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AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards

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

See also:  NY TimesBuffalo NewsThe Post-Standard.

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Record Campaign Spending Mixes Unions & Reform Advocates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Big Education Decisions For 11 States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter Wednesday: Rainy Wednesday (Rabbit, Rabbit!)

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

AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Record High Student Homelessness, Broad Prize Shared

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Another CA Lawsuit Challenges Teachers Union Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: District NCLB Waivers, Charter Expansions, Chicago

NCLB waiver extended for seven districts EdSource:  After months of negotiations, seven California school districts have received a one-year extension of the waivers from the federal government exempting them from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in return for meeting a slew of new requirements. See also PK12.

Charter school enrollments increased by 13 percent nationally Washington Post: Nationwide, about 2.5 million public school students were enrolled in charter schools last school year, up from 789,000 a decade earlier, according to the most recent enrollment estimates from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

David Boies, eyeing education through a civil rights lens Washington Post: David Boies, the superlawyer who chairs a group that is trying to overturn teacher tenure laws in New York and elsewhere, said Monday that his organization is not looking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not in the short run.

What the Chicago mayor's race says about the future of education politics Vox: Political observers say Lewis and her confrontational style had an immediate effect on the Chicago Teachers Union's umbrella group, the American Federation of Teachers. While Emanuel is a supporter of charter schools who's generally seen as being a reform-friendly, reformers don't hurry to claim Chicago as a hotbed of change, which could blunt the election's symbolic weight.

California school district rewrites menu for student lunches PBS NewsHour: Finally tonight:  With the new school year now in full swing, one urban district in California [Oakland] is implementing an ambitious plan to transform their lunch program to provide healthier, locally sourced food.

The Case for Having Class Discussions on Twitter Atlantic: Lively debate and direct quotes continue to fill the threads four hours after school has ended. Students upload pictures of their annotated texts and ask their classmates to help them understand the nuances of iambic pentameter.

New Rochelle Struggles Amid Rice’s Unraveling NYT: Now that Ray Rice, a hometown football hero, has been dismissed from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League, the New Rochelle High School community is struggling to determine how to react.

Regents Weigh New Routes to a High School Diploma WNYC: If approved by the Regents next month, high school students could substitute one of the two social studies exams with a test in career and technical education, the arts or humanities. They would still have to take Regents exams in English, math and science to meet federal requirements. See also ChalkbeatNY

Chicago Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not 'as smooth as we would like' WBEZ: CPS employs 825 custodian positions that are covered by SEIU Local 73 and none of those positions are being cut, according to district officials. However, many of those board-funded janitors have been reassigned to cover other schools as a result of the layoffs.

AM News: Union Chief Hopes Chicago Follows Newark

CTU President Karen Lewis meets with Newark Mayor WGN-TV: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Chicago Teacher's Union President, Karen Lewis, another possible candidate for mayor, was in Newark, New Jersey over the past few days. She was talking with Newark's mayor, who also had a background in education.

Karen Lewis in Jersey to talk to Newark educator-turned-mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Possible mayoral hopeful Karen Lewis last week traveled to Newark and apparently took part in a series of meetings and seminars, including with the city's mayor, who happens to have a bit in common with Lewis. 

Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD LA Times: The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified's $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down.

New York City Charter Schools Test New Rent Rules WNYC: Ascend is among the first wave of charters seeking to take advantage of a state law approved in April that requires the city to give charters free space in public school buildings or pay their rent.

For Teachers, Many Paths Into The Classroom ... Some Say Too Many NPR:  One in five newly hired teachers has skipped university preparation for teaching. Indiana is the latest state to make entering the classroom easier.

Room for Debate: How to Diversify Teaching NYT: What can be done to make a career in education more attractive to men and people of color?

With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise NYT: Parent groups and privacy advocates are challenging the practices of an industry built on data collection, and California has passed wide-ranging legislation protecting students’ personal information.

Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use Washington Post: His iPhone is on his desk, out in the open, and Joshua Perez’s teacher does not take it away. Instead, she asks the eighth-grader and his classmates in honors geometry at Argyle Magnet Middle School to Google the words “vertex form parabola.”

Using tablets to teach reading Marketplace: We're kicking off a week-long series on how technology is changing reading.

Ready To Work WNYC: Next, we'll spend time at a vocational school in one of America's wealthiest school districts in Lexington, MA. Then: a trip to Nashville, where failing schools have been turned into so-called "career academies" that focus on technical education.

San Diego School District's New 18-Ton Armored Vehicle Creates Stir NPR: The mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, will have teddy bears in it, school police officials say. The MRAP is a piece of military surplus equipment that's worth around $733,000.

