About this blog Subscribe to this blog

AM News: Christie, Trump, & Hillary -- Oh, My!

Looking more closely at Hillary Clinton's education SWAT team idea - EdWeek

CTU vows 'showdown' on April 1 | Chicago Sun-Times

College Board Says Khan Academy Partnership Has Led to 19 Percent Fewer Students Paying for SAT Prep

AM News: Clinton Defends Teachers, World Remembers "Just Say No"

Hillary Clinton: Teachers Are Often 'Scapegoats' for Low-Performing Schools PK12: Clinton said she'd like to create an "education SWAT team" at the U.S. Department of Education to help intervene in Detroit's struggling schools, as well as steer federal money to repairing and modernizing schools.

'Just Say No' anti-drug campaign was Nancy Reagan's most memorable achievement LA Times: Drugs already had a strong grip in Compton High School when Maple Cornwell became assistant principal in 1983. Crack cocaine was just making its debut. Educators had few tools to fight what would quickly turn into an epidemic. Into this void came the voice of Nancy Reagan, with a message for children around the nation: "Just Say No."

States seek to stymie hiring suspected sex-predator teachers AP: A school suspects a teacher of sexual misconduct and forces the teacher out to protect the students. But that person can still get a new job in a new school, sometimes with a glowing recommendation....

Charter schools rethink discipline after focus on tough consequences ChalkbeatNY: Parallel shifts are happening across New York City, as some charter school leaders take a second look at discipline policies they put in place when they opened. Those policies, connected to a broader set of ideas referred to as “no excuses,” combine teachers’ high academic expectations for students with strict behavior rules meant to ensure an orderly learning environment.

Officer in School Beating Probe Was Fired Deputy AP: A Baltimore public school police officer under investigation for slapping and kicking a teenager at a school was fired by the city sheriff's department in 2003

Connecticut Approves New School Accountability System State EdWatch: The new accountability system ranks schools based on 12 indicators, including college access and physical fitness, in addition to test scores and expanded ways of measuring graduation.

Judge: Plaintiffs may still access complete California student database, but with tightened security KPCC:  A massive database that includes sensitive information on every student who attended California public schools since 2008 will no longer be handed over in its entirety to a small team of experts and lawyers who've filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education.

Guard at Pennsylvania school stabbings dies of heart attack AP: A security guard wounded trying to stop a student who had just stabbed 20 others at a western Pennsylvania high school has died....

AM News: GOP Debate, Baltimore School Police, New SAT Arrives

At GOP Debate, Candidates Talk Detroit Public Schools, Common Core PK12: Kasich said he'd like to slim down the U.S. Department of Education, but didn't say whether he would bail out Detroit public schooos.

Baltimore school police officer in video was fired as sheriff's deputy in 2003 Baltimore Sun: Spence was one of two Baltimore sheriff's deputies who were fired in 2003 after a wrongful Taser attack that sparked outrage in the Hispanic community, according to reports in The Baltimore Sun at the time. See also AP, The Seventy Four, AP.

Students Get Early Crack at New SAT Exam WNYC: The new three-hour SAT has more emphasis on reading. The essay is optional. Only correct answers will be scored, so students are not penalized for guessing. And the test will no longer focus on obscure vocabulary words, in favor of testing students on vocabulary in context. See also AP, Washington Post, BuzzFeedHechinger Report.

Opt-Out Fans Urge Senate to Reject John King's Ed. Sec. Nomination PK12: A group of progressives, including leaders in the opt-out movement, sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this week recommending that its members not confirm King, whose nomination is slated for a vote next week.

Illinois House passes bill to create elected CPS board Chicago Sun-Times: If the legislation makes it through the Senate — and that’s still a giant “if” considering that its president is hammering out a solution to the state’s stalled budget — Chicago’s Public Schools would be overseen by 21 democratically elected members of the public rather than the seven the mayor alone chooses. See also District Dossier.

At morning ‘walk-ins,’ advocates press Cuomo for more school funding Chalkbeat: Thursday’s demonstrations across the state are part of a national campaign led by the Chicago-based Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. The group said 40,000 people from 838 schools nationwide had attended similar events.

Flint Is in the News, but Lead Poisoning Is Even Worse in Cleveland NYT: By the most recent estimate, about 37 million homes and apartments still have some lead paint on walls and woodwork, 23 million with potentially hazardous levels of lead in soil, paint chips or household dust.

Do kids learn more when they trade in composition books for iPads? Washington Post: Montgomery County Public Schools has one of the nation’s largest laptop initiatives. At the halfway point, the district has distributed more than 50,000 laptops to classrooms at a cost of $21.8 million. Across the river, far-smaller Arlington Public Schools is halfway through an effort to provide an iPad Air or MacBook Air to every student in grades two through 12 by 2018; the school system has used $5.6 million in local and state funds.

AM News: Baltimore Video, NJ Charter Expansion, CPS vs. Rauner

Jarring New Video Shows A School Police Officer Kicking A Black Teen HuffPost: Four seconds, three slaps, two profane words and one kick. That's the narrative of a disturbing new video that appears to show a Baltimore school police officer assaulting an unidentified male teenager at Reach Partnership High School.  See also Washington Post, AP.

Baraka calls Christie's charter expansion OK a 'huge step backwards' for Newark NJ.com: Mayor Ras Baraka is coming out strongly against Gov. Chris Christie's decision to clear the way for a new wave of charter school expansion in Newark, calling it "huge step backwards" for their traditional public counterparts.

