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AM News: NYC Mayor Touts National Pre-K Movement

De Blasio Cheers on National Pre-K Movement WNYC: The mayor spoke broadly about efforts to expand preschool access in cities such as San Francisco, Miami, and San Antonio—efforts he said are reshaping the national conversation.

Memphis-Area School Year Starts With Opening of Six Breakaway Districts District Dossier: Memphis-area suburban communities moved to form their own school districts in the wake of the merger of the Shelby County, Tenn., district with the financially-strapped city school system in 2011.

Michelle Rhee to Chair Her Husband's Sacramento Charter Group District Dossier: The former District of Columbia schools chancellor returns to the Sacramento charter school organization known as St. Hope Public Schools.

Dispute over Common Core gets personal AP via SF Gate: White issued a letter a few days later, saying he felt he was being personally attacked with suggestions of "unfounded malfeasance" within his office.

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain NPR: Children learn their most important lessons on the playground, not in the classroom, researchers say.

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

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AM News: AFT Pressures Force Split In Dem. Consulting Firm

Former Obama Aides Broke With Democratic Firm Over Anti-Teachers Union Project HuffPost:  Gibbs' liberal colleagues reacted angrily when news of the marriage surfaced, and the American Federation of Teachers made its displeasure known. Gibbs said the teachers union put pressure on New Partners as a result of his new client.  

With Uncertainty, Schools Prepare for New Arrivals Texas Tribune: The average stay is about 35 days. During that time, federal case workers attempt to track down relatives or other caregivers, like foster parents, to sponsor the children as they go through the legal system. Once they are placed with sponsors, they can go to public schools in their communities.

Literacy Laws Challenge Third Graders and Schools NYT: Anthony is one of about 1,900 children from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School District who failed the standardized reading test given to all North Carolina third graders in the spring. Under a recent law similar to those in more than a dozen states, such students in North Carolina may be required to repeat the grade. 

Hillary Clinton’s Fee for a Hometown Speech: Free NYT: The former secretary of state, who regularly commands $200,000 for speeches, returned to Chappaqua, N.Y., to address seven high school seniors at their graduation from a summer scholarship program.

'Building a Better Teacher' explores the complexity of teaching USA TODAY: Greg Toppo spoke recently with Green, who co-founded the Web-based non-profit education news site Chalkbeat. 

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

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AM News: NYC Parent Organizing Group Expands To Boston

Out-of-state group touting charter schools expands to Boston Boston Globe: Families for Excellent Schools , a nonprofit that has been mobilizing parents in New York City to push for more charter schools is expanding to Boston, a potential boost for local charter school supporters seeking to rebound after a crushing defeat last month. 

Celebrated Trial Lawyer to Head Group Challenging Teacher Tenure NYT: Mr. Boies, the son of two public schoolteachers, is a lifelong liberal who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and prosecuted Microsoft in the Clinton Administration’s antitrust suit. In aligning himself with a cause that is bitterly opposed by teachers’ unions, he is emblematic of an increasingly fractured relationship between the Democrats and the teachers’ unions.

Amid Criticism, States Gear Up For Common Core NPR: Delaware Gov. Jack Markell co-chaired the Common Core State Standards Initiative. He speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about the set of standards, and responds to its critics.

Legislatures taking state education into their own hands Washington Post: The backlash against the Common Core has prompted lawmakers in at least 12 states to get more involved in setting their own K-12 academic standards, injecting politics into a process usually conducted in obscurity by bureaucrats.

Debunking Common Myths About The Common Core NPR: Many people don't realize it's a set of standards, not a curriculum. NPR's Eric Westervelt talks with education reporter Cory Turner about other misconceptions about the Common Core standards.

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

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AM News: Friday Roundup Lacks Any Clear Theme Or Headline

This Will Make Some Special Education Advocates Really Happy HuffP{ost: The Education Department said Thursday that New York, as well as Minnesota, South Carolina, Delaware and Georgia, could hold onto waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act for another year. 

Protesters slam teacher tenure foe Campbell Brown NY Daily News:  About 20 protesters gathered outside “The Colbert Report” studios in Hell's Kitchen Thursday shouting "there's nothing funny about Campbell..."

Retired Philadelphia Teachers Surrender Certifications in Cheating Scandal District Dossier: The educators agreed never to seek work at public, charter or cyber schools or with contracted education providers.

D.C. School Test Scores Inch Up, But No Repeat Of 'Historic' Jumps WAMU: D.C. officials announced today that math and reading proficiency rates were again up for the city's public and charter schools, though some of the gains were modest and others uneven.

North Carolina Budget May Raise Teacher Pay NYT: The North Carolina Senate moved toward sealing a long-sought budget accord on Thursday, voting in favor of a $21 billion plan that would raise the salaries of public schoolteachers but impose cuts elsewhere in state government.

School Shelters Offer Limited Safety, and Even Less Comfort NYT: Life for about 200,000 people packed into more than 80 schools serving as shelters in Gaza is full of deprivation and discomfort.

Emanuel's deputy education chief leaving post Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel's point person on Chicago Public Schools is leaving City Hall today to join the Joyce Foundation, 

AM News: Common Core Movement Rolling On, Despite Setbacks

Common Core May Persist, Even in Opposition States EdWeek: So far there is little sign and not a great deal of precedent that the states backing away from the common core, or considering doing so, will ultimately produce anything that is truly different from those standards.

What Common Core Looks Like In A Second Grade Classroom NPR: The Common Core State Standards in reading and math have generated lots of attention and controversy, but what do they look and sound like in a classroom? Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez offers a peek at the standards at work in a second grade math class.

Huge confusion in Mississippi over Common Core Hechinger: Under the Common Core standards, students are learning more challenging content earlier. For example, Mississippi’s kindergarteners were expected to count to 20 under the old standards. Under Common Core, they must count to 100.

The biggest benefit of pre-K might not be education Vox: One of the most common arguments in favor of universal pre-K is the argument that it will actually save money: $7 for every $1 invested, according to President Obama's proposal for expanding pre-K access. Some studies have found an even higher return — as high as $16 to $1 — on investment from sending 4-year-olds to school.

A Shattered School in Gaza New Yorker: Tuesday night, thirty-three hundred people were crowded into the Jabaliya Primary School for Girls, in Gaza, when, according to the United Nations, the school was hit three times by explosions.

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

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AM News: Union Defends Tenure/Seniority Rules Against Lawsuits

New York Educators Fight Back on Attacks to Tenure NYT: The United Federation of Teachers sent out a memo defending tenure laws after two parents groups in New York filed lawsuits to challenge it.

Union Claims Weak Teachers Are Shown the Door WNYC: With its cherished tenure system under scrutiny, the New York City teachers union claimed on Tuesday that hundreds of teachers leave the city schools every year for failing to meet professional standards or as a result of disciplinary actions, even though very few of them are actually fired.

Q&A: Michelle Rhee On Teacher Tenure Challenges NPR: Her group played a supporting role in both the California and New York challenges and is now considering action in several other states.

COMMON CORE

Bobby Jindal Is Being Sued By His Own School Board Over The Common Core HuffPost: On Tuesday, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 6-4 to join the lawsuit against Jindal, known as Navis Hill, et al., v. Louisiana State. 

Can special education students keep up with the Common Core? The Hechinger Report: On a morning in late May, the pace was slow and deliberate as seven students formed a semicircle around their teacher to work on a lesson about finding the main idea in a story.

AFTER-SCHOOL

Can after-school programs help shrink the ‘opportunity gap’ for low-income students? PBS NewsHour: Middle School 223 in the Bronx, NY, is one of about 1,000 public schools in the U.S. offering low-income students a host of fun and educational classes after the final bell rings. But despite their best intentions, after-school programs may be overlooking the “elephant in the room”.

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

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AM News: NY Gets A Vergara Lawsuit (MN, CT, NJ & TN Could Be Next)

New York’s teacher tenure faces second challenge as Campbell Brown’s group files suit Chalkbeat:  In the past, Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended teacher tenure as a way to recruit and retain effective teachers. A spokesman from the state said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Second Vergara-Inspired Lawsuit Filed in New York Teacher Beat: "Campbell Brown may be tearing up, but her secret hedge-fund supporters will be crying all the way to the bank if she succeeds in her mission to undercut public education and privatize our schools," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "Parents know that attacking teachers is not the answer to the problems of New York's public schools.  We expect New York's courts to reject the fact-challenged and legally questionable assertions in this case."

Teacher Tenure Fight Comes to New York City NPR: Seven parents filed a lawsuit with New York State Supreme Court on Monday seeking to overturn teacher tenure laws that they said prevent their children from receiving a "sound basic education" that is guaranteed by New York State’s constitution.

