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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

AM News: There Is No Education News Today

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Julian Castro, Noted for Early Ed. Push, Reportedly Picked for Obama Cabinet Post PK12: San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who has made education policy a hallmark of his tenure, has been tapped by President Barack Obama to be the new US Secretary of Housing, according to the San Antonio Express News

Teen Asks Joe Biden To The Prom; VP Sends Her A Corsage Hartford Courant: When Talia Maselli envisioned her perfect prom date, one man immediately sprang to mind: Vice President Joe Biden. "Joe Biden makes me laugh," Maselli said. "He just cracks me up."

Tablets proliferate in nation’s classrooms, and take a swipe at the status quo WPost: Social studies students in a District middle school use a touch screen to swipe through the articles of the Constitution. A fifth-grade teacher in Arlington County sends video lessons to students as homework so she can spend more time helping them in class.

What to Watch for During the District’s Teacher Contract Negotiations VOSD: Let’s face it: Contract negotiations between school districts and the teachers union are a drag. There are theatrics, muscle-flexing, flag-waving and shows of solidarity. And that’s just the first 10 minutes of a San Diego Unified school board meeting.

Newark's New Mayor Demands Return of Schools to Local Control District Dossier: Mayor-elect Ras Baraka also called for the immediate halt to Superintendent Cami Anderson's plan to close and restructure several low-performing schools.

Schools Work to Help Transgender Students Fit In ABC News: Law or no law, schools across US work to help transgender students fit in without a fuss.

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AM News: Looking Back At Brown & Ahead Towards Zip Code Inequality


image from t.co

A Decision That Helped Shape Michelle Obama NYT: For the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Michelle Obama will head to Topeka to talk about a Supreme Court ruling that affected her life. [pictured, via Instagram]

Segregation Is Back Politico: Sixty years after Brown v. Board, educational advantages are still unequally divided—not by race, but by zip code. 

Who Gets to Graduate? NYT Sunday Magazine: Rich students complete their college degrees; working-class students like Vanessa Brewer usually don’t. Can the University of Texas change her chances of success?

Before 'Brown V. Board,' Mendez Fought California's Segregated Schools NPR: Latino families sued four Orange County school districts over school segregation. The case, Mendez v. Westminster, ended school segregation in California seven years before Brown v. Board.

Commissioner John King on Common Core and Equality WNYC: New York State education commissioner and president of the University of the State of New York argues that Common Core opponents are standing in the way of achieving racial equality in our schools.

At A New Orleans High School, Marching Band Is A Lifeline For Kids NPR: Reporter Keith O'Brien spent a year following the Edna Karr High School marching band. Being a member is more than just a way to be popular; the band offers students a pathway to college.

Educating Girls: Big Payoff For $45 A Year NPR: Girls without an education are six times more likely to marry young than those who've finished high school, according to a new report from the World Bank Group. Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more.

New book traces city's revitalization through schools USA Today: What makes Syracuse and its schools appropriate for an intervention like this? Maeroff: Syracuse and Say Yes were a good fit for two reasons.

AM News: USDE Updates Civil Rights Rules For Charters (What About Discriminatory Attendance Zones?)

News2Civil Rights Laws Apply Equally to Charters, Says USDE PK12: The "Dear Colleague" letter by Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon includes specific guidance for charter schools related to admissions, students with disabilities, English-language learners, and discipline.

In speech on school integration, King takes a dig at the city’s enrollment rules Chalkbeat: “There are places where you can look, including New York City, where blocks away students are separated by economic status,” King said. “Schools that serve mostly wealthy students blocks away from schools that serve mostly high-needs students, and we know that that segregation breeds inequality.”

De Blasio quietly adds hundreds of millions for charters  Capital NY: Tucked in a 291-page document related to the Fiscal Year 2015 budget he unveiled on May 8 are two increases to charter schools: $26.9 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and an extra $219.7 million for next year. Those figures reflect spikes from the preliminary fiscal plan he unveiled in February. That brings the total amount his administration plans to spend on charters in FY2015 to nearly $1.3 billion, up from $1.06 billion this year.

