About this blog Subscribe to this blog

AM News: Big Action In New York, LA, & Boston (Yes, Boston)

A Charter School Rally Duels With Teachers’ Unions in Albany NYT: Charter schools and teachers’ unions from New York City gathered for competing events and to press their causes in Albany. See also ChalkbeatNYWNYC, Albany Times Union

Election sets stage for L.A. Unified battle LA Times: The election results were not exactly the outcome the union had hoped for. A charter schools group, which emerged as a major force in the elections, made significant strides. In a contest that United Teachers Los Angeles fought hard to win, union-backed incumbent Bennett Kayser finished second to charter school founder Ref Rodriguez. See also LA School Report.

Boston Selects New Superintendent of Schools District Dossier: The city's education officials chose Tommy Chang, an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, from a field of four finalists. See also Boston Globe.

New 'Consumer Reports' for Common Core finds learning materials lacking Washington Post:  The initial report posted Wednesday examined materials that have at least a 10 percent market share and were endorsed by at least two states that said the materials were aligned with the Common Core.

GOP Education Chairman Anticipates Vote on Education Bill AP: Kline said he was "taken by surprise" by the opposition he says appears to have been fueled largely by a blog that said the bill would solidify the use of the standards and insert government control into private schools. Kline said the bill would do neither. He said opposition from the Heritage Action for America and Club for Growth also contributed to members' concerns.

Around The World, This Is How Girls And Boys Are Stacking Up Against Each Other In School HuffPost: Girls are now going to school longer than boys and significantly outperform boys in reading. Across countries examined in the report, boys are more likely to post low scores in math, reading and science. See also Washington Post.

More Children Eat Fruit in School, Study Shows NYT: The study found that from the time new nutritional guidelines went into effect in 2012 through last year, the percentage of students choosing fruits increased to 66 percent from 54 percent.

Body cameras for cops but classrooms too? SI&A Cabinet Reoprt:  Instances of children with little to no verbal skills facing verbal or physical abuse at the hands of a special education instructor or a class aid have been documented even though it can be difficult for those children to express that he or she needs help.  

AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next

School Districts Report Second Day Of Testing Problems StateImpact FL:  The Tampa Bay Times reports Tampa-area schools had to suspend some testing for a second day. Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he won’t resume testing until the state can prove everything is working. Palm Beach school also will not test students on Wednesday. See also Bradenton Herald: State testing in Manatee County sees online delay but no need to suspend testing, ABC7 Common Core testing begins in California next week.

LAUSD Board Members in Runoff NBC SoCal: Los Angeles Unified School District board members Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic will have to compete in a May 19 runoff election as they fight to retain their seats, while incumbent George McKenna won re-election thanks to having no challengers. See also LA Times: One incumbent trails charter-school backed challenger in L.A. board balloting.

Taking the same road to Albany, education lobbying events on divergent paths ChalkbeatNY:  They’re lobbying with the same goal in mind — to push policies that will improve public education — but what they’re asking for couldn’t look more different. Here are four things to know about Wednesday’s festivities.

School Agenda Bedevils Chicago Mayor in Race NYT: As Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago faces an unexpected runoff election, it is his education agenda that threatens his political future. See also Tribune: Emanuel says CPS had no choice but to back down in testing controversy.

Chris Christie’s bold plan to remake public schools is running into trouble Washington Post: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went on a publicity blitz when he vowed to fix this city’s struggling schools with the most expansive re-engineering of urban education anywhere in the country.He told Oprah Winfrey in 2010 that Newark would become a “national model.”  See also HuffPost: Unions Say They'll Sue Christie Again Over Pension Payments, Courier Post: Gov. Chris Christie's shifting position on Common Core.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next" »

AM News: Tuesday Common Core Testing Canceled In Dade & Broward (Anywhere Else?)

New Assessment Tests Canceled In Dade & Broward For Tuesday CBS Miami:  While some schools were not able to log into the online system, others that were able to access the system found that it worked so slowly that it was very difficult to proceed. See also FSA News: FSA Writing Test Postponed Amid Technical Issues | Sunshine State News;The Blaze: Test Based on Common Core Standards Sees Tech Glitches, Protests

LAUSD board president outpacing challengers in finances, endorsements KPCC: He did not get the endorsement of UTLA, the teachers union, which did not throw its support behind any candidate in the District 7 race.[But] the California School Employees Association, Service Employees International Union and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles have all endorsed Vladovic. Vladovic has also won endorsement from the California Charter Schools Association,which advocates for charter school expansion. See also LA School Report.

Robert Gordon Leaves as Ed. Dept. Advisor PK12: Gordon will be joining the College Board, a nonprofit organization. He'll serve as senior vice-president of finance and strategy. 

Pennsylvania Governor Appoints New Head of Philly School Commission District Dossier: The move comes nearly two weeks after the commission approved five of 39 applications for new charter schools. The governor wanted all the applications denied.

Hundreds attend rally to 'Call Out Cuomo' in Massena North Country Now: Hundreds of people attended a Saturday afternoon "Call Out Cuomo" educational rally at Massena High School. About a dozen speakers, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, stood onstage... See also Capital New York: Charter, union messaging creates New York echo chamber

Ex-Atlanta School Superintendent, Charged In Cheating Case, Dies At 68 NPR: In 2009, Beverly Hall was named national superintendent of the year largely based on her district's improved standardized test scores. But those scores soon came under scrutiny. See also NYT, AP, District DossierAJC.

Chicago ends standoff, agrees to give new state test WBEZ: Indeed, there are just three weeks between now and the end of the school year when CPS will not be giving some kind of standardized test. One of those weeks is spring break. Of course, not all students will have to take all of the tests and not all students are taking the test every day. But, Katten said, it’s still disruptive to the school environment. See also District Dossier.

Decision in ‘free-range’ case does not end debate about parenting and safety WAMU: The Maryland parents who let their children walk home from a park in Silver Spring were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over their views on parenting and children’s safety.

AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week

As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out NYT: About a dozen of their classmates, however, will be elsewhere. They will sit in a nearby art room, where they will read books, do a little drawing and maybe paint. What they will not do is take the test, because they and their parents have flatly refused. See also Yakima Herald: Common Core exams begin soon, and many school districts are ready to go; Philly.com: Monday the day for controversial student testing in New Jersey; WFLA: Florida Standards testing begins across state.

The snow conundrum: How a school system decides whether to open Washington Post: Todd Watkins had been following the snow forecasts closely. By the time he climbed out of bed in the darkness of 2 a.m., he didn’t think a storm would wallop the Washington region. But he thought it was possible that Montgomery’s schools would open after a delay. See also HuffPost: Teachers Ensure Poor Kids Are Fed On Snow Days When They Can't Get Free School Lunch

Contentious teacher-related policies moving from legislatures to the courts Washington Post: The latest foray into the courtroom began Feb. 13, when New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York.

Jeb Bush stands firm on controversial immigration, educationpolicies at CPAC Fox News: Rubio used his time to target Obama's foreign policies, focusing mostly on Iran's nuclear threat. During his speech, Rubio said America needed a leader who understands that the way to defeat the Islamic State “wasn't to give him a job,” referencing ...

No Child Left Behind debate in the House suspended Washington Post: The House suspended floor debate on a Republican bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind on Friday afternoon, with party leaders saying they had to shift the chamber’s focus to debate funding the Department of Homeland Security. See also AP: House Republican Leaders Scrap Education Vote.

Can 'Chuy' give Rahm a run for his money? Tribune: A 2012 teachers strike, among other confrontations, led Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to form an exploratory committee for mayor last year. After she withdrew for health reasons, she asked Garcia, a former state senator, alderman and ...  See also NBC: Karen Lewis: I Could Have Won

Jimmy Kimmel got doctors to swear at cameras to convince people to get vaccinated HuffPost: "Here in LA, there are schools in which 20 percent of the children aren't vaccinated," Kimmel said, "because parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox."

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

Continue reading "AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week" »

AM News: Newark Supe. Renewal, LA Teachers Rally, Chicago Testing Standoff

Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson Gets Contract Renewal District Dossier: Anderson and the state signed a three-year contract last year, but it required both parties to agree to an extension each year.

LA Teachers, Union Leaders Rally Amid Stalled Talks AP: The Los Angeles standoff has focused mostly on teacher salaries, class sizes and increasing the number of support staff members like nurses and counselors. The union notes that teachers have gone eight years without a salary increase or cost-of-living adjustment. See also LA Daily News: Teachers rally in downtown Los Angeles.

Standoff over new state school test continues Chicago Public Radio: Suburban parents gathered downtown Thursday to express their own concerns with the test. They want state lawmakers to approve an opt-out bill that would give parents the right to refuse to have their children tested. As it stands now, by law, the only way to refuse the test is for students to verbally state they won't take it.  

In Dig at De Blasio, Cuomo Defends His Plan for Failing Schools WNYC: Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a vigorous defense of his plan to turnaround failing schools, one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio went to Albany and argued for an alternative. See also NYDN: De Blasio warns of flaws in Cuomo's education agenda

More teachers writing their own curricula under Common Core, says new report Hechinger Report via PBS NewsHour: The Center on Education Policy (CEP), a nonpartisan research group, reports that in roughly two-thirds of districts in Common Core states, teachers have developed or are developing their own curricular materials in math (66 percent) and English Language Arts (65 percent). In more than 80 percent of districts, the CEP found that at least one source for curriculum materials was local — from teachers, the district itself or other districts in the state. See also Washington Post: The Republican curriculum on Common Core.

Farmington teacher on paid leave after giving state testing opt-out forms to students Farmington Daily Times: Sharon Yocum, an Esperanza Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, was informed by a member of the Farmington Municipal School District administration Thursday morning that she would be placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation for alleged unprofessional conduct.

Continue reading "AM News: Newark Supe. Renewal, LA Teachers Rally, Chicago Testing Standoff" »

AM News: Common Core Sabotage, Chicago Standoff, & ESEA Veto Threat

Unable to repeal Common Core, foes try sabotage Politico: Conservative lawmakers in state after state are running into difficulty rounding up votes to revoke the academic standards outright.. See also NJEA launches ad campaign against PARCC.

White House Issues Veto Threat Against House GOP NCLB Rewrite PK12: Why doesn't the administration like this bill? For one thing, they're not happy about what they see as a big step on back on accountability, particularly for the poor and minority kids that NCLB was designed to help. See also AP,  Obama threatens veto of House education billWhite House threatens veto of GOP bill to fix No Child Left BehindNo Child Reauthorization Has No Shot.