Campbell Brown takes on teacher tenure in New York Washington Post: An advocacy group headed by former television journalist Campbell Brown filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday that seeks to overturn the state’s tenure laws and other job protections for teachers.

Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread NPR: Rhee's group is considering additional suits in Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey and Tennessee.

The Common Core PR war Politico:Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. The millions have proved no match for the moms. 

What Happens When High School Administrators Get Caught Plagiarizing HuffPost: Although high school students are regularly warned to avoid plagiarism and are often punished when they slip, a steady stream of high school administrators have come under fire lately for engaging in that very practice. 

Boston Plan for Cameras and Microphones on School Buses Comes Under Fire District Dossier: An editorial in The Boston Globe Monday called the plan to install microphones on school buses "bad public policy and a bad lesson for students."

NYC Uses Food Trucks to Bring Summer Meals to Kids AP: NYC uses food trucks to bring free summer meals to kids; more mobility, less stigma.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

AM News: Lawsuits Filed In NY & CA Against Tenure Protections & Inadequate ELL Service

Campbell Brown’s group to file teacher tenure suit ChalkbeatNY: A group of seven families led by the news-anchor-turned-education-activist Campbell Brown will file a complaint in state court on Monday. The suit, to be filed in Albany by Brown’s group, is the second such case in New York and follows a California ruling in June that deemed teacher tenure laws in that state unconstitutional.

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state EdSource via Hechinger: The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. The lawsuit, filed in April 2013, is set for a one-day trial next week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Washington state stands alone on US education law AP: When the past school year began, four states were in danger of losing their waivers from aspects of the law. But only one has actually lost the flexibility Duncan began promoting in 2011: Washington. The three others - Oregon, Kansas and Arizona - appear to be on the path to resolving their differences with the federal government.

Learning To Read May Take Longer Than We Thought NPR: A Dartmouth study suggests that fifth-graders are still "learning to read," not just "reading to learn."

Gene I. Maeroff, Education Reporter and Author, Dies at 75 NYT: A former education reporter for The Times, Mr. Maeroff found a second career working as an author, a researcher and an adviser on education issues.

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

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AM News: State Giving Early Peek At New Test Reesults

Districts get early look at test scores as SED responds to concerns ChalkbeatNY: State education officials said they’re releasing “instructional reports” to districts more than a month earlier than in previous years. It’s the first time it will come before the state’s release of statewide test results, which officials said won’t come for at least another two weeks.

A Bird's-Eye View On Common Core Across The Country NPR: With conservative commentator Glenn Beck renewing his fight against the Common Core State Standards, it's worth taking a bird's-eye view of the learning benchmarks. Where are they now being implemented, what challenges remain and what does the coming school year have in store?

Glenn Beck takes to the theaters to attack Common Core Washington Post: Conservative media commentator Glenn Beck led a national strategy session to kill the Common Core State Standards on Tuesday night, using a two-hour simulcast into movie theaters across the country as a way to embolden critics of the standards and recruit foot soldiers to the cause.

Glenn Beck Takes His Campaign Against Common Core To The Big Screen NPR: Conservative commentator Glenn Beck hosted a live, interactive "night of action" against the Common Core State Standards. He has long fought against the learning benchmarks in reading and math now being used in 43 states. Events such as these, and the Common Core itself, could continue to play a role in the 2014 midterm campaigns.

Why Do Americans Stink at Math? NYT Magazine: The Common Core should finally improve math education. The problem is that no one has taught the teachers how to teach it.

Charter School Cap and Closure Laws Among Growing Policy Trends EdWeek: The report says 15 states and the District of Columbia have established standards for authorizers, while 16 states and D.C. require authorizers to submit annual reports on their portfolios of schools. The brief also points to statewide authorizing bodies as another policy trend: Of the 42 states with charter laws, 33 have an authorizer that charters and oversees schools statewide. The remaining policy trends identified by the Denver-based ECS were not directly related to charter school authorizing, but still share oversight as a theme.

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

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AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies

The Daily News Flickr swanksalot

Teachers union steps into legal battle over tenure, against a former ally ChalkbeatNY: The lawsuit pits the union against a former ally, Mona Davids, who is among the parents suing to undo the tenure laws. Davids heads the New York City Parents Union, which consulted with the UFT on a union-sponsored parent advocacy group two years ago. [See also TeacherBeat]

Bobby Jindal Sued By His Allies Over Common Core HuffPost: Two years ago, Jindal visited a charter school operated by the Choice Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages a chain of charter schools in Louisiana. Now, Jim Swanson, chair of the Choice Foundation schools, is joining a group of parents and teachers to sue Jindal for trying to reverse his state's adoption of the standards. 

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers Hechinger Report: The case in New Haven tells a cautionary tale of what can happen when a low-performing school rushes to add time to close that gap. It also reflects the latest focus of the expanded-time movement: making extra time for teachers to learn. 

Charter and traditional schools bridge divide under one roof PBS NewsHour: Charter schools have often been seen as a threat to traditional schools, diverting resources and students to these publicly funded but privately run institutions. In Houston, Texas, the superintendent of one school district has invited competing charter schools to set up shop alongside a regular middle school. Special correspondent John Merrow reports on their evolving partnership.

Is There a Mismatch Between Ed. Dept.'s Teacher-Equity Plans and NCLB Waivers? PK12: For the past five-plus years of the Obama administration, the big teacher-policy emphasis has been on educator effectiveness, meaning tying teacher performance to student outcomes, including  on standardized tests. States had to develop teacher evaluations that take test scores into account, both to get a slice of the Race to the Top money, and later, to get flexibility from the No Child Left Behind Act.

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

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AM News: American Principals Hyper-Focused On Student Poverty, Says OECD

Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor NYT: American principals are much more likely to describe their students as disadvantaged than principals in many other countries — including some countries that are significantly poorer than the United States.

Florida counts down to new Common Core standards, exams Hechinger: Although the teachers at Monroe Middle School are optimistic, many teachers and school leaders think the switch to Common Core is the biggest change in education now, and it’s taken a lot of work.

Waiverless Washington State's Request for New NCLB Flexibility Denied PK12: Washington state can't seem to catch a break these days when it comes to No Child Left Behind Act waivers. 

No go: Feds deny state request to reinstate part of WA No Child waiver Seattle Times: The U.S. Department of Education has denied Washington state's request to reinstate one piece of the state's former No Child Left Behind waiver.

New political action committee forms in L.A. school board race LA Times: A new political action committee has formed to influence the outcome of Los Angeles school board races, filling a gap created when a group of civic leaders, which includes former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, decided to sit out next month's key upcoming election.

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AM News: Cities Prepare For Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors

Cities in New York State Get Ready for Arrival of Child Migrants District Dossier: Syracuse and New York City leaders are mobilizing services and supports for the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have arriving in their communities.

Obama's initiative gets $104 million boost MSNBC: According to a White House official, Obama will announce Monday at the Walker Jones EducationCenter in Washington new partnerships with public and private groups to the tune of about $104 million in funding.

Rocketship Slows Down EdSurge: In recent weeks the San Jose, CA-based network withdrew charter applications for eight schools in Dallas and San Antonio. Plans to expand to Indianapolis, where it had previously gained approval to build another eight schools that would have opened doors in 2015, have been delayed. Also on hold are plans to grow to New Orleans and Memphis.

Incoming NEA head inherits tension with Education Secretary Arne Duncan MSNBC: Former elementary school teacher Lily Eskelsen García will become president of America's biggest labor union, the National Education Association (NEA), on Sept. 1. In the meantime, she already has plenty of work to do. 

New college data give fuller picture of graduation rates — and show challenges Washington Post:  Dozens of public universities across the country, including three in Maryland, report that fewer than half of their full-time freshmen in 2007 earned bachelor’s degrees after six years at those schools or after switching to other schools.

Pro-Charter School Group Spent Nearly $6 Million in Media Blitz NYC: Lobbyists representing de Blasio's own interests were also heavy spenders this year. The Campaign for One New York spent $1.76 million on its own successful pitch to expand pre-kindergarten, which included money from unions.

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Twitter Friday: News & Commentary Here, On Facebook, & Via Twitter

Happy Friday! I'll be updating the site via Twitter today -- back to normal blogging on Monday. You can read it all here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). Have a great weekend!

