, though it didn’t come with a way to […]

Arkansas Poised to Drop PARCC's Common-Core Test in Favor of ACT State EdWatch: Arkansas was one of 10 states, along with the District of Columbia, to use the PARCC test in the 2014-15 school year.

Public versus private schools: Who goes where, by state Washington Post:  The proportion of children who attend public school ranges widely from state to state, from a low of 79 percent in the District of Columbia and Hawaii to 93 percent in Wyoming and Utah, according to the Education Law Center’s annual school funding report, released Monday.

This Summer, The Cafeteria Comes To The Kids NPR: Twenty-one million kids eat free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year, but getting them fed during the summer is a challenge. So some school districts are getting creative in the way they're using USDA funds: Murfreesboro City Schools is taking the cafeteria to the kids. The district calls it the Combating Hunger on Wheels Bus — or the CHOW bus.

Where Does a Transgender Child Fit In at School? WNYC: Confident and social, Q said he feels at ease in his classroom. And his peers have helped him move comfortably from identifying as a girl to a boy. He transitioned over the course of second grade. That’s when he started to more regularly dress in boy clothes and dropped his given name in order to go only by his first initial.

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

Continue reading "AM News: This Week, Hillary Clinton Meets With The NEA" »

AM News: Reports Show Inadequate & Inequitable Access To Well-Funded Schools & Qualified Teachers

Nation's 'Disinvestment' in Public Schools Is Crippling Poor Students, Reports Say State EdWatch: Are prominent school funding advocates satisfied that states are now giving schools robust and well-targeted financial support? Not even close. See also Washington Post, Huffington Post.

Access to New York’s top teachers still unequal, state report shows ChalkbeatNY: While less than 1 percent of teachers in the whitest and most affluent quartile of schools were deemed “not highly qualified” — because they lacked an appropriate college degree or teaching license — that rate was between 6.9 percent and 8.8 percent in less affluent schools.

Hillary Clinton Traces Friendly Path, Troubling Party NYT: Mrs. Clinton’s aides say it is the only way to win in an era of heightened polarization, when a declining pool of voters is truly up for grabs. Her liberal policy positions, they say, will fire up Democrats, a less difficult task than trying to win over independents in more hostile territory — even though a broader strategy could help lift the party with her.

Common Core side effect: New PE teachers allow for collaboration time EdSource: Back from near extinction, physical education specialists are being hired by a smattering of districts to take over P.E. duties from elementary classroom teachers, who after years of teaching physical education themselves are now being freed up for Common Core lesson planning.

Ohio School District Bets on Technology in Creating New Learning Model wsj: The shop has 3-D printers and a laser cutter, and Ms. Green works there as an intern for the school. During the school year, she helped teachers incorporate the machines into their lessons.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visits New Dorp High School SI Live: Duncan paid his second visit to New Dorp on Friday to see how far the school has come since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. More than 365 students and some three-dozen faculty members at New Dorp suffered losses from Sandy.

Oregon Has The Lowest Graduation Rate In The Country. Preschool Could Fix That. NPR: Oregon has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country — just shy of 69 percent in 2013. The number has nudged up in recent years, but advocates say to make big improvements, Oregon has to start young.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Reports Show Inadequate & Inequitable Access To Well-Funded Schools & Qualified Teachers" »

AM News: All Eyes On Nevada's New Voucher Program (Plus: Democratic Candidates Meet With AFT)

In Nevada, the ultimate in school choice or school as a commodity? Washington Post: The new law, which the state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed with help from the education foundation created by former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R), is a breakthrough for conservatives, who call it the ultimate in school choice. And they are working to spread it nationwide: Lawmakers in Georgia, Iowa and Rhode Island considered similar legislation this year. See also Christian Science MonitorWSJLas Vegas Review.

What Did Democratic Presidential Candidates Tell AFT Union Leaders? PK12: The union's top leadership sat down earlier this week and chatted with three folks vying for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State; Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who considers himself an independent socialist.

D.C. Schools Improved Under Mayoral Control, But Progress Remains Uneven WAMU: The first formal assessment of D.C.'s public schools since mayoral control was granted in 2007 finds that while small gains have been made, work remains to be done. See also Washington Post.