CPS in a bind over snub of state-mandated test, official says Tribune: Chicago school board President David Vitale said during Wednesday's board meeting that the district's effort to administer the exam to just 66 of its more than 600 schools has been "clear and consistent." But, he acknowledged, "The response we've gotten from other authorities is also clear." See also Sun-Times: Which CPS schools will be tested in 2 weeks still unknown.

De Blasio calls for permanent mayoral control of schools ChalkbeatNY: Before mayoral control, the city’s school system was balkanized,” de Blasio said. “School boards exerted great authority with little accountability and we saw far too many instances of mismanagement, waste and corruption.” See also The Atlantic: NYC's Tale of Two Pre-Ks.

Rift escalates between Los Angeles teachers, district AP: Teachers in the nation's second-largest school district are in an escalating rift with Los Angeles Unified officials over higher wages. See also LATimes: Charter school group is political force in L.A. Unified board election, LA Weekly Charter Schools Take on Charter-Hating LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser

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

Former Montgomery schools chief Joshua Starr sets up business to open way for consulting Washington Post: Montgomery County’s former superintendent, Joshua P. Starr, has established a new consulting business, according to Maryland state records and a statement relayed through the school district.The limited liability company, called Education Solutions LLC, was registered with the state Feb. 17, a day after Starr’s resignation took effect, according to online records from the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation.

'Call Out Cuomo' teachers' rally at Massena High Saturday urging residents to ... North Country Now: Carlisto said the “Call Out Cuomo” events are expected to feature American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, NYSUT President Karen E. Magee and others

Arne Duncan talks early childhood education at Alexandria school Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday got a first-hand glimpse of early childhood education in a busy Alexandria preschool classroom, where he got down on the rug with youngsters playing with blocks, chatted up students building a “neighborhood” with sand and talked to a young girl about her writing.

5 Lessons Education Research Taught Us In 2014 NPR: Lessons from a handful of the most viewed papers from the American Education Research Association last year.

Dissecting A Frog: A Middle School Rite Of Passage NPR: In science classrooms across the country, middle-schoolers will take part in an iconic activity this year: frog dissection.

Teachers complain about revised CPS discipline policy Tribune: A CPS spokesman said the district makes training available to all schools on subjects including restorative practices and classroom management. Roughly 100 (of 600) schools have "restorative practices coaches" in the building weekly, and behavioral health teams work at 66 schools. Those resources are allocated to schools based on behavioral data, the district said.

Controversial Schools Tech Contract Wins NYC Approval WNYC: A contract to expand internet access in New York City schools as well as proposals for sharing school space moved forward despite concerns. Oh, and the cell phone ban was lifted.

Employee sues LAUSD superintendent third time alleging sexual harassment KPCC: The latest suit alleges Cortines made sexual advances to Graham in 2000 soon after Cortines helped Graham get a job with the school district’s real estate leasing operations. Cortines left the school district that same year and Graham didn’t report what allegedly happened, according to the suit.

The rise of Chicago's Casimir Pulaski Day WBEZ: The story behind this most “Illinois” of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it’s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.

One District Will Have Saturday School to Make Up for Missed Days ABC News: A North Carolina school district will be in session on Saturday and parents aren't too happy. The Gaston County school district made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and on its web site.

AM News: Teachers Force Mayoral Runoff In Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into April runoff election WBEZ: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote Tuesday in his bid for a second term, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff who now faces a runoff this spring against CTU-endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

In Anti-Testing Push, Unions Turn to Polls, Ads TeacherBeat: The New Jersey and Connecticut state affiliates of the National Education Association are mounting aggressive campaigns.

Los Angeles Unified's teachers union faces test of organizing strength LA Daily News: The print shop below United Teachers Los Angeles' headquarters cranked out 7,500 signs for protestors to carry when they descend on downtown Thursday, demanding higher pay, fewer students per classroom and better working conditions.

The Great U.S. History Battle NPR: The College Board redesigned the framework for its Advanced Placement U.S. history course, and many conservative lawmakers aren't happy about it.

Feds Find Discrimination Against Female Athletes in NYC Schools WNYC: New York City denies violating federal law, but agrees to changes to expand high school sports options for girls.

Taylor Swift Gives $50,000 in Song Proceeds to NYC Schools AP: Global ambassador' Taylor Swift donates $50,000 in song proceeds to NYC public schools

Feds support transgender teen in civil rights suit against schools Washington Post: Federal officials have offered their support for a teen who has accused four Michigan school districts of discriminating against him because he is transgender.U.S. civil rights laws protect “all individuals from sex discrimination, including transgender individuals,” lawyers for the Justice and Education departments wrote in a statement filed in federal district court.

L.A. Schools Reboot Plan to Give Every Student a Computer District Dossier: The Los Angeles Unified district doesn't have the money to continue with plans to provide all students with a tech device, superintendent Ramon Cortines said.

D.C. Defends Plan For School That Would Serve Only Minority Boys WAMU: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to open up an all-boys high school for minority students is facing new questions from the ACLU.

Photos Of School Lunches From Around The World Will Make American Kids Want To Study Abroad HuffPost: Parents could model better eating habits and stock their crispers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but a viable starter solution might begin at lunchtime. Sweetgreen, a healthy quick-serve restaurant that values local and organic ingredients, clarified disparity between American student lunches and those of other countries by photographing typical school lunches from around the world. The visuals are eye-opening.

How Twitter is shaping the #CommonCore debate Hechinger Report: Supovitz says that ordinary citizens and grassroots groups have used Twitter to gain the type of influence – both with politicians and the mainstream media – that has traditionally been enjoyed by more established groups.

AM News: Ramping Up For Friday's House ESEA Reauthorization Effort

More Conflict Over Cutting Federal Role in Education NYT: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday produced data that he said showed that poorer districts would suffer under a Republican plan expected to clear the House of Representatives this week.

As House Prepares to Vote on NCLB, Advocates Push for Preschool Funding U.S. News & World Report: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, noted the first bill, passed in 1965, was a bipartisan effort, as was its reauthorization in 1994. "It would be a very good signal to America if something that has bipartisan support ...

How Would the House NCLB Rewrite Affect Funding for Minority Students? PK12: The White House report, released Tuesday, warns of cuts of more than $1.3 billion over 6 years to more than ten districts that serve high concentrations of African-American students. But, these top-line estimates, while powerful, are essentially a worst-case scenario that's highly unlikely to play out in real life, especially if you consider them over six years. There are a number of reasons why.

Schools using new tools to make teachers better Seattle Times: How to help teachers improve? A new system of in-depth observation by trained evaluators and principals, soon to be required in schools across Washington, shows what can help. See also: Seattle ranks high in suspending elementary-school students with special needs.

Suspended students lose millions of days of instruction while out of school Washington Post: Suspension rates dropped for many of the nation’s school districts — including some in the Washington region — but U.S. students still lost about 18 million days of instruction to out-of-school punishments in the 2011-2012 school year, according to research released Monday.

Suspensions at city charter schools far outpace those at district schools, data show ChalkbeatNY: One-third of charter schools reported suspending fewer than 5 percent of their students, and many schools said they did not give out any out-of-school suspensions. But 11 charter schools suspended more than 30 percent of their students — a figure likely to draw added scrutiny amid a nationwide push to reduce suspensions and a debate over allowing more charter schools to open statewide.

Chicago sets early voting record in last weekend before mayoral election WBEZ: About 90,000 Chicago voters cast their ballots during early voting, including more than 21,500 votes on Saturday, which set a single-day record for a municipal election.

Christie’s Truce With Teachers Could Pay Dividends in ’16 NYT: Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey Education Association are cooperating to grapple with the state’s crippling pension costs, and that may help the governor’s presidential ambitions.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Ramping Up For Friday's House ESEA Reauthorization Effort" »

AM News: Tennessee Common Core Review Could Cost $4 Million

Tennessee's Common Core review comes with uncommon costs Times Free Press: A bill requiring Tennessee's State Board of Education to drop Common Core education standards and develop new requirements has a math problem: It's projected to cost $4.14 million over a three-year period.

State not joining revolt against Common Core learning model Seattle Times: Despite backlash in other states over new learning standards known as the Common Core, little serious opposition has surfaced in Washington.

Is your child’s personal data safe at school? PBS NewsHour: In Miami, a man was arrested with students’ names, social security numbers and birthdays — more than enough personal information to steal their identities. Parents in D.C. learned that information on student enrollment in special education services — including names and passwords for online mailboxes — has for years been easily accessible to anyone online, due to a security breach.

YouTube launches kids app Marketplace: YouTube launches a kids app on Monday. It comes with a filter for content, kid friendly design, and a parental timer for how long kids can play. It’s just one of several new media platforms targeting kids.

L.A. Unified says it can't afford 'computer for all' plan LA Times: Los Angeles Unified schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said Friday that the district cannot afford to provide a computer to every student, signaling a major reversal of his predecessor's ill-fated $1.3-billion effort to distribute iPads to all students, teachers and school administrators.

When a Wildlife Rehab Center Regulates Charter Schools ProPublica: Nestled in the woods of central Minnesota, near a large lake, is a nature sanctuary called the Audubon Center of the North Woods. It’s also Minnesota’s largest regulator of charter schools, overseeing 32 of them. As a group, the schools overseen by the center fall below the state average on test scores.

Cuomo Plan Diminishes Principals' Authority on Evaluations WNYC: New York City principals challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his plan to increase the role of outside evaluators in reviewing teacher performance.

Report Recommends Elected School Board for Chicago District Dossier: A new report from the Collaborative for Justice and Equity in Education recommends an elected school board for the city that would prioritize "equitable educational opportunities and outcomes" in its decisionmaking.

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside NYT: In a new type of diversity initiative at elite institutions, students explore privilege and power and are encouraged to think about social justice in a personal way.

A safety net for dropouts catches others WBEZ: Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy in Humboldt Park is one of the district’s 20 new alternative schools opened in the last two years. It’s a joint venture between the NBA-star-turned-businessman, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and EdisonLearning, a for-profit education company. Students come for half the day and do most of their work online. Many can finish a full credit in a matter of weeks.

Expelled in preschool Hechinger Report: An after-school program run by Chicago Youth Centers has seen significant improvement in children’s behaviors since staff began working with Lauren Wiley, an early childhood mental health consultant. 