AM News: 7 Seattle Charter Schools Proposed

Seven groups file charter-school proposals, judges uphold affirmative-action ruling Seattle Times: Tuesday was the deadline for the second round of charter-school applications in Washington state, and seven groups filed proposals for new schools. See also Seattle Public Radio

Researcher says city’s charter schools aren’t pushing students out, though other cities’ are ChalkbeatNY: “I can say there is definitive evidence of some cities in the U.S. of ‘pushout’ and that New York City is not one of them,” said Macke Raymond, director of Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

Amid Common Core debate, North Carolina opts to tweak, not abandon, standards Washington Post: The House and Senate agreed to a comprise measure that creates a commission to re-examine the Common Core standards and come up with ways to improve on them.

Impasse talks begin for Howard schools, teachers union BaltSun: Howard school officials will begin mediation with the county teachers union Wednesday, the latest step in contentious contract negotiations that lasted throughout the school year.

Summer school now a given for high achievers – but it’ll cost them KPCC: For high achieving students, summer school is the only way to stack their high school transcripts for their college applications to shine above the rest.

Three 'Secret' Ingredients for a Successful Small School WNYC: City officials have boasted for years about their success in creating hundreds of small high schools that have higher graduation rates than many of the large schools they replaced. Now, a new report has singled out what makes the best of these small schools so exceptional.

Investigators Exonerate School in Fatal Stabbing Case WNYC: An investigation released Wednesday found the teen who allegedly stabbed a classmate to death at a Bronx middle school never told anyone at the school about being bullied or harassed by the stabbing victim. Or Chalkbeat: Report: City officials knew of bullying prior to Bronx school stabbing 

Beverly Hills High School principal files lawsuit against district LA Times: The principal of Beverly Hills High School filed a federal lawsuit against the school district Wednesday, alleging that officials routinely ignored his complaints of racial discrimination and retaliated against him through attacks in the media, harassment and by denying job opportunities to him.

AM News: Districts See Uptick In Central American Refugee Children

Schools a haven for kids who crossed border alone AP: Schools and districts in metropolitan areas such as Washington, Houston and Miami have seen an uptick in the number of these students and anticipate more could enroll this fall.

Judge Blasts School Officials and Justice Department ProPublica: The Huntsville ruling is important, both because the district is racially diverse and because it is the largest in the state still under federal mandate to desegregate.

Rahm Emanuel vs. Karen Lewis Would Be a Bloody Mayoral Battle New Republic: Both are former dancers and ballet aficionados, as well as products of elite colleges: Lewis was the first African-American woman to graduate from Dartmouth; Emanuel attended Sarah Lawrence. And Lewis, like Emanuel, is Jewish.

Lessons from Rocketship’s 100-Student Classroom Model EdSurge: Why the blended learning leader is taking a step back and returning to its old model.

Deieon Sanders charter high school is facing closure SB Nation: It placed dead last in a ranking of area public and charter schools earlier this year. Audio surfaced showing Sanders saying he would break the neck of school co-founder D.L. Wallace, who was making considerably more money than than the ex-Cowboys cornerback.

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AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support

Teacher union's national conference concludes with support for tenure laws LA Daily News: The American Federation of Teachers panel featuring educators from out of state shared their personal observations to bolster why current tenure laws work.

Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons AP: The veto by the Democratic governor sets up a potential showdown with the Republican-led Legislature, which could override Nixon if it gets a two-thirds vote of both chambers during a September session.

Jeb Bush Draws Tea Party Ire Touting Education Record Businessweek: The former governor is touting gains under his “A-plus” plan, which imposed statewide testing standards, provided financial rewards to improving schools and offered students a way out of those that were failing them. The state’s high-school graduation rate has increased to 75.6 percent, compared with 52.5 percent when Bush, 61, took office in 1999.

Exiting teachers-union leader Julie Blaha talks of tenure, retention — and improv MinnPost: She is possibly the funniest woman in education leadership circles in the upper Midwest. She’s capable of rendering even a seasoned journalist helpless with laughter, and thus unable to impose a linear structure on the conversation.

Arne Duncan Says Philadelphia District 'Starved for Resources' District Dossier: The U.S. Secretary of Education also said that Pennsylvania's current level of commitment to funding public schools in Philadelphia is "unacceptable."

Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors AP: After 14 years of separation from her parents and a harrowing journey across the U.S. border, Milsa Martinez finds solace in the ..

School officials try healthier cafeteria options AP: Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates - without turning off sometimes-finicky students....

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AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National

Sleepy campaign for D.C. Board of Education goes national Washington Post:  When Tierra Jolly thumbed through her mail on Monday, she was surprised to see campaign literature touting her bid for a seat on the D.C. State Board of Education.

Districts Debate Merits of Master's for Teachers AP: Texas' two largest school districts, in Houston and Dallas, recently eliminated advanced degree pay going forward, following the example of North Carolina, where lawmakers last year started phasing it out. Yet the backlash in North Carolina grew so intense that the state is now looking at reinstating the extra pay for those teaching classes related to the subject in which they have an advanced degree. 

Ethics Panel Absolves Tony Bennett of Wrongdoing in School-Grade Changes State EdWatch: The Indiana State Ethics Commission said former state Superintendent Tony Bennett committed no ethics violation in changing certain school grades in 2012.

How a better summer vacation could help low-income kids in school Vox: On average, kids come back to school in the fall about a month behind where they were at the beginning of summer break, says Catherine Augustine, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation who has studied summer learning loss.

Union Leader Derides Obama Education Chief AP: Union president chides US education secretary but stops short of calling on him to quit.

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AM News: Changes Afoot In California & New York City

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School funding reforms spur decisions at local level EdSource Today: California’s new school funding system is driving districts in diverse regions of the state to shift their resources to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the sweeping financial reform effort – graduating students so they are ready for college or careers. 

In wake of new union contract, 62 schools approved to ‘break the rules’ ChalkbeatNY: Community Health Academy of the Heights in Washington Heights wanted to incorporate lessons in the kitchen to teach students healthier eating and cooking habits, but was restricted from doing so because of rules related to the use of the kitchen, Principal Mark House said. 

City Schools to Try Bending Some Rules This Fall WSJ: This fall 62 New York City schools will try a range of ideas—such as staggering start times and changing class sizes—under an initiative that lets them bend union rules and city regulations if enough teachers agree.

Putting online testing to the test Marketplace: There’s a general sense among educators that kids are way more comfortable online than most of us grownups will ever be… so they have that going for them. There is one small thing to be concerned about: making sure kids can use a keyboard.  Keyboarding classes are becoming routine in elementary schools. Schools that don’t get up to speed in time to offer tests online, will still be able to use papers and pencils for the next few years.  

What We Don't Know About Summer School NPR: It's a warning echoed in countless teen movies — "If you don't pass this class, you'll go to summer school!" Kids for generations have been threatened with the elusive summer school: fail this test, miss this day and kiss your vacation goodbye.

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

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AM News: Lawsuit Against Teacher Job Protections Filed In New York

Lawsuit Challenges New York’s Teacher Tenure Laws NYT: In the wake of a landmark court decision in California, an education advocacy group says the laws violate the State Constitution’s guarantee of a “sound basic education.”

Teacher tenure under fire Marketplace: The lawsuit comes on the heels of another challenge to tenure laws, in California. In that case, an LA judge said tenure laws, "have deprived students of the quality education they're entitled to."

New Obama Initiative Stresses Equal Access To Good Teachers HuffPost: By April 2015, states must submit "comprehensive educator equity plans" that detail how they plan to put "effective educators" in front of poor and minority kids. To help states write the plans, the Education Department will create a $4.2 million "Education Equity Support Network." And this fall, the Education Department will publish "Educator Equity profiles" that highlight which states and districts fare well or poorly on teacher equity. 

NEA Calls for Secretary Duncan's ResignationTeacherBeat: In a surprising vote at the Representative Assembly on July 4, delegates passed a new business item calling for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

Why more states are backing off Common Core PBS: One major battleground, a growing list of states that are dropping the Common Core standards. Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have done so. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an order for his state to join them. But now even places committed to keeping the guidelines are deciding to slow things down.

Big Data Comes To College NPR: The  exploding field of "learning analytics" raises ethical questions similar to those arising from the recent Facebook revelations.

Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men NPR: For five years running, 100 percent of the graduating seniors at Urban Prep Academies have won admission to four-year colleges. The schools work to promote positive examples of black masculinity.

Free lunch for all in Chicago Public Schools starts in September WBEZ: Under a relatively new program called the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) all school meals will be free starting in September 2014, the district confirmed to WBEZ Thursday. Although the CPS initially rejected the program in 2011, it had expanded it to 400 schools by last fall.

Neighborhood high schools again take hit in new CPS budget WBEZ: Schools with more than $1 million slashed from their budgets are overwhelmingly the city’s public neighborhood high schools.

AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment

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LAUSD board agrees on testing alternative laptops LA Times: With minimal discussion, Los Angeles school officials this week authorized contracts for the purchase of six different laptop computers to determine which device and curriculum works best for high school students.