 CPS chief blasts state panel's reversal of plan to close charter schools Tribune: Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool opened a new front in the city's battle with Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, lambasting a state board's "shameful decision" to overturn the district's plan to close three charter schools at the end of the school year.

Activists urge Senate not to confirm Obama’s pick for new education secretary Washington Post: Dozens of students, parents, educators and activists are urging the U.S. Senate not to confirm John King, President Obama’s choice to succeed Arne Duncan as education secretary, because he pushed education policies when he was education commissioner of New York State that they say were “ineffective and destructive.”

Head Start Program Expanded In Flint To Help Kids Exposed To Lead NPR: It's an effort to combat the damaging effects on kids from the city's lead-laced water. The effects of lead exposure are lifelong and can cause learning disabilities.

Is 'Grit' Doomed To Be The New Self-Esteem? NPR: Schools are moving to high-stakes testing of social and emotional skills. Some experts say it's too soon.

 Teen, peeved at getting up for school, shoots family Tennessean: An argument over getting out of bed for school Tuesday morning led a teenage boy to open fire on four family members, including his grandmother and two young children, in an East Nashville home, Metro police said.

AM News: Report Says NYC Schools Not Serving Special Needs Students

Thousands of New York City Students Deprived of Special-Education Services, Report Says NYT: The city’s Education Department said that its data systems were so unreliable that it was not exactly sure what percentage of students were not receiving the services. See also WNYC, Chalkbeat.

Refugees Say N.Y. School District Blocked Them From Going To High School NPR: Utica City School District is facing two federal lawsuits that say it is illegally diverting refugees away from its high school, instead funneling them to other programs to mainly learn English.

Debate surfaces over how much state action needed to ease teacher shortages EdSource Today: An LAO report argues market forces are likely to reverse the recent trend.

As online Common Core tests fail, Tennessee schools face unknown once again Hechinger Report: It was just after nine on Monday morning when Lori Smith, the associate principal at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Kingsport, received a text from her sister, the instructional technology coordinator for Monroe County Schools.

How One D.C. Elementary's 5th Grade Enrollment Highlights Concerns About Middle School WAMU: Brent Elementary on Capitol Hill has a robust student body through 4th grade. After that, things change dramatically. Why?

L.A. Supt. King pledges to bring charters and traditional schools together LA Times: Recently hired school L.A. schools Supt. Michelle King on Tuesday called for traditional public schools and charters—groups often at odds—to work together, pledging to set up a conference where they could share ideas.

New LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King gets earful from Valley parents  LA Daily News: The hourlong town hall-style event was hosted and led by LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff of District 6, in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

Let's Stop Requiring Advanced Math, A New Book Argues NPR: Algebra, trigonometry and calculus keep millions of people from graduating. And they're unnecessary, argues author and professor Andrew Hacker.

French, Spanish, German ... Java? Making Coding Count As A Foreign Language NPR: Florida is poised to become the first state to allow high school students to take computer coding as a way to meet a language requirement.

South: Virginia: Bill to Notify Parents of Books’ Content Advances AP: The state’s Senate approved a bill that would force schools to notify parents if their children will be assigned to read books with sexually explicit content.

Rising Poverty Rates, Tight Budgets Put The Pinch On Virginia Schools WAMU: For cities like Manassas, the number of students in poverty has more than doubled in the last decade and many of them, like those who recently immigrated from Central America, need special instruction that puts strains on school resources.

AM News: Disappointing Impact Of Teacher Evaluation Changes* [Corrected]

*Correction: DC should not have been included. 

Very Few Teachers Receive Poor Job Ratings, And New evaluations Haven’t Changed That Washington Post: Are the new evaluations — many of which incorporate test scores or other measures of student learning — any better at identifying poor teaching? Not really, according to a new working paper by Matthew Kraft of Brown University and Allison Gilmour of Vanderbilt. 

Despite Teacher-Evaluation Changes, the 'Widget Effect' Is Alive and Well Teacher Beat: Despite widespread efforts to make evaluation systems more truthful, most teachers continue to receive good teacher-evaluation ratings—including a handful who probably don't deserve them, according to a recently released working paper.

On the Upper West Side, a radical plan to desegregate schools faces an uphill climb Chalkbeat: On Tuesday, the district’s Community Education Council will host the first of two information sessions about that style of admissions, known as “controlled choice.” Another Manhattan district and one in Brooklyn are also exploring such systems, and education department officials watching closely to see what they come up with. But the prospect of District 3 adopting a controlled choice system anytime soon appears slim.

Obama Encouraging Young People To Learn Math, Science AP: More than 50 national labs in 20 states are opening their doors this week to approximately 5,000 elementary, middle and high school students to help spark interest by exposing them to the scientists, engineers and lab employees who carry out important work and research at facilities in their communities.

Teach For America Marks 25th Anniversary With A Commitment To Recruit More Teachers Of Color NewsOne: At the top of TFA’s agenda going forward is recruiting teachers of color to meet the needs of the nation’s exploding Latino student population and African-American pupils who are struggling to close the academic achievement gap. 

Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push to Measure Students’ Emotional Skills NYT: Starting this year, their school and schools in eight other California districts will test students on how well they have learned the kind of skills like self-control and conscientiousness. A recent update to federal education law requires states to include at least one nonacademic measure in judging school performance. But the race to test for so-called social-emotional skills has raised alarms even among the biggest proponents of teaching them, who warn that the definitions are unclear and the tests faulty.