Ed. Dept.: Poorest Districts Have More Trainee Teachers Teacher Beat: High-poverty districts tend to have more teachers-in-training than other districts, but overall there aren't that many such teachers, a federal report says.

Teaching Youth To Think 'Slow' May Help Reduce Crime FiveThirtyEight: Last year, BAM reached 1,935 boys in 38 schools across the Chicago Public Schools system. 

Missouri Drops Smarter Balanced Common-Core Exam State EdWatch: A provision of the state education budget signed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would cut off funding for the Smarter Balanced exam and require a new test for the next school year. 

Introducing The First Non-Medical Intern Union In The U.S. NPR: At the American Teachers Federation, the union's interns are putting their foot down. After about a year of negotiating, they have voted to form their own union.

City's Denial of Early Childhood Contracts Raises Questions WNYC: The Williamsbridge NAACP Early Childhood Education Center is now among 10 childcare centers that were not awarded contracts to continue serving their neighborhoods in the coming school year. The city's decision mystifies City Councilman Andy King.

Authorities File Charges Over Loud Cheering at Mississippi High School GraduationNYT: At least three people are facing the prospect of $500 fines and six-month jail terms after they were said to have yelled and clapped during a graduation ceremony in Mississippi.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

AM News: How To Explain Common Core Tests Results? Plus: Varying edTPA Requirements

Schools face challenge of explaining Common Core test results to parents EdSource Today: A major selling point of the new Common Core assessments was that because they were taken online, they would be available more quickly to teachers, parents and students, and would help inform instruction in a way that the multiple-choice California Standards Tests did not. But so far it seems that parents and students will get results about the same time as they did in previous years.

States Set Varying Passing Bars on New Teaching Exam TeacherBeat: States have set the bar on the edTPA exam in different places, and some give their teacher-candidates other options to demonstrate teaching skill.

From Harlem to Capitol Hill, a lesson in producing better teachers Washington Post: Eva Moskowitz, the founder of New York City's largest chain of public charter schools, imported a Harlem classroom to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to demonstrate how she trains and coaches teachers at Success Academy schools. 

Policy Group to Congress on ESEA: Don't Let the Perfect Be Enemy of the Good EdWeek: When the Senate's ESEA reauthorization bill is called up for debate at the end of this month or early July, messaging will be crucial to garnering support for the bill from both sides of the aisle.

Parent Engagement on Rise as Priority for Schools, Districts Edweek: As districts adopt formal efforts to integrate parents into the fabric of their schools, advocates welcome a shift away from seeing parent-engagement efforts as just an add-on.

New York City Creates Replacement for Student Data Website NYT: A website for the city’s public schools will allow parents to view information on their children like attendance and report card grades. See also WNYCChalkbeatNY.

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

Continue reading "AM News: How To Explain Common Core Tests Results? Plus: Varying edTPA Requirements" »

AM News: LA Parents Hint At "Trigger" To Leverage Changes

Testing the power of the parent-trigger law Hechinger Report: In Los Angeles, the parent-trigger law, once considered the fast track to turning struggling California schools over to independently operated charters, has instead become a bargaining chip in brokering deals with the district. The alliance between 20th Street Elementary parents and Los Angeles Unified is the latest case in which the district has skirted the loss of a public school to a charter operator. See also LA School Report, EdWeek.

What Is Christie Walking Away From? NJ Spotlight: The teachers unions, for example, have softened their support, especially since the tests affect teacher evaluations under the state‘s new tenure law. And opposition has surfaced from both conservative and liberal camps that see the standards and tests as a top-down incursion on instruction. See also Weingarten call for states to ditch new cut scores in EdWeek.

In Nod to Florida, Texas Lawmakers Approve A-F Grades for Schools State EdWatch: On May 31, Lone Star State lawmakers approved House Bill 2804, which would extend the state's current method of giving districts letter grades to individual schools.

Emanuel starts cleaning house at Chicago school board Sun-Times: Those leaving the Board include CSV's Deborah Quazzo; Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp; Carlos Azcoitia, a former CPS principal and network chief-turned National Louis University professor, and former Northwestern University President Henry Bienen.

College Board, Khan Academy team up to offer free SAT prep program LA Times: The revised version of the SAT college entrance exam won't be offered until March but students can start preparing for it Tuesday with a new, free online study program affiliated with the test. See also HuffPostEdSource Today.