Common Core test anxiety Politico: Attempts to apply standards in different states spark a testing revolt across the country.

Teachers, postal workers weigh Staples boycott USA Today: Postal workers picket in front of a Staples store April 24, in Concord, N.H. Postal workers around the country protested in front of Staples stores, objecting to the U.S. Postal Service's pilot program to open counters in stores.

In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children Hechinger:  In recent years, New Orleans has become a case study in how children and families are affected by rapid decentralization of public education and mental health systems.

Do Teachers Really Hate Common Core? From the Floor of ISTE 2014 EdSurge: Teachers can live with--or work through--the standards. But the biggest worry? It’s not the standards that are the problem--educators are feeling stifled by the testing.

Summer school enrollment falls sharply after city reduces role of state tests ChalkBeat: In his first six months in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has had a nearly singular focus on providing needy students with expanded education services. But thousands fewer struggling students will be attending summer school this year after city officials changed the way students qualify for the program.

Emerging Themes at NEA: 'Toxic Testing' and Union Threats TeacherBeat: The board of directors will propose a New Business Item calling for a campaign against "toxic testing."

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AM News: Louisiana Board Of Ed May Sue Governor Over Common Core

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Louisiana State Board Moves Closer to Suing Gov. Jindal Over PARCC Tests State EdWatch: The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6-3 on July 1 to retain legal counsel and prepare for a possible lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal over the PARCC test.

NYC charter schools join national coalition aimed at de-segregating sector ChalkbeatNY: Brooklyn Prospect’s two schools set aside seats for transient students who seek to enroll at their schools in the middle of the year. Community Roots Charter School, housed in one of the city’s fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods, holds seats for students who live in the nearby public housing complexes. Last fall, Success Academy Charter School CEO Eva Moskowitz successfully took on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan over a federal grant policy that prohibited her schools from setting aside seats for English language learners.

State report: More than $28M raised for Newtown AP: People from Connecticut, across the U.S. and around the world have donated more than $28 million to charities in the wake of the deadly 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, according to a report released Tuesday....

A 'Lost Generation Of Workers': The Cost Of Youth Unemployment NPR: Youth joblessness remains remarkably high across the country, threatening long-term trouble for young people's career trajectories, earning potential and the overall health of the economy.

Public Schools in New York City Are Poorer and More Crowded, Budget Agency Finds NYT: Total enrollment has not risen, but average class sizes are up and federal and state aid have fallen, a report by the Independent Budget Office said.

Under pressure, D.C. school system gets more aggressive about selling itself Washington Post: The District’s traditional public school system is sending principals out to knock on doors in a campaign to sell itself to city families, an aggressive move to boost enrollment and maintain market share after years of ceding ground to charter schools.

Nutrition Group Lobbies Against Healthier School Meals It Sought, Citing Cost NYT: The School Nutrition Association has done an about-face as it lobbies Congress to allow schools to opt out of the very nutrition rules it helped to create in 2012.

Character Counts! creater, exclusive private school spar over discipline of daughter LA Times: Last month, the day before seniors in white dresses and flower crowns marched in graduation ceremonies, Josephson and his wife, Anne, filed a Superior Court lawsuit accusing the $35,000-a-year school of mistreating two of their teenagers. Their lawyer said they intend to ask a jury for $10 million in damages.

AM News: Jindal Common Core Reversal Could Cost $25M

Changing from Common Core would cost $25.2 million over five years, superintendent says NOLA.com: White's disclosure came in response to a request from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, as the high-level head-butting over national academic standards in Louisiana moves from news conferences to a committee room, possibly on its way to the courthouse.

Proposal to Rate Leadership Programs Has Principals' Groups 'Concerned' District Dossier: The National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals said they support many of the provisions included in the draft of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. 

Survey Finds Parents Conflicted About Time Dedicated to Testing Students EdWeek: Parents say assessments and test prep are stealing instructional time away from their children, according to a new survey.

Is test-prep teaching? It takes up 18 percent of school time Seattle Times: As lawmakers in Olympia prepare to grapple with court-ordered increases in school funding, it might help to have a better idea of the various tasks a teacher is expected to complete in a day.

Some schools will get laptops instead of iPads, says LAUSD AP:  In the fall, administrators, teachers and students at those schools will test the laptops to determine whether they should be used going forward.

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AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers

Big unions could take big SCOTUS hit Politico: But a 1977 decision allows states to require workers to pay partial dues, or “agency fees,” to cover the union’s cost of negotiating their contracts and representing them in grievances. Illinois is among the states to require just that.

Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling NYT: Across the country, parents who once conceded that their homework expertise petered out by high school trigonometry are now feeling helpless when confronted with first-grade work sheets.

Teacher-Prep Ranking System in Higher Ed. Proposal Irks Teachers' Unions PK12: Teachers' unions applauded the increased emphasis of on-the-job training for teachers and principals in preparation programs that's included in Senate Democrats' proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. But they're much less enthusiastic about a new grant included in the bill for ranking those prep programs. AFT president Randi Weingarten, in a letter to Harkin dated June 24, blasted the proposal.

Teacher evaluation system is latest education battleground Baltimore Sun: This past school year, Maryland's 60,000 teachers were evaluated for the first time according to a formula that required half of their final rating to be based on how much their students learned.

Newark Schools Superintendent Signs New 3-Year Contract District Dossier: Under the "hybrid" contract, Anderson and the state must agree to an extension each year. Anderson has come under fire recently for her "One Newark" school reform plan.

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AM News: Chicago Lays Off Another 1,000 School Staff

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More than a thousand teachers teachers and other staff laid off in Chicago WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools officials told 550 teachers and 600 more school staff Thursday that they’re out of a job. The number is significantly smaller than last year’s nearly 3,000 layoffs, which were due mostly to the Board of Education’s decision to close 50 schools.

Oklahoma: Suit Challenges Repeal of Core Curriculum Standards NYT: A group has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed law that repealed Common Core education standards in the state.

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity KPLU: Approximately 150 teachers took those concerns to the foundation's front door Thursday evening for a rally and a march through Seattle's downtown streets. 

New York Schools Chief Advocates More ‘Balanced Literacy’ NYT: Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants schools to adopt aspects of a method that the Education Department turned away from several years ago.

Tracking the de Blasio administration’s education promises Chalkbeat: Six months ago, Bill de Blasio took control of the largest school district in the country. At the end of his first semester, here’s a recap of what he said he was going to do with it—and what he and Chancellor Fariña have done so far.

Poll finds Common Core opposition rising EdSource Today: An annual poll of Californians’ views on education contains bad news for teachers unions and for advocates of the Common Core standards, good news for backers of charter schools, mixed news for preschool supporters and a warning for State Superintendent Tom Torlakson in his re-election campaign against Marshall Tuck.

Bill simplifying teacher firings now law EdSource Today: Gov. Brown ended three years of high-decibel battles in the Legislature on Wednesday by signing a bill he helped shape that should make it quicker and easier to fire teachers accused of the most abhorrent forms of misconduct.

Move Over Books: Libraries Let Patrons Check Out The Internet NPR: Libraries in Chicago and New York will soon let people check out Wi-Fi hot spots, but will that actually help bridge the digital divide?

A black man with a college degree is as likely to be working as a white college dropout Box: It's clear that more education tends to lead to better employment outcomes. Bachelor's degree holders have a lower unemployment rate than high school graduates, who have a lower unemployment rate than high school dropouts.

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AM News: John White Blasts Bobby Jindal Over Common Core

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Common Core: Jindal ally blasts move as illegal Politico: On Wednesday, he ramped up his rhetoric considerably, telling POLITICO in an interview that Jindal is breaking the law, trampling the state constitution — and crushing the dreams of low-income minority students.

Meet the Groups Fighting Against Limits on Restraining School Kids ProPublica:  Teachers, high school principals and the U.S. Department of Education have all endorsed the idea of limiting the use of restraints to emergencies. But lobbies representing school district leaders and boards have combined with congressional Republicans to stymie such legislation.

Education Sec. Arne Duncan on The Future of Learning WNYC: This initiative, called Early Childhood Nation, would be the first to incorporate the latest brain science into actual pre-school programs. This program is also aims to help public schools prepare kids to start kindergarten, and it addresses the need for day care. Early Childhood Nation is funded by the Bezos Family Foundation, which is already funding  actual programs for schools and home called Vroom.

Classroom Confusion: What Is the Common Core? NBC News: The Common Core has been at the center of controversy at many school districts. But what exactly does this new academic standard mean for students? (NBCNews.com)

Ed Dept. Expected to Release Draft Criteria for State Tests This Summer PK12: A top official from the U.S. Department of Education is spreading the word here at a student-assessment conference: A draft of the criteria that will shape the way the department approves states' tests will be issued this summer.

