About this blog Subscribe to this blog

AM News: Live, From New Orleans #EWAearlyed

I'm at the EWA seminar on early childhood education today and tomorrow -- great people, great lineup -- and would be tweeting more than posting even if there was WiFi available right now:

AM News: Some States Re-Name "Common Core" Initiative


Some state rebrand controversial Common Core education standards Washington Post: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) used an executive order to strip the name “Common Core” from the state’s new math and reading standards for public schools. In the Hawkeye State, the same standards are now called “The Iowa Core.” And in Florida, lawmakers want to delete “Common Core” from official documents and replace it with the cheerier-sounding “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says gun control measures needed to curtail ... Minneapolis Tribune:  Education Secretary Arne Duncan says schools are doing "fantastic" work to improve safety but easy access to guns is contributing to school violence. Duncan tells reporters that schools are often the safest place in a community.

NCLB co-author says he never anticipated federal law would force testing obsession EdSource: “I don’t believe you can drive a car blindfolded,” Miller said. “So all we asked was, ‘How are the kids doing in your test?’ And it turned out to be a nuclear explosion, because it wasn’t in the interest of the school district to tell the community how each and every kid was doing on their test.”

Coming Soon: Education Department's 50-State Teacher-Equity Strategy PK12: Then, the department is examining whether it can use the enforcement powers of its office for civil rights to ensure that disadvantaged students have equitable access to highly effective teachers. And department staff are also thinking through how to tie NCLB waivers to how well a state does, or doesn't, ensure the equitable distribution of teachers.

L.A. Unified gets reduction on iPads price LA Times: Apple agrees to furnish the latest models, rather than a discontinued version for which it was charging full price, and cuts the cost to $504 per device by omitting curriculum. 

Utah School Draws Ire For Taking Kids' Lunches; Debt Cited NPR: Anger and frustration followed an incident Tuesday, in which up to 40 students had their lunches taken away from them at the cashier's station in an elementary school cafeteria. The food was thrown away; the students were told their accounts had no credit on them.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Some States Re-Name "Common Core" Initiative" »

AM News: Change Could Help Promote Charter Diversity


Education Dept. allows public charter schools to hold weighted lottery Washington Post: The Education Department on Wednesday reversed a long-standing policy and will now allow public charter schools that receive federal grants to give admissions preference to low-income children, minorities and other disadvantaged students.

Under pressure, feds will fund charter schools with admissions preferences ChalkbeatNY: The regulatory change followed concerted lobbying by Moskowitz, other charter school advocates, and officials from New York and other states, who worked to ease federal authorities’ concerns that weighted lotteries could be used to create racially segregated schools in addition to diverse ones.

Early Education Spending By The Feds Has Not Really Risen Since Obama Took Office HuffPost: The 2009 spending hit a high of $32.6 billion, but the real tale lies in the comparison between the 2008 and 2013 figures: $20.7 billion then and only slightly higher at $21.5 billion last year.

Video: Lawmaker 'stunned' at gaps in school abuse reporting NBC: Rep. George Miller of California says a new GAO report points out important gaps in the nation's systems for reporting child abuse by school personnel.

More news below and via @alexanderrusso

Continue reading "AM News: Change Could Help Promote Charter Diversity" »

AM News: State Of The Union Vs. Stranded Students


Obama Sells Race to Top, Early-Childhood Education in State of the Union PK12: President Barack Obama placed education at the center of a broad strategy to bolster economic mobility and combat poverty—calling on Congress to approve previously-unveiled initiatives to expand preschool to more 4-year-olds, beef up job-training programs, and make post-secondary education more effective and accessible.

Obama Restates Old Education Commitments In 2014 State Of The Union Address Huffington Post: Instead of announcing new initiatives, Obama mostly expanded on proposals he announced during and since last year's State of the Union address, tying them to his theme of fighting poverty and pushing the country forward despite legislative inaction. Obama promoted a competition to redesign high school, boosting schools' Internet connectivity, and making college more affordable and accessible -- all ideas he has already proposed. See also EdSource.

Inside The State Of The Union: What The President Proposed NPR: After a long spell of partisan trench warfare and gridlock, President Obama called for "a year of action" Tuesday. The changes he pitched were relatively modest, but he promised to move forward with or without the help of Congress. 

7,000 Students Stranded Due to Southern Storm ABC News: More than 7,000 students across Georgia and Alabama camped out with teachers in school gyms or on buses and commuters abandoned cars along the highway to seek shelter in churches, fire stations — even grocery stores — after a rare snowstorm left thousands of unaccustomed Southerners frozen in their tracks.

See more fresh education news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: State Of The Union Vs. Stranded Students" »

AM News: Union Lawyers Challenge CA Job Protection Lawsuit


Contours of Calif. Teacher-Protection Suit Take Shape Teacher Beat: Attorneys for both the defendants and the intervenors (the state's two teachers' unions) argued that these nine students don't have standing to bring the suit because none of them can show they've been the victim of bad teaching. See also EdSource Today, LA School Report, LA Times.

Obama Expected To Propose Expanding Preschool Programs NPR: President Obama is expected to propose an expansion of preschool programs in his State of the Union Address. Most states have bought into the idea and restored funding for the programs. What's less clear is where the long-term funding is going to come from, and whether the quality of these programs are worth the investment. See also HuffPostMinnPostAtlanic Education.

Backlash Grows Against Common Core Education Standards NPR: Supporters of new education standards say Common Core will hold American students to much higher expectations, and move away from the bubble test culture that critics say too often pushes teachers to focus on test prep. But opposition to Common Core is spreading across the political spectrum. See also Stateline.

Report: Va., Md., D.C. have some of the nation’s highest gaps by income level in reading proficiency Washington Post: Fourth-grade students in Virginia, Maryland and the District have among the largest gaps in reading proficiency in the country when broken down by income level, according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

More news below and throughout the day via @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Union Lawyers Challenge CA Job Protection Lawsuit" »

AM News Roundup: CA Lawsuit Targets Teacher Job Protections


Lawsuit challenging teacher tenure, seniority protections goes to court EdSource via Hechinger Report: California is one of a handful of states that still grant tenure in two years or less. Over the past two years, the Democratically controlled Legislature has struggled without success to reach a compromise between the teachers unions and school boards and administrators on how to pare down the dismissal law.

Teacher tenure goes on trial in California courtroom Washington Post: The national debate about teacher tenure is the focus of a trial set to begin Monday in a fifth-floor Los Angeles courtroom, pitting a Silicon Valley mogul with a star-studded legal team against some of the most powerful labor unions in the country.

See also: Teacher Job Protections Vs. Students' Education In Calif. NPR; Lawsuit takes on California teachers' job protections LA Times; Protect good teachers, fire bad ones LA Times (editorial page).

State Chiefs Pledge to Not Share Student Data With Arne Duncan, Ed. Dept. PK12: Schools chiefs from 34 states have banded together to make a public declaration that they will not share personally identifiable student data with the federal government.

Lessons for de Blasio in New Jersey’s Free Pre-K NYT: The programs in 31 low-income districts in New Jersey are widely acknowledged for strong results. But they are also more expensive and intensive than what many officials — including Mr. de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York — have proposed.

New York teachers turn on Common Core Politico: The board of the New York state teachers union this weekend unanimously withdrew its support for the Common Core standards as they have been implemented. See also Teacher Beat.

More news below and via @alexanderrusso

Continue reading "AM News Roundup: CA Lawsuit Targets Teacher Job Protections" »

AM News: Lawsuit Challenges CA's Tenure, Seniority, Dismissal Rules


Lawsuit challenging teacher tenure, seniority protections goes to court next week EdSource Today: The trinity of teachers’ rights in California – tenure, seniority and due process in dismissals – will be under attack next week in a trial in Los Angeles with statewide impact and national interest.  

Surprising Test Results For Some Of The World's Richest Students HuffPost:  "At the top of the distribution, our performance is surprisingly bad given our top decile is among the wealthiest in the world," said Morgan Polikoff, a professor at the University of Southern California's School of Education who reviewed the data. See also.

NEA's $60 Million 'Great Public Schools' Fund Rolls Out TeacherBeat: NEA announces the first winners of its new fund for supporting local education projects.

Legalizing Marijuana: Will the Education Department Change its Anti-Drug Policy? PK12: Given all of this, a loyal Politics K-12 reader (also known as Michael Petrilli of Fordham fame) posed a very good question: What affect is all of this national discussion having on the messaging or actual policy from the anti-drug offices within the U.S. Department of Education?

What's the future of privacy in a big data world? PBS NewsHour: How do we weigh the appeal of these devices against their potential to intrude into our lives? We're joined by Jules Polonetsky, executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank that promotes responsible data practices, and Adam Thierer, senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Lawsuit Challenges CA's Tenure, Seniority, Dismissal Rules" »

AM News: Cheating In Philly [Blame It On Common Core!]

News2Philadelphia Principals Fired Over Cheating NYT: Three principals were fired last week after an investigation into test cheating that has implicated about 140 teachers and administrators, a spokesman for the Philadelphia school district said.

Cheating Probe Roils Philadelphia School System WSJ: Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation's largest cheating scandals.

Chicago Public Schools approves seven new charter schools WBEZ: Despite protests and less than a year after closing 50 traditional public schools due to declining enrollment, Chicago’s Board of Education voted Wednesday afternoon to approve seven new charter schools.

Obama's State of the Union Speeches and Education: A Scorecard PK12: President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union speech next week, on Jan. 28. So that means a week from now, we'll all be mulling over the education portion. Is Obama usually able to get what he wants from Congress? Short answer: Not so much. For the longer answer, check out these past State of the Union speeches.

School Was Open, But No One Went WNYC: The city's daily attendance data show that only 47 percent of students attended school Wednesday, the lowest attendance rate by far this school year. The year's previous low was 73 percent on Jan. 7. Typically, citywide attendance in January hovers around 90 percent.