How this Bay Area charter school network is reinventing education Hechinger Report/LA Times:  Where many would see signs of success, Tavenner saw failure. "I taught those kids," Tavenner said of that moment in 2011. "I was their principal,... Diane Tavenner scanned the list of names a staffer at Summit Preparatory Charter High School had just handed her. She began to cry. They weren't happy tears.

L.A. Unified plans a Common Core makeover for its elementary school report cards KPCC: Right now, students get two marks for each subject: an academic grade and an effort grade. The report card changes are being proposed as part of a plan to better help parents track how well students are mastering the expectations spelled out in new sets of academic standards.

*Correction: DC should not have been included. 

AM News: Cuomo's Reversals, Deportation Fears Lower Attendance, Super Tuesday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Faces Criticism for Reversals WSJ: In the interview, Mr. Cuomo said he supported a change of course because the large number of parents who allowed their children to skip statewide tests last year was “a totally new fact to take into consideration.”

Fear of Deportation Is Driving Migrant Kids to Stay Home from School VICE: Attendance dropped by one-third in several classes at Riverside High School the day after Acosta's arrest, according to Bryan Proffitt, the president of the Durham Educators Association. Since then, he told me attendance both at Riverside and neighboring schools has remained "inconsistent."

Super Tuesday: 15 Votes, 15 Big Education Stories The Seventy Four: From Alaska to Texas, from Vermont to American Samoa, 15 states and territories vote in Super Tuesday. Here's a quick survey of the top education issues affecting voters in the Super Tuesday states. See also Politico: Bernie’s Revolution Hits a Wall.

With Fewer Members, a Diminished Political Role for Wisconsin Unions NYT: In Superior, in the state’s far north, 241 members remain in a union for which 361 public school teachers are eligible. Andrea Moreau, an instructional coach for other teachers, stopped paying monthly dues in November, saying higher pension and health care contributions were insurmountable obstacles for her, especially with two young children in day care and student loans to pay off.

Judge Dismisses DPS Sick-Out Lawsuit Against Union Detroit Free Press: A judge has dismissed a controversial lawsuit Detroit Public Schools filed against the Detroit Federation of Teachers and its interim president in an effort to stop teacher sick-outs.

Success Academy Loses in Pre-K Battle With de Blasio Administration NYT: Success Academy suffered a defeat in a high-profile skirmish with New York City on Friday, when the state education commissioner ruled that the city could require the charter school network to sign a contract to receive funding for its prekindergarten program.&nbsp

Poor Scores Leave an Afrocentric School in Chicago Vulnerable NYT: An African-centered charter school is praised by supporters as instilling confidence in students, even as their subpar national test scores have led to a recommendation to close the academy.

Discipline in school shifts from harsh punishment to ‘progressive’ model LA Daily News: The new system, known as PBIS — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports — emphasizes a different way.

Moskowitz offers rare apology in private memo to staff Politico NY: Saying she felt Success tried to help Miranda before the Times story was published, Moskowitz wrote, "we are deeply sorry she feels otherwise." Moskowitz then launches into a recounting of the logistics surrounding the video's release and attempts to apologize to Miranda. The details quickly become convoluted.

Audio: In an impoverished Silicon Valley neighborhood, a bold approach to preschool KPCC: In Santee there are only enough licensed childcare seats for 20 percent of children under 5. It's one of many childcare deserts in California. Then last September, Lujan hit the jackpot for her youngest child, 4-year-old Angela: a preschool slot in a brand new center called Educare

#OscarsSoWhite? Not At This School NPR: Ahead of the Oscars, school kids on Milwaukee's west side decided to pay tribute to African-American cultural icons in their own awards ceremony.

AM News: Vergara Lawsuit Restarts, Obama Appointee Testifies, Chicago Teachers Protest

In 'Vergara' arguments, unions say courts should stay away from teacher tenure debate KPCC:  Much of Thursday morning's oral arguments in the California Court of Appeals was spent wrangling over whether it was appropriate for a court to weigh in — or whether teacher job protection laws were a matter of policy best left to the state legislature. See also NYT, LA Times, EdSource Today, LA School Report.

Obama's Pick For Education Says Teachers Saved His Life AP: President Barack Obama's choice to serve as Education Secretary says he rose to his current position because New York City public school teachers "literally saved my life.” At his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, John B. King Jr., told the story of his mother's death when he was eight and his father's passing four years later. See also New York Times and Education Week

Chicago Teachers Union Rallies Over Expected Layoffs, TIF Funds Tribune: A small group of Chicago Teachers Union members and supporters rallied Thursday outside City Hall to protest expected layoffs and repeat a long-standing call for using surplus tax-increment financing funds to help Chicago Public Schools. The district is expected to announce the number of employees being laid off next week. See also Sun Times.

In an impoverished Silicon Valley neighborhood, a bold approach to preschool: This new preschool has a bold vision: bring the kind of early education that affluent kids get to an impoverished neighborhood. No number and letter drills here. It's play-based and the curriculum is driven by children's interests and explorations. It's paid for largely by public preschool funds. And Educare also caters to the children not lucky enough to get a preschool seat through free community play spaces.

Activists Will Discuss Future of Opt-Out Movement at Sold-Out Conference EdWeek: Activists at United Opt Out's upcoming conference will work on ways to keep momentum going in their push against standardized tests, and to broaden their basket of issues.