For the Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap NYT: In the bottom quartile, 58 percent of students expected to get at least a bachelor’s degree and 12 percent to go on to graduate school. Thirteen years later, we can see who achieved their goals. Among the participants from the most disadvantaged families, just 14 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree.

The Quantified Student: An App That Predicts GPA NPR: Researchers found that a phone's activity tracker can automatically predict students' school performance.

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA Parents Hint At "Trigger" To Leverage Changes" »

AM News: What Next For NJ & Common Core (Plus Chicago Supe Resigns)

Former Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley Joins Democrats' Race for White House PK12: Among his education achievements as governor was signing into law a bill that made some undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition.

Real Test After Christie’s Call to Drop Common Core: What Happens Next? NJ Spotlight: Now what? In the aftermath of Gov. Chris Christie’s announcement on Thursday that he no longer supports the Common Core State Standards, what are the administration’s plans for setting its own standards for New Jersey’s public schools?

Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigns amid federal criminal investigation Chicago Tribune: Byrd-Bennett sent written notice of her decision to the city school board, a source told the Tribune late Sunday. An official CPS announcement was pending.

Deadline for Teacher-Distribution Plans Looms PK12: Attention state agency officials: Monday is the final deadline to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education that address the equitable distribution of teachers.

Center for Union Facts says Randi Weingarten is ruining nation’s schools Washington Post: The writer, Richard Berman, is a D.C.-based corporate communications consultant who is waging a national campaign against Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Poll: Maryland Voters Concerned About Time Spent On Standardized Tests WAMU: When it comes to education issues, Maryland voters are worried about too much standardized testing of kids more than anything else, according to a poll commissioned and released by the state's teachers union. The survey shows rare bipartisan agreement on education in Maryland.

Chicago struggles to redesign neighborhood high schools Catalyst: Overall, the neighborhood high schools that small schools were intended to rejuvenate are still struggling. Many, especially on the South and West sides, suffer from sharply declining enrollment.

Charter-school backers resist state’s traditional financial-reporting rules Seattle Times: The state wants charter schools to follow the same financial-reporting rules as other public schools, but has encountered some unexpected backlash. It’s the first clash in an otherwise peaceful relationship with the state as charters ramp up in Washington.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Confounds Mayor Bill de Blasio WSJ: Aides to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have huddled for months trying to understand Gov. Andrew Cuomo, often as they scrambled to address perceived slights. They largely have come to one conclusion: There is very little to be done about him.

Reaching Kids Means Conquering Poverty in Mount Vernon WNYC: Educators on the front lines — those who work with the students in the schools that struggle most to pass reading and math tests — said Cuomo’s argument ignored a key factor, one beyond teachers’ control: poverty.

School surveillance video shows boxes of SAT exams were delivered to UPS Washington Post: On May 2, 263 teens sat for the SATs at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va., the culmination of weeks of expensive test preparation for some students as they hoped to enhance their standing on the college entrance exams.

Blue-collar town leads Rhode Island’s tech-assisted learning revolution Hechinger Report: The students dive into the lesson, dragging empty domino shapes from the bottom of the screen and placing them at the top, where they add dots and create equations.

Hastert’s Name Removed by Alma Mater NYT: AWheaton College scrubbed J. Dennis Hastert’s name from its public policy center after the former House speaker’s indictment on charges that he lied to the F.B.I. about financial transactions.

AM News: Christie's Slow-Motion Common Core Flip-Flop, Plus SpellingBee

Christie Calls for End to Common Core Standards in NJ WNYC: Left untouched in the Governor's reform is the controversial PARCC exam, which is aligned to Common Core's standards. Gov. Christie says New Jersey will continue to administer the test, which saw its debut this year. See also Washington Post, AP via HuffPost, HuffPost, Politico, NJ Spotlight.

It All Came Down To 'Nunatak' NPR: What I saw felt much more like a celebration of language and learning. An evening that showed these 13- and 14-year-olds — some younger — displaying deep knowledge of word origins, analyzing Latin and Greek roots, even Sanskrit. See also: National Spelling Bee Crowns Co-Champs For Second Straight Year.

Past National Spelling Bee Champs, All Grown Up, Share What Life After Winning Is Like AP: What's life like years after the Bee for a few of these champs? ABC News looked at four past winners, all grown up, who shared what they're up to today.