Instead of getting ready for the tech revolution, schools are scaling back Hechinger: For schools that haven’t yet made technology an integral part of every student’s school day and every teacher’s lesson planning, the problem is often basic: Their Internet connection is too weakand their laptops (if they even have them) are too old to handle whole classrooms of students spending most or even part of their day online.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks teaching before giving ASU ... Phoenix Business Journal: Before giving the commencement speech for more than 10,000 graduates at Arizona State University in Tempe tonight, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with a dozen Phoenix-area principals to talk about how teachers can play a more central role

Are student files private? It depends. Politico: The laws may sound iron-clad, but there are huge loopholes. See also: Data mining your children Politico: Private-sector data mining is galloping forward - perhaps nowhere faster than in education.

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AM News: A New Era For Newark School Improvement Efforts?

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Ras Baraka declares victory in Newark mayoral election | NJ.com. The councilman and fiery community activist who campaigned on the vow to "take back Newark" from outsiders, was elected mayor of New Jersey’s largest city in decisive fashion Tuesday night, declaring victory before the votes were even fully counted.

Newark, N.J., Schools Plan Opposed By Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka Takes Big Step Forward HuffPost: The letters sent home to parents this week seek to assuage at least some of the concerns. On Friday, the district sent enrollment decision letters to families who participated in the plan’s universal enrollment system, which allowed students to rank their top eight choices for schools in one application. 

Newark Voters Elect New Mayor, Signaling Major Shift in Direction for City Schools District Dossier: Newark voters heavily favored Ras Baraka, a city councilor and former high school principal who has been an outspoken critic of the state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson.

The Broad Foundation's Bruce Reed on education reform, teachers and charters LA Times: The Broad Foundation's education initiatives began 15 years ago, but the organization is just now getting its first president, and his surname isn't Broad. 

Who watches the watchers? Big Data goes unchecked Politico: Private companies already collect, mine and sell as many as 75,000 individual data points.

The feds' push for Big Data Politico: The Obama administration seeks to leverage, not crack down.

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AM News: New Studies Show Pre-K Variations & VAM Weaknesses

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Good teaching, poor test scores: Doubt cast on grading teachers by student performance Washington Post: The study, published Tuesday in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, is the latest in a growing body of research that has cast doubt on whether it is possible for states to use empirical data in identifying good and bad teachers.

Availability of pre-K education varies widely between states PBS: A new report to be released Tuesday finds wide disparities in the number of spots available for publicly funded preschool programs. A whopping 94 percent of 4-year-olds attended such a program in the District of Columbia and more than 7 out of 10 did in Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont. Ten states had no such program. Overall, $5.4 billion was spent by states on pre-K funding for about 1.3 million preschoolers. See also WPost.

California Turns Down District's Bid to Lengthen Pre-Tenure Period Teacher Beat: California won't grant a bid by the San Jose district and union to extend the two-year probationary period for some teachers.

Total cost of proposed teachers union contract comes to almost $9 billion Chalkbeat: The total cost of the proposed teachers union contract: $8.9 billion through 2021, offset by $2.9 billion in healthcare savings, the city said Monday. 

Teens are Losing More Sleep Than Ever WNYC: Young people used to have sleepovers on the weekends and stay up all night talking, but now, it’s like they’re having unlimited sleepovers, seven nights a week in their own bedrooms.  Teenagers should get about nine hours of sleep a night but, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the average teenager sleeps a little over seven hours a night. 

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AM News: NYC Mayor Defends Remarks Of Teacher Union Prez

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UFT chief Mulgrew doubles down on private remarks, with one concession Chalkbeat: When Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked on Friday whether the union president’s remarks indicated an unwillingness to support change, the mayor defended Mulgrew. “These are all fundamental reforms, so Mr. Mulgrew was front and center in making those reforms happen with us and I respect him for it,” de Blasio said.

Under Restructured Rules, Kansas Teachers Lose Tenure NPR: Kansas lawmakers a bill that will take away some of the employment protections offered to teachers. Teachers argue this will allow them to be fired for unfair reasons.

CA's new computerized exam tryout plagued by glitches LA Times: During the sixth week of the effort, the state assistance center logged 657 calls a day for help. L.A. Unified's technology staff was sometimes deluged, and some schools helped each other. [note mismatch between headline and facts cited]

Ed. Dept. to Extend NCLB Waivers Without Considering Teacher Evaluation PK12: The U.S. Department of Education told state chiefs Friday that it will grant some states extensions on their waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act, even if their teacher-evaluation systems aren't yet completely up to snuff. The plan, which is still being developed, would give states that are already making progress on implementing teacher-evaluation systems that conform to the department's principles extra time to tweak and refine those systems.