California School Cops Received Military Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Armored Vehicles HuffPost: A Los Angeles Unified School District spokesperson who requested anonymity confirmed school police received the gear noted in the report. The district, which has 400 sworn officers, has been receiving military weaponry since 2001, the spokesperson said.

Twitter Erupts as Nicki Minaj’s Offer to School Is Declined NYT: Students at the rapper’s alma mater, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, post their dismay after a visit falls through.

AM News: Top Court Tells Wash. State To Get Cracking On School Funding

Legislature Is Held in Contempt Over School Funding NYT: The State Supreme Court held the Washington State Legislature in contempt on Thursday for its lack of progress on fixing the way the state pays for public education, but it withheld punishment until after the 2015 session. See also State EdWatch, Seattle Times

Judge Approves Merger of Teacher Tenure Lawsuits in New York WNYC: But that doesn't mean things will proceed smoothly. Davids has accused Brown of "bullying" the law firm Gibson Dunn into reneging on its offer to represent her group. The firm, which represented the plaintiffs in California, denied Davids' claim. She is represented by a local lawyer. The state is expected to ask the court to dismiss the case which could drag on for years. See also ChalkbeatNY.

What have states actually done in crusade against Common Core? Christian Science Monitor: Some states are rebelling against Common Core education standards adopted by 45 states, saying it is a sign of federal overreach. But few states are actually taking concrete steps, according to a new study.

New 'Leaders and Laggards' Report From U.S. Chamber: Which States Improved? State EdWatch: Seven years after its "Leaders and Laggards" report took states to task over their K-12 policy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows what it thinks of the K-12 landscape in 2014.

LAUSD's Deasy seeks records of board members' tech-firm contacts LA Times: In a bold challenge to his bosses, L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy has filed a public records request seeking emails and other documents involving school board members and nearly two dozen companies including those at the center of the controversial iPad project.

Giving Every Kid Equal Standing In The School Lunch Line NPR: For students who don't have enough money for a hot lunch each day, visiting the cafeteria can be a source of shame. In Houston, school volunteer Kenny Thompson decided he wanted to change that.

Teacher Hurt When Gun Accidently Shatters Toilet ABC News: Utah elementary school teacher hurt after her gun accidently fires, shatters school toilet

AM News: De Blasio Forced To Accommodate NYC Charter Expansion

Mayor Agrees to Accommodate 4 Larger or New Charter Schools NYT: Under a new state law, New York City must offer free space in public buildings or or help with the cost of renting private space.

Palm Beach school leaders won't opt out of high-stakes testing Sun Sentinel: The Lee County board initially supported the anti-test stance, even though state officials said it's against the law and would affect funding, student grades, graduation and eligibility for athletics. The Lee board reversed itself earlier this month.

One Newark, Many Changes WNYC: Newark schools superintendent Cami Anderson talks about why drastic changes are required, despite protests and opposition from the mayor.

In-seat attendance up in D.C. schools Washington Post: DCPS in recent years has shifted away from measuring “average-daily attendance” which counts students with excused absences as attending on any given day, according to Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works, a national organization that has worked with DCPS. The new “in-seat attendance” measure only counts students who are actually there, which is a more meaningful number, she said.

Playgrounds For All Children: Here's How To Find One NPR: For kids with disabilities, a simple activity like going down a slide can be a challenge. An NPR crowdsourcing project maps inclusive playgrounds — fun and safe for all — across the country.

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music. NPR: A new study suggests that learning to play a musical instrument helps improve the brain's ability to process language. That means music lessons could give kids from low-income communities a big boost.

Duncan Looks to Tennessee's Turnaround School District as Model for Country PK12: On the last stop of his back-to-school bus tour through three Southern states, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used a panel discussion Wednesday to tackle the education crisis present in so many economically devastated communities across the country. 

D.C. Teacher To Apologize For Asking Students To Compare Bush To Hitler WAMU: As part of a discussion on the book "War and Peace," a sixth-grade teacher asked their students to compare and contrast President George W. Bush and German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Chicago Mayoral Race: Lewis, Fioretti Turn Up the Heat NBC Chicago:Two of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's most vocal critics are inching closer to making a decision on whether to challenge him at the ballot box this February.

UTLA tells LAUSD: 'The money is there' for 17.6 percent teacher pay raise LA Daily News: United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl on Tuesday told the Los Angeles Unified School board that it can clearly afford to give teachers a raise.

First Lady Michelle Obama Consoles Child Who Fainted ABC News:   The first lady called for paramedics and said, “If anyone is starting to feel tired standing up, bend your knees! And eat your breakfast, and lunch!”

AM News: Mid-Term Election Results With Edu-Implications

U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., Longtime Ed. Committee Member, Loses Primary PK12:The liberal congressman with a thick Boston accent was a longtime member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and known for his aggressive style of politics. 