15 Chinese Accused of Using Test-Taking Impostors for College Entrance Exams NYT: The indictment sketches a scheme in which individuals are accused of paying impostors using fake Chinese passports to take college entrance exams at testing sites in the Pittsburgh area.

Study Highlights Rifts Over Best Practices for Approving Charter Schools EdWeek: Authorizing has been getting increased attention lately as some state- and press-led investigations have revealed cases of systematic academic and financial failure in charter schools.

Why one Common Core test will match the tough national exam known as the Nation’s Report Card, and one won’t Hechinger Report: PAARC used NAEP as a major resource to determine benchmarks for college and career readiness in high school. The other test makers went a different direction and primarily relied on feedback from teachers and college faculty to determine what skills they would expect a student at each grade level to be able to demonstrate.

School testing bill appears to be dead in the Washington state Senate Seattle Times: The state Senate does not appear likely to consider a bill that would temporarily eliminate the need to pass a science test to graduate from high school. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure on Wednesday, with lawmakers saying they expected it to pass the Senate as well. But the Senate voted Thursday morning […]

 More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Christie's Slow-Motion Common Core Flip-Flop, Plus SpellingBee" »

AM News: The Condition Of Education Is Poor (But Still Graduated High School)

Key Numbers From a Report to Congress on US Education AP: More U.S. school-age kids live in poverty and need English-language services, according to a report released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Enrollment in public schools is up, including in charter schools that have grown in popularity. At the same time, smaller numbers of children attend private schools. Fewer students are dropping out of high school. 

American Kids Are Poorer Than They Were Decades Ago, Education Report Shows HuffPost: Childhood poverty has risen for every major racial group since 2008, according to the report. Childhood poverty in 2013 ranged from 39 percent for blacks and 36 percent for American Indians and Alaska natives, to 13 percent for whites and Asians. The report had few bright spots. It said the achievement gap between blacks and whites ages 25 to 29 who had attained at least a high school degree had narrowed considerably. School crime, the report says, continued its 20-year decline.

Education Leaders Fear Christie Will Pull Back on Common Core Support WSJ: Mr. Christie appointed an expert commission last year to study testing and the Common Core, and its report is due July 31. Several educators questioned why he would give an address on the standards before the commission’s report is complete.

Hundreds of NJ Students Fail Grad Test and Earn Diploma by Appeal WNYC: New Jersey created its appeals process in 2010 when the state introduced the alternative high school graduation exam, which is more rigorous than the previous test. Close to 2,000 seniors failed. Instead of telling them at the last minute that they wouldn’t graduate, the state began allowing students to appeal the graduation requirements by submitting samples of their classwork.

De Blasio defends parent input under city’s mayoral control structure Chalkbeat: "I think our current approach is working and I think it’s very inclusive,” de Blasio told reporters between meetings with state leaders in Albany. “I do think there’s many good and constructive ways to hear the voices of parents, and we’re doing that right now.”

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

Continue reading "AM News: The Condition Of Education Is Poor (But Still Graduated High School)" »

A News: NY Picks Compromise School Chief

Former Tampa Schools Boss MaryEllen Elia Named N.Y. K-12 Chief EdWeek: The former superintendent of Florida's Hillsborough County schools is poised to become New York state's next K-12 commissioner, according to reports. See also NYT: MaryEllen Elia Named New York State Education Commissioner, WNYC: Former Florida Chief Named NY State Education Commish, ChalkbeatNY: Elia promises to ‘communicate’ as state ed policy faces new tests.

De Blasio Okays Second Batch of School Experiments WNYC: Dozens more schools will join an initiative by Mayor Bill de Blasio meant to encourage school-based innovations, such as staggering teacher work schedules to lengthen the school day or breaking class size rules to offer larger seminars in some settings and small-group instruction in others. 

In Prince George's County, No Consensus On Tax Increase For Schools WAMU: Some older, more conservative voters are lining up against the proposal, while younger families, particularly minorities, say the extra money is crucial.

LAUSD board considers better marketing as it tackles declining enrollment KPCC: At the board's Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, members recommended a new marketing campaign to attract and keep more students. The effort could include public television segments, neighborhood door-knocking and promotions of magnet schools focusing on science or art and dual-language programs, such as Spanish, Korean and Mandarin. 