Some Parents Bemoan Icy Treks as de Blasio Stands by Choice to Keep Schools Open NYT: Across New York City on Wednesday, schools grappled with anemic attendance and complaints that Mayor Bill de Blasio had erred by holding class on a day of subzero winds and frozen streets.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Cheating In Philly [Blame It On Common Core!]" »

AM News: Dems Differ Over Universal Preschool Expansion


Gov. Proposes One Way to Fund Pre-K, Mayor Sticks to Another WNYC: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget includes $1.5 billion for expanding pre-kindergarten programs statewide over five years. While that's an increase over previous budgets, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that's not enough to avoid a tax increase on New York City's wealthiest residents, ensuring further tension between the two leaders.

ALSO: Cuomo’s Pre-K Plans Set Up Tax Conflict With de Blasio (NYT)

Cuomo's Education Vision, In Dollars WNYC: Some groups are happy; others are questioning exactly how far these dollar amounts will stretch. Here's a breakdown of some education highlights from the governor's proposal, starting with the immediate future -- the next fiscal year.

Obama's Homework Assignment NYT (Friedman): President Obama: will deliver his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, but, for my money, his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, already gave it.

At 50, Michelle Obama uses life story to promote education initiative Chicago Tribune: When she was in high school and eyeing Princeton University as a college destination, MichelleObama said, counselors warned her she was too ambitious. "They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton,"

Immense Unease Over Advertisers Nabbing Student Data: Poll HuffPost: Ninety-five percent of school districts in the U.S. rely on cloud computing, storing data on remote servers connected to the Internet, according to recent report from the Fordham University School of Law. 

Elementary Math Instruction Gets a Makeover KQED: Memorizing math in elementary school is no longer going to be enough to get a good grade. New standards called Common Core require kids prove they understand math concepts and strategies -- and that means the way math is taught will have to change as well.

One Killed, Suspect In Custody In Purdue University Shooting NPR: Police have declared the campus of Purdue University safe, hours after a shooting in a school building alarmed students and sparked a partial evacuation order Tuesday afternoon.

More education news below and during the day via @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Dems Differ Over Universal Preschool Expansion" »

AM News: Education Gets Some New Cash - What Will NOLA Do?


A Look at Ideas for Using State Budget Surpluses AP: Governors and lawmakers are putting forth a variety of proposals for the extra money, including cutting taxes, increasing spending and fortifying savings accounts. [CA, MI, MN, MO, NY]

The Budget Deal's Teacher-Quality Programs: Winners and Losers Teacher Beat: Find out how the federal teacher programs fared in the recently completed budget deal.

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan to visit Hartford The Republic: He is scheduled to visit University High School of Science and Engineering for a town hall meeting on improving access to a college education.

More Than 130 Philly Educators Implicated in Cheating, Officials Say NBC News: After more than two years of investigations by both the state and the School District, 138 Philadelphia educators have been implicated in test score cheating.

Court ruling in New Orleans could have big consequences for the city’s schools Hechinger Report: Last week’s Louisiana appeals court ruling that the New Orleans school board improperly dismissed thousands of teachers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina vindicated the fired educators and their supporters. The Hechinger Report’s Sarah Carr talked about the implications of the ruling last Friday with NPR’s Melissa Block on All Things Considered. You can listen to the conversation, or read a transcript, here.

Bill & Melinda Gates: Myths Blocking Progress for the Poor WNYC: Since launching their eponymous foundation in 2000, Bill and Melinda Gates have granted nearly $30 billion to organizations and individuals working to eradicate poverty across the world. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Education Gets Some New Cash - What Will NOLA Do?" »

AM News: High-Scoring Success For All Not Cool Enough For USDE

News2Success for All Again Scores Big, And Loses, in i3 Contest Politics K12: For two years in a row, Baltimore-based school turnaround organization Success for All has earned the top score in the scale-up category of the federal Investing in Innovation contest, only to be passed over, U.S. Department of Education records confirm.

New York Wants To Give Special Education Kids Easier Tests Like 'The Old South,' Advocate Says Huffington Post: Should students with disabilities be held to the same academic standards and tests as other kids their age? That decades-old question is being revived by a debate in New York. Some advocates charge that a proposed tweak to the state's No Child Left Behind update may shortchange vulnerable students -- and, if approved, could spread to other states. 

De Blasio, a Critic of Charter Schools, May Need Them for His Pre-K Agenda NYT: Mayor de Blasio is looking for classroom space and qualified teachers to accommodate 50,000 prekindergartners. Charter schools are willing, but not allowed to provide prekindergarten.

Arizona Hopes New Charter Schools Can Lift Poor Phoenix Area NYT: A movement in Phoenix to open 25 high-performing schools in the next five years is focused on test scores in the growing Latino population

Most D.C. residents give public schools low ratings in poll Washington Post: The share of District residents who think that the city’s public schools are performing well has more than doubled since the mid-1990s, but most continue to give low ratings to the schools.

Teachers union set to demand salary hike of 17.6 percent LA School Report: The UTLA House of Representatives last night voted to demand a significant salary hike for teachers — an increase of nearly 20 percent.

In Age of School Shootings, Lockdown Drills Are the New Duck-and-Cover NYT: At the whiff of a threat, a generation growing up in the shadow of Columbine and Sandy Hook is trained to snap off the lights, lock the doors and take refuge in corners and closets.

More news below and from overnight on Twitter (@alexanderrusso)

Continue reading "AM News: High-Scoring Success For All Not Cool Enough For USDE" »

AM News: Republican Lawmakers Do Better On Union Report Card


How Did the NEA Grade Members of Congress? PK12: Want to know what the National Education Association thinks of your congressman or senator? The NEA is happy to tell you—every year the nation's largest teachers' union gives an A-through-F grade to every member of Congress, taking into account how they vote on key issues. 

Teachers' union grades lawmakers Washington Post: The National Education Association, the country's largest labor union, is handing out grades to members of Congress on Thursday, and it has found that that Senate Republicans have grown friendlier to its agenda.

Washington: More Money Sought for Schools and Wages NYT: Gov. Jay Inslee asked lawmakers to increase spending on K-12 education and raise the state minimum wage as the Legislature began work on the first state budget in six years without a major financial shortfall.

Oklahoma Gov. Fallin Comes to Common Core's Defense in NGA Speech State EdWatch: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, said in a speech in Washington that the Common Core State Standards are not a federal program, but a crucial part of states' efforts to improve their economies.

Teach For America Spinoff Helps Alumni Gain Influence EdWeek: How successful LEE's bid to that end will be remains to be seen, especially given what critics and supporters alike say is a relatively vague mission. Persistent suspicions of a pro-charter school, anti-union bias that have dogged its parent organization have also spilled over to LEE's own work.

More news below and from the past 24 hours via Twitter (@alexanderrusso)

Continue reading "AM News: Republican Lawmakers Do Better On Union Report Card" »

AM News: States All Use Performance Measures Now

News2All 50 States Now Using Testing or Student Performance for School Accountability State EdWatch: In 2002, only eight states used graduation rates in school accountability systems, the Education Commission of the States found; that had jumped to 44, plus the District of Columbia, in 2013.

Colorado Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Collective Bargaining Teacher Beat: A Colorado lawmaker wants to end collective bargaining, through a proposal that bears similarities to Republican-sponsored legislation approved in other states.

No ‘Mary Poppins,’ School Chief Honed Blunt Style Over 40 Years NYT: As a teacher and principal, Carmen Fariña became known for her hands-on approach, which propelled her rise in the Education Department and ultimately contributed to her departure.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright joins up with Chicago Teachers Union: The Chicago Teachers Union wants a louder voice in the political world — and to kick off that campaign, it’s turning to a public figure every bit as combative as the union itself: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Successful 'Hour of Code' computer tutorials prompts effort to change Washington Post: Hadi Partovi, retired at 38 after working for Microsoft and creating other tech companies, was figuring out what to do with the rest of his life. 

Still more questions in case of deceased CPS worker who stole school funds WBEZ: Two years ago this week Chicagoan Tirado was found dead in a hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico, according to the US State Department. Back in Chicago, the Lake View High School graduate had been a well-respected wrestling and swim coach at his alma mater where he also served as the school’s technology coordinator.

L.A. school board moves forward with computer effort LA Times: The board votes to distribute iPads to 38 more campuses, start purchasing laptops for seven high schools and buy as many tablets as needed for state testing.

Classrooms Getting More Diverse, But Teachers Of Color Struggle NPR: Bringing more teachers of color into schools isn't easy, even though classes are becoming more diverse. Host Michel Martin speaks with Victoria Kunzmann about challenges she faces as a teacher, and why she's remained in the classroom.

2 Injured in Shooting at New Mexico School NYT: The boy suspected in the shooting at a middle school in Roswell was apprehended by a State Police lieutenant.

AM News: Embattled NJ Gov. To Propose Longer School Day/Year


Christie Proposes Longer School Day Amid Scandal ABC News: Proposal for longer school day, year may help NJ's Christie rebound from traffic jam scandal

Rep. George Miller, Major Education-Reform Advocate in Congress, to Retire PK12: It's hard to overstate the impact that the retirement of Miller, first elected to Congress in 1974, will have on the future of federal K-12 policy. He was one of the first Democrats to embrace policies like charter schools, merit pay for effective teachers, and a robust role for the federal government in accountability—and remains among their most vocal champions in the Democratic caucus.

Rep. George Miller, education reform leader, announces retirement EdSource Today:The law pleased civil rights groups, but drew criticism from teachers’ unions who charged that using student scores on standardized tests as the measure of school accountability was deeply flawed.

Rep. George Miller, leading Democratic voice on education, set to retire Washington Post: Rep. George Miller’s decision to retire after 40 years in Congress, coming after the announced retirement of Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa), means Democrats will lose their two strongest congressional leaders on education issues at the end of the year.

Albany Dems Differ on How Far to Push for Pre-K WNYC: The legislature's most powerful Democrat is standing by Mayor Bill de Blasio's tax increase to support pre-K and after-school programs, but he's not willing to go as far as one of his colleagues.

Judge OKs Pact Ending Ark. Desegregation Payments AP: The state has made more than $1 billion in payments to three Little Rock-area school districts since 1989 to aid desegregation efforts. Under the deal approved by U.S. District Judge Price Marshall on Monday, those payments will end in four years, even though one of the districts still hasn't been declared desegregated. 