Cuomo wins closer-than-expected primary race Vox: On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo beat back a left-wing primary challenge and won renomination, defeating Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout. 

Reform Candidate Closes Gap In Race To Be Calif. Schools Chief-Poll Reuters: A former charter school executive aiming to unseat California's education chief is in a statistical tie in a race shaping up to be a proxy war between school reform advocates and the state's powerful teachers unions, a poll showed on Tuesday.

Common Core 2.0: Common Core by another name WashPost: As the national debate over the Common Core K-12 academic standards rages on, most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards, though they’re calling them something different. See also State EdWatch

American Teachers Spend More Time In The Classroom Than World Peers, Says Report HuffPost:  American middle school and high school teachers spend more time educating students than peers in every OECD country except Chile, according to the report. In addition to classroom time, U.S. teachers are required to be at school for more hours than most of their international peers.

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AM News: NYT Ranks Top Colleges That Actually Enroll Low-Income Students

Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor NYT: A new index measures which colleges [Grinnell, Wesleyan, etc.] have the most economically diverse student bodies — and charge the least to lower-income students.

Education secretary touts teacher diversity during Atlanta visit Atlanta Journal Constitution: During a visit Monday to Spelman College, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the country needs to increase the diversity of its teacher workforce to match the diversity of schoolchildren. 

Karen Lewis loans $40K to her own mayoral bid Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis put $40,000 of her own money toward a mayoral exploration effort in hopes of signaling to donors that she should be taken seriously. 

Karen Lewis puts $40000 of own money into mayoral bid Chicago Tribune: For weeks, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has said she is seriously considering a run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel. On Monday Lewis offered what she said is proof: $40,000 of her own money.

Universal preschool spending draws wide support in national poll KPCC: The telephone survey of 1,013 adults nationwide showed, not surprisingly, that Democrats love the idea of universal preschool, with 87 percent in support. But over half of the Republicans polled also agreed that public money should be used for preschool.  

Pa. Gov. Corbett Urges Review as Part of Effort to 'Roll Back' Common Core State EdWatch: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett releases a somewhat ambiguous statement about the future of the Common Core State Standards in the Keystone State.

Custodial contract causing problems at start of school year WBEZ: Belanger is just one of more than 230 principals recently surveyed by the Administrators Alliance for Proven Policy and Legislation in Education, or AAPPLE, a member-driven arm of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. The results reveal problems across Chicago Public Schools—dirty classrooms, damaged materials, theft and an overall lack of communication.

New Reduced Pricing For Amplify's All-In-One Tablet EdSurge: This week Amplify announced a price dip for it’s all-in-one tablet, which made headlines last year after some of its chargers melted.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

AM News: All Eyes On California & Rhode Island

Brown challenger targets CA Gov.'s ties to teachers’ union EdSource Today: In the sharpest exchange of the first, and most likely, only debate between the two leading gubernatorial candidates, GOP challenger Neil Kashkari on Thursday night accused Gov. Jerry Brown of putting the interests of teachers unions over those of students.

Dem divisions on display in R.I. race Politico: The race for an open governor's seat is shaping up as the most expensive in state history. 

Delaware Schools Struggle To Make Room For Unaccompanied Minors WAMU: It's not just the D.C. Metro area that has had to respond to an influx in Central American — Delaware's largest school district is also trying to figure out how to provide these kids the support they need.

First Lady Michelle Obama, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to visit The Republic: First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to visit Atlanta as part of her Reach Higher education initiative.

News Analysis: Why Don’t More Men Go Into Teaching? NYT: A change in the gender imbalance could sway the way teaching is regarded, and help it attract the best candidates.

Q&A: Dana Goldstein, Author, 'The Teacher Wars' NPR: Testing, tenure, pay, standards, business influence, poverty and inequality — the big education issues have been with us a long time, says a new book.

In Maryland's Poorest County, Free Meal Program Could Go A Long Way WAMU: Maryland's Somerset County is the first in the state to implement a federal nutrition program that will provide free breakfast and lunch to all of its public school students.

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AM News: Too Much Education News, All Published In One Short Week!

NEA Ad Buy Slams Republican in N.C. Senate Race on K-12 Spending PK12: The National Education Association launched a seven-figure TV ad buy Friday in North Carolina, slamming GOP Senate hopeful Thom Tillis for education spending cuts that occurred under his watch as state House Speaker. See also.

New Jersey Parents And Students Boycott First Day Of School HuffPost: A group of parents and students in Newark, New Jersey, boycotted the first day of school on Thursday to protest a new system that reorganized the state-run district this year. See also NJ Spotlight

Suspensions and expulsions down in D.C. charter schools Washington Post: The expulsion rate for D.C. public charter schools in the past school year was about half of what it was two years before, and the rate of out-of-school suspensions decreased by about 20 percent in one year, according to a report released Thursday.