New Mexico fights to get out of last place with aggressive policies that some educators worry could harm students Hechinger Report: Despite concerns the technology would trip them up, the students appeared to navigate the computer-based test with ease – marking questions they wanted to come back to later, for example. It was the math that seemed to give them trouble. Their enthusiastic first-year teacher had used the Common Core standards to guide what he’d taught the students all year, but the content of the sample exam, which required dragging and dropping algebraic expressions into boxes and filling in blank boxes with equations, was proving challenging.

Teachers Of All Races Are More Likely To Punish Black Students HuffPost: Not because of overt racism. Rather, harsher discipline might be the result of unconscious partiality to the white student, a phenomenon called “implicit bias” by psychologists. The study also finds that the bias might be just as likely to come from a black teacher as a white one. 

Pre-K Politics Five Thirty Eight: Suburban voters are less likely to support publicly funded pre-K programs. Minority voters, renters and those who are poor or live in a dense urban neighborhood, on the other hand, are likely to support pre-K expansion.

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

Continue reading "A News: NY Picks Compromise School Chief " »

AM News: Summer Of Choice?

Teacher Union Legal Opposition to School Choice Stumbles in Florida, Louisiana EdWeek: On Friday, a Louisiana district judge rejected the state teachers' union argument that the way Louisiana funded some charter schools was unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile on Monday, a Florida judge dismissed a union-backed lawsuit challenging that state's tax-credit scholarship program because the plaintiffs couldn't prove they were harmed by the law and therefore didn't have grounds to sue.

One Man's Millions Turn a Community Around in Florida NYT: Two decades ago, Harris Rosen, who grew up poor on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and became wealthy in the Florida hotel business, decided to shepherd part of his fortune into a troubled community with the melodious…

How student debt became a presidential campaign issue Washington Post: The $1.3 trillion burden of student debt is becoming an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign as candidates court the millions of Americans grappling with the high cost of college.

Six of the nation’s largest school districts dump polystyrene trays Washington Post: Six of the largest U.S. school districts have pooled their collective purchasing power to make significant changes to school lunch, and they’re starting by jettisoning the polystyrene tray.The Urban School Food Alliance, a coalition that includes the school systems of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orlando, has commissioned a school lunch dish that is made from recycled newsprint and can be turned into compost after use

Fairfax approves final $2.6 billion schools budget Washington Post: The Fairfax County School Board passed a final $2.6 billion budget Thursday night that includes pay raises for teachers, funding for full-day Mondays for elementary schools and later high school start times.

Houston Leaders Propose Slashing Bonus-Pay Program for Teachers Teacher Beat: Houston leaders are considering cutting the district's much-watched performance-pay program for educators and redirecting the funds into regular base-pay raises. The proposal could reduce the $14 million bonus-pay program to just $2 million, a far cry away from the $40 million a year it once gave out.

Regents narrow their choices for New York’s next education chief ChalkbeatNY: In contention are a mix of superintendents from inside and outside New York state, according to multiple sources. Two of the final candidates, though not the only two, are Christopher Koch, Illinois’s longtime superintendent who stepped down in April, and Dan White, a superintendent for a Western New York region that serves suburban districts.

Maligned Study on Gay Unions Is Shaking Trust NYT: The questioned findings, published in December in Science, have shaken not only political scientists but also public trust in the way the scientific establishment vets new findings.

Chicago school board to consider charter relocations, renewals WBEZ Chicago: In one case, Rowe Elementary would move into the old Peabody elementary school, a building shuttered during the 2013 mass closings. The district no longer owns the Peabody building. If it approves the move, the district would have to provide the public charter school with extra money to cover rent and maintenance costs at Peabody.

Photos Capture The Joy On Playgrounds Around The World NPR: From the U.K. to Kenya to the West Bank, photographer James Mollison exposes not only inequalities among rich and poor countries, but also the intimate moments that unfold during recess.

How to hook young people on math and science? Robots PBS: We have a smaller percentage of our kids becoming scientists and engineers than many countries in the developing world. And when you look at the data and see that China’s producing five or 600,000 engineers this year and we’ll produce one-tenth of that, it says, “How’re we gonna compete?”