Chicago's Mayor Emanuel spends heavily to avoid run-off  Reuters: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping his warm hug with President Barack Obama in the last days of his re-election campaign will help him avoid a run-off in the race to lead the financially troubled, third largest city in the country.

AM News: Frigid Temperatures, GOP's Common Core Divide

Frigid temperatures trigger school closures, delays across region Friday Washington Post: As extremely cold temperatures descended on the Washington region Thursday night, area school officials made early decisions to cancel Friday classes or delay school openings as they weighed student safety, bus operations and facility concerns.

Could Common Core cause a Republican civil war in 2016? CBS: A Gallup poll last August found 76 percent of Republican voters nationwide are opposed to Common Core, and only 17 percent in favor. See also US News: 5 things to watch as governors meet in Washington.

Charter groups top unions in lobbying, campaign spending Capital New York: Charter school groups and their supporters spent $16 million on lobbying, campaign contributions to state-level candidates and parties and independent expenditure campaigns last year. Charter schools spent nearly $700,000 on lobbying. Education unions and labor-funded advocates spent $11.77 million, according to the analysis. See also North Country Now: State teachers' union to lead rally in Massena Saturday against Gov. Cuomo.

Tough slog ahead in Congress for No Child rewrite Seattle Times: Murray believes the federal government — which put up $61 billion, or 10 percent, of the cost of educating public elementary and secondary students in fiscal 2012 — has the right to demand accountability from local schools. The federal government, she said recently, “has an important and unique role to play” to ensure quality education, particularly for lower-achieving students. See also EdWeek: House Set to Pass NCLB Rewrite Next Friday.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Frigid Temperatures, GOP's Common Core Divide" »

AM News: Strike Maneuvers In LA, Cold Day Closing In Chicago

Teachers union takes first legal step towards strike that could close Los Angeles Unified schools LA Daily News: After seven months and 18 rounds of cantankerous contract talks, Los Angeles Unified administrators and leaders of the district's 35,000-member teachers union finally found common ground Wednesday when United Teachers Los Angeles made its first legally required step toward a strike.

Chicago cancels classes Thursday due to extreme cold WBEZ: According to Chicago Public Schools, its classes are cancelled on Thursday, Feb. 19, due to a forecast that is predicting extreme cold temperatures and winds. See also Washington Post: Anatomy of a school closing: How Fairfax County officials make the call on snow days.

New York Compels 20 School Districts to Lower Barriers to Immigrants NYT: The districts, which were found to be illegally blocking enrollment of undocumented immigrant children, will stop requests to prove residency and train enrollment officials.

Oklahoma May Scrap AP History For Focusing On America's 'Bad Parts' NPR: In Oklahoma, state lawmakers are debating a bill that would axe the teaching of Advanced Placement courses in U.S. history. The reason? Some believe the classes focus too much on what is "bad about America." The bill, which passed easily through a committee this week, outlines what should and shouldn't be taught in the classroom. See also HuffPost.

Same diploma, different school? WBEZ: A WBEZ and Catalyst Chicago analysis of that expansion has found that the district is on a troubling path toward its goal to re-enroll dropouts as it turns to new, largely unproven, mostly online alternative schools to educate more students.

Washington State Panel Mulls Bill to Trim Vaccine Exemptions AP: House committee considers measure to remove 'personal belief' vaccine exemption in Washington.

9 reasons Finland's schools are so much better than America's Vox: Finland might be a popular example because, no matter your general beliefs on education policy, you can find something to back them up. The result turns into a policy wonk buffet — nearly everybody can a policy lesson to learn from Finland's success, or a factor that explains why it isn't replicable in the US. Even if some of those lessons directly contradict each other.

AM News: NJ Gov. Christie Joins Brigade Of Common Core Position-Changers

Christie goes from Common Core supporter to critic, blames Obama Washington Post: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is no longer the only GOP presidential hopeful to undergo an election season conversion from Common Core booster to critic.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told conservative Republicans in Iowa — the site of the first 2016 GOP caucus about a year from now — that he has “grave concerns” about the Common Core, the K-12 academic standards in reading and math adopted by 43 states and D.C.  See also WNYC: 'Grave Concerns' with Common Core.

Garcia suggests teachers will strike again if Emanuel re-elected Chicago Tribune: Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said Feb. 17, 2015, that he expects teachers to strike again if Rahm Emanuel is re-elected. Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said Feb. 17, 2015, that he expects teachers to strike again if Rahm Emanuel is re-elected. See also NYT: Rahm Emanuel's Campaign Worries How He Will Fare With Black Voters

As education rises in mayoral politics, teachers organize Philly.com: National teachers' union president Randi Weingarten, who spent significant time in Philadelphia last fall, hailed PFT's "incredible political program." "Obviously, that hard work paid off big in the end," Weingarten said in a statement.

New Mexico lawmakers confirm Jeb Bush protégé as education secretary Washington Post: The New Mexico Senate voted Monday to confirm Jeb Bush protégé Hanna Skandera as the state’s secretary of public education, handing a defeat to Democrats and teacher unions in what had become a four-year political fight. See also EdWeek: Hanna Skandera Confirmed as New Mexico K-12 Chief After Four Years in Limbo.

Report Highlights Features of Districts' Differentiated-Pay Systems Teacher Beat: The 10 districts now tie teacher raises to performance measures; most offer better overall pay, too.

Sharp Rise in Occupational Therapy Cases at New York’s Schools NYT: Nearly 42,000 public school students have been referred to the treatments, designed to help with things like managing sensitivities to noise or improving fine motor skills.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NJ Gov. Christie Joins Brigade Of Common Core Position-Changers" »

AM News: Common Core Testing Begins In Ohio (Also: Chicago Reconsiders Holdout)

New Computerized Tests Debut This Week, Starting in Ohio AP: Her state on Tuesday will be the first to administer one of two tests in English language arts and math based on the Common Core standards developed by two separate groups of states. By the end of the school year, about 12 million children in 29 states and the District of Columbia will take them, using computers or electronic tablets. See also: Statewide testing begins without proficiency mark SI&A Cabinet Report.

Chicago Schools Reconsider Snub of PARCC Test Tribune: Chicago Public Schools officials are reconsidering their snub of a new, mandatory state exam after being threatened with potentially crippling financial sanctions. See also: Education at Heart of Chicago Mayor's Race Politico.

White House pushes back against GOP on funds for poor school children Washington Post: “The White House is using scare tactics and budget gimmicks to kill K-12 education reform, because they know a new law will lead to less control in the hands ofWashington bureaucrats and more control in the hands of parents and education leaders.” See also Politics K12: Title I Portability Sticky Wicket in NCLB Rewrite.

Gov. Christie Flip-Flops on Common Core WNYC: Governor Christie previously supported common core but now says he has "grave doubts" about the standards. NJ Spotlight's John Mooney explains what this means for education in NJ. See also EdWeek: Jeb Bush's 2005 Emails Show Thinking on Standards

A federal judge just put the brakes on Obama’s immigration actions Vox: The ruling comes right before the administration was going to open up applications for immigrants older than 30 who came the US as children to apply for protection from deportation and work permits. It also affects a program that was supposed to open later this spring, for parents of US citizens and permanent residents.

Amid measles outbreak, few rules on teacher vaccinations AP: In Vermont, Democratic Rep. George Till says legislators will try this year to eliminate philosophical exemptions for students and require that teachers be up to date on the same vaccines students must receive. In Colorado, pro-vaccination groups have been pushing the Department of Human Services to require vaccinations for workers at child care facilities, another area with uneven employee immunization standards. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core Testing Begins In Ohio (Also: Chicago Reconsiders Holdout)" »

#EdGif Of The Day: The President's Day #SelfieStick Demonstration

Things Everybody Does But Doesn't Talk About, Featuring President Obama

What better way to celebrate President's Day than a Presidential demonstration of the #selfiestick (devices that have already been banned at several museums and soccer stadiums but not yet at any schools that I know of)? See more Obama gifs here - they're all part of a video he did for Buzzfeed on behalf of the Obamacare signup. See you tomorrow!

AM News: LA State Supe Threatens Common Core Districts With Zeroes

La. Supt.: Zeroes for Schools Avoiding 'Core' Tests The Advocate: Tackling a bubbling controversy, state Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday that state and federal rules require Louisiana to proceed with plans to give Common Core tests next month. Schools and districts are set to get zeroes for students who avoid the tests.

Spat highlights jockeying among Clinton campaign surrogates Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: "At the end of the day, when we have a candidate that we nominate, Democrats will be together," saidRandi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers and a Priorities board member, adding that Brock had done "terrific work."

Funeral for Muslims Killed in Chapel Hill Draws Thousands NYT: “Please involve the F.B.I.,” Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, whose daughters and son-in-law were killed Tuesday in North Carolina, implored at a service. 

Nation’s high school graduation rate ticks up for second year in a row Washington Post: The nation’s high school graduation rate ticked up for the second year in a row, according to new federal data released Thursday showing that 81 percent of the Class of 2013 graduated within four years. See also PBS NewsHour, HuffPost, EdBeat.

Louder Than A Bomb 2015: The 15th Annual Chicago Youth Poetry Festival WBEZ: The largest youth poetry festival in the world, Louder Than A Bomb--Power To The Poets, celebrates its 15th anniversary of giving students a global platform from which to share their stories. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA State Supe Threatens Common Core Districts With Zeroes" »

AM News: New Report Says Student Data Software Lacks Basic Security

Data Security Gaps in an Industry Student Privacy Pledge NYT: On the eve of a congressional hearing to explore the use of new technology in classrooms nationwide, a software engineer has found significant gaps in an industry effort to bolster student data security and privacy.

Schools Are Using Classroom Coaches To Keep Up With The Common Core EdSource via Huffington Post: A survey by EdSource of six California districts -- Garden Grove Unified, Santa Ana Unified, Whittier Union High School District, Visalia Unified, Oakland Unified and San Jose Unified -- showed that all are relying on coaches as they move forward to implement the Common Core.

Threat of mass testing opt-outs looms over schools SI&A Cabinet Report: Ongoing protest over Common Core testing has 14 Louisiana schools asking for penalty waivers which would keep the state from holding them accountable if parents decide to remove their children from teEdsting next month.