Former MPS board member Chris Stewart to blog for Education Post Minn Post: Chris Stewart has left his position as executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) to become director of outreach and external affairs for a new national education reform communications effort.

Teach for America has faced criticism for years. Now it’s listening — and changing Vox: From the outside, Teach for America looked defensive, but internally, it was engaged in profound self-exploration and self-critique. 

The Battle for New York Schools NYT: The fight between two liberal crusaders with profoundly divergent ideas about how to aid and educate the disempowered.

The Myth Of The Superstar Superintendent? NPR: Superintendents make almost no difference when it comes to student success, according to a new report.

American Kids Will Spend An Average Of 943 Hours In Elementary School This Year Five Thirty-Eight: Only in Chile, Israel and Australia do elementary school students spend longer in class each year than their U.S. counterparts.

America's Schools Could Be More Efficient If Teachers Were Paid Less: Report HuffPost: GEMS Education Solutions, an education consulting firm, released its "Efficiency Index" and an accompanying report on Thursday, ranking the return on investment for 30 different nations' education budgets. The index "treats the educational system as if it were a company which attempts to obtain an output," according to the report.

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AM News: All Eyes On NYC's First Day Under De Blasio

NYC School Year Starts with New Mayor's Imprint WNYC: While his signature campaign initiative to expand pre-kindergarten classes has received the most attention, it is just one of several policy changes expected to ripple through the system. 

Final Touches Range From Flowery to Frantic as Expanded Pre-K Awaits Start NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign promised free prekindergarten for every 4-year-old, and his administration has invested mightily in quickly bringing that plan to life.

Gentlemen, Preschool Is Calling NPR: New York City is scrambling to make good on its promise to provide preschool for all. That means hiring roughly 1,000 new teachers. But few will likely be men.

Texas Mimics New York in Pushing Back State Tests' Impact on Students State EdWatch: Texas is considering a timeline for phasing in the impact of new tests on students that resembles an approach recently adopted by New York state.

State awards Common Core test contract EdSource Today: With the State Board of Education’s approval, California became the ninth state Wednesday to award a contract to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for the standardized tests in the Common Core State Standards that students will take next spring.

Michael Bloomberg to Return to Lead Bloomberg L.P. NYT: When he left politics, Mr. Bloomberg, 72, was expected to devote most of his time to giving away his $32.8 billion fortune.

State of the Art: Grading Teachers, With [Survey] Data From Class NYT: Panorama Education, aided by prominent tech investors, is refining student feedback through innovative data collection. School systems are embracing the concept.

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AM News: Even Seattle Has A Charter School Now

State’s charter-school era begins with Seattle elementary Seattle Times: First Place Scholars, which has been serving homeless students for 25 years, will convert Wednesday from a private school to the state’s first taxpayer-funded charter school.

Vergara decision headed for appeals court KPCC:  Putting the tentative and final rulings side by side, each 16 pages long, it's difficult to see any major changes, besides the dates they were filed. Treu left “TENTATIVE DECISION” at the bottom of each page in the document filed as his final ruling. See also TeacherBeat.

L.A. schools Supt. Deasy defends his dealings with Apple, Pearson LA Times:  Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy on Tuesday issued his most extensive and passionate defense yet of his actions involving Apple and Pearson, the companies that received the major contract in a $1.3-billion technology program. 

New Schedule in NYC Schools Makes Time for Teaching the Teachers NYT: City schools are taking 150 minutes that was used mostly for helping students and repackaging it to help teachers improve their craft, and contact families. But who really benefits - students or teachers?

Newark Launches 'Safe Passages' Transportation Program for Students District Dossier: The transportation plan includes a shuttle bus service for some students and maps showing safe walking routes.

New York Cancels or Postpones Opening of 45 Pre-K Programs NYT: Nine sites that would have served 265 students will not open because of safety concerns or other issues, officials announced two days before the first day of school.

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AM News: Oklahoma Loses NCLB Waiver Over Common Core Retreat

50-State Look at How Common Core Playing out in US AP: The Alabama state school board folded Common Core into the state's College and Career Ready Standards for public schools and has been defending the decision ever since.

Oklahoma Loses Waiver From No Child Left Behind Provisions NYT: The move comes as a result of the state’s retreat from Common Core, a set of reading and math standards adopted by more than 40 states.

Push To Revamp Federal Testing Requirements Unlikely To Gain Traction WAMU: Local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would like to see changes to federal laws mandating standardized testing, but legislation is unlikely before the midterm elections.