Dallas ISD teachers plan appeal after losing fight against new pay-for-performance system Dallas Morning News: The National Education Association-Dallas is representing 91 teachers who contend the Teacher Excellence Initiative is flawed. The evaluation system bases a teacher’s pay on performance, student surveys and test scores.

AM News: Student Data, Deportation Fears, House Budget Hearing

Ruling Raises Objections to Release of Personal Student Data AP: A recent federal court ruling ordering the release of personal data on more than 10 million California students highlights the growing amount of information schools now collect — and the loopholes that allow it to be released.

School system reassures immigrant families fearful of being deported Washington Post: "Children in our care will be safe," says schools chief in Arlington County, Va.

John King Quizzed on Charters, Teachers, Spending at House Budget Hearing PK12: Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. highlighted efforts to improve school diversity and elevate the teaching profession in the Education Department's fiscal 2016 budget request.

Officer uses stun gun to break up fight at Florida school AP: A resource officer at Florida middle school used a stun gun to break up a fight between students....

Mother of Girl Berated in Video Assails Success Academy’s Response NYT:  Nadya Miranda said officials of the charter school focused on defending the teacher and its public image, with little concern for her daughter’s welfare.

Vergara case appeal puts spotlight on debate over rights of students and teachers LA Times: The sides squaring off in a Los Angeles appeals courtroom on Thursday in the landmark case of Vergara vs. California agree on this: Teachers are key to whether students founder or thrive, and far too many students are failing or falling behind. See also EdWeek.

Should Teacher Union Officials Sit on Local School Finance Panels? Teacher Beat: A New Jersey teacher union official's appointment to such a board was a potential conflict of interest, a court ruled.

AM News: ESSA Hearing, LAUSD Grad Rate Spike, NY Opt-Out Penalties

Accountability Grabs the Spotlight at Senate ESSA Oversight Hearing PK12: Tuesday's congressional hearing was second so far on oversight of the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Why LAUSD's projected graduation rate shot up nine points in one month KPCC: What looked like a sudden shift in the numbers is the result of what district officials described Tuesday as part of a year-long, district-wide effort to ensure off-track high school seniors earn the credits they need to get their diplomas. See also LA Times.

Landmark teacher tenure fight resumes in California court LA Times: One of the highest-stakes battles in education is about to resume Thursday in a Los Angeles courtroom as teacher unions and their allies try to win back job protections that were tossed out in a landmark 2014 ruling. 

Opt-out movement unlikely to provoke sanctions from state, this time around ChalkbeatNY: Though a federal mandate that 95 percent of students take state assessments still applies to New York, members of the Board of Regents indicated this week they are not inclined to impose sanctions on schools or districts with a low participation rates. They are, however, looking to craft a long-term plan.

Far higher share of students are passing at least one AP test during high school Washington Post:  Maryland leads the nation in the portion of its graduates from the Class of 2015 who earned a 3 or better on at least one Advanced Placement exam. Virginia was 6th in the country.

De Blasio's First School Closures Up for a Vote WNYC: As a matter of policy, de Blasio has shied away from closing schools in favor of giving troubled schools extra resources through school "Renewal" or community schools programs. Two of the schools up for closure, Peace Academy and Foundations, were part of the Renewal program.

State teachers union exec can't oversee local school budget, judge rules NJ.com: Judge Thomas Moore agreed with Montclair Kids First, a coalition of local parents, that Sean Spiller's seat on the Board of School Estimate represented a conflict of interest with his job as the New Jersey Education Association's secretary-treasurer.

The Latest: Md. school aide faces child-pornography charges AP: The latest on a child pornography scandal at a Maryland elementary school (all times local):...

Amazon’s Kindle to sponsor national spelling bee Seattle Times: The move should give Amazon’s line of e-readers a lot of visibility: more than 11 million students participate in the spelling contest every year.

AM News: Annual Gates Letter Day

Bill and Melinda Gates Ask Teens to Work on Global Clean Energy, Women’s LiberationWSJ: In annual letter, philanthropists look to tomorrow’s scientists to help fix development problems. Bill and Melinda Gates regularly challenge global leaders and policy makers to help them solve the world’s biggest development problems.

Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind NYT: The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote soon on a plan that could add subsidies for broadband Internet services in low-income homes.

Success Academy Plans Another Harlem Elementary School WSJ: The network is starting a program that lets parents rank their preferences among its 11 middle school sites in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, and fifth-graders expecting to attend the Harlem Central site next fall are being redirected to Harlem North West nearby.

Louisiana voucher students did worse at new schools, study says NOLA: Louisiana's private school voucher program was billed as an exit hatch for students from bad public schools. But it was more like a trap door, according to a study released Monday (Feb. 22) by the University of Arkansas and the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University.

Teaching Laquan McDonald WBEZ Chicago: In the wake of the several released videos of Chicago police-involved shooting deaths of African Americans after the Laquan McDonald video, some educators have been tasked with altering their daily lesson plans for frank discussions about police brutality. Walter Taylor, a professional development facilitator for the Chicago Teachers Union’s Quest Center, talks about “Teaching About Laquan McDonald.”

Reality Check: Graduation Numbers Inflated At Nearly All CPS High Schools WBEZ Chicago: Indeed, the analysis done by WBEZ and the Better Government Association shows that compared to 2010, many schools graduation rates are up. Even after the revisions, 27 high schools saw double digit increases in their graduation rates between 2010 and 2015.