Texas, feds on collision course over No Child Left Behind Act Austin American-Statesman: Education Commissioner Michael Williams said on Wednesday that he will not enforce an educator evaluation system, which means the state could lose its waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

Jackie Robinson West stripped of Little League title WBEZ: In a stunning Wednesday announcement that came months after the all-black team, whose ages ranged from 11 to 13 years, captured the attention of the country and the hearts of its hometown, the baseball organization said it also found that after the league had changed the boundaries, some team officials went to surrounding leagues to convince them to go along with what they'd done. See also Crain's: Karen Lewis rips JRW decision.

Graduation Rates Rise; Gap Between Black and White Males Grows, Report Says District Dossier: A report released by the Schott Foundation for Public Education called for more action to address the disparity in graduation rates, academic achievement, and other factors such as out-of-school suspensions in the nation's public schools.

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

Continue reading "AM News: New Report Says Student Data Software Lacks Basic Security" »

AM News: Broad Foundation Suspends Signature Award Program

Broad Foundation suspends $1-million prize for urban school districts LA Times: The action underscores the changing education landscape as well the evolving thinking and impatience of the 81-year-old philanthropist. See also NYT: Billionaire Suspends Prize Given to Schools.

GOP Lawmakers Talk Plans for NCLB Rewrite at School Choice Jamboree PK12: As it stands, the draft reauthorization introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in January includes a Title I portability provision that would allow parents to use federal dollars only for the public school of their choice, including public charter schools.

Rich School, Poor School NPR: With 169 years of experience between them in college advising or admissions, Finks, the school’s dean of college counseling, and his four associate deans and two support staff calmly dispense wisdom, manage expectations and offer practical training in such things as mock interviews for college aspirants.

Arne Duncan presses his case for innovation grants at D.C. school Washington Post: As Congress sets about rewriting the No Child Left Behind law, key Republican leaders have been clear that they want to give states much more latitude to spend federal education dollars as they see fit. To that end, leaders in both houses of Congress are seeking to do away with dozens of dedicated federal funding streams — including a signature Obama administration program called the Investing in Innovation. See also PK12.

Lawsuit seeks instruction intervention at 5 CA high schools EdSource Today: After winning a court order to improve academic conditions at one Los Angeles high school last fall, lawyers in a class action suit asked Thursday for an additional court order to compel the state to improve instruction time at five other California high schools in the 2015-16 school year.

Low vaccination rates at schools put students at risk USA Today: Hundreds of thousands of students attend schools — ranging from small, private academies in New York City to large public elementary schools outside Boston to Native American reservation schools in Idaho — where vaccination rates have dropped precipitously low, sometimes under 50%. California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia also were included in the analysis.

No profit left behind Politico: A POLITICO investigation has found that Pearson stands to make tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and cuts in student tuition from deals arranged without competitive bids in states from Florida to Texas.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Broad Foundation Suspends Signature Award Program " »

AM News: Testing Critics Flood Congressional Inboxes, Annoy Staffers

Anti-Testing Advocates Flood Congressional Staff Inboxes PK12: Did it work? Actually, it seemed to have made at least one aide pretty cranky. If you think a flood of 800-plus emails are enough to stop a government-supplied Blackberry in its tracks, you're right. "This is bullying," the aide said. "We're trying to be really thoughtful on a range of issues, including assessments, in a really short time frame. We're doing the absolute best we can. And this makes it even harder."

Uncovering Security Flaws in Digital Education Products for Schoolchildren NYT: The law has long treated educational information as a category worthy of special protections, like credit or medical records, but the reality is often different.

Democrats Seek to Hit Jeb Bush With Comparisons to Romney AP: Not yet a formal candidate, Jeb Bush taking hits from Democrats who compare him to Mitt Romney

How Elementary School Teachers’ Biases Can Discourage Girls From Math and Science NYT: Early educational experiences have a quantifiable effect on the courses students choose later, a study shows.

Starr’s record a mixed bag: Data show improvement, but there were missteps Washington Post: The listening tour came first, extending through Joshua P. Starr’s early months as the newly hired superintendent of Maryland’s largest school system. He crisscrossed Montgomery County in 2011, hosting town halls, dropping in on schools, hearing about budget strains and curriculum worries and performance gaps.

Malia Obama, Rap Tastemaker, Might Attend College in New York City Jezebel: Malia Obama, known 90s rap enthusiast and Joey Badass fan, is looking at universities this week—and cool New Yorkers who work very hard at being cool and calm are losing their shit because she's undergraduate shopping in the Big Apple.

Mom charged with threatening to blow up daughter's school AP: Authorities say a mother got so angry when told that her daughter had failed a New York state exam that she threatened to bomb the school....

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

Continue reading "AM News: Testing Critics Flood Congressional Inboxes, Annoy Staffers" »

AM News: Schools, Parents Track Measles Outbreaks & Vaccination Levels

Five children at Chicago-area day care diagnosed with measles WBEZ: Public health officials say students, staff and faculty at the facility have been notified and anyone who hasn't been vaccinated for measles has been instructed to stay away from unvaccinated individuals for the next three weeks.

See also Texas Tribune: See Vaccine Exemptions by School District, AP: A Look at Some Vaccine-Related Legislation in Several States, HuffPost: These States Don't Require Vaccinations For Home-School Students, FiveThirtyEight: Much Of The World Is Better At Giving Their Kids Measles Vaccines Than The U.S., The Atlantic: Schools May Solve The Anti-Vaccine Parenting Deadlock.

House Democrats discuss updates to ‘No Child Left Behind’ law PBS NewsHour: They crowded into a small Capitol Hill hearing room Thursday for their own forum on changing the law in protest of Republicans’ handling of the issue. Votes on a GOP bill are anticipated soon. See also PK12: House Democrats Hold Their Own Session on Rewriting the NCLB Law.

U.S. Department of Education Remakes School Improvement Grant Program PK12: Under the regs, states that want to cook up their own turnaround interventions for low-performing schools using federal SIG dollars and submit them to the U.S. Secretary of Education for approval will need at least one rigorous study to back up their approach. 

Fewer Top Graduates Want to Join Teach for America NYT: The group has warned school districts and charter school chains that the size of its corps of teachers this fall could be down by as much as a quarter.

The Education of Jeb Bush National Journal: GOP presidential hopeful has question for post-industrial America: "Can we shed a skin and renew ourselves?"

LAUSD school board candidates face off in debate KPCC: In a debate Thursday night featuring candidates for the Los Angeles Unified's school board District 5 seat, differences emerged on issues such as charter schools, testing and the problem-plagued student data system known as MiSiS. See also LA School Report: AFT president Weingarten visits town to give LA teachers a boost.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Schools, Parents Track Measles Outbreaks & Vaccination Levels" »

AM News: House Democrats Holding Solo NCLB Reauthorization Hearing

Not a lot of comity on the House education panel, members split on how to rewrite law Washington Post: Scott and other committee Democrats announced they are holding their own hearing on Thursday, calling it a “forum,” with witnesses. It is unclear if they are going to file dueling legislation, Levin said.

Education secretary visits Maryland for town hall meeting WBAL Baltimore:Secretary Arne Duncan said the meeting, in part, was organized to give parents, teachers and administrators a chance to share their concerns about the current education law, No Child Left Behind.

California Seeks NCLB Waiver From Feds Over Use of Test Scores PK12: State officials are essentially arguing that because the Smarter Balanced exam is new, AYP can't be calculated by comparing Smarter Balanced exams to student scores on prior tests.

'No Illusions' For Starr As He Prepares To Leave Montgomery County Schools WAMU: The Maryland county's superintendent is leaving his job under public uncertainty about what conflicts led to the decision. See also Washington Post: Schools chief’s exit leaves many in Montgomery with questions.

Bush offers impassioned defense of his education record The Hill: Jeb Bush deviated from his prepared remarks at the Detroit Economic Club on Wednesday to give an impassioned defense of his education reform record.

Ed. Commissioner Gist Set to Leave R.I. to Lead Tulsa Schools State EdWatch: Deborah Gist has been Rhode Island's chief state school officer since 2009, and has overseen several significant changes to K-12 policy during her tenure.

Classroom coaches critical as teachers shift to Common Core EdSource Today: To break down the isolation that many teachers experience in their classrooms, California schools are using instructional coaches as a key tool to help teachers adapt their instruction to implement the Common Core standards in math and English language arts.

Opt-out advocates get attention from city’s most powerful couple ChalkbeatNY: De Blasio and his schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña have stopped short of encouraging parents to opt their students out of the tests, and Fariña told state lawmakers on Tuesday that she supports the tests and their role as a challenge for students.

Karen Lewis: New CTU contract will cost city, but members willing to strike for itChicago Sun-Times: With less than a month before the mayoral election, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewismade two things clear Monday: The new teachers contract being negotiated is going to cost money, and her 30,000 members who went on strike in 2012 for ...

2 Students Hurt in Shooting Outside Maryland High School ABC News: Shooting outside Maryland high school basketball game wounds 2, sends people running for cover.

AM News: So Long, MoCo Superintendent Josh Starr - Plus School Vaccination Politics

With Board Support In Question, MoCo Schools Superintendent Resigns WAMU: Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr is resigning, leaving his post four months before his contract was up. See also Washington Post: Joshua Starr’s three-year tenure as superintendent on par with big-city national average 

Vaccines Should Be As Nonnegotiable As Seat Belts, Experts Say Huffington Post:The vaccination issue has emerged as an early litmus test in the 2016 presidential race. Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) made waves on Monday when he told a reporter that "parents need to have some measure of choice" in the matter of vaccines. 

Teacher-Evaluation Mandate Unlikely in ESEA Rewrite PK12: Republicans want to steer clear of anything that smacks of federal control. Democrats, who have historically represented the concerns of teachers' unions, are wary of the increasing impact of student test scores on evaluations and how those evaluations are used in new compensation systems.

Charter group says Kayser policies 'by no means race-neutral' LA School Report: Three other incumbents — Tamar Galatzan, George McKenna andRichard Vladovic — has been denounced by a wide range of Kayser supporters.