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AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny

News2A 'Major Shift' In Oversight Of Special Education NPR: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces new measures for ensuring that students with disabilities are making progress.

Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses NYT: The Education Department said that it would evaluate growth in students with disabilities over time and will compare their test scores with those of students not designated with special needs.

MPS lacks capacity to provide basics to special-ed students, external audit finds MinnPost: At its Tuesday night meeting, the Minneapolis board of education will get harsh news about an external audit that found the district lacks the capacity to effectively provide even basic programming to its special-education students.

States' special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama ... Washington Post: The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more- stringent criteria that drop the number of jurisdictions in compliance..

We're off to the reauthorization races Vox: The Senate proposal focuses on easing the burden of student loan debt, plus holding for-profits accountable. The House proposal adopts some of the recommendations that outside groups have urged to help students complete college, mostly the less controversial ones, and calls for rolling back most of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda on higher education.

House Republicans to Begin Work on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act PK12: Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee plan to introduce a series of bills this week as part of their efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a sweeping piece of federal legislation that includes the entire student loan system.

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AM News: NY Might Be First Site Of Vergara-Style Lawsuit

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New York State Challenge Planned on Teacher Tenure Law WSJ: Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who has been a critic of job protections for teachers, launched the group, Partnership for Educational Justice, in December. She said six students have agreed to serve as plaintiffs, arguing they suffered from laws making it too expensive, time-consuming and burdensome to fire bad teachers.

Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth NYT: With the increased recognition that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important skills, the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking its members to become advocates.

With Common Core as Backdrop, Legislators Seek Power Over Standards State EdWatch: Ten states have adopted laws in the last 18 months that place new restrictions or other requirements on state school boards as they consider adopting standards

A few text messages can help students go to college Vox: Each year, students who seem like they should be going to college — their transcripts look college-ready, they've applied and been accepted and even applied for financial aid — don't show up for class in the fall. In some communities, the attrition rate over the summer can be as  high as 40 percent; nationally, it's estimated to be between 10 and 20 percent.

LA Unified teachers, on average, rank fifth nationally in salary LA School Report: The top four districts for paying teachers with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience are Chicago ($62,046), New York ( $52,278), Hawaii ($50,728) and Houston ($47,273), with LA Unified next, at $46,794, according to the NCTQ data.

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AM News: San Jose Attempts To Delay Tenure Until 3rd Year (Again)

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San Jose district, teachers file bill seeking exception to tenure law EdSource Today:  In their contract reached last year, San Jose and its teachers union had agreed to extending teachers’ probation to three years when a panel of teachers and administrators overseeing the evaluation of probationary teachers made that recommendation.

The Politics Of The Common Core NPR: Jindal's attempt to drop the Core comes amid a backlash in many states against the academic standards. The move is likely to boost his profile among conservative voters and Tea Party supporters if he mounts a 2016 presidential bid.

To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music And Gym NPR: After years of cutbacks, Milwaukee Public Schools are re-hiring teachers for classes beyond the basic . They are hoping to retain students as well as boost attendance and test scores.

New Contract for Teachers Is Altering Schools’ Hours NYT: Because of changes in the new teachers’ contract, a number of schools are moving up the start of the school day, and more than a few parents are not happy about it.

Homework Diner Serves Up Education With a Side of Food NBC News: The Homework Diner has become so successful that it’s spawning other branches in New Mexico. 

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AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)

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DCPS Hits Pause On Using Test Scores For Teacher Evaluations WAMU: For one year, D.C. Public Schools won't factor student test scores into teacher evaluations.

D.C. will wait a year to rate teachers with Common Core tests PBS: A Thursday announcement from current D.C. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s predecessor and former deputy, could make waves across the country. 

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations AP: The District of Columbia public school system, one of the first in the country to evaluate teachers using student test scores, announced Thursday that it would suspend the practice while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Changes to Teacher Evaluation System NYT: For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, teachers with poor ratings of either “ineffective” or “developing” would have state test scores removed from their evaluations. If the test scores alone led to a poor rating, then teachers would get a temporary pass.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praises Cuomo's teacher-evaluation bill Politics on the Hudson: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday praised a New York bill that would hold teachers harmless for poor Common Core-based test scores through next school year.

‘Safety net’ deal on teacher evaluations protects against negative consequences Chalkbeat: Teachers won’t face negative consequences for the next two years if they flunk their annual evaluations because of Common Core-aligned state tests, according to a tentative deal reached today between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature.

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AM News: LA Governor Can't Exit Common Core On His Own

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Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost:  But Jindal's own state education superintendent, John White, is incensed. "It is outside the bounds of both our state's laws and our state's aspirations for its children to think that we would turn back now," White said in a statement.  A lack of cooperation from White, who is in charge of implementing the state's education policies, could complicate Jindal's plan. 

Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost: Jindal issued a series of executive orders calling for the state to come up with "Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test" in place of the "one size fits all" Common Core standards. 

Bobby Jindal announces plans to get Louisiana out of Common Core NOLA: The governor did acknowledge he can't scrap Common Core by himself entirely. Jindal may have the ability to block a Common Core standardized test the state had planned to use next year, but he can't ditch the academic standards totally without the support of the Louisiana Legislature or the state school board.
 
Bobby Jindal can't quit the Common Core on his own Vox: Jindal can't actually get rid of the standards on his own. That requires cooperation from the state's top education official, among others — and that official says the state will stick with Common Core.

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal Declares State Dumping Common Core, PARCC Tests State EdWatch: Louisiana's governor wants the state to "develop our own standards and our own tests," but he will likely have a fight on his hands with the state schools' chief and board still backing the common core.

Governor Plans to Cut Ties to Common Core in Louisiana NYT: Louisiana’s governor said on Wednesday that his state would end its enactment of the educational guidelines, but other officials immediately said that he had overstepped his authority.

Common Core opponents say states' repeal boosts momentum Wyoming Tribune: Since March, governors in three states have signed legislation to repeal the Common Core.

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AM News: CT Teachers Endorse Malloy Over Ed Reform Critic

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A labor embrace for Malloy, with a jab over education CT Mirror: The Connecticut AFL-CIO’s biennial political convention was a two-day infomercial promoting the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, with one carefully choreographed note of discord: A rebuke to the Democratic governor’s choice of Stefan Pryor as commissioner of education.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Gets A Mention New Haven Independent: AFT head Randi Weingarten praised a “dear friend” and third-party candidate who was barred from addressing a labor convention—then made a case for why delegates should instead support a governor who has angered teachers.

U.S. Warning New York State on Teacher Evaluations WSJ: A federal education official warned Tuesday that if New York delays using student test scores as part of teacher evaluations this year, the state risks losing up to $292 million of its Race to the Top grant.

Burglaries in summer, school assaults in fall: here's when crimes happen Vox: The beginning of the school year is the most dangerous time for teens. Simple assault is the only type of crime that's more common in fall than any other time of year. The reason for this isn't that it's somehow an autumnal sort of crime; it's that teens are disproportionately the victims of simple assault, and teen crime patterns are different from adults.

From Skid Row to high school graduation, Los Angeles supports homeless students’ academic success PBS NewsHour: Nora Perez just graduated from Roybal learning center, a high school in Los Angeles. Those four years can be an uphill battle for many students. However, Nora faced a mountain of challenges. This is what she called home during high school, the back of a car, parked on a city street. It’s where Nora spent part of the night and studied after school.

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AM News: First, Kill All The Teacher Prep Programs?

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How Teacher Prep Programs Are Failing New Teachers -- And Your Kids HuffPost:  Three out of four programs "fail to insist that applicants meet even modest standards," the group wrote, meaning at least a 3.0 grade point average, or scoring above the 50th percentile on the ACT or SAT. 

 

Report says too many teachers-to-be are poor students Marketplace: Walsh says mediocre students use education as a fall-back major. She wants schools to raise the bar and make teaching a more elite profession. But Peter Cookson with the American Institutes for Research says another important way to do that would be to raise teachers' pay.

 

Alternative Certification Deemed Weak by NCTQ in New Teacher-Prep Report TeacherBeat: The Washington-based group contends that alternative certification suffers from low standards and poor training, just like its traditional, university-based brethren.

 

Two Md. teacher prep programs ranked among best in nation Baltimore Sun: McDaniel and Hopkins get high marks for elementary teacher programs from National Council on Teacher Quality.

 

American schools need better teachers, so let’s make it harder to become one Slate: In a handful of statehouses and universities across the country, a few farsighted Americans are finally pursuing what the world’s smartest countries have found to be the most efficient education reform ever tried. 