Desegregation Pact Gets Judge's Approval In Arkansas NPR: A long-running school desegregation fight is over, after a federal judge accepted a settlement reached by lawyers for black students, three Little Rock-area school districts, and the state. Under the deal, the state will no longer have to send yearly payments of around $70 million to aid desegregation.

More news below and all day via Twitter (@alexanderrusso)

Continue reading "AM News: Embattled NJ Gov. To Propose Longer School Day/Year" »

AM News: Ed Schools Adjusting To Common Core


Patchwork approach to Common Core in teacher preparation programs EdSource Today: Common Core State Standards are compelling California’s teacher preparation programs to do something that doesn’t come easily to institutions of higher education – change. But there is no uniform path or coordinated process for training new teachers in California, or in most other Common Core states.

Economic View: The Vicious Circle of Income Inequality NYT: New forces are causing the American income gap to feed on itself, whether in the political process, education or the broader economy.

Will Congress Find Money for Both Race to the Top and Early Learning? PK12: So Congress is apparently closing in on a deal to finance the government—including the U.S. Department of Education—through federal fiscal year 2014, which largely impacts the 2014-15 school year.        

Schools Chancellor Challenges Status Quo on Charters, New Schools WNYC: Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said she would focus more on classroom instruction than her predecessors and she would consider keeping senior staff members -- if they embraced her "paradigm shift." In an exclusive WNYC interview, she also stood by Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposal to charge rent to some charter schools.

Thousands of parents attend D.C. schools festival to shop for educational opportunities Washington Post: Thousands of parents descended on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Saturday for the D.C. Education Festival, a one-stop school shopping event meant to help families navigate the city’s growing — and sometimes overwhelming — number of school choices.

More news below and from over the weekend via twitter (@alexanderrusso)

Continue reading "AM News: Ed Schools Adjusting To Common Core" »

AM News: House Republicans Try To Reclaim Education Issue


Republicans Want to Talk Education, but Will They Fund It? The GOP's response to President Obama's income-inequity message is to push job-training and education proposals. But first, Republicans in Congress would have to agree to do something more than talk about it. They may even have to cough up some money for it. 

Eric Cantor and Bill de Blasio exchange fire over schools Washington Post: Calling school choice the best route out of poverty, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took aim at New York City’s new mayor on Wednesday for his cooler stance toward public charter schools and warned that Republicans may hold congressional hearings on the education policies of Democrat Bill de Blasio’s administration.

What Exactly Do Obama's Zones Have to Do With Education, Anyway? Politics K12: So far, nonprofits in at least three of the five Promise Zones actually already have Promise Neighborhood Implementation grants. And at least one has a "planning" grant. So it's unclear what the new designation will really mean for future competitions.  

City Study Tracks Transfers by Charter School Students NYT: Pupils are not more likely to leave charter schools than their counterparts at traditional public schools, but that is not the case for special education students, a study found.

Report: More Special Need Students Leave Charters Than District Schools WNYC: Students who enroll in charter schools for kindergarten are more likely to stay through third grade than students at traditional New York City public schools, according to the Independent Budget Office, with one exception: special education pupils.

Jerry Brown Proposes A New Budget For California NPR: California Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget proposal that calls for a $1.9 billion rainy day fund, cuts to the prison population and some funds restored to the state's higher education system. However, state workers hoping to see more in their pension funds will be disappointed.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso

Continue reading "AM News: House Republicans Try To Reclaim Education Issue" »

AM News: Common Core Progress In CA (Setbacks In NY)


New Education Standards Widen Achievement Gap For English Learners? NPR: New national education standards, known as Common Core, aim to set baseline knowledge for English and math. But some people say the standards will increase achievement gaps between English learners and native English speakers. Host Michel Martin learns more from journalist Pat Wingert.

N.Y. Assembly Speaker: 'Case Has Been Made' for Common Core Delay State Ed Watch: Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, argued that the Common Core State Standards were imposed improperly on teachers and other education officials without the proper support.

Gates Foundation considers major Common Core grant program in California EdSource Today: Having largely steered clear of making education grants in California over the last half-decade, the Gates Foundation is weighing whether to invest substantially in helping California’s teachers successfully put the Common Core standards into practice.

U.S. Criticizes Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools NYT: The Obama administration on Wednesday recommended that public schools emphasize positive behavior and use law enforcement only as a last resort.

Ease Up On 'No Tolerance' Policies, U.S. Agencies Tell Schools NPR: A move by the Education and Justice departments comes after years of complaints from civil rights groups and others who say the policies are ineffective and take an unfair toll on minorities.

Are some U.S. school discipline policies too punitive? PBS: The Obama administration made a big move today on the question of school discipline policies around the country. It issued new guidelines to urge school administrators to ensure they are not being overly zealous with strict punishments for students that are sometimes called zero tolerance rules.

Obama Administration Has Little Love For 'Zero Tolerance' NPR: The Obama administration wants public school officials to rethink how they discipline and punish students who misbehave. In the mid-1990s, states put in place harsh "zero-tolerance" policies in response to a rise in violence, bullying, drug use and school shootings. 

More news below and overnight via Twitter.

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core Progress In CA (Setbacks In NY)" »

AM News: Weingarten Walks Back Previous Value-Added Stance

News2AFT's Weingarten Backtracks on Using Value-Added Measures for Evaluations Teacher Beat: Weingarten's decision is probably not really a spur-of-the-moment one. It's been bolstered by an increasing anti-testing sentiment within the union. In 2012, the AFT consequently passed a resolution opposing many uses of tests and began a media campaign to the same end. Last summer, it issued a report on overtesting.

U.S. Puts Schools On The Hook For Police Actions HuffPost: Because of concerns that schools unfairly punish students differently based on race, the U.S. Education and Justice departments are setting legal standards for managing students' behavior while avoiding discrimination outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Federal guidelines address discipline in nation’s schools Washington Post: The new guidelines come more than two years after Duncan and Holder jointly created a federal initiative on student discipline intended to keep schools safe as it addressed the “school-to-prison pipeline” that links student offenses to judicial involvement.

LA Unified staff received free iPad before contract KPCC LA: Los Angeles Unified School District employees received free iPads from the global curriculum company Pearson as part of a 2012 conference sales pitch - and one of them later served on a district team that selected Pearson and Apple for a contract to provide every student and teacher with a tablet, according to testimony Tuesday. 

Will Early-Childhood Education Get a Boost from Congress? Politics K12: Early-childhood education is a huge priority, not just for the administration, but for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who oversees the subcommittee that controls K-12 spending. He's listed getting it done as the number one education item on his to-do list during his final year in office. And the White House is pushing behind the scenes for at least some funding for its initiative, which also included new Head Start funding, advocates say.

More news below and on Twitter (@alexanderrusso)

Continue reading "AM News: Weingarten Walks Back Previous Value-Added Stance" »

AM News: States Struggle, DeBlasio Vs. Cuomo, & More


States Struggle To Overhaul Schools After No Child Left Behind HuffPost: The department on Monday released results from audits of the way six states -- New York, Delaware, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi and Connecticut -- are replacing No Child Left Behind. ALSO: Waiver States Struggle With Priority Schools, English-Learners, Ed. Dept. Finds PoliticsK12: 

Cuomo, de Blasio, and Universal Pre-K WNYC: Liz Benjamin, host of Capital Tonight, blogger , fiscusses the showdown between Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio over Universal Pre-K. ALSO: Gov. Cuomo Denies He Will Propose Statewide Universal Preschool Plan On Wednesday HuffPost.

New Schools Chancellor Gets a Homecoming Queen's Welcome WNYC:  spoke for less than 10 minutes in what felt like a homecoming, and steered clear of Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposals to charge rent to charter schools and to put a moratorium on co-locating schools in the same buildings. 

The Common Core Is Tough on Kids Who Are Still Learning English Hechinger Report: The work is challenging. But the deeper they get into it, the more school leaders are becoming convinced that the methods encouraged by the Common Core will help all their students get better at math as well English. [headline/conclusion mismatch?]

Test Scandal in Atlanta Brings More Guilty Pleas NYT: The focus is shifting to the former schools superintendent, who is being portrayed as the mastermind of a scheme that led to charges against 35 educators accused of manipulating test scores. ALSO: 6 educators plead guilty in test cheating scandal AP.

L.A. Unified should appoint a successor to LaMotte LA Times (editorial): Delaying until an election to pick a replacement for Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who died last year, risks shortchanging students at a vulnerable time.

Bowser noncommittal on Kaya Henderson Washington Post: Bowser, one of four D.C. Council members challenging incumbent Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) in April’s Democratic primary, faced that question twice on Friday during [a radio show].

Slow Broadband Internet Speeds Vex Nation's Schools Wall Street Journal:Students in Dory Fravel's fourth-grade Iowa classroom got knocked offline while taking mandatory state achievement exams. Vermont teacher Marcia Blanco whiled away the night while the school's slow-as-syrup Internet connection downloaded software.

More news below.

Continue reading "AM News: States Struggle, DeBlasio Vs. Cuomo, & More" »

AM News: Whatever Happened To Central Falls High School?


After Radical Change, R.I. School Shows Signs Of Improvement NPR: In 2010, Central Falls made headlines for firing every high school teacher. The firings were part of a federal program promising big changes at the nation's worst schools. Four years later, there are signs the program is helping, but there are also questions about whether the improvement will last.

Chicago reverses course, cancels school on Monday AP: Chicago Public School officials say they're cancelling classes ahead of Monday's bitter cold temperatures, after first saying they would be open....

L.A. Unified finally hiring teachers again LA Times: After an extended period of layoffs and hiring freezes, the Los Angeles Unified School District has resumed bringing on new teachers, while also being more selective about their quality than in the past.

Report gives local Teach for America educators high marks in math Baltimore Sun: Study finds that teachers in the alternative certification program are as effective at teaching math as their peers

GED Gets A Makeover To Keep Pace With Changing Workforce NPR: The GED test is getting an overhaul. The exam has historically served adults who have fallen through the cracks of the educational system. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, about the impact of the new GED exams.

NYC Schools Chancellor Pick Carmen Fariña Leaves More Questions Than Answers HuffPost: Farina only has two days between her appointment and the first day of her job. The quick turnaround means advocates and experts throughout the country are left to wonder whether -- and how soon -- the mayor and his new schools chief will be able to deliver on their progressive promises when tasked with the management of the city's largest agency. 