New York City Schools Chancellor Objects to Cuomo’s Plan for Grading Teachers NYT: Chancellor Carmen Fariña told state legislators that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wanted to base too much of a teacher’s score on the state’s student test results. See also WNYC: NYC Chancellor Challenges Cuomo's Education Proposals

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

Continue reading "AM News: So Long, MoCo Superintendent Josh Starr - Plus School Vaccination Politics" »

AM News: Snow Days Go Online, Anti-Vaxx Politics, & Common Core Standoff In Chicago

For Some Schools, Learning Doesn't Stop On Snow Days NPR: Even when the weather turns nasty, students in Delphi, Ind., have been expected to log on to classes from home. Results are mixed so far; participation rates seem to drop the longer school is out. See also Fox: Chicago schools to re-open after 19-inch snow

No, Obama didn't 'pander to anti-vaxxers' in 2008.Daily Beast: A viewing of the video from that appearance shows that interpretation is incorrect. He dismissed the anti-vaccination viewpoint, spoke out forthrightly and squarely in favor of childhood immunization and did not endorse the autism link. 

Standoff escalates over Chicago's snub of federal testing rules Crain's Chicago: With $1.2 billion in funding at stake, no one who knows is saying anything about who will back down in the showdown between Chicago Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Education.

Broad Foundation Puts Hold on Its Prize for Urban Education District Dossier: The foundation said that it will reassess the prize given how urban education has changed in the last 13 years, but it was also disappointed with the "sluggish" performance in urban schools.

U.S. Teacher-Prep Rules Face Heavy Criticism in Public Comments Ed Week: Only a handful of commenters were outright supportive of the rules. On the other hand, many Washington-based higher education associations and lobbying groups, such as the American Council on Education, an umbrella lobbying group for higher education, were also expected to submit critical comments right before the period closed Feb. 2. Whether the Education Department will be swayed by the volume of negative comments to rewrite or withdraw the rules remains an open question.

Charter group drawing more fire for 'racist' flyer on Kayser LA School Report: A campaign flyer implying that LA Unified board member Bennett Kayser is racist is drawing more fire, as two more would-be beneficiaries renounced its message, and an LA Times editorial accused the sponsoring organization of engaging in “slimy tactics on behalf of children.”

Starr did not request another four years by deadline, school board member says Washington Post: Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr did not ask for the renewal of his contract as leader of Maryland’s largest school system by the Sunday deadline, a school board member said Monday.

Findings reinforce use of targeted tutoring to benefit disadvantaged Chicago students UofChicago News: Urban Education Lab and Crime Lab study shows Match program reduces math course failures by more than 50 percent.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Snow Days Go Online, Anti-Vaxx Politics, & Common Core Standoff In Chicago" »

AM News: Snowstorm, Obama Budget, Uncertain Fate For Starr

Obama Budget Seeks Boosts for Early Ed., High Schools, Technology PK12: The request, being formally unveiled Monday, includes big hikes for teacher quality, preschool development grants, civil rights enforcement, education technology, plus a new competitive-grant program aimed at helping districts make better use of their federal and local K-12 dollars. [Obama also tells parents to vaccinate their kids.]

Storm Heads Toward Northeast After Blanketing Midwest AP: Slow-moving moves toward Northeast after it blankets the Midwest in heavy snow. See also: No Monday CPS Classes as City Digs Out NBC Chicago.

Jeb Bush's education bond with Obama poses 2016 challenge for him Tampa Bay Times: Bush and Obama have been unlikely partners on education, sharing similar goals, praising each other publicly and appearing together at a high school in Miami as Obama was gearing up for re-election.

AFT Mounts Strong Opposition to Federal Teacher-Prep Proposal TeacherBeat: The AFT really, really doesn't like the feds' proposals on teacher preparation, and it wants everyone to know about it.

Did Billions of Dollars in School Turnaround Aid Help? PK12: The U.S. Department of Education has pumped more than $5 billion into a supercharged version of the School Improvement Grant program that gave grants of up $2 million to the lowest-performing schools in the country to try out dramatic turnaround strategies (like turning themselves into charters, or getting rid of half their staff).

Montgomery discussions continue on future of school superintendent Washington Post: Montgomery County’s school board president said Sunday evening that the board will continue its discussions Monday with Superintendent Joshua P. Starr about his future in the district and hopes to say more about the matter Tuesday.

 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Snowstorm, Obama Budget, Uncertain Fate For Starr" »

AM News: New Report Undercuts Claim That NYC District Schools Retain SPED Kids Better

More Special-Needs Students Remain at Charter Schools, Report Finds NYT: New York City’s Independent Budget Office found that 53 percent of charter school kindergartners with disabilities were still in the same schools four years later, compared with 49 percent in traditional schools.  See also WNYC:  Report: Special Needs Students Stay Longer at New York City Charter Schools, ChalkbeatNY: IBO: Charters do better than district schools at retaining students with disabilities.

Teachers Union Fires First Shot in Battle Over Charter School Cap WNYC: Union leaders say charter schools shouldn't be rewarded by Albany lawmakers until they accept more of the most difficult to teach students. See also ChalkbeatNY: UFT moves quickly to build coalition with a clear target: Cuomo.

 Draft of Obama Administration's Student-Data-Privacy Bill Raises Questions EdWeek: The apparently rechristened "Student Digital Privacy and Innovation Act" seemingly aims to create a uniform national playing field by pre-empting the patchwork of state laws currently in place--a key concern of industry groups.

Teachers union, think tank [CAP] propose compromise on testing of US students Washington Post: “After a decade of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, we know that an environment with high-stakes, annual tests forces schools to focus on compliance, not on kids,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement. 

More Than 1,000 in Arizona Are Watched for Measles NYT: State health officials are tracking hundreds of people, including at least 195 children, who might have been exposed in an outbreak that began at Disneyland.

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

Continue reading "AM News: New Report Undercuts Claim That NYC District Schools Retain SPED Kids Better" »

AM News: Spending On K-12 Education Dropped - Again

Nation’s per-pupil K-12 funding fell for second consecutive year in 2012 Washington Post: After more than a decade of increases in per-pupil funding for K-12 public schools, the nation’s per-pupil spending dropped in 2012 for the second year in a row, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics. See also HuffPost: Here Are The States That Spend The Most On Public School Students.

Number of US children living on food stamps nearly doubles since 2007 The Guardian: Census bureau finds about 16 million – or one in five – US children lived in families that received food stamps in 2014.

Obama's Budget Would Undo Broad, Automatic Cuts Made In 2013 NPR: The across-the-board spending cuts made in 2013, known as the sequester, reduced defense and domestic budgets by hundreds of millions each. Republicans are expected to fiercely defend that plan. See also Politico's: How Democrats killed Obamas college savings plan.

MoCo Schools Superintendent Could Be Let Go This Year WAMU: The county board of education is unlikely to renew Starr's contract, which is up in June, according to the Washington Post. See also Washington Post: Montgomery schools chief may face uphill battle on board.

Gov. Cuomo’s big fix for evaluations bucks national trend ChalkbeatNY: In Washington, D.C., state test scores dropped from 50 to 35 percent of evaluations two years ago. In Wisconsin, teachers have been given broad discretion in choosing how student performance was factored into their evaluations.

Teachers ask high court to hear union dues case EdSource Today: Attorneys for teachers who are challenging the right of the California Teachers Association to force them to pay union dues petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to hear their case this year. There’s a good chance that it will

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

Continue reading "AM News: Spending On K-12 Education Dropped - Again" »

AM News: More Districts Taking Curriculum Purchase Decisions From States

States Are Losing Power Over Classroom Materials, and Districts Are Gaining It State EdWatch: The number of states that exert direct control over districts' choice of instructional materials through state funding has dipped from roughly 25 to 18 in recent years.

White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break NPR: All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans. Critics had called the proposal to limit them a tax hike on the middle class. See also WSJNYT.

Senate Ed. Panel Unlikely to Require Teacher Evaluations in NCLB Overhaul PK12: The lack of teacher-evaluation language in the reauthorization will likely stop in its tracks the Obama administration's efforts to push states to adopt evaluation systems based in part on student test scores and performance-based compensation systems, both of which were at the heart of U.S. Department of Education's NCLB waivers.

As numbers of homeless kids rise, resources fall short Marketplace: The number of students experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has increased 85 percent since before the recession, according to Department of Education data. But the resources available to help them have remained flat.

States Move to Make Citizenship Exams a Classroom Aid NYT: Arizona became the first state to require its high school students to pass the test that is given to immigrants who want to become United States citizens.

Football As A Tool In The Hands Of A Master Craftsman NPR: Our 50 Great Teachers series profiles a football coach who's made academics ... and a sense of family ... part of his winning strategy.

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

Continue reading "AM News: More Districts Taking Curriculum Purchase Decisions From States" »

AM News: Digging Out From Under All The Blizzard Hype

Snow Day: Blizzard Shutters Schools Across Region WNYC: Snow days for the New York City public school system do not come easily, but with forecasts predicting two feet of snow and wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour, yes: school's canceled.

For Students (and Some Adults), School Cancellation in New York Comes as Welcome News NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that city schools would be closed on Tuesday because of the snowstorm, giving some students a reprieve from pending exams.

Hidden Day Care Records And Other State Secrets Seattle Public Radio: State inspection reports of day care providers are public record, but accessing them is still a problem for many parents. Washington state posts records online, but more than a dozen states don’t.

Obama Takes Heat For Proposing To End College Savings Break NPR: President Obama has proposed changing the tax treatment of college savings accounts known as 529 plans. Some are calling this a tax increase on the middle class. See also MMFA: What Media Miss On The Tax Breaks In Obama's Free Community College Plan 

Competency-Based Degree Programs On The Rise NPR: A new report says 52 colleges offer, or plan to offer, some credits based on learning, not just seat time.

Investigation into Md. ‘free-range parenting’ case unresolved after meeting Washington Post: The neglect investigation that started after a Silver Spring couple allowed their children to walk home a mile from a park could continue for another couple of weeks, despite the parents’ hopes that authorities would drop the case at a meeting Monday.

Yale police aim gun at NYT columnist’s son, turn spotlight on racial profiling on campus PBS: The debate over racial profiling — already a hot topic on many college campuses — gained renewed attention this weekend when Yale University police briefly detained a black male student Saturday evening.

Student 'Body Slams' Teacher Who Took Cell Phone (VIDEO) HuffPost: In the video, the 16-year-old suspect goes ballistic when his teacher confiscates his phone. The student appears to wrap his arms around the teacher and knocks him into an empty desk. The student then wrestles with the teacher before slamming him to the floor.