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AM News: Van Roekel Roars (Politico), Duncan Doubles Down (Vergara)

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NEA president blasts reformers Politico: Van Roekel referred to a full-page ad in USA Today that urged citizens to sue to “stop teachers unions from treating kids like garbage” and today's story inPOLITICO about the decline in union influence.

Duncan issues new statement with the ‘right lessons’ from Vergara trial Washington Post: In case you weren’t sure what to think about last week’s verdict in the “Vergara trial” — in which a Los Angeles court judge tossed out state statutes giving job protections to teachers — Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued a new statement on Sunday offering what he thinks are the “right lessons” from the case.

Home-Schooling Parents Rally Against Common Core AP: Home-schooling parents motivated in opposition to Common Core standards

L.A. school unions back separate candidates in Board of Education race LA Times: The two largest school employee unions in Los Angeles are on different sides of a key Board of Education race, as they maneuver for leverage over pay raises, job security and other matters.

Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes NYT:  Chrispin Alcindor, a Brooklyn fourth grader, was once a top student. But rigorous new academic standards — and the exams that accompany them — have frayed his confidence.

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AM News: What Next For Unions, Districts, Democrats After Vergara?

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The fall of teachers unions Politico: But union leaders can’t spend all their time promoting [popular initiatives like arts classes]: They must also represent their members. 

With California tenure ruling, a Democratic divide Washington Post: When a California judge struck down tenure and other job protections for teachers this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) both applauded, revealing fissures in the once-solid alliance between labor unions and the Democratic Party.

Is Teacher Tenure Really The New Brown V. Board Of Education? NPR: A California judge ruled that the state's teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. Education Week's Stephen Sawchuk explains.

But is Arne Duncan Going To Do Anything About Tenure Reform? Daily Caller: Almost immediately, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cheered the ruling, saying it offered “a mandate” to build “a new framework for the teaching profession.”

Los Angeles Judge's decision to toss teacher tenure shows strength of union adversaries KPCC: “It’s really up now to the state legislature to say: what can we do better to serve our kids and to serve our teachers," said USC education researcher Katharine Strunk. "And I think the union has a very strong - should have a very strong - role to play in that discussion, as should other groups that represent parents, taxpayers, and other stakeholder groups.”

After Vergara, activists expect court battles over teacher tenure across the U.S. Hechinger Report: California teachers unions are confident they will win on appeal, which could take as long as two years. 

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AM News: Advocates Consider Additional Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits

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Teacher Tenure Ruling in California Is Expected to Intensify Debate NYT: Copycat lawsuits are expected in other states after a judge’s landmark finding on Tuesday that California’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional.

Some states roll back teacher tenure protections AP: The nonpartisan Education Commission of the States, which highlighted the changes in a recent report, says 16 states — up from 10 in 2011 — now require the results of teacher evaluations be used in determining whether to grant tenure. Not all changes have stuck, and few are without a political fight.

De Blasio defends teacher tenure as critics mull copycat suit Chalkbeat: Mayor de Blasio defended the city’s teacher tenure process Wednesday, the same day new research showed the process has become better at blocking ineffective teachers from receiving tenure.  Lawyers and advocates say that New York's tenure rules could be vulnerable to a lawsuit like the one that successfully challenged teachers' job protections in California.

See also: Vergara ruling gets mixed reaction from school board LA School Report; Schools' next test is getting tenure ruling to pay off in class LA Times; LAUSD exploring next steps after teacher tenure ruling LA Daily News; Does Tenure Protect Bad Teachers or Good Schools? NYT.

Obama Defends College Ratings Inside Higher Ed: “A lot of colleges and universities say if you start ranking just based on cost and employability, et cetera, you're missing the essence of higher education and so forth,”Obama said.

In salute to seniors, Obama holds up technical high school as model for skills ... U.S. News & World Report: At Worcester Technical High School, Obama praised students and teachers alike for giving more than just "lip service" to the idea of skills-based education. 

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AM News: What Next For Vergara Case & Proposed Common Core Delay?

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California teacher tenure and seniority system is struck down LA Times: The tenure and seniority system that has long protected California public school teachers, even ineffective ones, was struck down Tuesday in a court decision that could change hiring and firing policies nationwide.

Will California ruling on teacher seniority have an impact here? Seattle Times: Some in this state have been closely watching the landmark California case in which a judge ruled on Tuesday in favor of nine students who challenged state laws governing the hiring and firing of California’s teachers

For LA public school teachers, verdict tossing out tenure feels like an attack KPCC: During the Los Angeles Unified school board meeting, teachers seemed deflated about Tuesday's ruling, which they saw as a personal attack.

Gates Foundation urges delay in using tests for teacher evaluation Washington Post: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested more than $200 million to create, support and implement the Common Core State Standards, said Tuesday that states should hold off from using new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core.

Debating tenure protections for public school teachers PBS NewsHour: Teachers unions lost a major court case in California today, which could make it easier to fire ineffective teachers. A California judge ruled that the state’s tenure protections for public school teachers are unconstitutional.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Charter School Proponent, Loses Primary PK12: As Majority Leader, Cantor was second-in-command, was assumed by many to be next in line for the Speaker of the House position, and considered one of the young Republicans who, along with politicians like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., represented the future of the Republican Party.

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AM News: NYC Delays Universal Free Lunch Over Federal Funding Fears

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Why NYC Is Afraid Of Free Lunch For All WNYC: A federal program to extend free lunch to all kids has the city worried it could lose federdal dollars to pay for other things.

Arne Duncan: Dropping Common Core May Not Cost Oklahoma Federal Funding PK12: So far, three states have pulled out of the common core: Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Those last two states made the decision to pull the plug only recently, so it's tough to say how the department will react.

Common standards for nation’s schools a longtime goal Washington Post: President Dwight D. Eisenhower suggested national academic standards were needed as early as 1959. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both proposed that states voluntarily adopt national standards, efforts that crumbled under charges of federal overreach.

Common Core standards face push back by some Louisiana parents and politicians PBS NewsHour:  Seventeen-year-old Christian Meyers of Denham Springs, Louisiana, looks like a typical high school student, but his English classroom is considerably different than most. It’s his family’s kitchen table. 

Hundreds of organizations sign statement backing Common Core EdSource Today: Debra Brown, Children Now’s associate director of education policy, said that the letter was intended to show that Common Core “has deep and broad support” – an impression that can be lost amid the noise created by smaller numbers of vocal opponents.

Schools Were Getting Much Safer Until 2010, Government Report Says HuffPost: The rate of non-fatal incidents in which students felt victimized at school decreased to 35 per 1,000 students in 2010, from 181 per 1,000 students in 1992, according to the 2013 School Crime and Safety Report. The rate rose to 52 per 1,000 students in 2012, the report found. 

Turns Out No Child Left Behind May Have Actually Been Good For Teachers HuffPost:  The paper finds that since No Child Left Behind, teachers report feeling more autonomous, more supported by school administrators and have higher levels of job satisfaction. At the same time, teachers are working longer hours and may feel less cooperation with fellow educators.

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AM News: Gates At Center Of Common Core, Says Washington Post

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution Washington Post: The pair of education advocates had a big idea, a new approach to transform every public-school classroom in America. By early 2008, many of the nation’s top politicians and education leaders had lined up in support. 

Examples of how Common Core has changed test questions in Mississippi Washington Post: Mississippi, which historically ranks among the lowest-scoring states on achievement  tests administered by the federal government, adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010.  The state slowly phased in the standards until the current school year, and now all Mississippi students are being taught to the new standards. They will take new standardized tests based on the Common Core in spring 2015.

Obama Plans Steps to Ease Student Debt NYT: Borrowers’ debt load is growing and retarding the ability to buy homes, start businesses or otherwise spend to spur the economy, economists say.

Oklahoma repeals Common Core educational standards PBS: The bill, overwhelmingly passed in the House and Senate on the final day of the 2014 Legislature, requires the state to return to old standards in place before 2010, according to the Associated Press.

National student database controversy heats up again Hechinger Report: The idea, sometimes referred to as a “unit record data,” was originally proposed by the Bush Administration in 2005, but critics, citing student privacy concerns, were able to kill it.

Two States Repeal Education Standards NYT: The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina signed bills within the past week repealing the Common Core state standards, guidelines for children’s achievement in reading and math between kindergarten and high school graduation.

Koch brothers to give $25 million to United Negro College Fund PBS: The United Negro College Fund announced a $25 million grant Friday from Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation — a large donation from the conservative powerhouse Koch name that Democrats have sought to vilify heading into the 2014 midterm elections.