California schools chief to appeal ruling striking down teacher tenure AP: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says the ruling by a Los Angeles judge isn't supported by facts or the law and says it unfairly blames teachers for flaws in the education system. His opponent in the November race, Marshall Tuck, says Torlakson isn't sticking up for students. See also TeacherBeatEdSource Today.

Summer school motivates college dreams for middle school students PBS NewsHour:  This unusual start to a day is actually quite normal for a program called Breakthrough, a unique summer program with the sole focus of showing low-income, under-resourced middle school students how to get to college.

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AM News: Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits Likely To Be Merged In NY

Campbell Brown teacher tenure lawsuit likely to combine with NY group's case Washington Post: Lawyers in New York working with former CNN anchor Campbell Brown on a legal challenge of teacher tenure have agreed to consolidate their case with an earlier complaint filed by a group of public school parents that also seeks to change job protections for teachers.

School Districts Praise Ed. Secretary for Recognizing Over-Reliance on Testing District Dossier: The Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium, which represents 16 districts across the country, applauded Education Secretary Arne Duncan's recent statement that there is too much focus on standardized testing in the nation's schools.

Arne Duncan to Head South for Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour PK12: This year's trip, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 8, to Wednesday, Sept. 10, will take the secretary and senior department officials to schools in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Head Start grantees flagged for quality concerns state-by-state Washington Post: So far, about 360 of the nation’s 1,700 Head Start grantees have been required to compete for new funds, according to government data.

Comptroller, NYC Mayor Face Off on Pre-K Readiness WNYC: He said the mayor’s office is late to submit contracts with pre-k providers for his approval — he’s reviewed 141 contracts, out of more than 500, or about 28 percent. Without the contracts, he said he can’t check for fraud and corruption and ensure classroom safety.

AM News: New Year, New iPad Plan For LAUSD

Calls grow for wider inquiry into bidding on L.A. Unified iPad project LA Times: A day after Los Angeles Unified abruptly suspended the contract for its controversial iPad project, there were growing calls for a more thorough investigation into whether the bidding process for the $1-billion program was improperly handled.

The LA School iPad Scandal: What You Need To Know KPCC: The Los Angeles Unified School District has shut down a half-a-billion-dollar deal with Apple and Pearson to provide classroom technology. Here's what happened.

LIVESTREAM: First LAUSD school board meeting of the year LA School Report

Primary Round-Up: Races Across the Country Showcase Education Issues EdWeek: High-profile governor and state education chief races in Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and Vermont highlight the common core and education funding as top campaign issues.

Despite Racial Disparity, Alumni Group Backs Test-Only Policy for Elite Schools NYT: Very few black and Hispanic students attend New York City’s eight specialized high schools, which base admissions solely on the results of a standardized test.

Teaching computer science — without touching a computer Hechinger:  It may not look like it, but the children engaged in these exercises are learning computer science. In the first activity, they’ve turned themselves into a sorting network: a strategy computers use to sort random numbers into order. And in the second activity, they’re acting out the process by which computer networks route information to its intended destination.

Youth seek solutions as Chicago’s violent summer persists PBS NewsHour:  Nine-year-old Antonio Smith was fatally shot at least four times in a South Side backyard just blocks away from his home, according to the Chicago Tribune.  This real-time map, created by Chicago-Sun Times before the the summer began, pinpoints and identifies every shooting recorded during each weekend, the most violent period of time.

AM News: LAUSD Declares IPad Contract "Do-Over"

 LA schools cancel iPad contracts after KPCC publishes internal emails KPCC: Three days after KPCC published internal emails showing top L.A. Unified officials and executives from Pearson and Apple met and discussed bringing tablet-driven education software to the classroom, the school district announced Monday it will cancel the contract with Apple and Pearson and open its one-to-one technology project to new bids.

Rick Scott Unveils New Education Initiatives To Calm Common Core Critics Reuters: Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, unveiled two new education initiatives on Monday aimed at calming critics of "common core" national curriculum standards and countering his main Democratic rival's attacks on his record.

D.C. Extends Day At 25 Schools, Hoping That More Time Means Better Scores WAMU: Students at 25 D.C. public schools will stay in school longer every day, a move that city officials hope will help struggling students catch up with their peers.

Ferguson schools reopen, offer calm amid chaos AP: Schools in Ferguson welcomed back students from their summer breaks on Monday, providing the children with a much-needed break from the raucous street protests and police patrols that have gripped the St. Louis suburb since a white officer killed an unarmed black man more than two weeks ago.

Generation Later, Poor Are Still Rare at Elite Colleges NYT: A series of federal surveys of selective colleges found virtually no change from the 1990s to 2012 in enrollment of students who are less well off — less than 15 percent by some measures — even though there was a huge increase over that time in the number of such students going to college.

Turnitin And The Debate Over Anti-Plagiarism Software NPR: One company and its algorithms are changing the way America's schools handle classroom ethics.