AM News: Thirty States Plus DC To Give Common Core Assessment This Spring

What happens when the Common Core becomes less ... common? Washington Post: Now only 12 states plus the District plan to give the PARCC exam to students, according to the Council of State School Officers, an organization of state education chiefs. Smarter Balanced has seen less attrition, but just 18 states plan to give that test this spring. 

Kasich Calls Out Conservatives Who Oppose Common Core HuffPost: Kasich dismissed criticisms of the standards from those like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who argue that the guidelines will lead the federal government to have more control of the education system in the United States.

Mississippi House passes bill that keeps Common Core but changes name Hechinger Report: Mississippi legislators passed with wide support a bill Thursday that proponents say will give the state more control over public education standards but even they admit it would have no effect on what schools currently teach.

It’s Cuomo Versus The Teachers Union WNYC: In his State of the State address, the Governor proposed big education changes this week - and took aim at the teachers union. See also WNYC.

Biden touts community college proposal, healthcare during L.A. visit LA Times: Vice President Joe Biden visited several Los Angeles sites on Friday to tout and gather support for two of the White House's signature initiatives: a plan to make the first two years of community college free and the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Once Had Universal Child Care, But Rebuilding It Won't Be Easy NPR: In his State of the Union address, President Obama referenced a little-remembered, WWII-era federal child care program, holding it up as an example he hopes to emulate with expanded federal subsidies.

To Improve School Discipline, Change Teacher Behavior Slate: Various programs have cropped up to support the effort. A local partnership called All-In! places therapists and special-education specialists in elementary classrooms, helping teachers identify and address trauma-induced behavior and emotional problems that they might otherwise dismiss as mere misbehavior. Seneca Family of Agencies, a California child welfare organization, is expanding the approach to five Oakland and two San Francisco schools using a $3 million grant from a U.S. Department of Education innovation fund.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Thirty States Plus DC To Give Common Core Assessment This Spring" »

AM News: After Obama Push, Google Relents On Student Data Privacy Pledge

After Initially Holding Out, Google Signs Student-Data-Privacy Pledge EdWeek: Any possibility that the pledge might have slipped from the public's attention vanished last week, when President Barack Obama publicly lauded the effort and urged more companies to get on board.

State Of The Union Doesn't Mention No Child Left Behind Rewrite Efforts HuffPost: Obama mentioned few specifics about K-12 education, one of his administration's top priorities during his first term. Notably, the president mentioned not one word directly about one of his education secretary's priorities for 2015: rewriting the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, the Bush-era school accountability law. Obama also failed to mention the words teacher and testing. See also PK12, Washington PostPBS NewsHour.

Who sat in the First Lady's State of the Union box? Vox: Malik Bryant (Chicago, IL) Thirteen-year-old Malik Bryant sent a letter to Santa over the holidays, but rather than request the usual gifts, Malik wrote: "All I ask for is for safety I just wanna be safe." The President wrote back to Malik, encouraging him and underscoring that Malik's "security is a priority for me in everything I do as president." Malik lives with his mother Keturah and his two sisters in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He is in seventh grade, and his favorite subject is math.

Cuomo’s Education Agenda Sets Battle Lines With Teachers’ Unions NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to seek changes to teacher evaluations and charter school limits, reforms that, uncharacteristically for a Democrat, will put him in conflict with the unions. See also ChalkbeatNY, WNYC.

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

Continue reading "AM News: After Obama Push, Google Relents On Student Data Privacy Pledge" »

AM News: Obama Speech To Include Student Privacy, Safety, & Free College Tonight

Obama to propose new student privacy legislation Washington Post: President Obama is planning to propose new federal legislation to safeguard student privacy, a move that comes as new classroom technologies gather sensitive personal information about children in order to deliver personalized lessons,

Englewood boy who asked Santa for safety invited to attend State of the Union address WLS-TV: The seventh grader was one of about 8,500 Chicago Public Schools students who wrote letters to Santa. 

How Will Education Play in the State of the Union Address? PK12:Proposals on both ends of the education spectrum—early and higher—were part of a big tax package unveiled by the White House this weekend, from which K-12 policy was (almost) absent. This seems to be a trend for the president, who has focused the education remarks in his last three addresses to college on either higher education (popular with young voters and their middle-aged parents) and early ed. (popular with just about everybody), while steering clear of K-12 (a politically stickier issue these days). 

Do students take too many tests? Congress to weigh question PBS NewsHour/AP: Preliminary research by the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts, found that students take an average of 113 standardized tests between pre-K and 12th grade. It said testing time for 11th graders was as high as 27 days, or 15 percent of the school year, in one district and that didn’t count Advanced Placement, career and technical education course and college entrance exams.

Arizona civics group targets California after winning test for high school graduation KPCC LA: “We hope to get out to California maybe in the next year or two and start working with citizens, legislators, teachers there, and see if we can’t make this happen in California as well,” said Sam Stone, Civics Education Initiative executive director, on Friday.

 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Obama Speech To Include Student Privacy, Safety, & Free College Tonight" »

How Stevie Wonder Helped Create Martin Luther King Day

 

How Stevie Wonder Helped Create Martin Luther King Day (Medium)

AM News: Pushing Lunch Until After Recess (& Offering School Dinner, Too)

With lunch after recess, fruits and veggies consumption increases by 54 percent PBS NewsHour: The study sampled seven schools containing grades 1 to 6 in a Utah school district. Three of the schools switched to putting recess before lunch, while the remaining four schools kept their original schedule of lunch before recess. In the schools that switch, the researchers observed — in addition to the 54 percent increase of fruit and vegetable consumption — a 45 percent increase in children eating at least one serving of the two. In the schools that didn’t switch, however, consumption of fruits and vegetables were observed to have decreased.

 More schools serve students dinner as demand expands AP: Thirteen states and the District of Columbia began offering students dinner as part of a pilot program expanded to all states after the 2010 passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Schools where at least half the students are low-income and qualify for free or reduced-price lunch are reimbursed for each supper by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at a rate often significantly higher than the cost of the meal.

Majority of US public school students are in poverty Washington Post: For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation. 

AFT's Weingarten lays out new models for unions People's World: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten today laid out a framework for a renewed American labor movement. She was joined by U.S. labor secretary Thomas Perez and others at an Albert Shanker Institute conference.

Jeb Bush is running on his Florida education record. Here's what he actually did Vox: Bush's signature reform was testing students every year and grading schools based on the results of those tests. He also pushed to expand charter schools and supported voucher programs, as well as pioneering a program to hold students back who weren't reading in third grade. Some of these ideas are still well within the mainstream of the Republican party. But others, particularly mandatory annual standardized testing, have become much less politically popular in recent years. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Pushing Lunch Until After Recess (& Offering School Dinner, Too)" »

AM News Roundup: Annual Testing, NY Teacher Tenure, Anaheim Trigger

Democrats Voice Concerns, Stakeholders Have Mixed Reactions to NCLB Draft PK12: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member of the Senate education committee, who will be Alexander's sparring partner during the reauthorization process, said Wednesday that she was disappointed in several policies that were included in the draft and by one that wasn't.

AFT backs annual testing, with an asterisk Washington Post: As debate rages in Washington about whether a new K-12 federal education law should continue to require annual testing in math and reading, the nation’s second-largest teachers union has staked out a hybrid position. See also TeacherBeat.

 Plaintiffs Urge Judge to Let Case Against Teacher Tenure Proceed WNYC: An ambitious lawsuit challenging teacher tenure in New York got its first full hearing, as two groups of parents claimed job protections make it too difficult to remove bad teachers. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Anaheim parents move to force school reforms EdSource Today: A group of parents in the Anaheim City School District on Wednesday submitted petitions to force reforms at their children’s struggling elementary school – changes that may include turning the school into a charter. See also EdWeek.

President Obama's Student-Data-Privacy Proposal Gets Wary Industry Reaction Education Week News: Companies that provide educational technology will carefully watch the unfolding of President Obama's proposal for a new Student Digital Privacy Act, and closely scrutinize the release of recommended "terms of service" guidance from the U.S. Department 

A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools NPR: Will choice and competition really improve academic quality? A new study out of New Orleans complicates the picture.

LAUSD asks to postpone student test scores, so what's next? KPCC: LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines and the school board expressed concerns that district students haven't had enough time to prepare. Students would take the tests on new tablets and laptops, and officials worry that they haven't sufficiently practiced on the new devices.

Transportation, Education Could Be Big Sticking Points For Hogan's Budget WAMU: Funding for large transportation projects — such as the Purple Line — and for large school districts are among Democrats' concerns as the new GOP governor prepares his fiscal plan.

 

Rand Paul Seeks 2016 Spotlight at Common Core Forum in New Hampshire PK12: Paul held a forum on the Common Core State Standards Wednesday in New Hampshire, which just happens to be the first primary state. The school choice advocate held the event after touring a charter school in Manchester.

AM News: Senators Murray & Alexander Push To Revamp NCLB

Democrats and Republicans Agree: It's Time To Rewrite No Child Left Behind HuffPost: Murray articulated a similar position on testing in an interview Tuesday. "We have to fix the redundant and unnecessary testing within the system broadly," she told The Huffington Post.  But, she said in her speech, "That doesn't mean we should roll back standards or accountability." She further defended the need for some degree of standardized testing by invoking a reason more often used on the right: taxpayer money.

Senators set stage for debate about federal education law Washington Post: Top Republican and Democratic negotiators over federal education law each took to the Senate floor Tuesday to lay out their sometimes conflicting visions for rewriting No Child Left Behind.Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chair of the Senate education panel, emphasized that he wants to shrink the federal footprint in local education, saying the Obama administration has acted as a “national school board” and that Congress ought to cede power back to states to decide how best to educate K-12 students. 

Why Google Didn't Sign Obama-Backed Student Privacy Pledge Wall Street Journal: Other Google student-privacy policies are more nuanced than the pledge Obama endorsed Monday. The company says it doesn't sell Google Apps for Education data to third parties and it only shares personal information with third parties in “exceptional ...

The Most Controversial Woman in School Reform NY Magazine: Even in school reform’s new lawsuit era, hand-to-hand combat is still the preferred mode of resolving—or not resolving—­conflict. Brown has become the latest vilified figure in a decades-long PR battle—between the teachers union, one of the last powerful unions in the U.S., and “reformers”—to rival the ugliest type of corporate warfare.

Teacher survey: Change tenure, layoff laws EdSource Today: Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he's open to changing tenure and other teacher employment laws at issue in the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit, and most teachers in a new survey say they want to change them, too.