The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course WNYC: One year ago, many were pointing to the growth of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, as the most important trend in higher education. Many saw the rapid expansion of MOOCs as a higher education revolution that would help address two long-vexing problems: access for underserved students and cost.

School Experiment That Burned Boy Was Focus of Federal Warning NYT: A video produced by a safety agency warned of the dangers of a chemistry experiment that went awry at a Manhattan school this week.

AM News: Universal Preschool -- Can De Blasio Do What Obama Hasn't?


De Blasio Launches Formal Campaign for Pre-K WNYC: The mayor-elect unveiled its first video at the childcare center Friends of Crown Heights. He was surrounded by children's advocates from several organizations, as well as the economist Jeffrey Sachs—who is among several luminaries lending his name to the cause. 

Formal Beginning to de Blasio’s Plan to Expand, and Pay for, Prekindergarten NYT: Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has lined up celebrities and other notables in an effort to marshal public support for a tax on high-earners to improve New York City’s prekindergarten and after-school programs.

Texas Shuttering Campuses At Six Charter Schools Texas Tribune: Identified for closure under the law are American Youthworks in Austin; Azleway Charter School in Tyler; Honors Academy in Farmers Branch; and Jamie's House Charter School, Koinonia Community Learning Academy, and the Richard Milburn Academy in Houston. Several of the schools focus on serving troubled youth or high school dropouts.

School Leaders On What Determines Student Success NPR: Host Michel Martin continues her conversation with school leaders about students' math and reading skills.

D.C. adopts new K-12 science standards Washington Post: The D.C. State Board of Education voted Wednesday to adopt new K-12 science standards meant to strengthen science education by prioritizing critical thinking and problem solving over memorization of facts.

How to Share Space and Still Get Along WNYC: This week, the Department of Education and the New York City Charter School Center, via NYC Collaborates, brought a group of principals together to talk about how to share nicely, or nicer anyway. Here are their top four lessons.

Chicago Board of Ed: Downsized headquarters, supersized contract, and military school WBEZ: Chicago’s school board approved a number of measures at the monthly board meeting Wednesday:

How young newsmakers helped shape the world in 2013 PBS NewsHour:From drone strikes and cutting edge medical research, to Hollywood talent and European immigration, youth from around the world challenged us to view their issues more compassionately and unite across ideological lines. We look back at some of the year's top young newsmakers.

AM News: Union & Other Group Leaders Announce Common Core Support

News2Leaders of teachers union, business group join forces to support Common Core Washington Post: "This came from the bottom up, this didn't come out of Washington,” said Engler, who called the standards an “economic and moral imperative.”

Teach For America: We Support the Common Core TeacherBeat: TFA goes on record to support the common-core standards.

Only 3 students scored college-ready in Camden, NJ AP: The new school superintendent in Camden, N.J., says it was a "kick-in-the-stomach moment" when he learned that only three district high school students who took the SAT this year scored as college-ready....

Flipping the traditional definition of 'homework' WBEZ: Instead of asking students to do high level thinking for homework, teachers assign video lectures and then work on problems and projects at school. WBEZ producer Becky Vevea visited a school downstate—Havana High School—that is flipping instruction. Her report aired on the Morning Shift on December 18, 2013.

U.S. Department of Education Still Not an Awesome Place to Work PoliticsK12: Compared to 2003, Education Department employees are giving the agency—and their boss, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—higher marks for providing effective leadership and fostering teamwork. Generally, among all mid-size agencies, Education Department officials seem to be fairly satisfied with their pay. However, it's important to note the survey was done before the October government shutdown.

AM News: Who Will Be The Next NYC Chancellor?


Wanted: Schools Chief Who Has Never Crossed de Blasio on Education NYT: Two weeks before he takes office, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has yet to pick a schools chancellor to carry out his education agenda in New York City.

New Mexico Teachers Resist a State Official’s Plan for Evaluating Them NYT: Many rank-and-file teachers view Ms. Skandera skeptically. She has never been a full-time teacher, and educators here echo what is a common criticism of such administrators: that she cannot fully comprehend the challenges they face, especially in a state troubled by deep poverty and other social problems.

Walton foundation pumps cash into vouchers Washington Post: The Walton Family Foundation is pumping $6 million into a Washington-based group that promotes private school vouchers in D.C. and around the country — a donation that it hopes will double the number of students using tax dollars to pay private school tuition.

Chancellor at University of California to Become Chief at Gates Foundation NYT: Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, will take the foundation’s helm in May.

School systems in S.C., Miss., Tex., Ky. and Ark. win $120 million in federal grants Washington Post: Five school districts won grants ranging from $4 million to $20 million as part of Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s signature competition for K-12 education, the Education Department announced Tuesday.

Study: 4 in 10 finish college where they start AP: The dire numbers underscore the challenges that colleges confront as they look to bring in more students and send them out into the world as graduates. The numbers also could complicate matters for students at schools with low graduation rates; the U.S. Department of Education's still-emerging college rating system is considering linking colleges' performances with federal financial aid.

Continue reading "AM News: Who Will Be The Next NYC Chancellor?" »

AM News: Waivers Give Reprieve To Struggling Schools


Are NCLB Waiver States Intervening in the Right Schools? Politics K12:  After Nevada got an NCLB waiver, by the 2012-13 school year, 75 of those 86 schools got relief from the toughest interventions. These are schools that hadn't made adequate yearly progress for six years in a row.

When Taxpayer Money and Private Firms Intersect in Schools Texas Tribune: On a recently approved Texas charter school application, blacked-out paragraphs appear on almost 100 of its 393 pages. A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said redactions appeared on the application because the information was copyrighted.

Offensive student tweets target Montgomery schools chief Starr Washington Post: A number of messages to Superintendent Joshua P. Starr did more to offend than persuade. Some used racial epithets. Some used curse words. One threatened to slash Starr’s tires. A few messages mentioned Starr’s family in inappropriate ways, he said.

How to stop the revolving door of teachers, principals at charter schools Hechinger Report:  Nationally, many charter school networks have higher rates of teacher and administrator turnover than their traditional school counterparts. In New Orleans, where nearly 90 percent of the public school children attend charters, the problem is particularly acute as young schools struggle to keep their teachers and leaders for the long-haul.

Parents Sue City Over Students Sent to Emergency Rooms WNYC: The woman, Ms. H, does not want to be identified except by her initials in court papers. She is one of six New York City parents of children with disabilities who are suing the city for unspecified damages. The suit claims the children were wrongly sent to emergency rooms and that the schools could have resorted to other methods for solving behavioral problems - methods that should have been included in their special education plans. 

To Make Science Real, Kids Want More Fun And Fewer Facts NPR: In a new poll, many parents said they're worried that schools aren't adequately preparing students for a changing workforce. And too much emphasis on memorizing facts in the classroom, both parents and kids say, is keeping young people from getting excited about science and technology careers.

School Named For Klu Klux Klan Leader Nathan Bedford Forrest To Be Rebranded Reuters: A Florida high school whose name commemorates a leader of a white supremacist group known for lynchings and other violent acts against blacks is to be renamed, officials said on Monday.

‘What Is Good Teaching?’ NYT (Joe Nocera) As the country continues to struggle with education reform, it seems obvious that education schools need to change, so that prospective teachers walk into their first classroom knowing how to teach. Maybe “The New Public” can help bring about that change.

AM News: Colorado Shooting Shatters Newtown Anniversary


Colorado student dead after opening fire at school; kids were screaming LA Times: Armed with a shotgun, a student entered Arapahoe High School and opened fire, hitting at least one other student before turning the weapon on himself, officials said Friday.

Klein says curriculum is his legacy’s lone dark spot GothamSchools: The further away Joel Klein gets from the New York City school system, the firmer he is about the changes he brought during his tenure.

Parents Protest Emergency Calls WSJ: More than 22% of the 15,130 calls for ambulances placed by schools in the 2011-12 school year were related to disciplinary infractions, according to Legal Services NYC, which sued the Department of Education and Fire Department of New York for the data.

Arlington Schools tap big data to reduce dropout rate Washington Post: The Arlington County public school district is inviting number crunchers from Sterling, Silicon Valley and even Singapore to help solve one of the most vexing problems in public education: how to keep children from dropping out of school.

Police respond to shooting report at Colo. school: State division of emergency management spokeswoman Micki Trost says police are responding to a report of a shooting at a high school in suburban Denver....

25 Top-Rated Investing in Innovation Applicants Secure Private Matches PoliticsK12: This year the U.S. Department of Education awarded some $134 million in i3 money, including seven "validation" grants (which can total up to $12 million each for projects with some evidence to back them up) and 18 "development" grants (which can reach $3 million each for promising ideas with less of a track record). 

 Ohio: School Officials Plead Not Guilty After Rape NYT: The superintendent and three current or former city school officials in Steubenville, Ohio, pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges related to the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl.

Adelanto parent trigger fight subject of new movie San Bernardino Sun: In 2011, parents in the Desert Trails Parent Union — aided by Parent Revolution, the nonprofit that helped pass the 2010 Parent Trigger Law three years ago.

More news below.

Continue reading "AM News: Colorado Shooting Shatters Newtown Anniversary" »

AM News: De Blasio Advisor Praises, Disagrees With Ravitch


Chancellor candidate Farina praises Ravitch, but keeps distance Chalkbeat NY: Farina subtly changed the tone—and put some distance between herself and Ravitch’s anti-charter rhetoric. “I think we have to stop worrying about what the other people are doing, and really concentrate on what we have to do better,” she began. “Because part of it is that we let ourselves kind of fall into complacency when we were the only game in town. And by we I’m talking about public education.” 

Common Core critics and backers compete at Manhattan forum Chalkbeat NY:  As at many of the upstate forums devoted to the tougher standards, the one in Lower Manhattan featured emotional testimonies on the toll of testing, harsh criticism of the state and some heated heckling — including by a woman who said King should be arrested for child abuse. But, like in Brooklyn, there was also a sizable contingent of parents and teachers — many of them affiliated with advocacy groups that backed the Bloomberg administration’s education policies — who argued that the new standards push students to higher planes of thought and eventually college.