Study In Your PJs? What A High School 'Work From Home Day' Looks Like NPR: No alarm. No school bus. No problem. Thanks to a school's laptop program, everyone takes a virtual lesson.

Desegregation Proposal Depends on Parents' Choices WNYC: The vast majority of students in the district are Latino and black; at East Village Community School, more than half the students are white, about 20 percent are Hispanic and fewer than 10 percent are black. The school also has fewer low-income children than the district overall, just about 25 percent compared to almost 80 percent.

Books: Review: In ‘The End of Average,’ Cheers for Individual Complexity NYT: The author Todd Rose warns against conclusions drawn from large populations, arguing that they rarely account for important personal variations.

AM News: TN Pulling Plug On Online Testing, States Still Setting Own Proficiency Levels

The State That Pulled The Plug On Computer Testing NPR: Nearly two-dozen states have moved to online exams, many with the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortiums. And Scherich says many have run into trouble. Florida's rollout was particularly rough. But Tennessee is unusual for abandoning computer-based testing for the year.

In the age of Common Core, states are still defining ‘proficient’ differently Washington Post: A new study says that PARCC tests are scored much more rigorously than Smarter Balanced.

How Chicago Teachers Union spends its money Sun-Times: With more than $25 million a year in dues coming from 28,000 teachers and other school employees, CTU president Karen Lewis and her 77-member staff are a well-funded adversary for the mayor and his schools chief, Forrest Claypool, a Chicago Sun-Times examination of the union’s financial filings shows.

California court to rule on suit to scrap K-12 funding system KPCC: Creating a funding system around what it costs to prepare each student for college or a career would ensure “every student can succeed in the work force and succeed as an engaged citizen in our democracy,” Affeldt said. But the county court dismissed that claim, saying that the state legislature can fund schools how it chooses and the constitution does not demand that schools meet any bar for excellence. And beyond the constitutional issues, the case also raises questions about what it means for schools to prepare students for college and to participate fully in civic life, and how much that costs.

Young Students Call for More School Diversity WNYC: The goal would be to distribute students more evenly among the schools by setting aside seats for low-income students. It's a topic of great interest for adults but one that most profoundly affects children which is why WNYC convened a small group of third graders from East Village Community School.

Why Science Teachers are Struggling with Climate Change NPR: Roughly 3 in 4 say they talk about global warming in class, though typically only for an hour or two. But the study's lead author, Eric Plutzer of Penn State, says barely a majority are getting the science right.

Got an A in Algebra? That’s Worth $120 NYT: Raise.me, a three-year-old start-up, allows students to accrue incremental scholarship credits by entering their high school achievements on a website.

Teaching Bronx Students the Language of Computers NYT: A growing movement in the borough seeks to equip young people with the knowledge and the skills to write code so that they can navigate an increasingly digital world.

City data shows number in Absent Teacher Reserve remains steady Chalkbeat: The latest numbers show that 1,083 teachers were collecting salaries and benefits without holding full-time positions in schools last month, compared to 1,102 in January 2015. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city teachers union have pledged to reduce the size of the pool, which swelled under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and costs the city millions of dollars each year.

Despite new requirements, L.A. Unified's projected graduation rate soars LA Times: For years, Los Angeles school officials have suggested that miracle academic turnarounds would be unsustainable and even suspect, and that real and lasting gains for the academically lagging school system would be a step-by-step journey. On Friday, that gospel changed.

Seattle Public Schools sends test results to wrong families Seattle Times: School district officials blame a database error and ask those who mistakenly received the 348 confidential letters to please return them unopened.

AM News: NYC School Safety Data Differs Depending On Who's Counting What

 

School Safety Incidents Vary, Depending on Who CountsWNYC: The department suggested that the state's reporting system included a wider range of incidents, not all of which are violent. It said schools input incidents into the city's system, and then staff compile them for the state's system. But the city's own annual numbers are reported by the NYPD and only track incidents involving police. See also Chalkbeat.

Glitches continue to haunt controversial Common Core exam WINK News: A number of glitches with state exams still remain as testing dates approach, Lee County School District information technology experts said Thursday.

A 4-4 Supreme Court Could Be Good For Unions And Voting Rights Advocates Five Thirty Eight: Seven cases currently before the court were predicted by one or both of those sources to result in 5-to-4 reversal votes in which Scalia would’ve been in the majority. In other words, there are seven cases in which Scalia was predicted to be a pivotal voter but are now seen as likely to result in a tie.

State board rules against Chicago Teachers Union effort to get back pay for teachers Tribune: CPS said it told the union this summer that it would not distribute the step and lane payments while negotiations over a new contract were ongoing, and that it would not pay those increases through at least the first year of any ensuing contract.

A tale of two schools on protest day Medill Reports: At Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy, about 30 people gathered outside the school. Teachers, parents and students gave speeches about how the budget cuts could affect them in adverse ways. At Walter Payton College Prep, about 40 parents, students and teachers staged a walk-in. Payton hasn’t been as affected by the budget cuts.

Look, Mom, I’m Writing a Term Paper on My Smartphone WSJ: After years of cellphone bans, many teachers now invite teens to use smartphones for homework and during class.

AM News: #ReclaimOurSchools Rallies, #BlackLivesMatter At The White House

Parents, teachers and children rally for public education at schools across the nation Washington Post:  Alliance including teachers unions stages "walk-ins" at hundreds of schools. See also KPCC, Boston Learning Lab, WGN TV Chicago, SCPRA Times.