Can schools find room for Greek tragedy in Common Core? Hechinger: After learning more about Common Core, Concord-Carlisle High School Principal Peter Badalament hopes that his high-performing school won’t have to make many changes to how they teach English language arts.

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AM News: Schools Warned Against Screening Out Possible Immigrants

News2Districts Told Not to Deny Students Over Immigration NYT: The Justice and Education Departments said schools “may be in violation of federal law” if they turn children away because they or their parents do not have immigration papers. See also NPR, LA Times.

Ted Mitchell, former state board president, confirmed as under secretary of education EdSource: Mitchell, who will oversee higher education in the federal department, has been an advocate for education reform in California and nationally. He was president of the State Board of Education from 2008 through 2010 and was president of Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1999 to 2005.

Two Democrats Seeking To Replace Moran Say They Oppose Common Core Standards WAMU: Candidates in the hotly contested Democratic primary to replace longtime Congressman Jim Moran are divided about national education standards.

Mulgrew’s contract speech draws fierce reactions Chalkbeat: UFT President Michael Mulgrew told teachers at a closed meeting that the union had tried to “gum up the works” of the new evaluation system and said they are "at war with the reformers." 

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AM News: FLA Teacher Evaluation System Deemed Legal (If Unfair)

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Florida Judge: Teacher-Evaluation System Unfair, But Legal TeacherBeat: Florida's teacher-evaluation law may be hastily implemented and unfair, but it's still legal, a federal court ruled.

How Should NCLB Waiver States Keep an Eye On District Teacher-Evaluation Plans? PK12: Of the 42 states with waivers, just 10 choose a statewide evaluation system that looks the same in every district, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for American Progress. That means, of course, that while the feds are busy policing and negotiating with states on the finer points of the waiver plans, [those 10] states are doing the same thing with districts. 

Connecticut Students Show Gains in National Tests NYT: The state’s seniors did better on reading and math exams, but New Jersey remained flat in those areas, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Demographic changes do not explain test-score stagnation among U.S. high school seniors Hechinger: The scores for high school seniors haven’t improved at all since 1992, when reading tests were first administered. Indeed, today’s reading scores are actually lower than they were in 1992. The math results, which date back to only 2005, show a modest increase right after that first year. But it’s been complete stagnation since. It’s hard to make sense of this data. How do you explain why there are improvements in fourth and eighth grade, but not twelfth?

Department Of Education Brings Home A Disappointing Report Card NPR: The Department of Education has released its latest math and reading scores for 12th graders. The scores offer little good news for educators, with results low and largely unchanged since 2009.

How is Australia beating the U.S. at graduating first-generation, low-income college students? Hechinger: Students in polos and plaids streamed into the auditorium at the University of Western Sydney as Lorde’s “Royals” blasted on repeat. While she sang about having “no post code envy,” hundreds of low-income high school seniors and students who would be the first in their families to go to college took their seats. Ahead of them was a day of panels and information sessions on college and careers put on by Fast Forward, a UWS program that reaches out to economically disadvantaged groups.

School Segregation After Brown ProPublica: Hundreds of school districts were placed under court order to desegregate following the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Many communities do not know the status of these orders. Use this tool to find out whether your district is or ever was under a desegregation order, and also to look at the levels of integration and segregation in your schools.

How the Common Core made Kafka way more popular Vox: The list of stories, poems, and nonfiction near the end of the Common Core state standards isn't supposed to be an assignment list. But teachers seem to be using it that way.The list, called Appendix B, is meant only to give an idea of the type of works students should be reading in order to meet the standards; middle-schoolers aren't required to readThe Adventures of Tom Sawyerbut teachers should choose books at a similar level of difficulty or with similar themes.

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AM News: New Polls Suggest Stronger Support For Testing

Teachers, students and adult public more supportive of school testing than you might think Hechinger: Two different opinion polls show a surprising level of support for bubbling in circles with number 2 pencils... It seems that teachers are softening their resistance to testing. 

UFT releases details about proposed changes to teacher evals, Absent Teacher Reserve Chalkbeat: Severance pay will be offered to excessed teachers based on how many years they’ve been in the system: One week of pay for ATRs with three to four years of work, and two weeks pay for four to six years of work. The top cash-out would be 10 weeks of pay for 20 years of service.