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AM News: Oklahoma Dumps Common Core, Ohio Stays The Course

News2Oklahoma Just Dumped The Common Core And It Could Cost The State Millions HuffPost: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said in a press release that while “Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind ... federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards."

Ohio Bucks The Conservative Trend, Sticks With The Common Core StateImpact OH: On Wednesday Ohio’s legislature, which is heavily Republican, reaffirmed the math and English standards it adopted along with 43 other states and the District of Columbia.

Obama to Take Education Questions on Tumblr The Hill: On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will do an education-focused Q&A on Tumblr. The company’s founder and CEO Tim Karp will moderate from the White House. Questions can be submitted here. The president’s recent push on education policy includes initiatives in the STEM fields.

U.S. graduation average improves, but with wide racial disparities Seattle Times: As high schools graduate students across the region this spring, parents may be wondering how Washington stacks up against other states. A handy interactive map published by Education Week shows six years of graduation rates, state-by-state, ending with the Class of 2012.

ACT college admission test to report new scores in 2015 Washington Post: Starting next year, students who take the ACT college admission test will face a more complex task if they choose to write an essay and will receive new scores for English language arts and the combined fields of science and mathematics.

Shooting At Seattle Pacific University; 3 Wounded, 1 Dead NPR: Officials say a lone gunman who opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University is in custody.

New Orleans rebuilds education system with charter schools PBS NewsHour: As the school year comes to a close across the country, one of the issues that’s been grabbing major attention in a number of cities this year is the continuing growth of charter schools. New Orleans has been ground zero for this change, and the end of this school year marks a historic moment for the city.

AM News: NEA Hopes Organizing Will Ease Membership Losses

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NEA Aims to Revive Organizing as Membership Drops EdWeek: It has launched a Center for Organizing to provide tools and training, has put millions of dollars behind local affiliates' plans, and is pushing regional support staff to lead the charge

Big Brother: Meet the Parents Politico: A months-long review by POLITICO of student privacy issues, including dozens of interviews, found the parent privacy lobby gaining momentum — and catching big-data advocates off guard.

Ed. Dept. May Lack Tools to Evaluate Promise Neighborhoods, GAO Says PK12: The GAO report, released Wednesday, explains that the department requires grant winners to collect extensive data on things like individuals they serve, services they provide, and related outcomes, as well as report annually on multiple indicators. However, the department told GAO's investigators that it needs to conduct a systematic examination of the reliability and validity of the data to determine whether it will be able to use the data for an evaluation.

Six more charter schools approved to open in New York City in 2015 Chalkbeat: The schools received the sign-off on Wednesday from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, one of two bodies that can authorize charter schools in New York state. They are chartered to open in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, and will serve more than 2,600 students when they reach full capacity.

Is Autonomy for All Schools the Next Wave of Reform for Boston? District Dossier: A new report argues for Boston education leaders to extend charter-like autonomy over hiring, budgeting, and curriculum to all of the city's 128 schools.

Wilson High principal comes out as gay at school’s Pride Day Washington Post: Wilson High School Principal Pete Cahall came out to his students as gay at a school-wide Pride Day event Tuesday, shaking as he said that he had “hid in the shadows for the last 50 years” but was inspired by his students to declare his sexual orientation openly.

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

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AM News: Reformer Forces Runoff In CA Superintendent's Race

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New Jersey May Loosen Control Over Newark and Paterson Schools District Dossier: The State Board of Education is to consider resolutions that would allow Newark's school board to vote on issues on financial management and the Paterson School board to vote on operations.

Case's Revolution Fund Invests in Supplier of Children's Lunche NYT: The Revolution Growth fund, which Mr. Case started with two former AOL colleagues, is expected to announce on Wednesday that it has invested in Revolution Foods, an Oakland, Calif., company that makes healthier lunch meals for children. The investment is worth $30 million, according to a person briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Lawmakers Pressure FCC Ahead of Changes to E-Rate Rules PK12: As schools begin to break for summer, lawmakers and lobbyists are turning up the heat on the Federal Communication Commission, which has promised to revamp its E-Rate system before the start of the next school year.

Thousands of children are coming from Central America to Texas — alone Vox: Different federal agencies are responsible for taking the children in, finding housing for them, and processing their immigration cases. But, as the number of children crossing into the country from Central America has exploded — rising fivefold since 2011 — those agencies haven't received the resources to keep up.

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

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AM News: 16 Percent Of Teachers Account For Third Of All Absences

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Alarming Number Of Urban Teachers Are 'Chronically Absent' Huffington Post: The National Council on Teacher Quality classifies 16 percent of teachers in those cities as "chronically absent," meaning they missed 18 or more days per school year. Together, chronically absent teachers accounted for one-third of all teacher absences. 

SEC Charges Chicago Charter School Operator With Defrauding Bond Investors BuzzFeed: The SEC is charging the charter operator, UNO, with defrauding investors in a $37.5 million bond offering. UNO, which is run by the Latino nonprofit the United Neighborhood Organization, failed to disclose that it had paid $11 million to a company owned by the brother of its chief operating officer, and misled investors about how the breach of conflict of interest policies might affect their ability to repay the bond.

Despite Calls for Resignation, Newark Superintendent Vows to Stay District Dossier: Cami Anderson said she is "passionate" about the city and "hopeful" about the progress she has seen.

The Common Core Curriculum Void NPR: States and school districts are struggling to navigate the flood of new materials claiming to be Common Core-aligned.

Do Autistic Kids Fare Better In Integrated Or Specialized Schools? NPR: Some advocates say autism-only schools can be life-changing for autistic kids who struggle in traditional classrooms. Others say segregating kids with autism carries its own problems.

Despite Expansion, Many Pre-K Programs Fail To Reach Immigrant Kids NPR: Most states have embarked on a significant expansion of preschool programs, but a new report says they appear to be missing the kids who need these programs most: low-income, immigrant children.

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AM News: CA Proxy Battle Obscures Common Core Agreement

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Race for state superintendent heated despite agreement on two key issues EdSource Today: Torlakson and Tuck fully support the state’s new school financing system. And both are firmly behind the Common Core State Standards, which have replaced California’s state standards in math and English language arts.

Gov. Jindal, in newspaper column, championed for-profit-colleges that his brother represented in court NOLA.com: Gov. Bobby Jindal didn't disclose in his newspaper column this week supporting for-profit colleges in their fight with the Obama administration that his brother, attorney Nikesh Jindal, represented the schools' association in an earlier legal fight with the administration.

L.A. Unified suspension rates fall but some question figures' accuracy LA Times: In the heart of Watts, where violence in nearby housing projects can spill over onto campuses, two of the city's toughest middle schools have long dealt with fights, drugs and even weapons.

For Lessons About Class, a Field Trip Takes Students Home NYT:By visiting classmates’ homes during the school day, 4- and 5-year-olds at the Manhattan Country School learn to celebrate their differences.

Is The Deck Stacked Against Black Boys In America? NPR: A new White House report exploring the intersection of race, poverty and justice suggests the answer is still a resounding yes.

Chicago Teacher Killed in Gang Crossfire AP: Chicago special education teacher at 2nd job killed in what police say was gang crossfire.

D.C. to release refined set of school boundary recommendations Washington Post: Two months ago, D.C. officials released three politically charged proposals to overhaul the city’s school boundaries and student-assignment policies, setting off vigorous debate about the future of the city’s neighborhood schools.

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AM News: Zuckerberg Donates $120M To SF Bay Area Schools

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Zuckerberg, Wife Gift $120M to CA Schools AP: The first $5 million will go to school districts in San Francisco, Ravenswood and Redwood City and will focus on principal training, classroom technology and helping students transition from the 8th to the 9th grade. The couple and their foundation, called Startup: Education, determined the issues of most urgent need based on discussions with school administrators and local leaders.

At a Glance: Biggest Tech Donors in 2013 AP: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, topped the list of the most generous American philanthropists in 2013 with a donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock that are now worth more than $1 billion. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it was the largest charitable gift on the public record in 2013. On Friday, they announced a $120 million gift to the San Francisco Bay Area public school system.

Common Core School Standards Face a New Wave of Opposition NYT: The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina are considering signing bills to replace the Common Core standards with locally written versions, and Missouri is considering a related measure.

California's CORE Districts Faltering On Key Tenets of Waiver, Ed. Dept. Says District Dossier: Education Department officials flagged problem areas for the seven districts participating in the No Child Left Behind Act waiver, including delays and changes to strategies aimed at the lowest-achieving schools.

ACLU Sues California For 'Equal Learning Time' WNYC: The lawsuit names students including Briana Lamb as members of the class. In the fall of 2012, when Lamb showed up for her junior year at Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles, she says her schedule was full of holes. 