Obama To Meet With Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter Activists BuzzFeed: The White House told BuzzFeed News that President Obama will host a landmark meeting with activists from the Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements on Thursday. Icons like Wade Henderson and John Lewis will meet with movement leaders like Brittany Packnett, Aislinn Pulley and DeRay Mckesson.

10 million California student records about to be released to attorneys SJ Mercury News:California public-school records on about 10 million students -- including their Social Security numbers -- will soon be handed over to attorneys for a parent group suing the state, with both parties blaming the other for the impending release of private information. See also SFGate.

Gov. Bill Haslam: TNReady scores can be left off teacher evaluations Chattanooga Times Free Press: In the meantime, the state intends to move back to pencil-and-paper tests for ... and were approved over a flare-up over proposed Common Core tests.

Black CPS student suspension rates fall but still highest by far Chicago Sun-Times:Black students accounted for 39 percent of district-run and charter school students but 68 percent of 61,349 suspensions and 81 percent of expulsions in the 2014-15 school year.

At Chicago’s Only ‘Forest Playschool,’ Nature is the Classroom WBEZ: Research shows that imaginative social play and getting outside are key components to a good learning environment for preschoolers. At Chicago’s only “forest playschool,” nature is literally the classroom. Kids spend the entire day outside in the woods and a prairie, and the focus is on collaboration, not competition.

California School to Change Policy After Banning Gay T-Shirt AP: A central California school district has settled a free speech lawsuit brought by a high school junior who was sent home for refusing to change out of T-shirt that read, "Nobody Knows I'm A Lesbian."

AM News: Clinton's Bid For Black Votes, Sanders' Dubious Free College Plan, Teachers "Walk-In"

Hillary Clinton Calls for End to School-to-Prison Pipeline in Bid for Black Votes WSJ: Hillary Clinton, relying heavily on black voters in her battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, vowed Tuesday to address racial disparities in the nation’s economy, criminal-justice system, health and schools.

Bernie Sanders Promises Free College. Will It Work? NPR: Let's assume that, somehow, it gets done. Would getting rid of tuition at public colleges and universities, by itself, really give the United States "the most educated workforce in the world"? Probably not.

With ‘walk-ins,’ national teachers union spotlights LA charter fight KPCC: Teachers union sympathizers will rally at public school sites in more than two-dozen cities across the nation Wednesday morning — including at more than 170 Los Angeles Unified school sites — as part of a national demonstration of support for traditional public school districts. Among those expected to be in attendance in Los Angeles: the president of the nation's second-largest teachers union. And that she's in L.A. specifically is no accident.

ACT v. SAT: New Standards in Illinois WBEZ Chicago: For the past 15 years, high school students in Illinois have taken the ACT, just like many other students in the Midwest. But now, there’s a new college entrance exam in town: The SAT. Chicago Tribune’s Diane Rado explains differences between the two tests and how this move will affect students.

2015 Saw Historic Shift in State Education Leadership, New Report Says State EdWatch: At least 31 states got new education chiefs last year, according to Achieve, and there were 95 new state school board members in 33 states.

Google says it tracks personal student data, but not for advertising Washington Post: In a letter to Sen. Al Franken, Google says it doesn't target ads to students, but does track some K-12 student data.

D.C. Schools Budget Emphasizes Alternative High Schools and Programs The Washington Post: The D.C. school system is hoping to boost the city’s alternative high schools next year, proposing in its 2017 budget to put an additional $4 million toward programs that help students who are generally lagging far behind in school.

Appointed Boards To Continue At St. Louis And Riverview Gardens School Districts St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Missouri state school board voted Tuesday to keep St. Louis Public Schools under the leadership of an appointed board for at least three more years. The unanimous vote — which had been expected — means the Special Administrative Board, or SAB, will have controlled St. Louis schools for more than a decade by the time its fourth term expires in June 2019.

For Preservice Teachers, Lessons on Cultural Sensitivity Education Week: The K-12 student population has never been more diverse. The first, and arguably predominant, interaction with public institutions that people of color face is at school. But the teaching force continues to be dominated by white women. And through their interactions with students—whether explicit or subtle, well-meaning or ignorant—teachers can compound the biases that many experience. 

Mass. Education Chief Recommends Adding Charter Seats Boston Learning Lab:  Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, announced Tuesday that he will advise the state board of education to approve new charter schools in Springfield and Brockton, plus the expansion of five existing charter schools, including four in Boston.

AM News: Scalia's Death Throws Labor Lawsuit (Friedrichs) Into Uncertainty

How Scalia's Death May Grant Public-Sector Unions A Reprieve Huffington Post: But now, with the likelihood of the court's four liberal justices backing fair share fees, Friedrichs may no longer be the looming disaster for public-sector unions that it seemed. See also LA Times, ScotusBlogEdSource Today, Slate, NYT, EdWeek.

Louisiana Drops Common-Core Lawsuit—Again State EdWatch: Gov. Jon Bel Edwards announced last week that he'd dropped the lawsuit, only to have the state's attorney general claim the lawsuit wasn't the governor's to drop.

Working Shift: What’s It Like to Be a High School Principal? WBEZ: Chicago high school principal Anna Pavichevich explains what it’s like to lead a school with 1120 students and more than 100 staff members.

Should Computer Education Cover More Than Just Coding? NPR: Computers are not just about coding. There's also a lot of theory — and science — behind technology. And those theoretical concepts form the basis of much of computer science education in colleges and universities.