Unions Picket N.Y. Advocacy-Group Meeting TeacherBeat: Teachers' union members are protesting an meeting staged by the advocacy organization Education Reform Now, which they depict as an example of big-money interests trying to profit off of public schools.

Teacher-Evaluation Bid in Texas Gets Poor Union Reception Teacher Beat: The Texas AFT doesn't like a plan submitted by the Lone Star State as part of its NCLB waiver.

Last year, 25 hedge fund managers earned more than double every kindergarten teacher combined Vox: It's about 0.13 percent of total national income for 2013 being earned by something like 0.00000008 percent of the American population. 

Controversy Over Title IX Protecting Transgender Students NPR: The Department of Education declared that transgender students are protected under Title IX. But there are questions about how that will work on campuses, and what the legal complications might be.

Samuel Halperin, Education Policy Leader of Great Society Era, Dies PK12: In 1993, Mr. Halperin founded the American Youth Policy Forum, a professional-development program for federal policy aides that provides information and field experiences related to youth development.

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AM News: NYC Contract Includes Secret Buyout For Rubber Room Teachers

UFT contract deal includes a secret “buyout” for out-of-work teachers Chalkbeat: The plan, likely to be controversial with some teachers union members, was not mentioned in any of the public announcements about the deal by the union or city officials. But it would be another way for the city to reduce a pool of 1,200 out-of-work teachers who are still on the city’s payroll.

Common-Core Testing Environment Gets More Complicated Ed Week: In my latest print story for Education Week, I take a look at how the fragmenting testing environment affects the Common Core State Standards. A couple of folks I talked to think that as the number of tests states collectively use to assess the common core grows, the true power of the common core declines, although the greater emphasis of the comments I collected was on the actual alignment of whatever tests are used in conjunction with the standards. 

Healthier School Meals: How 5 Districts Are Faring ABC: How 5 school districts are faring with healthier school meal standards in place.

U.S. House of Representatives Set to Consider Two Bipartisan Education Bills PK12: One piece of legislation would seek to make it easier for high-quality charter school operators to proliferate, while the other is aimed at making federal K-12 research more relevant to educators in the field. 

When 4 out of 5 teachers are white Marketplace: "Research shows students of color do much better in terms of academic outcomes with teachers of color," Boser said. "They see them as role models. Student achievement, graduation rates, test scores all go up." And for white students, having non-white teachers is a critical part of preparing for the increasingly diverse, "real" world. 

‘Angry Birds’ creator develops preschool program to promote learning through fun WashPost:  Rovio is hoping to build on the popularity of the game — one of the nation’s best-known exports with more than 2 billion downloads — with the international prestige of the nation’s education system for its new early childhood program, called Angry Birds Playground.

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AM News: US Teachers Nowhere Near As Diverse As Their Students

US Teachers Nowhere As Diverse As Their Students AP:  Almost half the students attending public schools are minorities, yet fewer than 1 in 5 of their teachers is nonwhite.

Some Schools Hiring Teachers as Revenues Increase, Others Struggle Stateline: While some school districts are expanding their teaching staffs for the upcoming school year, many are still catching up after years of budget cuts.

Houston Teachers' Union Is Latest to Turn to the Courts to Fight Evaluation Wall Street Journal: Teacher unions are turning to a new arena--the courts--as they try to unwind some of the sweeping changes states have made to evaluation methods and job-protection rules. See also Texas Tribune.

California Districts Seek to Renew NCLB Waiver PK12: The districts are asking to fully implement their teacher evaluation system by the 2016-17 school year, according to Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for the CORE districts. That would be outside the timeline that the department has greenlighted for any other state, with the exception of Illinois, whose waiver was hung up on the issue for over a year. 

Los Angeles, Long Beach schools want longer exemption to federal laws KPCC: A coalition of seven California school districts - including Los Angeles Unified, Long Beach Unified and Santa Ana Unified -  have asked the federal government to renew a first-of-its-kind exemption to No Child Left Behind rules granted last year.

Most seniors forego first-choice school after acceptance, survey finds PBS NewsHour: According to the American Freshman Survey , conducted during the 2013 school year, only 56.9 percent of students enrolled in their first choice — the lowest number since the survey began in 1974. 