Is Google's Free Software A Good Deal For Educators? NPR: Classroom enables a teacher to create a "class" at the touch of a button. She or he can upload syllabus materials, whether text, audio, or video, and send out assignments on the class news feed.

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

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AM News: Districts Brace For Unaccompanied Minors

D.C. Area Schools Braced For Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors WAMU: Schools across the D.C. area are returning to the classroom this week, and hundreds of unaccompanied minors will be counted among their ranks, bringing their own unique challenges to school systems.

‘The Teacher Wars,’ Dana Goldstein’s History of Education NYTL The journalist Dana Goldstein’s “The Teacher Wars” serves up historical commentary instead of a searing philippic on one of the day’s hot-button issues: the role of teaching in America.

LA schools iPad project: How it started ... before the bidding began KPCC: Superintendent John Deasy was a year into his tenure at the Los Angeles Unified School District when he started talking to the largest publishing company in the world, Pearson PLC, about working together on a digital transformation in public education.

On Turning Around a Troubled School: "Make Kids Feel Special" WNYC: A middle school principal explains how he turned around one of the most violent schools in New York City by establishing order and making his students feel special.

As city seeks out new pre-K teachers, a training challenge grows ChalkbeatNY: Emma Markarian, now a pre-kindergarten teacher in the city, was surprised to find herself leading an abbreviated course on child development in June to aspiring pre-K teachers who hoped to lead their own classrooms this fall — with only three months of training under their belts.

Lewis talks about Emanuel but avoids his name Chicago Tribune: Parents of schoolchildren need to shoulder more of the financial burden of funding the Chicago Public Schools. After all, homeowners who use.

More education news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

AM News: As Common Core Support Falls, NYC Mayor Forges Ahead

Support For The Common Core Plummets, Especially Among Teachers HuffPost: 40 percent of teachers said they opposed the Common Core -- more than triple the 12 percent who said they were against the standards in 2013.  Broken down by party lines, Republicans were much more likely to have switched their opinion than Democrats. 

How much did students really gain on Common Core tests in New York? Data doesn’t say Hechinger Report: Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City schools chancellor, Carmen Farina, pointedly confirmed their commitment to Common Core when they announced the test results. “Both promised to invest more in teacher training to help implement the new standards in the classroom.

Fight on Common Core Is Dividing Louisiana NYT: The fight has generated two dueling lawsuits, a standoff between Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state superintendent of education he appointed, and a sense of chaos among educators and parents.

No Safe Place: Ferguson Postpones Start of School Year WNYC: The decision to cancel school is one Scott Spurgeon, superintendent of the Riverview Gardens School District, made on Monday. Spurgeon oversees the school district that includes the location where 18-year-old Brown was shot.

Undocumented Children Strain Miami Schools NPR: School administrators in South Florida are concerned about funding and resources for these new students, who often require extra attention. Some children have never attended school before, and others suffer from psychological trauma from the gang violence back home.

Los Angeles to Reduce Arrest Rate in Schools NYT: New policies with the aim of keeping students out of the court system will end citations for minor offenses like fighting or defacing school property.

Two Teens Arrested for Mass School Shooting Plot in Southern California AP: Two students at South Pasadena High School were arrested on suspicion of a plot that reportedly involved shooting three school staffers and then targeting as many students as possible.

How Chicago is Bringing Together Edtech Entrepreneurs and Educators EdSurge: At the second annual Collaborative last Thursday, August 14, over 650 educators from Chicago and surrounding areas and entrepreneurs from 37 startups gathered at the South Side’s Bridgeport Art Center to engage in panels, workshops and pitch sessions.

AM News: New York Scores Up (But Union Still Won't Endorse Cuomo)

Five Things You Need to Know About NYC Scores on State Tests WNYC: State Education Commissioner John King speculated on Thursday that the city showed more gains because it began training groups of teachers and principals in the Common Core learning standards a few years ago, ahead of other districts. 

N.Y. Union Won't Endorse in Governor's Race Teacher Beat: NYSUT opted not to endorse Cuomo or any other candidate for the 2014 governor's race.

Why The Atlanta Testing Scandal Matters NPR: The pressure placed on schools and educators by high-stakes tests can lead to unintended consequences.

Helping Students Make Sense Of A Young Black Man's Death In Missouri NPR: The shooting of Michael Brown may raise questions for students, and teachers need to be prepared.

 Philadelphia Schools to Open on Time Amid Millions in Budget Cuts NYT: The Pennsylvania legislature is considering a cigarette tax for the city that would make the budget reductions temporary.

LAUSD says it's not subject to state's 'parent trigger' law this year NYT: In a letter last year, a U.S. Department of Education official told Deasy the federal waiver did not exempt L.A. Unified from identifying schools for improvement, corrective action or restructuring, and did not affect any related state laws.