It's Not Easy Teaching Special Ed NPR: It's getting harder and harder to find quality special education teachers, which is why 49 out of 50 states report shortages.

Program Aims to Keep Schools Diverse as New York Neighborhoods Gentrify NYT: The city’s Education Department is allowing seven schools to set aside a percentage of seats for low-income families, English-language learners or students engaged with the child welfare system.

Dispute With New York City Threatens Success Academy’s Pre-K NYT: A critical deadline passed in a dispute between the charter school network and the de Blasio administration over the network’s prekindergarten program, leaving its fate in doubt.

Evaluation Process For DCPS Teachers Undergoing Changes WAMU: DCPS officials are making several changes to the formal teacher evaluation process that's been in place since 2009, some of which — including student evaluations — are opposed by the teacher's union.

AM News: Obama To Nominate King For Education Secretary After All

Obama to Officially Nominate John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee, has been urging the White House to officially nominate someone to succeed former Secretary Arne Duncan, since back in December. See also AP, Washington Post.

D.C. accidentally uploads private data of 12,000 students Washington Post: According to the memo, someone in the office uploaded the data to a public D.C. Council Dropbox account ahead of a council hearing on the Individual Education Program, which provides tailored education plans for students with special needs. All 12,000 students, who attend public and charter schools in kindergarten through 12th grades, have such individual education plans.

Science Teachers’ Grasp of Climate Change Is Found Lacking NYT: A survey of 1,500 teachers in the United States found that on average they spend just one to two hours on average over the course of an academic year.

As The Water Crisis Continues, Flint's Superintendent Looks Forward NPR: While the damage from lead in Flint's water is not yet known, even low levels can be harmful to children. The Michigan city's superintendent of schools says he's bracing for an uncertain future.

ACT essay scores are inexplicably low, causing uproar among college-bound students Washington Post: Some students earn great marks overall -- at or near the top score of 36 -- but are graded in the low 20s for writing.

On Video, a First Grader, a Stumble in Math and a Teacher’s Anger NYT: At Success Academy, the charter school network in New York City, current and former educators say the quest for high scores drives some of them over the line.

Two years in, Carmen Fariña measures her progress by grad rates & grateful emails Chalkbeat: Many educators and parents praise Fariña’s school-by-school approach, saying they feel respected and reassured by her intimate knowledge of the system. But her critics often scoff at it. Those who identify as education reformers (a label Fariña also applies to herself) say her theory of change is too incremental and founded on experience over research, while some principals complain about micromanaging.

 
 

AM News: Dues Increases, Charter Approvals, Immigration Raids (LAUSD)

L.A. teachers union wins dues increase, vows to battle foes of traditional public education LA Times: Members have responded by agreeing to raise their annual dues by about a third, to $1,000 a year. The increase was approved by 82% of those who cast ballots, according to United Teachers Los Angeles, which tallied the votes Wednesday.

As the the LAUSD charter schools conflict escalates, here’s what you need to know KPCC:  Tuesday’s L.A. Unified school board meeting was unusual. What made it out of the ordinary, charter school supporters said, is that school district staff is recommending the denial of charter school petitions much more often than now.

The Los Angeles Unified School District Has Banned Immigration Raids on Its Campuses VICE: The school board of the Los Angeles Unified School District unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday that bans US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from coming onto school property without permission — a move meant to signal to immigrant students and their families that they are secure while on campus.

D.C. Public Schools, closely watched for its reform efforts, is overhauling teacher evaluation and training Washington Post: Because few details of the plan have been released, it is unclear what kind of direct impact the changes will have for classroom teachers in the immediate future. The head of the city’s teacher union, Elizabeth Davis, said that teachers are unsettled and exhausted after adjusting to a series of changes and new initiatives in recent years.

Principals React to Middle of the School Year Budget Cuts WBEZ: Nearly every one of Chicago’s 654 public schools will have to cut its spending plan for the next four months. The average amount lost per school is about $60,000, which amounts to about one or two teachers for the remainder of the school year.

Morning Video: Detroit Faces Further Teacher Sick-Outs (Plus: Chicago Noble)

 

"Despite cautioning that school system is set to run out of money in April, state-appointed emergency manager Darnell Earley has announced his resignation effective at the end of February. He exits amid chaos, and another potential teacher sick-out." (From PBS NewsHour Why Detroit's teachers are 'sick' of their inadequate schools).

Or click here to listen to an overview of Chicago Catalyst's deep dive into the city's biggest charter network, Noble Charter Schools

xx

AM News: School Takeover Threat Unifies Chicago Mayor, Teachers Union

Power Struggle Over Future Of Public Schools Heats Up In Chicago NPR: The politics surrounding the future of Chicago's public school system are intensifying. Three different players are in a power struggle for control of the system, which is suffering financially.

Education Magazine Takes Readers Inside Chicago’s Biggest Charter Network WBEZ Chicago: Catalyst associate editors Melissa Sanchez and Kalyn Belsha take us inside the Noble charter network, where one out of every 10 kids in the CPS system get their education.

PARCC Considers Reorganization, Seeks Input to Shape its Future EdWeek: The consortium, which has battled declining membership and a backlash against standardized testing, is trying to sort out the best way to provide its services to states. Among the questions it's asking: What's the best way to set ourselves up to get good test content to states, and let them customize what they get? What's the best way to let states collaborate to build test content, and still safeguard test quality and comparability?