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AM News: Houston Latest Union Lawsuit (Plus NYC Contract)

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Houston Teachers' Union Is Latest to Turn to the Courts to Fight Evaluation ... Wall Street Journal: Unions in Florida, New York, New Mexico, Colorado and Tennessee have also filed.

Houston Union Sues District Over 'Value Added' Evaluations TeacherBeat: A federal suit against the Houston district's use of "value added" highlights the increasing pushback against new evaluation system--raising tough questions for districts, researchers, and unions alike.

Ending 5-Year Dispute, New York Reaches Deal With Teachers Union NPR: Teachers in the largest public school system in the country had been working without a contract since 2009. Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a "landmark" labor deal. See also EdWeekChalkbeatNYTWNYC.

New York parents opt out of high stakes tests Marketplace: Parents’ groups estimate about 1,000 kids in New York City won’t be taking the Common Core assessments this year. Statewide, it’s about 35,000. Those numbers are hard to verify and they represent just  a tiny fraction of the total number of kids sitting down for the math tests this week.  

Federal Waivers, an Advocacy Group, and Teacher Evaluations: A Michigan Story State EdWatch: Michigan lawmakers are upset with an advocacy group for invoking NCLB waivers in discussions about teacher-evaluation bills under consideration.

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AM News: New Report Says Charters Get Increasingly Less Funding

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Charter Schools Get Less Money Than Public Schools. Is That A Problem? HuffPost: The report looked at charter school funding in 30 states and Washington, D.C., and found that the disparity between public and charter school funding grew by 55 percent between 2007 and 2011, with most of the disparities coming from state and local revenues.  

U.S. Tests Teens A Lot, But Worldwide, Exam Stakes Are Higher NPR: American students take an alphabet soup of mandatory and voluntary exams: SAT, PISA, AP. Sure it's a lot, but in places like Japan and England, tests are incredibly high-stress and life-defining.

A California school rises to the Common Core challenge Hechinger: To prepare for these changes, Laurel Street’s teachers have been strategizing for months, trying to identify effective ways to incorporate the new goals into their school day without losing any of the ground they’ve gained in recent years. They agreed to let a reporter follow their transition to the Common Core over the school year.

Nonprofit and for-profit partners help Cincinnati transform its failing schools EdSource Today:  Cincinnati has turned all 55 of its schools into community learning centers. Cincinnati Public Schools went from one of the worst urban public school systems in Ohio 10 years ago to the best today, according to the state’s ranking system, which is based on state test scores and high school graduation rates.

Ivy League whiz kid picks his college: Yale USA Today: Kwasi Enin has his pick of the USA's elite colleges, but the one he says has the sweetest song won his heart: Yale.

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AM News: Congress Chides Duncan On Waivers, SPED Money

House GOP, Democrats Hit Arne Duncan on NCLB Waivers PK12: Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education Committee, chastised Duncan, who testified before his panel today, for what he sees as a lack of consistency when it comes to the No Child Left Behind waivers.Rep. George Miller, D-Calif, who is slated to retire after this Congress, raised a red flag about whether the waivers are hindering student equity. 

Kline Takes Arne Duncan To Task Over Special Education Funding HuffPost: Educational funding for students with disabilities became the subject of yet another heated partisan argument with no resolution at a budget hearing Tuesday, after Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) attacked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the subject. See also PK12

Millennials Have Pretty Depressing Things To Say About Teachers HuffPost: According to the report, a majority of America’s future teachers now come from the bottom two-thirds of their college classes –- a problem the report partially attributes to an education

Enrollment At Nation's Largest For-Profit Charter Operator Still Growing Despite Lawsuits, Regulatory Problems BuzzFeed: In their quarterly earnings call today, K12 reported that enrollment has grown yet again, swelling to 125,000 students — an increase of more than 5% since March of last year. Their revenue, which topped $235 million, actually exceeded analysts' estimates, as did their operating margins. Net income was $15.9 million.

Computer-adaptive tests in Va. may be quicker Washington Post: The traditional seventh-grade math test took about 40 minutes longer to complete for the majority of test takers statewide last spring than a new version that was tried out by a small number of students this year, education officials reported.

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AM News: Indiana's "New" State Standards Could Be Expensive

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Indiana: Common Core Replaced With State Standards AP: One of the first states to adopt Common Core education standards became the first state to formally abandon the national benchmarks.