 

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AM News: Teachers Union Wins Another LA School Board Election

Teachers union-backed candidate George McKenna elected to Los Angeles Unified school board LA Daily News: The 35,000-member union threw its weight behind McKenna, who was outspent 3 to 1 by Alex Johnson and his supporters, which included a political action committee affiliated with charter schools.

Outspent by rival, McKenna drew on connections in school board victory LA TImes: In this week's election for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education, one side had deep pockets and extensive political connections; the other side had people such as Orley Frost Jr.

McKenna victory gives appearance of a pro-teacher union board LA School Report: Since her upset win, board member Monica Ratliff has been held up as the epitome of the David and Goliath-style triumph over big money reform.

With Tueday's school board loss, charter advocates recalculate KPCC: After Tuesday's defeat of another of their candidates to the Los Angeles school board, charter school advocates are rethinking how to support local candidates.

Ex-Head of Washington Schools Steps Down at Advocacy Group NYT: Rhee said that it was “time for my next step in life” and that she would focus on her family and support her husband, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, as “he continues to move forward with his career.” 

Michelle Rhee drops out of school group Politico: As she prepares to step down as CEO, she leaves a trail of disappointment and disillusionment.

State Attorney General wants two teacher tenure lawsuits to become one Chalkbeat NY: The attorney general’s office writes in the filing that the request was made “to avoid the possibility of conflicting findings” and because the two suits “involve the same legal and factual issues and seek the same relief.” The attorney general’s did not provide further comment.

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AM News: What Happens If/When Rhee Leaves StudentsFirst?

Michelle Rhee Prepares To Leave CEO Job At StudentsFirst, Group She Founded HuffPost: The change comes as the education reform movement that Rhee spearheaded has a new face: Former CNN news anchor Campbell Brown. 

Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School? Politico: In Memphis, Mayor A.C. Wharton, a Bloomberg ally, has engaged in what amounts to a four-year-running battle with his city council to pony up relatively modest sums (less than $1 million a year) to offset the roughly $6 million being invested by Bloomberg’s philanthropy and federal grants.

Kansas Union Challenges Tenure-Repeal Law TeacherBeat: The Kansas National Education Association is challenging provisions tacked onto a 2014 budget bill eliminating due process.

McKenna wins key L.A. school board seat, according to unofficial results LA Times: Veteran school administrator George McKenna won his bid for a key seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education besting political newcomer Alex Johnson, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night.

Smartphone Apps Help To Battle Campus Sexual Assaults NPR: Several new smartphone apps offer quick ways for college students facing dangerous or uncomfortable situations to reach out to friends, connect with resources on campus or call the police.

What Robin Williams Taught Us About Teaching NPR:  As a young, handsome, floppy-haired English teacher with the highly apropos name of John Keating, Williams makes the classroom a stage, pulling out all the stops to get his students excited about the wonders of poetry, and, by extension, life.

Video: School supplies cost $20-$100 more this year Today: A survey found that supplies for a middle school student will cost an average of around $312 this fall, up about $100 from last year. Outfitting a student in high school will run about $350, up by about $20. 

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AM News: Release Of NY Test Questions Prompts Demands For More

Weingarten pushes NY state to release more test questions ChalkbeatNY: The state’s release of 50 percent of the questions represented a jump from last year, when it released a quarter of the questions. But educators and parents have pushed for the state to release even more questions, which some have criticized as developmentally inappropriate or poorly crafted.

Diversity on the Rise Among TFA Recruits TeacherBeat: TFA's newest corps is its most diverse ever, with fully half identifying as people of color.

Putting Power Tools In The Hands Of 5-Year-Olds NPR: To move kids away from computer screens, a new wave of learning programs is emphasizing hands-on activities. Like building stuff.

Lunch lady rises to teachers union leader and takes on all comers, bluntly Washington Post: She began her career in a school cafeteria, as a lunch lady. In three weeks, she will take over as head of the nation's largest labor union, representing 3 million educators. 

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AM News: Everybody's Looking At NY's Common Core Questions

Take a peek at some of the newly released NY state reading questions Chalkbeat: Below are two reading sections, one from grade 3 and another from grade 8, along with handwritten student responses to questions. We took all of the them from the State Education Department’s set.

Just How Hard Are Common Core Tests? See For Yourself HuffPost: New York State's Department of Education released about half of the questions that were used on this year's math and English tests, allowing the public to see what kinds of items were on the controversial Common Core tests. 

Checking in on Common Core WBEZ: During the last two weeks of school, seventh graders in Wheatley’s class were reviewing for their final test of the school year. The desks in her room were set up in clusters of four—a common arrangement for all of the Common Core lessons WBEZ sat in on. Students would work for 15 minutes reviewing each skill and then pass the materials to the next group over and start on another.