Los Angeles teachers union seeks to re-negotiate evaluation system KPCC: The proposal could spell more change for the district's teacher evaluation system, which the union says has been in "transition" in recent years. See also LA Times: L.A. teachers union seeks to raise dues as it fights a charter school push.

Obama Budget Would Prioritize Integration, Flat Fund Key Programs PK12: The budget puts a premium on integration but provides essentially level funding for Title I grants for disadvantaged kids and special education state grants. See also Washington Post.

This teenager is one of 12 students in the world who aced the AP Calculus exam Washington Post: Landon Labuskes, of Virginia, was one of 12 to ace AP Calculus AB -- out of 302,532 who took the test last year. He was 14.

Facing Teacher Shortages, States Turn to Emergency Certificates TeacherBeat: A handful of states are now relying on emergency permits or other nonstandard certificates to meet immediate hiring needs.

 

 

AM News: Districts & Charters Experimenting With Diversity Growing, Says Report

More schools nationwide are experimenting with diversity programs, report says ChalkbeatNY: Ninety-one districts and charter networks now have at least one school that factors socioeconomic status into its assignments, according to a report released Tuesday by the Century Foundation. The number identified by the foundation has more than doubled since 2007 and represents about 4 million students nationwide, the report says. See also Washington Post.

The Common Core Has Its SupportersWSJ: Many in New York state have embraced the standards, believing they spur more analytical thinking by children and more teamwork among educators

Obama Budget to Seek New Money to Help Schools Integrate, Sources Say PK12: The Obama administration is expected to seek $120 million in new money to help schools become more integrated, among other proposals in the fiscal 2017 budget.

In an age of resegregation, these schools are trying to balance poor and wealthy kids Washington Post: An increasing number of school districts and charter networks are trying to break up concentrated poverty and balance their student populations by race and income.

Department Of Education Creates Student Aid Enforcement Office NPR: The Department of Education announced Monday it will create a Student Aid Enforcement Unit to crack down on higher education institutions that are taking advantage of vulnerable students. See also Washington Post.

New, Reading-Heavy SAT Has Students Worried NYT: Some educators fear that the revised test — one of the biggest redesigns ever — will penalize certain students, like immigrants and the poor.

'An Average Guy' Excels At Teaching Students AP Calculus NPR: David Greene talks to advanced placement calculus teacher Anthony Yom about his classroom magic, and how he's gotten every one of his students for the past five years to pass the exam.

Why is Milwaukee so bad for black people? WNYC: Suspensions are just the beginning. The state also has the largest achievement gap between black and white students in the country, and ranks last in reading comprehension tests among black fourth-graders. Milwaukee has the most black students in the state and is the biggest contributor to Wisconsin’s achievement gap. Its public school system has been plagued by federal and state funding cuts and a 20-year-old school choice program that diverts public tax dollars to private schools through vouchers. With 4-out-of-5 black children in Wisconsin living in poverty, an inadequate education can set up the most vulnerable students for failure.

D.C. teachers say new school system policy could cause grade inflation Washington Post: D.C. teachers no longer give students their final grades. Instead, teachers input letter grades for each marking term and for the final exam, and a software program averages the final grade, according to the union.

Charter schools say L.A. Unified is unfairly scrutinizing their campuses LA Times: Caprice Young thought the worst was behind her, that her group's charter schools would be free to grow after straightening out the poor financial record-keeping that prompted a recent state audit. She was wrong.

Repair Bill for Decaying Detroit Schools Could Top $50 Million District Dossier: The financially strapped school district has begun using money budgeted for other departments to fix the most urgent building problems.

AM News: In 3 Months, Nearly 100K Immigrant Minors Enter US Schools

As immigration resurges, U.S. public schools help children find their footing Washington Post: Between Oct. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015, federal officials released more than 95,000 unaccompanied minors into U.S. communities, virtually all of them entitled to enroll in public school.

Acting Ed. Secretary: Educators 'unfairly blamed' for schools' challenges USA Today: In his first major speech, the acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King apologized to the nation’s teachers.

States Without Waivers No Longer Must Withhold Money for Tutoring, Choice PK12: States without waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act can come up with an alternative plan to support students in schools that have missed achievement targets.

L.A. Parents Launch Second Parent-Trigger Initiative at Struggling School EdWeek: Parents at 20th Street Elementary dropped a parent-trigger initiative in June after reaching an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District, but now say LAUSD hasn't delivered.

Differences In Suspension May Cause 20 Percent Of Achievement Gap Boston Learning Lab: Now a study of more than 15,000 students in Kentucky says that as much as 20 percent of the difference may be due to a single cause: getting suspended from school. Even after controlling for other factors, such as socioeconomic status and disabilities, they found a strong correlation between suspension and lower scores on end-of-year tests.

Chicago Principal and Her School Collect Bottled Water for Flint District Dossier: Lisa Epstein, a principal at Chicago's Richard Henry Lee school, grew up in Flint, Mich., and launched an effort in her school community to collect bottled water for children and families in her hometown.

AM News: Common Core Testing Discrepancies, Intensifying Chicago Confrontation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Clinton Wins Iowa With Teachers Unions' Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Snowstorm Recovery For East Coast Districts

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Common Core Comes Up In Republican Presidential Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Detroit Public School Protest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Supreme Court Hears Teachers Union Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Taking Steps To Promote Diversity, Limit Screening" »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisement

Advertisement

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