Separate Indiana education standards may be costly JC Online: Indiana schools are bracing to spend as much as $125 million to train teachers on proposed new education standards in the wake of the state’s rejection of national Common Core benchmarks. Via RCE.

Michigan Could Be Next State on Ed. Dept.'s NCLB Waiver Endangered List PK12: Michigan doesn't require that assessment data be used in teacher evaluations. And, like Washington, Michigan will need to seek a legislative change to include them. 

Steve Jobs' Death Inspired Goal To Get Kids Coding WAMU: Many public schools do not offer computer science classes, even though tech workers are in high demand. Now 30 public school districts have partnered with the nonprofit Code.org to get kids coding.

Arne Duncan: Donald Sterling should have no role in the NBA Politico: “I don’t think he has a place or a role in the NBA,” Duncan said without hesitation.

What Parents Need To Know About Big Data And Student Privacy WAMU: States are tracking students as early as preschool. Better data could boost the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching and learning. But it can also be exposed to hackers and marketers.

The Public School Where The Duke Lives On WAMU: Nowhere is the legacy of Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington — among the greatest composer/bandleaders in history — more profound than at the Washington, D.C., arts high school which bears his name.

School official: Texas student planned violence AP: A 17-year-old boy who hid a loaded AK-47 assault rifle in a school bathroom and two loaded handguns in his backpack intended to "commit a violent act," a school official said, but the plan was foiled when his parents discovered the weapons missing at home and alerted school administrators....

In Albany, officials wave pre-K warning flags for New York City ChalkbeatNY: Officials said they lack capacity to handle the extra work, mostly because the department received no new money for the job.

Brooklyn educators chronicle students' difficult matriculations NY Daily News: He’s guided more than a thousand Brooklyn students from low-income homes to college across the country — including ivy league Cornell — and he wants to help thousands more.

AM News: What You Got To Say About US Grad Rate Reaching 80 Percent?

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Report: 4 in 5 US high school students graduate AP: U.S. public high schools have reached a milestone, an 80 percent graduation rate. Yet that still means 1 of every 5 students walks away without a diploma. Citing the progress, researchers are projecting a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020.

Graduation rate could hit 90 percent Politico: The high school graduation rate has already topped 80 percent for the first time in U.S. history.

New York Finds Space for 3 Charter Schools NYT: The schools had been at the heart of a battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Eva S. Moskowitz, the leader of a high-performing charter network. See also Chalkbeat

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools NYT: In effect, Walton has subsidized an entire charter school system in the nation’s capital, helping to fuel enrollment growth so that close to half of all public school students in the city now attend charters, which receive taxpayer dollars but are privately operated.

What Now For School Districts After Federal Waiver Loss? Seattle Public Radio: School districts across Washington are examining how they’ll be affected by the state’s loss of its No Child Left Behind waiver and resulting loss of flexibility over how they spend $38 million in federal funding. That amount represents 20 percent of the federal Title 1 funding for the state's highest-poverty schools.

Law Limits Standardized Tests, but Not Prep Work Texas Tribune: “The change in law was well intentioned, but there is still constant test prep going on,” said Stacey Amick, a parent of two children in the Lewisville Independent School District near Dallas. “But I can’t fault the teachers or the schools for doing it. I don’t know a way around it for them.”

El Camino Real Charter High wins national 2014 Academic Decathlon LA Times: El Camino Real Charter High School claimed the national 2014 Academic Decathlon title Saturday, marking the seventh time the Woodland Hills school has won the honor. See also LA Daily News.

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

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AM News: Duncan Revokes WA Waiver & Revives Teacher Prep

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Arne Duncan Revokes Washington State's NCLB Waiver PK12: But, in an important twist, the state will not be returning to an accountability system that's exactly like the one it had under NCLB, particularly when it comes to intervening in low-performing schools. 

Washington: State Loses Control of Some School Funds NYT: Washington has become the first state to lose its federal waiver for some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind education law as well as control over how $40 million is spent to improve student performance in its public schools. See also HuffPost

Loss of No Child Left Behind waiver means schools will be labeled ‘failing’ Seattle Times: Washington’s loss of a waiver to the No Child Left Behind law means many schools will be labeled as failing and districts will lose control of how they spend a portion of federal funding aimed at helping disadvantaged children with math and reading. See also PBS NewsHour

Obama Revives Long-Delayed Teacher-Prep Rules PK12: The plan is being billed as an executive action by President Obama to staff all classrooms with effective teachers. In reality, it's a revival of a long-delayed 2012 effort. See also USA TodayPolitico.