Education Reform Is Becoming A Celebrity Cause NPR: Celebrities are becoming a prominent fixture in the debate over K-12 education.  Comic Louis C.K. is one of many celebrities to come down hard on the Common Core academic standards. And NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas wrote an op-ed in support of the Common Core.

Michelle Obama, Laura Bush push for girls' education Chicago Daily Herald: Mrs. Bush "set a high bar for me during her time in the White House" and has long been a source of inspiration, Mrs.Obama said. "I consider her not just a role model but also a friend," the first lady said. 

Tests That Look Like Video Games NPR: Imagine you're playing a computer game that asks you to design a poster for the school fair. You're fiddling with fonts, changing background colors and deciding what activity to feature: Will a basketball toss appeal to more people than a pie bake-off?

Feds Single Out Va. Schools For Restraining And Isolating Misbehaving Students WAMU: The U.S. Department of Education has singled out two Virginia schools for routinely putting students in isolation or physically restraining them in response to misbehavior.

Why I'll Never Read Another Parenting Book NPR:  Anxious parents are big business, and parenting books — along with baby monitors that track breathing, baby baths that digitally control water temperature and tutors for preschoolers — are an important segment of the insecurity economy.

Influencers: 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds"

For me, the hands-down top new Twitter feed in education in 2014 is @thnkscommoncore, but I may be alone in that.

The much more official and deeply-considered Top Twitter Feeds in Education Policy 2014 are quite another thing, according to the folks at Education Next who put out the annual update.

This year's version includes three lists -- top overall, top individual, and top organization.  There's lots of overlap, and no doubt some of the accounts (Arne Duncan and USDE) are being run by the same social media manager.

On a related note, should individual accounts for folks like Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee that are presumably run by more than one person be included in the list of "people"?

As in the past, the list focuses on Klout scores rather than numbers of followers.  It's not clickable, or re-sortable (by followers, say).  I've asked for a Twitter list so that you can subscribe to all these folks with a single click, and crossed fingers it might happen (yay!).

As Petrilli notes, here are a couple of newcomers in the form of the Badass Teachers Association and founder Mark Naison, which should yet again have reform advocates reconsidering their disinterest in becoming involved in social media.  (Newcomer Campbell Brown is on the list, but I don't think anyone's expecting her or her organization to carry the reform message on Twitter and Facebook single-handedly.)

CAP and New America also made it -- apparently their first time.

Other observations, profound and otherwise are below the fold.  A few folks made it on the list with high Klout scores but very few followers, about which I have mixed feelings.  Some venerable education policy types aren't on this year's list, lots of mainstream media journalists and journalistic outlets aren't included either (for lack of policy or lack of activity, it's not clear).

Continue reading "Influencers: 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds" " »

AM News: Vergara Backers Join One Of Two NY Tenure Lawsuits

Group behind Vergara suit joins anti-tenure challenge in New York ChalkbeatNY:The lesser-known of two lawsuits aimed at taking down New York’s teacher tenure laws got a boost on Wednesday.

Vergara Legal Team Signs On To N.Y. Lawsuit TeacherBeat: The high-powered lawyers that litigated the California suit will represent the plaintiffs in one of two suits targeting teacher tenure in New York.

Big Publishers See A Big Opportunity In Universal Pre-K BuzzFeed: When more than 50,000 children enroll in Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature prekindergarten program in New York City this fall, it will signal a major victory for advocates of early childhood education. To the country's largest education publishers, it will be a sign of something else, too: a major growth opportunity in a sphere that has, so far, been relatively small, fragmented, and underfunded.

Charter Schools Push Back Against New State Law's Measure on Closures Texas Tribune: In their lawsuit, the schools argued that because of the limited appeals, the administrative hearings violated their right to due process under the law. They also questioned why the new law had relied on accountability ratings that had predated its enactment.  

Should state sue Arne Duncan to get No Child waiver back? Seattle Times: The executive director of the association that represents Washington school superintendents says Washington state should challenge the revocation of the state's waiver from the No Child Left Behind law in federal court. 

More Chicago kids say no to their neighborhood grammar school WBEZ: Marsh is a classic neighborhood school. Ninety-four percent of the Chicago Public Schools students in Marsh’s attendance boundary are enrolled here, and that’s despite an explosion in families’ options — many more charter schools, gifted or magnet schools to choose from. Kids can even go to other neighborhood schools; while the district once insisted that a child live in the attendance boundary to enroll in a neighborhood school, that rule has been relaxed.

Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead NPR: Take two kids, the same age, who grew up in the same city. Which one is more likely to go to jail ... or college?

 

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