Educational Publisher’s Charity, Accused of Seeking Profits, Will Pay Millions NYT: The Pearson Foundation will pay $7.7 million after the New York State attorney general found that it had broken state law by helping develop products for its corporate parent.

Publishing Giant Pearson's Nonprofit Arm Settles Investigation WSJ: The London-based company didn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement with the New York state Attorney General’s office. The bulk of the settlement, $7.5 million, will go toward 100Kin10, an organization that is trying to place 100,000 highly-qualified math and science teachers in classrooms across America by 2021.

More news below

Continue reading "AM News: De Blasio Advisor Praises, Disagrees With Ravitch" »

AM News: USDE Withdraws SIG Report Due To Errors


U.S. Department of Education to Redo SIG Analysis Due to Contractor Error PoliticsK12: The analysis, which was released just a couple of weeks ago, excluded about half of the schools that entered the newly revamped SIG program in its first year (the 2010-11 school year) and about a third of the schools that started in the second year (the 2011-12 school year.) It's unclear if the do-over will significantly change those conclusions. 

Head Start funding partially restored in federal budget deal EdSource Today: Head Start lost about 57,000 slots for children, including more than 5,600 in California, because of cuts under federal sequestration, a program of automatically triggered, across-the-board spending cuts. These cuts have continued to ripple through Head Start operations month by month as they cycle through their federal grant processes.

Arrest Leads to Shake-Up of Alexander's Leadership Team PoliticsK12: Longtime Capitol Hill staffer and edu-nerd extraordinaire David Cleary, the GOP staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has become the chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education, currently serves as the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate education committee. 

Mike Huckabee's "Common Core is Dead" Line Not What He Told State Chiefs State EdWatch:The former Arkansas governor said he is dissatisfied with the implementation of the common core and how it has become "hijacked" by other interests.

Charter Leader Denies Insider's Advantage WNYC: “I’m not suggesting that I don’t know anyone at Tweed, I do,” she said, referring to the D.O.E.'s headquarters. “So if you’re saying can I pick up the phone and call folks, yes, I can. But does that mean from a policy perspective I’ve gotten any advantages? Absolutely not.”

Lots more news below.

Continue reading "AM News: USDE Withdraws SIG Report Due To Errors" »

AM News: Parents Defend Common Core At NY Hearing


Supporters of the Common Core Speak Out WNYC: State education commissioner John King faced a highly supportive audience Tuesday night at his first forum on the Common Core learning standards in New York City. Parents at the Brooklyn forum spoke emotionally about the need for improved instruction and at times recalled their own stories of performing well in high school, only to get to college to need remedial classes or tutoring.

As testing anxiety peaks, student media campaign urges calm Chalkbeat NY: While student aversion to tests is nothing new, the Hudson students’ campaign comes at a moment of high anxiety about testing in New York: grade 3-8 state exams tied to tougher standards caused scores to plummet this year, a new evaluation system for city teachers factors in test scores, and a rule change requiring higher Regents scores to graduate is now fully in effect. Last week, a group of teachers in Brooklyn held a public forum to vent their frustrations. 

D.C. teachers event turns raucous, with mayoral candidates drowned out Washington Post: The main point of the whole raucous evening was spelled out on the blue-and-white sign given center stage at Eastern High School on Monday night: ‘Our voices matter,’ it said. Teachers’ voices, it meant.

Budget Deal Could Offer School Districts Relief from Sequestration PoliticsK12: It's unclear at this point what the agreement, if approved by Congress, will mean for individual programs. Congress has until Jan. 15 to craft a final spending bill for fiscal year 2014, which will help school districts set spending levels next fall.

After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought NYT: Large-scale online courses, hailed as a way to democratize higher education, have so far been plagued by very high attrition rates.

Charter Schools Continue Dramatic Growth Despite Controversies HuffPost:The growth is large, percentage-wise, but since some of the numbers started low, the statistics may be overstating the reality. For example, the report found that the number of districts with more than one-fifth of students in a charter school has increased by 350 percent over the last eight years -- but only seven districts had that level of enrollment eight years ago.

New Orleans leads nation in percentage of public charter school enrollment Washington Post: New Orleans led the nation last year as the city with the greatest percentage of students enrolled in public charter schools, followed by Detroit and the District of Columbia, according to a new survey.

More of today's education news below.

Continue reading "AM News: Parents Defend Common Core At NY Hearing" »

AM News: Mandela, Shelton, Teacher Training, Newtown


As student, Obama drew inspiration from Mandela Boston Globe: But as Obama prepares to honor Mandela at a memorial service Tuesday in South Africa, people close to the U.S. president say he is well-aware that his rapid rise through America's political ranks pales in comparison to Mandela's 27 years in prison. 

Ed Dept. Official: Other Countries Beating U.S. at Own Game PoliticsK12: During a conversation with state legislators at the National Conference of State Legislature's forum in Washington on Dec. 6, acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education  James H. Shelton argued that it was "mythology" to say that the U.S. had truly "fallen behind" in terms of actual educational performance.

Teacher Training in Classroom Management Is Insufficient, NCTQ Finds TeacherBeat: A new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality finds fault with how teacher colleges approach instruction on classroom management.

Newtown Massacre Prompts More Vigilance in Schools and Elsewhere NYT: In Fairfield, Conn., and other towns there have been notable security changes, like more armed officers and surveillance cameras.

Reflections from people close to Newtown tragedy AP: Reflections from people connected to the shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 first-graders and six educators died....

Teachers Union Holding Vigils for 260 'Housed' Members LA School Report: While American Federation of Teachers affiliates are holding a “National Day of Action” today, UTLA is planning four vigils in support of “housed” LA Unified teachers, those caught between allegations of misconduct and final rulings on their employment status.

Continue reading "AM News: Mandela, Shelton, Teacher Training, Newtown" »

AM News: Unions Launch Big PR Campaign Today

News2Teachers unions face moment of truth Politico: Support for labor unions in general has fallen steadily, dipping below 50 percent for the first time in 2012 before rebounding slightly this year, Gallup polls find. 

AFT Makes $1 Million Ad Buy Against Testing, 'Privatization' Politics K12: The National Education Association is also involved but its spending is smaller, Politico reports. That might be because membership losses at the NEA have cut back the amount it can spend on messaging and communications, as I've reported.

AFT, Partners Push National Day of Action to Oppose 'Privatization' of Schooling TeacherBeat: The national union has reportedly spent more than $1 million on advertising buys to promote the campaign.

Fletcher Facing 8 in Bid for LA Teacher Union Presidency LA School Report: The size of the field, which includes one current UTLA officer, Secondary Vice President Greg Solkovits, and one who also ran for president in 2011, Leonard Segal, suggests an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with Fletcher’s policies, leadership style or both.

Lots more state and local news below.

Continue reading "AM News: Unions Launch Big PR Campaign Today" »

AM News: 2 States (NV, MS) Get Federal "Waiver Waivers"


Two States Approved for ESEA Teacher Evaluation Extension Waiver PoliticsK12: Two states—Nevada and Mississippi—will get extra time to implement the teacher-evaluation portion of their waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act, the U.S. Department of Education announced today. [12 of 34 eligible states applied]

Common Core delay wins approval NOLA.com: The committee vote, likely to be ratified by BESE on Wednesday, followed months of anxiety from educators who feared losing their jobs and their schools' good letter grades, and some criticism that the changes have come too fast.

K-12 Policy Warfare in Indiana Persists With Leak of New Group's Agenda State EdWatch: Indiana superintendent Glenda Ritz says the document shows state officials are planning to remove her as chairwoman of the state school board.

U.S. private school students not much better than public school student in math Hechinger Report: Where private school students shine is in reading, outperforming their public school peers by 22 points. Private school students, if they formed a separate nation, would rank at #10 behind Ireland in this subject. However, if we broke out the private school students for each nation, their scores would be higher too and American private school kids would no longer be among the top 10 readers. Indeed, US private school students would be no better than average.

New STEM push from ALEC Politico: The group has found tremendous interest in science, technology, engineering and math education from ALEC members, potential for public-private partnerships, and bipartisan lawmaking on STEM issues, ALEC Education Director Lindsay Russell told Morning Education. 

Gates, Zuckerberg chip in to fund broadband in schools Washington Post: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are among several philanthropists who have pledged $9 million to a nonprofit organization that is trying to bring the Internet to public school classrooms around the country.

More state and local news below.

Continue reading "AM News: 2 States (NV, MS) Get Federal "Waiver Waivers"" »

AM News: Parents Are The Prize


Parent involvement at L.A. schools getting new look LA Times: In Cudahy, parents collected more than 600 signatures demanding a new principal. In Culver City, they fought attempts to unionize classroom aides and formed a group that elected a school board majority. In Los Angeles, parents are organizing for more effective school disciplinary practices.

Speculating on De Blasio’s Choice for Schools Chief NYT: Several educators frequently mentioned as candidates for New York City schools chancellor once worked under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, but then criticized his policies.

Washington, New York Set Passing Bars on New Teacher Test Teacher Beat: Washington state set a lower cutoff point for most teachers than did New York on a new teacher-licensing test.

ALEC Ed. Agenda for 2014: Course Choice, Student Data 'Backpack Act' State EdWatch: The free-market-oriented organization is considering draft bills dealing with school choice and a state records database with academic information on individual students.

N.Y. Teacher Evaluation Staffer Heads to U.S. Department of Education PoliticsK12: Amy McIntosh, who has been working on teacher and leader effectiveness as a senior fellow in the New York Department of Education's Regents Research Fund, will be joining the U.S. Department of Education's office of planning, evaluation, and policy development in mid-January as a principal deputy assistant secretary. That's according to an internal email sent today by John King, New York's commissioner of education.

Illinois Legislature Approves Retiree Benefit Cuts in Troubled Pension System NYT: The hard-fought deal, which includes higher state contributions to the system, could be a template for agreements elsewhere.