AM News: Shorter, Combined PARCC Tests For Next Year

Board shortens Common Core-aligned tests known as PARCC Washington Post: The Common Core-aligned tests that made their debut in 11 states and the District this spring will be approximately 90 minutes shorter next year, a change that comes after parents, teachers and school administrators expressed frustration with the amount of time devoted to the new exams. See also AP (States move to reduce time spent on Common Core-based exam), EdWeek (PARCC Shortens Its Common-Core Test)

Kids Cheer, Officials Jeer As Computer Glitches Delay Testing In Virginia WAMU: School officials from across Virginia are scrambling to catch up after three days of computer problems that delayed standardized testing. See also Washington Post: Va. testing interrupted three times because of issues with Pearson system.

Republican Focus Group Shows Jeb Bush's Support for Common Core No Big Deal PK12: The focus group was asked if they thought the common core was important, and if they were bothered by Bush's position regarding the standards.

Poorest Students Often Miss Out on Gifted Classes Education Week: But with more than half of public school students now coming from low-income families and deepening concentrations of poverty in many communities, standard screening and pullout programs may not be enough to find and support the most vulnerable talented students. In response, more educators and researchers who work with gifted students are calling for another look at who is considered gifted and how schools can locate and support those students. See also HuffPost: African-Americans Who Attended Desegregated Schools Have Better Language Skills Years Later 

Ouch! Hedge funders stung by Obama, Clinton barbs CNBC: The American Federation of Teachers' president, Randi Weingarten, cited the kindergarten comparison in speeches this month, for example, and a group called the Hedge Clippers have targeted New York-area billionaires like Paul Singer, Bill Ackman and ...

Education Gaps Pose Looming Crisis for U.S. Economy National Journal: The fastest-growing segment of the workforce is also the least educated. That's a problem as employers struggle to fill high-skill jobs.

CPS Confirms Data Breach Impacting 4,000 Students NBC Chicago: The names and personal information of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students was inadvertently provided to five potential vendors earlier this year, district officials confirmed Tuesday.  

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

Continue reading "AM News: Shorter, Combined PARCC Tests For Next Year" »

AM News: VA Testing Interruptions, LA Board Member Changes

Va. testing interrupted three times because of issues with Pearson system Washington Post: Pearson said the company was the target of a cyberattack on May 13 that caused problems with the testing system. On May 14, a computer server became overloaded, leading to further disruptions. As a result of both incidents, 374 students across the state will have to retake exams.

L.A. school board seat is a pivotal win for charter school movement LA Times: Rodriguez's victory suggests that charter supporters are an emerging political force in future board elections, analysts say, not only in Los Angeles but in districts nationwide.

See also LA Daily News: Costly LAUSD board campaign ends with no net gain for teachers union, charter school advocates, KPCC LA: New LAUSD board to take on persistent problems, LA School Report: Changes in faces but not balance.

See also: Watchdog.org: Union-backed candidates win big in Philadelphia primary election.

Minnesota Heads to Special Session Over Education Aid, Joining Washington St. State EdWatch: The Minnesota legislature is heading to a special session over education funding, after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a spending bill that he said was inadequate. See also MinnPost: Despite Dayton's angry rhetoric, advocates see a potential roadmap out of the early-ed impasse.

Eva Moskowitz calls out schools chancellor for not visiting Success schools ChalkbeatNY: “It’s interesting to me that the chancellor of the city of New York, who I know quite well, Carmen Fariña, has literally been in our building about a dozen times and has never come to our floor,” Moskowitz said. See also: Amid debate to raise cap, a charter school authorizer rejects all applicants.

‘Opt Out’ Becomes Anti-Test Rallying Cry in New York State NYT: A small, if vocal, movement urging parents to have their children sit out standardized exams took off this year, maturing from scattered displays of disobedience into a widespread rebuke. See also NBC News: Anti-Common Core Activist Talks Homework

Spending on School Security Rises WSJ: According to the survey of about 1,400 public schools around the country, 75% reported using one or more security cameras, up from 61% in 2009-2010. Similarly, 82% of schools said that electronic notification systems, which alert parents about a school emergency, were in place, up from 63% four years earlier. Meanwhile, 65% of schools reported at least one violent incident during the 2013-2014 year, down from 74%. See also AP: Survey Finds US Schools Ramping up Safety Measures.

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

Continue reading "AM News: VA Testing Interruptions, LA Board Member Changes" »

Advertisement

Advertisement

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