Speak & Spell: A History Hacked Education: The Speak & Spell – one of the most iconic toys of the 1980s – is a teaching machine. By that, I don’t mean simply that it’s an electronic, educational device. It is that, sure. The Speak & Spell is a teaching machine specifically in the tradition of B. F. Skinner, reflecting some of both Skinner’s design principles and his theories of learning, decades older than the popular Texas Instruments device. Rather than selecting the correctly-spelled word in a multiple choice quiz, for the example, the Speak & Spell prompts the user to construct the response. It praises; it corrects.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Senators Murray & Alexander Push To Revamp NCLB" »

AM News: Duncan Support For Annual NCLB Testing (Is This News?)

Administration Doubling Down on K-12 Priorities, Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan Declares PK12: Duncan is making it clear he doesn't think that Republicans in Congress—who could introduce draft proposals that make significant changes to federal testing mandates as early as this week—are on the right track. 

Arne Duncan Wants To Drop 'No Child Left Behind' — But Keep Its Tests NPR: The secretary of education calls the law "tired," asserting that much of it ought to be scrapped. But he still wants to keep the annual exams that serve as the law's centerpiece.

Duncan lays out priorities for education law: Testing, preschool funding, teacher evals Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law Monday, calling on Congress to build in funding for preschool, add $1 billion annually in federal aid for schools with the neediest students, and maintain the federal mandate that says states must test students every year in math and reading. See also: Education groups, leaders weigh in on Duncan’s speech.

White House Still Backs Annual Testing in Schools NYT: Arne Duncan outlined the administration’s priorities for a revision of No Child Left Behind, indicating that testing was important to measuring achievement.

Obama to Call for New Laws on Data Hacking, Student Privacy NPR: The Obama Administration wants to create some new regulations that would alert consumers to the potentially unavoidable dangers facing them in the era of Sony's hacks.  See also Daily Caller.

NYC DOE reveals elusive data for 13 charter schools: How many students leave each year ChalkbeatNY:  The limited student mobility data challenges that [Farina] argument, to a degree. The schools with the highest average mobility rates over the past four years are also the ones that are performing the worst academically.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Support For Annual NCLB Testing (Is This News?)" »

AM News: Schools Reducing Suspensions, Groups Endorse Annual Testing, Obama Supports Data Privacy

Policy shifts yield decline in school suspensions AP: Five years ago, LAUSD students were scolded with 74,765 days of suspension; last year, they received 8,351, an 89 percent decrease. The decline comes on the heels of a nationwide push to rollback zero-tolerance policies instituted after the deadly Columbine High School shootings that emphasize harsh discipline for even minor misbehavior in favor of support-focused alternatives.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan to outline education priorities and defend testing Washington Post: As a new Congress gets to work to rewrite the 2002 federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration is drawing what Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a “line in the sand”: The federal government must continue to require states to give annual, standardized tests in reading and math. See also PK12EdWeek.

Obama To Propose Laws On Hacking Notification, Student Privacy AP: President Obama wants to require companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has been hacked. He also wants to prevent companies from selling student data to third parties. See also NYT, Politico.

Silicon Valley Turns Its Eye to Education NYT: Educational technology companies are latecomers to exploiting the potential of the Internet, but venture capitalists seem to believe their time has come.

How Schools Around The Country Respond To Cold Temperatures HuffPost: Kansas City Public Schools closed its buildings Wednesday and Thursday as forecasts warned of wind chill temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero. Up in Minnesota, temperatures have to be a little more extreme to warrant school closings. Chicago public schools were closed on Wednesday and Thursday this week "due to extreme temperatures and winds in the area," according to a press release from the district.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Schools Reducing Suspensions, Groups Endorse Annual Testing, Obama Supports Data Privacy" »

Journalism: No, Georgia Doesn't Really Lead The Nation In School Shootings

image from static.politifact.com.s3.amazonaws.comGiven the pace of work being produced and the complexity of the issues, it's pretty easy for mis-statements and errors of fact to creep into education stories -- and very hard to correct them once they're out in the wild.  

That's why it's helpful that Politifact covers Education statements.  

Just recently, the site took a look at the claim made that GA "leads the nation in school shootings since Sandy Hook." The claim was made by Everytown For Gun Safety and passed along by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  

The issue is how Everytown defines school shooting (very broadly).

Any other bad numbers or unverified claims out there that you think need to be addressed?  Send them to me at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.

Related posts: New York Magazine Duped By Stuyvesant HS Student Scam;NYT Journo Tweets Out 60-80 Days Of Testing ClarificationOops!? Results From The Equity Project Same As Other NYC ChartersMissing Context From ProPublica Charter School "Sweeps" Story.

AM News: Duncan To Join "Repeal NCLB" Chorus -- But Favors Annual Testing

Arne Duncan to call for No Child Left Behind revamp Politico: In a speech Monday, Duncan will lay out his principles for rewriting the education law, sources familiar with the event confirmed. But he is not expected to back down from his insistence that a rewritten law retain the federal mandate that all students be tested in math and reading every year from third through eighth grade.

Governors Laud 'Higher Standards,' Plead for NCLB Renewal in NGA Speeches State EdWatch: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the chairman of the National Governors Association, said more rigorous expectations for students were important, but not the only consideration for stronger schools.

Obama In Tennessee To Promote Free Community College NPR: President Obama is on the road as part of his effort to jump-start his 2015 agenda. Today he's in Tennessee, talking about higher education. See also NYTWashington PostPK12.

A 'Sizable Decrease' In Those Passing The GED NPR: The new GED is more expensive, computer-based and tougher. As a result some states are embracing alternative tests, and the number of GEDs awarded last year fell.

Study Questions Stock Teacher-Turnover Stat Teacher Beat: In contrast to the conventional wisdom, an estimated 70 percent of teachers stay in the profession after five years, an analysis of federal data shows.

Could push to improve teacher training start by taking a cue from flight schools? PBS: Just like pilots aren’t allowed to fly solo until they are capable, Deborah Ball, dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Education, thinks teaching programs should follow the same principle. That’s the analogy Ball drew last summer when speaking about teacher preparation to a group of higher education leaders at a forum in Aspen, Colorado.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan To Join "Repeal NCLB" Chorus -- But Favors Annual Testing" »

AM News: Cold-Weather Closures Plus Updated EdWeek Grades

Deep Freeze Sticks Around As Some Schools Remain Closed WAMU: Many districts in Virginia and Maryland took no chances with the roads today. See also HuffPost.

Brutal Cold Forces Schools Throughout Midwest to Close NYT: Even Chicago, which prides itself on toughing out fierce winters, told students to stay home as wind chills were predicted to hit 27 degrees below zero. See also AP.

Report gives CA low marks on preschool EdSource Today: California ranks well above other states in preschool and kindergarten enrollment, but still ranks 45th overall in its efforts to support the education of its youngest children, according to a report by Education Week released today. See also KPCC, EdWeek.

Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own NYT: A study by Scholastic points to ways that parents can encourage kids to read for fun.

Students Thrilled About End to Cell Phone Ban? Not Necessarily. WNYC: For the New York City students who admit to little self control, allowing cell phones in high school spells trouble. They'd rather not have daytime access to their tempting screens. See also ChalkbeatNY.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Cold-Weather Closures Plus Updated EdWeek Grades" »

AM News: Cold Weather Closes Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools closed due to cold for Jan. 7 WBEZ: “The frigid temperatures and winds make a dangerous combination, and it is in the best interest of our students to cancel classes,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a press release.

Many of region’s schools opened in storm, drawing ire Washington Post: If the storm that swooped through Washington early Tuesday was an early test of winter, by many accounts several of the region’s school systems failed.Teen drivers crashed on the way to classes. School parking lots turned into gridlock, leaving parents seething. School buses fought slick roads, often unsuccessfully, with many school ­systems reporting crashes. 

Is the new GED test an educational improvement or setback? PBS NewsHour: In states like Wisconsin and Rhode Island, the number of those who passed dropped more than 90 percent. In Florida, the number of test takers fell about half. Is this an improvement or a setback?

Improving NYC Schools By Improving Students' Health WNYC: While educators often look to boost student achievement through efforts like curriculum changes or teacher training, the Children’s Health Fund in New York City is taking a different approach — a laser-like focus on a particular set of health issues that tend to affect poor children.

Jeb Bush education foundation played leading role in mixing politics, policy Washington Post: An employee of Jeb Bush’s education foundation was unequivocal when New Mexico’s top schools official needed someone to pay her travel costs to Washington to testify before Congress: The foundation would give her “whatever she needs.”

Plan For Later Start Of School Day Reawakens In Montgomery County WAMU: The county's superintendent favors an option that would delay the start of the school day by 20 minutes.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Cold Weather Closes Chicago Public Schools" »

AM News: 13 States Under Pressure To Increase Funding

Schools go to court for more funding Marketplace: Thirteen states, from Texas to Pennsylvania, are facing active litigation. Often it comes down to a battle between the courts and state lawmakers. The Supreme Court in Washington state has threatened to shut down the public schools or fine legislators if they don’t come up with increased funding. 

Schools on Guard as Flu Deaths Rise WSJ: At least 21 children have died from influenza, the federal government said Monday, compared with six at the same point a year ago. Still, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was too early to ascertain whether this season would be worse than in years past.

Obama dials up executive power Politico: The biggest higher education issue will be the Obama administration’s controversial, still-vague proposal to rate more than 4,000 colleges and universities based on how many low-income students they have, how affordable they are, and how they do on outcome measures like graduation rates. 

R.I. Chief Deborah Gist's Fate Uncertain as Contract-Renewal Deadline Passes State EdWatch: The Rhode Island education commissioner has previously stated she'd like to stay on under the new Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo, but Gist's current contract expires in June.

Nearly all Indiana educators rated effective again ChalkbeatIN: The percentage of educators in the top category rated “highly effective,” dropped to 26 percent from 35 percent, but nearly all of those who fell were rated in the next highest category, or “effective.”

Brown: $65.7 billion for schools next year EdSource Today: Gov. Jerry Brown gave education top billing during remarks at his historic fourth swearing in ceremony Monday and forecast billions in additional school funding next year. See also LA Times

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

Continue reading "AM News: 13 States Under Pressure To Increase Funding" »

AM News: Edu-Predictions Are Fluffy & Fun! #JournoSpeculation2015

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory NYT: Thousands of students travel to Maotanchang to spend 16 hours a day, seven days a week, studying for the biggest test of their lives.