Brooklyn Teachers Decry Emphasis on Testing WNYC: Greenfield and others spoke to parents and fellow teachers in the P.S. 321 auditorium at a forum under the umbrella of Teachers Talk Testing, a newly-formed group seeking to reduce the emphasis on testing in three ways: ending grade promotion tied to test scores; ending middle school and high school admissions tied exclusively to test scores; and revising the way test scores factor into school progress reports.

Abbott Setting Sights on Education Policy Debate Texas Tribune:  Attorney General Greg Abbott will spend most of the next month talking about education, signaling that he won’t cede any ground on the issue to state Sen. Wendy Davis, who is making her support of public schools a calling card in the governor’s race.

David Catania, D.C. Council member, to form exploratory committee for mayoral run Washington Post: His intentions were confirmed by former council member Sharon Ambrose, who said she will lead the committee. Catania (I-At Large) declined to comment Tuesday night.

School counselors increasingly are missing link in getting kids to college Hechinger: The challenges facing Ryder soon become clear. When she asks about her students’ goals, one hand goes up. Then a low voice in the back of the room wisecracks, “Be a drug dealer.” A while later, when the students are told to sit at computers and go through a questionnaire to help determine what courses of studies and careers would be good fits for them, several struggle with the words on the screen, English still foreign to them.

American test scores stagnate as other countries improve NBS News: After about half a million students took the PISA exams, US performance remained flat. America has a child poverty rate nearly double that of some countries that outperform the United States, which is thought to be a factor. Experts say the test results will likely intensify the debate over education reform. 

AM News: Vietnam Wins! (PISA 2013)


PISA Test Results For U.S. Students Are 'Sobering' NPR: International standardized test scores have been released. The test is given to students around the world every three years. It measures their knowledge of reading, mathematics and science literacy. U.S. students usually turn in mediocre performances, and this year's scores were no different.

U.S. 15-Year-Olds Slip in Rankings on International Exams WSJ: U.S. 15-year-olds made no progress on recent international achievement exams and fell further in the rankings, reviving a debate about America's ability to compete in a global economy. 

U.S. Test Scores Remain Stagnant While Other Countries See Rapid Rise HuffPost: Poland, Germany and Ireland showed tremendous growth, and Vietnam, which administered the exam for the first time in 2012, wound up among the top-performing countries, eclipsing the U.S. in math and science. Results like these herald Sputnik moment-type fears, leading some officials to believe the U.S. is losing its competitive edge.

US students still only average on tests USA Today: American high school students still post only average scores on a key skills test administered to kids in 65 countries across the industrialized world.

Fla. students score below international peers in math, science AP: Fla. students score below international peers in math, science in global test.

American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math The Atlantic: More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education. The results, published today, show the U.S. trailing behind educational powerhouses like Korea and Finland.

American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests NYT: Students in the United States scored in the middle of the developed world in reading and science, but lower in math, according to results released on Tuesday.

U.S. students score below average in world reading, math and science tests PBS: According to the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, American students scored slightly below average on the reading, math and science tests taken last year by 500,000 15-year-olds around the globe. 

 U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test Washington Post: Scores in math, reading and science posted by 15-year-olds in the United States were flat while their counterparts elsewhere — particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian provinces or countries — soared ahead, according to results of a well-regarded international exam released Tuesday.

Non-PISA news (there's not much) below the fold.

Continue reading "AM News: Vietnam Wins! (PISA 2013)" »

AM News: 15 States Seek Testing Reduction

News215 States Seek Waivers to Reduce Double-Testing PoliticsK12: The double-testing allows states to suspend some of their current tests and give only the field tests from the common-testing consortia—to avoid double testing students. See also Politico 

Pulling a More Diverse Group of Achievers Into the Advanced Placement Pool NYT: As A.P. classes across the country have opened to a more diverse group of students, some teachers and parents worry that instructors will be forced to water down the curriculum, while some educational experts say there is little conclusive evidence that students who take such courses perform better in college.

Common Core State Standards Focus On Critical Thinking Amid Political Debate AP: Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson's fifth-grade classroom.

Md. says it will include more special ed students in national test Baltimore Sun: Acknowledging that scores on a national reading test may have been inflated, Maryland education officials changed course this week.

Austin Journal: Closing a Fear Gap So Children Can Achieve NYT: Montserrat Garibay, a teacher, is hoping to shrink the stark achievement gap in schools disproportionately populated by the children of immigrants by addressing fears of deportation.

Mixed reaction to iPad rollout from L.A. teachers and administrators LA Times: Just 36% of teachers strongly favored continuing the tablet effort; 90% of administrators felt the same.

Details Emerge on de Blasio's Education Agenda WNYC: We play excerpts from an education forum at which Mayor-elect de Blasio spoke and discuss the latest transition news with Wall Street Journal political reporter Michael Howard Saul.

N.C. elementary schools promise arts education but access is far from equal PBS:Most public schools in the United States offer some sort of music instruction, but according to a federal government report, about four million elementary school students do not get instruction in the visual arts.

Teacher learns a lesson after teaching students about Internet safety TODAY: When a Tennessee teacher put a photo online to teach her elementary school students what can happen when a personal photo goes public, even she was surprised at a lesson we can all learn from. 

State and district news below

Continue reading "AM News: 15 States Seek Testing Reduction " »

AM News: Common Core Steams Ahead In NJ (& Elsewhere)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Common Core Standards, Online Testing Continue to Gain Ground in NJ NJ Spotlight: A pair of bills that would delay implementation of the Common Core and PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness), its online testing component, are going nowhere fast.

 Newark district and charter schools join together for universal enrollment plan NJ.com: The new system would provide big benefits for families, who would submit one application with up to eight school choices, both charter and district, ranked in order of preference. One central lottery would be used to determine placement.

What Happens When Great Teachers Get $20,000 to Work in Low-Income Schools? Results Slate: To fill some of those positions, they selected from a special group of transfer teachers, all of whom had top 20 percent track records of improving student achievement at lower poverty schools within the districts, and had applied to earn $20,000 to switch jobs. The rest of the open positions were filled through the usual processes, in which principals select candidates from a regular applicant pool.

Reformers keep the heat on during now-closed Minneapolis teacher-contract talks MinnPost: Last week as leaders of both sides gathered for the second of the closed-door sessions, 50 parents, students, community members and members of the group Students for Education Reform (SFER) were outside protesting.

After closings, Chicago gets good marks for transfer of special education students Catalyst: About a third of schools that were closed housed separate programs for children with serious disabilities. Experts say parents so far have few complaints about how CPS handled the transition of these students.

No Motive In Newtown Report, But Many Details About Lanza NPR: At more than 50 pages, the summary report issued Monday gives an overview of findings from the investigation, while omitting controversial details such as 911 call recordings.

Chilling Look at Newtown Killer, but No ‘Why’ NYT: Almost a year after Adam Lanza killed 26 children and adults in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, an investigative report shed new light on his internal life and complicated relationship with his mother.

More state and district education news below.

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core Steams Ahead In NJ (& Elsewhere)" »

AM News: Hold Up On Those Maryland NAEP Scores

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Md. test exclusion rate raises questions Washington Post: The state blocked more than half its English language learners and students with learning disabilities from taking the test, students whose scores would have dragged down the results.The state led the nation in excluding students on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, posting rates that were five times the national average and more than double the rate of any other state.

Principals lobby de Blasio to protect networks GothamSchools: A group of 120 school leaders say they’re concerned with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign pledge to restructure the city’s support networks, which manages school operations around professional development, curriculum and budgeting. De Blasio has said he wants some decision-making authority restored to district superintendents, who oversaw support before Mayor Bloomberg won control of the school system.

Judge Acts on LA Voucher Program in Schools NYT:  A federal judge has given state and federal lawyers 60 days to come up with possible modifications to a court order to make sure that the state’s private school voucher program does not lead to segregation of schools.

Texas Education Board Flags Biology Textbook Over Evolution Concerns NYT: The State Board of Education delayed final approval of a widely used biology textbook because of concerns raised by one reviewer that the book presents evolution as fact rather than mere theory.

Education Board Blocks Charter School Expansion Texas Tribune: The 15-member board voted 9 to 6 to veto Great Hearts Academies' application because of concerns about the school's commitment to serving low-income students and teaching Texas curriculum standards. 

Continue reading "AM News: Hold Up On Those Maryland NAEP Scores" »

AM News: Under Pressure, California Relents On Testing


California agrees to administer both math and English tests this spring KPCC: This is not the plan Torlakson, state legislators, and Governor Jerry Brown endorsed in Assembly Bill 484 earlier this year. That bill stipulated that California would only give students one field test this spring, to ease students into the new tests and the computer technology on which they'll take them.

Torlakson retreats from conflict with feds over testing EdSource: Faced with potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines, the state Department of Education has backed down from its confrontation with the federal government over standardized testing.Torlakson’s carefully worded news release makes no mention of the conflict with the federal government or a concern over districts’ capacity to administer computer tests in both subjects next spring. 

State expands field tests of Common Core-aligned assessments LA Daily News: The field test of California's new computer-based assessments will be expanded so that nearly every student will take exams next spring in both math and English, rather than being limited to one or the other, officials said Thursday. High school juniors, students in grades three through eight, plus a small sampling of ninth- and 10th-graders will participate in field tests of the Smarter Balanced assessments.

Federal analysis of school grants shows mixed results Washington Post: A federal program that pumped a record $5 billion into failing schools is showing mixed results, with students at more than one-third of the targeted schools doing the same or worse after the schools received the funding, according to government data released Thursday.

New High School Program Latest Example of Duncan Efforts to Get Around Congress PoliticsK12: When it became clear that Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization wasn't happening, the administration put in place a system of waivers based largely on its blueprint for revising the law. It's even given a waiver to a group of California districts, over the objections of Republicans in Congress.

District and state news below

Continue reading "AM News: Under Pressure, California Relents On Testing" »

AM News: The Push For "Great" New Teachers ('Bye, Boomers)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Campaign Seeks to Recruit Top Students to Become Teachers NYT: The campaign, called Teach, uses video spots and radio announcements that portray teaching as creative and compelling a career as medicine, acting or engineering.

Arne Duncan's Search for More Teachers U.S. News & World Report: This week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will re-launch a campaign he initiated a few years ago to get more college students interested in becoming teachers. 