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AM News: Iconic Author, Poet Maya Angelou Dead At 86

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Legendary author Maya Angelou dies at age 86 CNN: A literary voice revered globally for her poetic command and her commitment to civil rights has fallen silent.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the passing of Maya Angelou Imperial Valley News: "Maya Angelou was not just a phenomenal writer and artist - she was a teacher and mentor whose words will live on for generations."

The Politics of School Meal Standards WAMU: First Lady Michelle Obama engaged Congress this week in a debate over nationwide standards for school lunches.We explore the issues in play and why the the first lady felt compelled to make a rare foray into a direct political debate.

In New Orleans, major school district closes traditional public schools for good Washington Post: The second-graders paraded to the Dumpster in the rear parking lot, where they chucked boxes of old work sheets, notebooks and other detritus into the trash, emptying their school for good.

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AM News: Obama Geeks Out, First Lady Freaks Out

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Obama Meets Scientists, One Age 6 NYT: More than a hundred students displayed their projects and inventions at what President Obama, who has been promoting the STEM subjects, called one of his favorite events.

Obama Unleashes His Inner Geek (Again) at White House Science Fair NBC News:  Science education went to the head of the class at the White House on Tuesday, with President Barack Obama announcing a $35 million competition for teacher training programs — and checking out an all-star lineup of science fair projects.

Obama Promotes Science, Math Education as Economic Need Bloomberg: In conjunction with the event, Obama announced a $35 million Department of Education competition program to help reach his goal of training 100,000 new teachers. The administration also plans to expand the Americorps volunteer program to provide...

First Lady Responds To School Meal Critics AP: First lady Michelle Obama is striking back at House Republicans who are trying to weaken healthier school meal standards, saying any effort to roll back the guidelines is "unacceptable."

First Lady Rebuts Effort to Weaken School-Lunch Rules NYT: Pushing back against a measure pending in the Republican-controlled House, Michelle Obama met with school officials who attested to the success of the new standards.

5 Things to Know About the National Spelling Bee ABC: Vocab and Taylor Swift: 5 things to know about this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee.

What it’s like to win the National Spelling Bee Vox: The National Spelling Bee is a bizarre ritual. Every spring, hundreds of middle-school students cram into a hotel ballroom and attempt to spell obscure words that few human beings have ever uttered — or will ever utter — in the course of their lifetimes.

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

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AM News: Teachers Unions & Tea Party Fight School Changes -- Together

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Unlikely Allies Uniting to Fight School Changes NYT: Unlikely coalitions of teachers, lawmakers and parents from the left and right are increasingly banding together to push back against what they see as onerous changes in education policy. Some have Tea Party Republicans and teachers unions on the same side.

Meadow Homes 4th Graders Embrace Common Core Standards NPR: The Common Core State Standards have roiled state legislatures across the country and frustrated some parents. But what do kids think of them? We visit a school in California's Bay Area to find out.

Girls in STEM to take center stage at White House Science Fair  PBS: In an effort to address gender gaps in scientific research and careers, this year’s fair will focus on girls and women who are excelling in science, technology, engineering and mathematics–known widely in the education community as STEM.

D.C. Tops Charts For Pre-K Enrollment WAMU: The rate of pre-Kindergarten enrollment is higher in D.C. than all 50 states, according to a new report released by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Colorado Law Helps Remedial College Students Be Successful NPR: Each year, 1.7 million students are told they're not ready for college. States are mobilizing to fix the remedial system. Colorado's efforts to help students are showing promising results.

All Montgomery high schools to have police on campus for new school year Washington Post: Police will be posted in all 25 Montgomery County high schools next fall as county leaders bolstered the schools’ security force in a final budget approved last week.

At a South LA school, change without a battle over ‘parent trigger’ law Hechinger Report: A group of parents threatening to invoke California’s controversial “parent trigger” law has spurred Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) officials to sign a partnership agreement addressing the parents’ top concerns at an elementary school in South Los Angeles.

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

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AM News: Newark Students Protest Appointed Superintendent

Newark Students Camp Out Overnight at School to Protest Superintendent WSJ: Tuesday’s protest heated up when about a dozen students sat down on the floor in the front of  an evening session of the elected school advisory board. They shouted “hey ho, hey ho, Cami Anderson has got to go” and used the hashtag #OccupyNPS on Twitter to spread news of their sit-in at the district’s headquarters.

Math books claim to cover Common Core but don't, says prof Seattle Times: Greetings from Nashville, where I've been attending the 67th annual conference of the Education Writers Association.

More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White NYT: An estimated net 1.2 million Americans of the 35 million Americans identified in 2000 as of “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin,” as the census form puts it, changed their race from “some other race” to “white” between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, according to research presented at an annual meeting of the Population Association of America and reported by Pew Research.

No Child Left Behind faceoff is high drama – but of little consequence Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: A battle over the Common Core State Standards has spawned the latest skirmish between the GOP-controlled Indiana State Board of Education and state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat. 

Using dancers’ discipline as leaping off point for academics PBS NewsHour: It’s the culmination of a year’s work at the National Dance Institute of New Mexico, a program that aims to engage and motivate children to strive for excellence using the arts; 74 percent of the dancers come from low-income families; 85 percent are either Hispanic or Native American.

Need Scholarship? Join Scrum NYT: A growing number of high school students have discovered an alternative route to college through fringe sports like rugby.

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AM News: Duncan Highlights Inequalities Among Schools

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Sec. Duncan amplifies [State Superintendent] King’s comments on segregation in city schools Chalkbeat: Duncan focused his remarks on the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and tied the continued push to implement tougher standards and increase accountability for teachers and schools to the need to address continued school segregation.

For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field NYT: The United States, which lags most other industrial nations in educational performance, also has a persistent gulf in the test results between the rich and the poor.

Arne Duncan: Closing education gaps 'moral imperative' Knoxville News Sentinel: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, right, looks on as fifth grade students work at the board during a visit to Brick Church College Prep on Tuesday in Nashville. 

Delays Allowed on Healthier Lunches AP: The Agriculture Department will allow some schools to delay adding more whole-grain foods to meals this year, responding to criticism from school officials and Congress that the standards were too difficult to meet.

Bailout for teachers' pensions to cost California school districts LA Times: California's public school districts could face difficult cutbacks if state officials move forward with a plan to bail out the retirement fund for teachers, officials and educators say, but even those painful steps may fall short of curing the pension deficit if investments don't meet...

Why aren’t high school students graduating? New report sheds light PBS NewsHour: According to the report, 30 percent of participants said abuse was a major factor in their decision to leave high school–22 percent cited homelessness and 18 percent cited spending time in juvenile detention.

Video: Yearbook Devoted to Students With Children Sparks Outrage NBC News: Parents in Mesa, Ariz., upset over high school yearbook pages dedicated to students who have children, or who are expectant parents. KPNX reporter Krystle Henderson has the story. (NBC News)

Task Force Recommends Pushing Maryland Schools Start Date To After Labor Day WAMU: Comptroller Peter Franchot is praising a vote by a state task force to recommend a longer summer break for Maryland students.

D.C. approves three new charter schools Washington Post: The D.C. Public Charter School Board has approved three new charter schools: a residential school meant for children in foster care, a K-8 school targeted at students with special needs, and a middle school that emphasizes international education and foreign language.

University Of Phoenix Owner Buys Stake In South African For-Profit College BuzzFeed:  Laureate Education, an under-the-radar-private company in the United States, is the biggest player in the international market, with more than 800,000 students in 30 different countries. And earlier this year, massively open online course provider Coursera hired a new CEO, Richard Levin, in hopes of raising their profile in China and elsewhere.

LA school board ousts iPad critic from oversight commitee KPCC: Stuart Magruder, an architect, had unsuccessfully attempted to halt the iPad program's growth last fall after the district purchased 31,000 tablets for its pilot. 

Race for California school chief a referendum on change AP va LA School Report: The two agree the state spends too little on education, favor giving local districts more discretion about how to use their funding and share support for the Common Core State Standards, the national learning benchmarks that have generated a backlash over whether they undermine states’ rights.

More education news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Quotes: Former Kennedy, Obama Official Calls Chicago Teachers Union "Foolish" Over Common Core

Quotes2Teachers are understandably asking for appropriate training and other resources needed to implement the standards and expressing concerns with high stakes decision-making attached to new tests. But the CTU has gone further and called for abandoning these new standards and better tests, with no alternative but to fall back on outdated standards that consistently failed students. It is irresponsible to turn back the clock on raising standards. -- Carmel Martin in the Chicago Sun Times (CTU foolish to fight Common Core)

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