Parents Issue Cry for Help with Common Core Math Homework WNYC: Math problems are often crafted so that students need to apply mathematical concepts to real life situations. Ja’Niah Payne’s teacher, Peter Schmitt, thinks the new standards promote more rigorous thinking.

Common Core Repeal, The Day After NPR: The Common Core had a rough year. The learning standards were repealed in three states, including Oklahoma. But what happens the day after a state repeals its academic standards?

Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation NYT: Known for one of the strictest home-school laws in the nation, Pennsylvania has relaxed some requirements, and that has brought it to the forefront in a lobbying war.

With eye on 2016, Jeb Bush resigns from all boards Washington Post: Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, moving closer to a possible presidential run, has resigned all of his corporate and nonprofit board memberships, including with his own education foundation, his office said late Wednesday night. 

Kansas court orders more state spending on schools AP: Kansas isn't spending enough money on its public schools to provide a suitable education for every child, a state district court panel ruled Tuesday in an order that could mean the state has to boost its aid by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.... See also KPCC: Is more education money helping California schools?

Six Education Stories To Watch in 2015 NPR: A veteran reporter's view on the hot-button issues in the coming year: Police in schools, the fallout from the Vergara case and more. See also here. WNYC here. EdSource here.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Edu-Predictions Are Fluffy & Fun! #JournoSpeculation2015" »

New Year: Out With 2014, In With 2015

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 16 09.33Tweeting will be light all week, but be sure not to miss it.  You can read it all right here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). :

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, gets the email, and follows Twitter.

Holiday Season 2014: Follow The News Here, On Facebook, Or Twitter

Greetings from Boston. I'll be sharing education news and views intermittently over the next three days, then shutting down for the rest of the week. You can read it all right here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). 

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, gets the email, and follows Twitter.

AM News: NYC Gives Success Charter Schools More Space To Expand

Success Charter Schools Secure More City Space WNYC: The Department of Education agreed on Thursday to give more space to the city's largest charter school network, Success Academy. The backroom deal came a day after Success founder Eva Moskowitz released a letter from anxious parents and just hours before she was scheduled to stage a press conference outside City Hall. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Details On The Administration's New College Ratings System NPR: Today the Education Department released long-awaited details on a plan to hold colleges accountable for their performance on several key indicators, and officials said they'll be seeking public comment on the proposals through February. Washington Post,  NYT, NPR again.

Common Core, Non-Common Core States Face Similar Challenges, GAO Says PK12: For instance, states in both camps are giving teachers professional development to implement the standards, but they're worried the training isn't high-quality. And all states with new standards are developing new instructional materials that are supposed to match them—but that can be time- consuming, and there isn't always as much alignment as states were hoping for. It can also be pretty tricky to communicate with parents and the public about the standards, states told the GAO, which is considered Congress' investigative arm.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Gives Success Charter Schools More Space To Expand" »

AM News: Wisconsin Gov. Walker Backs Off Call For Common Core Repeal

Walker says he wants schools to have Common Core choice AP: Gov. Scott Walker is backing off his call for the Legislature to repeal Common Core academic standards, saying he simply wants to insure there is no mandate they be used.

Cuomo: High teacher scores 'not real' Capital New York: Teachers’ high scores under the state’s mandatory performance rating system show that it is “an evaluation system in name” and “doesn’t reflect reality,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday at a Capitol press conference.

Cuomo: 'Safety net' won't fix teacher rating system Capital New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested he won't sign a "safety net" bill that would shield educators from consequences of the rough rollout of the Common Core standards in New York, citing new teacher-evaluation data released on Tuesday.

GOP gives feds' college rating plan an F Politico: The goal is to yank funds from schools that fail to meet on federal requirements.

Mayor De Blasio's Charter School Dilemma WNYC: The state-mandated deadline for the city to respond is the end of December. The city has repeatedly declined to tell WNYC how many charters are seeking space in public school buildings but at least two others were rejected this fall.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Wisconsin Gov. Walker Backs Off Call For Common Core Repeal" »

AM News: Jeb Bush Takes Another Step Towards Presidential Campaign

Jeb Bush's Entry Into Presidential Contest Would Put K-12 Front and Center PK12: Bush doesn't see eye-to-eye with many of the more conservative members of his party on what's arguably the biggest K-12 political issue of the day, the common core standards. See also Politico, FiveThirtyEight, Vox.

New York City Teachers Score Highly Under New Evaluation System NYT: The system was created to make it easier to identify which teachers performed the best so their methods could be replicated, and which performed the worst, so they could be fired. See also WNYC, ChalkbeatNY.

NY State Official Raises Alarm on Charter Schools — And Gets Ignored ProPublica: Pete Grannis, New York State's First Deputy Comptroller, contacted ProPublica after reading our story last week.The arrangements can limit the ability of auditors and charter-school regulators to follow how public money is spent – especially when the firms refuse to divulge financial details when asked.

Pakistan School: Devastation Where 148 Were Slain AP: Pakistan is mourning as the nation prepares for mass funerals for 141 people, most of them children, killed in a Taliban attack on a military-run school in the country's northwest. A three-day official mourning period started Wednesday, a day after seven Taliban gunmen, explosives strapped to their bodies, stormed the army public school in the city of Peshawar. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Jeb Bush Takes Another Step Towards Presidential Campaign " »

AM News: NY Regents Refuse Charter Renewals; LA Supe Seeks Testing Relief

Regents refuse to approve city’s latest charter school renewals ChalkbeatNY: The renewals are typically considered rubber-stamp votes by the time they make it to the Regents agenda. This time, state officials said they wouldn’t approve the extensions until representatives from the city’s charter-school office came to Albany and explained their reasoning.

LAUSD superintendent seeks state testing relief KPCC: Under Cortines' request, scores would still be delivered to students, parents and schools, but would not be counted toward schools' Academic Performance Index, the measure by which California schools' determine improvement on tests.

Taliban Storm Pakistani School AP: Taliban storm Pakistani school, kill 126, mostly children, teenagers, in worst attack in years. Police officer Javed Khan says the gunmen entered the school on Tuesday morning. He says army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the gunmen.

How ‘Christmas’ should teachers get? A guide for navigating the ‘December Dilemma’ PBS NewsHour: It’s called “the December Dilemma.” As the winter holidays approach, schools are aware that the issue of separating church and state is not just something students encounter in social studies classes, but a real and present concern for teachers and administrators. Is it OK to decorate the school and the classroom for Christmas? What kinds of concerts and plays are constitutional in a public school?

In Mississippi, Education Money Gap Grows To $1.5B AP: School leaders say they can't afford new books or a reading coach to help raise the district's "D" academic rating. There's a leaky roof and crumbling ceiling tiles, no marching band and no advanced placement classes. To save money, the number of teachers and their assistants were reduced and administrators took pay cuts.

As Lottery Opens, Bowser Remains Mum On Tweaks To New School Boundaries WAMU: The District's citywide school lottery opened to students today, incorporating new school boundaries and feeder patterns adopted by Mayor Vincent Gray. But Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser again said she would tweak those changes, though remained quiet on the details.

Stuyvesant High School Student Now Says He Didn't Make $72 Million on Stocks NYT: After widespread publicity that Mohammed Islam had earned $72 million in the stock market, the story of a 17-year-old Stuyvesant High School senior started to unravel on Monday.

City Agrees to Stop Schools from Using 911 for Discipline WNYC: New York City public schools can no longer send disruptive students to emergency rooms without first giving families or trained.

AM News: Duncan, Educators, Students Attend Weekend Civil Rights Protests

Arne Duncan Joins Al Sharpton's Civil Rights March PK12: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is among thousands of demonstrators who participated in a march through Washington, D.C. Saturday to focus attention on recent law enforcement actions that led to the deaths of unarmed African-American men, according to a tweet sent from his official account. See also here.

Teachers Protest Grand Jury Decisions At Police Precinct HuffPost: A.J. Hudson, an 8th grade biology teacher at KIPP Amp Middle School in Brooklyn, told The Huffington Post that the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers for killing black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Staten Island, New York, have been “upsetting everyone” at his school. 

Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan Decries School Funding "Injustices" in Philly and Nation District Dossier: In a column printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer Friday, the Education Secretary says the nation should be embarrassed that the quality of children's public education is largely dependent on where they live and their parents' incomes.

Big Drop In Students Being Held Back, But Why? NPR: The number of students being held back has been cut nearly in half, and researchers have no idea why.

Two Years Later, Still Learning From Sandy Hook NPR: A new report on the 2012 Newtown school shootings says that school administrators failed Adam Lanza despite their best efforts. The authors say the district had a lack of special education expertise. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan, Educators, Students Attend Weekend Civil Rights Protests" »

AM News: Funding Increase For School Broadband, Plus Retention Decline

F.C.C. Increases Money for E-Rate Program for Internet in Schools and Libraries NYT: The move will increase money for schools and libraries to connect to the Internet. See also KPCCEdSource TodayNYT

Student retention rates declining in U.S. EdSource Today: The often controversial practice of holding struggling students back a grade appears to be losing favor, according to a national study of retention rates released Thursday. Overall retention rates for grades 1 through 9 declined by almost half between 2004-05 and 2009-10.

Common Core repeal maneuver fails in Ohio House AP: State Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney in western Ohio, attempted during an Ohio House floor session on Wednesday to add the repeal language into legislation dealing with high school world history courses.

John King Jr., New York State’s Education Chief, to Leave Many Policy Wars Behind NYT: Whoever replaces Dr. King will have to juggle issues like the Common Core standards, teacher evaluation and training, and charter schools. See also ChalkbeatNY

New Math Standards a Hurdle for Some Students and Teachers in Texas Texas Tribune: Three months into the school year, the transition has proved challenging. As parents and educators question whether the rigor of the new curriculum is developmentally appropriate, school officials are reporting that they lack the resources to help teachers learn the new material.

Mayoral candidate Garcia releases education plan WBEZ: Parts of the plan are strikingly similar to a policy paper put out by the Chicago Teachers Union two and a half years ago. So much so, that whole sentences in the summary are pulled word for word from that paper. But Garcia said he got input from several groups, not just the CTU.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Funding Increase For School Broadband, Plus Retention Decline" »

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.