Teachers Wanted WNYC: After all the focus on getting rid of "bad" teachers, Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education, talks about the need for new teachers to replace a large cohort of those about to retire.

The Quality of American Teachers Seems to be Getting Better Mother Jones: The number of teachers from the class of 2008 with different SAT scores: compared to 1993 and 2000, there are fewer from the lower ranks, about the same number from the middle ranks, and more from the higher ranks.

Which States Are Most Vulnerable to K-12 Sequester Cuts? PoliticsK12: More than half the districts in these 14 states rely on the federal government for 15 percent or more of their revenue: Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Interestingly, most of those are "red" states. Republicans, have, in general, been less vocal about the impact of sequestration on schools than Democrats.  

Obama's day: Technology and education USA TODAY: President Obama turns his focus Thursday to the role of technology in education. Obama meets in the afternoon with a group of ConnectED Champions of Change, educators being honored for their use of Internet technology in teaching.

Frequent Tests Can Enhance College Learning, Study Finds NYT: Short quizzes at the start of each class increased attendance and overall performance, an experiment showed.

Online Courses Attract Degree Holders, Survey Finds NYT: About 80 percent of people who enrolled in a massive open online course from the University of Pennsylvania had already earned a bachelor’s degree, according to a survey.

State and district news below.

Continue reading "AM News: The Push For "Great" New Teachers ('Bye, Boomers)" »

AM News: De Blasio Vs. Moskowitz (The Future Of Charters!)


Bill de Blasio vs. Eva Moskowitz New Yorker: De Blasio and his advisers are still figuring out how much rent to charge well-funded charter schools, his transition team told me. “It would depend on the resources of the charter school or charter network,” he told WNYC, in early October. Via GothamSchools.

$23K-Per-Year Private School Opening in Red Hook DNA Info: The 1,000-seat Basis Independent School is just a few blocks from Brooklyn's largest NYCHA housing development, Red Hook Houses East and West, and median household income for the immediate area is $16,748, according to recent data. Via GothamSchools

Ed. Dept. Names 31 Finalists for Race to the Top District Contest PoliticsK12: The U.S. Department of Education today named 31 finalists for the second Race to the Top district competition, worth $120 million. Awards will range from $4 million to $30 million.

First Satellite Developed By High Schoolers Sent Into Space NPR: The first satellite ever developed by high school students to make it to space is believed to be orbiting Earth after getting a ride aboard a U.S. military rocket Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Va. Fittingly, perhaps, you can send it a text.

San Fernando Valley charter schools unite to form advocacy council LA Daily News: After a change in Los Angeles Unified's funding policy sent their numbers soaring, the 42 affiliated charter schools in the San Fernando Valley have formed an official council that will work as a bloc to communicate with district officials.

In Era of High School Choice, Manhattan District Retains Elite Status WNYC: While Mayor Michael Bloomberg expanded the number of high schools, and trumpeted the benefits of school choice, he allowed an affluent and successful school district to keep its barriers to entry. Some of the city's most desirable high schools are open only to students in District 2 which includes the Upper East Side and parts of downtown Manhattan.

New York Makes State Tests Shorter WNYC: King said he decided to shorten the 2014 tests after hearing feedback from educators, as part of an annual review. He has come under fire lately for pushing ahead with the Common Core standards faster than some would like, and for bungling the implementation. New York was only the second state in the nation to align its tests to the new learning standards last year.



AM News: President & First Lady Push New Ed Initiatives


Obama to Unveil Competition to Overhaul High School Wall Street Journal: President Barack Obama will unveil a $100 million Youth CareerConnect competition Tuesday aimed at finding new ways to better prepare high-school students.

Michelle Obama Visits '106 & Park' To Talk Higher Education Vibe: Today, First Lady Michelle Obama brought her words of wisdom and encouragement to BET's "106 & Park." She sat down with show hosts Bow Wow and Keshia Chanté to speak about her personal and her family's stance on education.

How Court's Bus Ruling Sealed Differences In Detroit Schools NPR: It's been 40 years since the Supreme Court accepted what became a landmark case about school desegregation. The case was controversial because it involved busing students between a largely African-American city and its white suburban areas. The city was Detroit and the ruling helped cement differences between urban schools and suburban ones.

Homeless Students A Growing Problem For Schools NPR: It's parent-teacher conference time. But for many students across the country, finding a bed at night is top of mind. Host Michel Martin talks about the growing number of homeless students in the U.S., with NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez, and Larissa Dickinson, a social worker for Mobile County Public Schools in Alabama.

More news below.

Continue reading "AM News: President & First Lady Push New Ed Initiatives" »

AM News: Duncan Remarks Anger Common Core Critics


'White moms' remark fuels Common Core clash Politico: Education Secretary Arne Duncan realized fairly quickly that he had stumbled.Two hours later, with those comments sparking outrage on social media, Duncan told POLITICO that he “didn’t say it perfectly.” But he stood by his thesis: To oppose the Common Core is to oppose progress.

Arne Duncan to State Chiefs: Prove Critics Wrong by Setting the Bar Higher EdWeek: Despite the intense tone of some of Duncan's statements, the question-and-answer session had an upbeat tone as state leaders stopped several times to applaud (literally applaud) the changes in renewal requirements.

Press Virtually Mum As Arne Duncan Blames Common Core Opposition on 'White Suburban Moms' Newsbusters: A Washington Post item by Valerie Strauss at its "Answer Sheet" blog quotes a dispatch from Libbly Nelson at the Politico, but does not link to it. I couldn't find a related original story by Nelson at her Politico archive or in a Politico search on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's name (not in quotes).

At Forums, State Education Commissioner Faces a Barrage of Complaints NYT: John B. King Jr. has become a sounding board for crowds of parents, educators and others who equate his name with all they consider to be broken in schooling today.

Money for new curriculum is out, education firms ready sales pitch KPCC:  State funds for the Common Core transition are unique in that they are largely unregulated.  Even though California passed the  Common Core standards in 2010, it has provided schools little guidance on which of the countless books and other materials out there actually meet those standards. The state typically approves teaching materials.

More news below.

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Remarks Anger Common Core Critics" »

AM News: New Rules Cloud Teacher Distribution Effort


Five Takeaways from the Education Department's NCLB Waiver About-Face PoliticsK12:  Whatever this 50-state strategy is that the department is touting to address teacher distribution, it should probably have some serious teeth in it given how upset civil rights groups are over this change of heart. 

Sandy Hook parents' group hopes for gun dialogue USA Today: A group representing some of the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims is hoping to persuade a half-million people to sign on to a campaign aimed at uniting parents across the USA "despite all our differences, in our shared love for our children." The campaign, called Parent Together, aims to inspire "honest and open dialogue about solutions to gun violence," the group says.

Board has concerns about Vallas' exit Connecticut Post: Departing Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas told the Board of Education on Tuesday night that his focus would be on the district, and not on running for lieutenant governor of Illinois, during the remainder of his tenure here.

Detert not budging on parent trigger bill, despite attack ads HT Politics: Although Americans for Prosperity is running ads attacking her partly on the issue, Detert said she has no regrets about twice helping kill the parent trigger bill and considers it one of her biggest successes in 2013.

E-cigarettes gain attention in schools amid rise in popularity Washington Post: The smoke was actually vapor, but for Casey B. Crouse, principal at the Silver Spring school, the episode was the first signal of what she would learn is a troubling teen trend nationally: An increasing number of students using electronic devices that simulate tobacco smoking.

Book: Private schools not as effective as some advocates suggest UofIllinois: Private and charter schools may not be as educationally effective as policymakers and school-choice advocates are leading Americans to believe, according to research by education professors Christopher and Sarah Lubienski. Their studies are explored in a new book, “The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools.”

AM News: CA & FL Newspapers Win Right To Publish Teacher Ratings


Newspapers in Calif., Fla. Can Access Teachers' Value-Added Data, Courts Rule TeacherBeat: In two new rulings both decided earlier this month, state appeals courts in California and Florida have agreed to grant access to "value-added" information on individual teachers. 

USDEto Scale Back Key Waiver-Renewal Mandates PoliticsK12: They plan to develop a 50-state strategy that is not limited to the 42 states plus the District of Columbia that have waivers. By the end of January, department officials say, they will have begun a process of putting teeth into existing Title I and Title II laws. 

Special Education Budget Cuts, Sequestration, Hurt America's Most Vulnerable Students HuffPost: For American students with disabilities, class sizes are increasing, services are waning and providers are disappearing. More than half of parents who have children with disabilities and responded to a survey say their schools have altered special education services because of declining funding since last year -- in some cases, because of federal budget cuts known as sequestration, according to survey results released Thursday. 

Plan to expand preschool for 4-year-olds is barely bipartisan, with one GOP co-sponsor Washington Post: Months after President Obama proposed a new federal initiative that would expand preschool to every 4-year-old in the country, members of Congress unveiled legislation Wednesday morning that would accomplish it.

A tough road ahead for early education bill KPCC: A roomful of pre-schoolers, a movie star, the Secretary of Education, and mostly Democrat lawmakers unveiled a bill Wednesday to boost funding for early childhood education. 

Schools That Separate the Child From the Trauma NYT (opinion): Punishing children for misbehavior they don’t know how to control only adds to their suffering.

School district news below.

Continue reading "AM News: CA & FL Newspapers Win Right To Publish Teacher Ratings" »

AM News: $30B Preschool Proposal Faces Challenges In Congress


Universal preschool bill to be introduced in Congress KPCC: The first significant legislation on early childhood education in more than a decade will be introduced in Congress Wednesday and the announcement is causing waves of excitement among preschool advocates.

House and Senate Preschool Bills: A Guide to the Latest Proposal PoliticsK12: The measure has bipartisan backing--it's being put forth by the top Democrats in both chambers on education issues, along with one Republican, Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y. But it would cost more than $30 billion over its first five years and faces some major hurdles in a Congress consumed with trimming spending.

Longer school days in store for some in 5 states AP: The 11 districts adding schools to the program are Boulder Valley and Denver in Colorado; Bridgeport, Meriden and Windham in Connecticut; Boston and Salem in Massachusetts; Rochester and Syracuse in New York; and Knox County and Metro Nashville, Tenn.

TIME Magazine Names 16 Most Influential Teens Of 2013 HuffPost: TIME magazine has released its list of the most influential teens of 2013, featuring names that range from breakout actress Chloe Moretz, to literary sensation Beth Reekles, to the one-and-only Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai

School district news below.

Continue reading "AM News: $30B Preschool Proposal Faces Challenges In Congress" »

AM News: Fancy New IL Report Card Missing Key Data


New Illinois school report cards mean less data WBEZ: Complaints from schools about the missing data are prompting the state to re-publish the prior web site along with the new report card site, which cost $600,000 and took years to develop.

D.C. Public Charter School Board releases charter rankings Washington Post: More than half of the schools — 54 percent — are in mid-performing Tier 2. And eight schools, or 12 percent of the city’s ranked charters, are low-performing and in Tier 3. 

Activist Claims Win In Tucson's Book Battle HuffPost:  Camiliano “Cam” Juarez knocked on more than 37,000 doors in his fight to bring certain books and ideas back into the classrooms of Tucson. His victory, along with that of educator Kristel Ann Foster, shifted the balance of power on the five-member board. 

A Very Early Edu-Look at the 2014 Midterm Elections Politics K12: So now that Election Day 2013 is behind us, we can all turn our attention to ... Election Day 2014! After all, it's only a year away. Here's your very, very early cheat sheet of which congressional races could matter in the general election.

Michelle Obama Edges Into a Policy Role on Higher Education NYT: The first lady, after years of evangelizing exercise and good eating habits, will begin an initiative on Tuesday that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who attend college.

Record Number Of International Students Attend U.S. Colleges NPR: Students from China, India, and South Korea make up 49 percent of all international students in the U.S. International students who come to the U.S. contribute more than $24 billion to the economy, according to an analysis released Monday.

Continue reading "AM News: Fancy New IL Report Card Missing Key Data" »

AM News: National Test Results Show Modest Increases


US Students Make Slight Progress on Test Scores WSJ: U.S. Students Make Slight Progress on Test Scores. By Stephanie Banchero. Elementary-school students made modest progress on three of four national math and reading exams this year, but proficiency rates are still stubbornly below 50% on every test.

U.S. Reading and Math Scores Show Incremental Gains NYT: Fourth and eighth graders scored somewhat better on evaluations this year, but racial and economic disparities persist.

Washington DC and Tennessee post huge gains in math and reading in 2013 while nation shows small improvement Hechinger Report: Still, Washington DC’s test scores remain the worst in the nation. It ranks dead last behind every state in the Union in 4th grade and 8th grade math and reading tests. Similarly, Tennessee is among the bottom half of the states, below the national average.

D.C. posts significant gains on national test, outpacing nearly every state Washington Post: The District’s fourth- and eighth-graders made significant gains on math and reading tests administered by the federal government this year, posting increases that were among the city’s largest in the history of the exam.

California students among worst performers on national assessment of reading and math  EdSource Today: Results from this year’s assessment show that only 33 percent of California 4th grade students and 28 percent of 8thgraders are proficient or better in math. In reading, 27 percent of 4th graders and 29 percent of 8th graders are proficient or better.

Continue reading "AM News: National Test Results Show Modest Increases" »

AM News: Bloomberg-Backed Efforts Won & Lost On Tuesday


How Bloomberg Affected Elections Nationwide HuffPost: On Tuesday evening, his signature reforms such as expanding charter schools and stats-heavy management of schools and teachers -- derided by critics simply as "corporate reform" -- were endorsed in places like Denver and Douglas County, Colo., but rejected in cities like Bridgeport, Conn., and New York. 

Loss on School Tax Stings Colorado Democrats NYT: The promise of higher teacher salaries and full-day kindergarten failed to resonate, even in areas where the money would have had the greatest benefit.

With Transition Underway, A Review of De Blasio's Education Agenda WNYC: He wants to expand pre-K by raising the tax rate on New Yorkers earning $500,000 or more. He even raised the issue again in his victory speech on Election Night, when he also invoked the need to expand after-school programs.

Teachers union president to Chris Christie: Apologize for bullying teacher Politico: In a sharply worded letter, Weingarten reminded Christie of his election-night declaration that leadership requires listening. “I couldn’t agree more,” she wrote. “But a picture tells a thousand words. And many wonder why you chose to publicly demean and vilify Melissa Tomlinson, a public school teacher and director of an after-school program, instead of answering her question with the same seriousness of purpose with which it was asked.”

Michigan Works To Match Dropouts With Degrees Already Earned NPR: A national project found that hundreds of former Michigan students had enough credits for an associate degree — but they'd never claimed them. Thousands more were close. Those credentials could make ex-students more employable or eligible for better-paying jobs.

Continue reading "AM News: Bloomberg-Backed Efforts Won & Lost On Tuesday" »

AM News: Colorado Rejects School Funding Measure


Colorado Rejects Move for Schools as Casino Fails in Massachusetts NYT: Colorado rejected sweeping school-reform measures while voters in Massachusetts rejected a proposal that sought to bring a $1 billion resort casino to East Boston.

Colorado voters show no love for tax plan EdNewsCO: Voter aversion to tax increases and mistrust of government doomed Amendment 66, supporters of the proposed tax increase said Tuesday night after the ballot measure went down to resounding defeat. 

Bill De Blasio's Schools Chancellor Remains Unknown Even As Victory Takes Shape HuffPost: Earlier this week, Page Six of the New York Post ran an item saying that de Blasio was "considering hiring teachers' union boss Randi Weingarten as the next NYC schools chancellor." A source told columnist Richard Johnson that "she wants the job."

LAUSD school board signals intent to move forward with iPad plan LA Daily News: After taking a second, deeper look at Los Angeles Unified's controversial iPad project, school board members reiterated their support Tuesday for the plan to equip all 600,000 students with tablet computers while hearing about lessons learned during the first phase of the $1 billion effort to transform kids into "global...

Denver to roll out new system for tracking student performance EdNewsCO: The new plan, outlined in an internal document acquired by EdNews Colorado, establishes so-called “gateways” for students, benchmarks at certain grade levels that can help predict whether a student will be college-ready. The gateways will not be used to hold schools or teachers accountable for their performance, said Susana Cordova, DPS’s chief academic officer and head of the team leading the design. Instead, the question is “what are some key places in a student’s career where we need to make sure we support?”

Fla. School District Trying To Curb School-To-Prison Pipeline WNYC: In Florida, one of the nation's largest school districts has overhauled its discipline policies with a single purpose in mind — to reduce the number of children going into the juvenile justice system.

Troubled prison start for Ohio school gunman AP: The teen serving life sentences for killing three students in a school shooting rampage in northeast Ohio has been in trouble four times since entering prison last March....

In New Orleans and nationally, a growing number of charter schools aspire to be ‘diverse by design’ Hechinger Report: At Morris Jeff, now in its fourth year, 60 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, just over half are African-American, and 42 percent are white. And this school year, two other new charter schools with similarly diverse demographics opened: Homer A. Plessy in the 9th Ward and Bricolage Academy Uptown. Across the country, the number of charter schools that are diverse by design has been steadily rising in recent years, in cities including New York, Denver, and Washington D.C. 

AM News: Election Day For Teacher-Bashing NJ Governor


Chris Christie Reportedly Lashes Out At Teacher Melissa Tomlinson HuffPost: On Saturday, just days before the state gubernatorial election, the candidate reportedly argued with Buena Regional Middle School teacher Melissa Tomlinson at a campaign stop in Somers Point.

LAX Shooting Victim Brian Ludmer 'Upbeat' While Recovering From Gunshot Wounds HuffPost: Calabasas High School teacher Brian Ludmer was "upbeat" and in high spirits on Sunday as he recovers from a gunshot wound to the leg suffered in Friday's shooting spree at LAX that killed a Transportation Security Administration agent and wounded several others, the school superintendent said.

A Plea for Catholic Schools to Ignore New Guidelines NYT: A group of Roman Catholic scholars wrote to the nation’s bishops, saying that the new educational standards called Common Core would lower standards.

Coloradans To Vote On Schools Initiative Mixing Funding, Reforms NPR: Colorado voters have a big decision to make next week on a proposal that would overhaul the state's public education system. Amendment 66 is best known as a tax increase for public schools. But it would also change the way schools are funded and enact education reforms, making the state the first state to try to combine taxes and reforms in one proposal.

Teachers are earning millions of dollars selling their lesson plans on the “iTunes of education” Pando Daily: One teacher, Deanna Jump, has sold $2 million worth of lesson plans. TeacherspayTeachers has accumulated 2.6 million registered users by word of mouth, half of which joined in the last year. Of that group, 40,000 are active sellers on the platform and more than 800,000 have bought a lesson plan. During the Fall, TeacherspayTeachers has been processing more than a million in sales every week.

Continue reading "AM News: Election Day For Teacher-Bashing NJ Governor" »

AM News: All Eyes On Colo. Referendum & Local Board Races


In Colorado, a Tax Increase Referendum Is Tied to Improving Schools NYT: Voters on Tuesday will be asked to approve a plan to raise $1 billion in additional taxes.

Issue committee attracts national money to Denver board race EdNewsCO: The four candidates for Denver school board who broadly support the district administration’s accountability-based school reform efforts have been out-fundraising their opponents at a rate of three to one.

Koch group, unions battle over Colorado schools race Politico: It isn't often that the Koch brothers' political advocacy group gets involved in local school board races.

Duncan spotlights home visiting, early education in rural Kentucky Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited rural Kentucky on Friday to showcase the benefits of preschool education that starts before birth. Duncan stopped by the home of a family in Whitley County that participates in a home-visiting program for families with infants and toddlers.

Thieves swipe school-issued iPads USA Today: As much-sought-after, and often pricey, tablets and laptops are landing in these young hands, used in a growing number of classrooms, thieves have begun to target schools and students in these communities. Most victimized schools have been like Agua Caliente Elementary in Cathedral City, Calif., which lost a few tablets before security forced burglars to flee. Others, like John B. Drake Elementary School in Chicago, have lost hundreds of iPads in a single break-in.

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On Colo. Referendum & Local Board Races" »



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.