Unions to protest Cuomo-headlined pro-charter education conference Capital New York: Teachers' unions and public-education advocacy groups plan to protest a Lake Placid education conference next month run by pro-charter school hedge funders that will feature Governor Andrew Cuomo as “honorary chairman.”

North Carolina Judge Puts Teachers' Tenure Law In Question Wall Street Journal: A North Carolina judge has given two school districts temporary reprieve from part of a new law that ends teacher tenure, potentially upending the controversial policy a year after it was adopted by state lawmakers.

Chicago to add new Barack Obama College Prep High School WBEZ: This will be the city’s eleventh selective enrollment school and one of four elite public high schools clustered in a roughly a one-and-a-half mile radius. Walter Payton College Prep, ranked one of the best schools in Illinois, is less than a mile away. See also AP and previous post (roundup of initial coverage).

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AM News: Strong Common Core Support In Liberal California

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Survey finds Californians back both Common Core and new funding formula EdSource Daily: A survey of 1,702 adult Californians found that 69 percent of Californians overall said they favored Common Core after being read a brief description. 

Chiefs at CCSSO Event Say Implementation Focus Put Politics on Backburner State EdWatch: "The extent to which the political conversation rose up on the right and on the left was surprising, because we've been talking about this for four years," Tennessee Commissioner Huffman said.

Kansas Residents To First Lady: Stay Out NPR: Guest restrictions and increased security measures are looming as Michelle Obama plans to appear at a Kansas high school graduation next month. Thousands have petitioned to revoke her invitation.

A Guide to the Many Phases and Faces of Race to the Top PK12: Want to follow the history of Race to the Top, from the very first "Classic" edition to Race to the Top Goes to Preschool to the administration's current proposal for a Race to the Top for Equity (Plus Teacher Distribution, School Climate, and Everything But the Kitchen Sink?)

Waiver could mean windfall for some schools The State Journal-Register: Illinois' waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law could free up $1.2 million for the Springfield School District to spend at 21 schools, according to the district's Title I coordinator.

Using Texas model, more states mull religious viewpoints in schools law AJAM: Tennessee becomes second to enact legislation treating religious expression same as nonreligious.

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AM News: Massive Gaps In Who Gets A College Degree, Says Report

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Study: 2 In 5 Americans Earning Degrees After High School NPR: The Lumina Foundation says nearly 40 percent of adults held college degrees in 2012 — the biggest one-year jump since 2008. And it says that 60 percent college attainment is "within reach" by 2025.

Percentage of Americans with college degrees rises, paying for degrees tops financial challenges PBS: Who gets a college degree is still starkly divided by race – 27.6 percent of blacks, 23.4 percent of Native Americans and 19.8 percent of Latinos hold at least a two-year degree, compared to 43.9 percent of whites and 59.4 percent of Asians. 

Latest Investing in Innovation Contest to Start in Full Force This Week PK12: The Investing in Innovation grant competition is one of the Obama administration's signature education-improvement levers, born out of the economic-stimulus package in 2009. 

Income Inequality Is A Major Barrier To Attending College NPR: Morning Edition co-host David Greene talks to Suzanne Mettler of Cornell University, author of the new book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream.

AFT's Lesson-Sharing Site Clocks a Half-Million Registrants TeacherBeat: AFT's lesson-sharing partnership has grown to half a million members, the teachers' union says.

Teachers Say Many Ed-Tech Products Are Ineffective And Aren't Being Used BuzzFeed: There are thousands of ed-tech products on the market, but barely half of teachers think they are effective, according to a study released today by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Paul Takes His School-Choice Message to Chicago NYT: Senator Rand Paul spoke of the importance of giving parents more flexibility to decide where their tax dollars go, and labeled those who stand in the way of greater choice “dead-enders.”

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

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AM News: Data Storage Nonprofit InBloom Closing Down

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InBloom Student Data Repository to Close NYT: The student data warehousing venture that became a lightning rod for some parents’ data privacy and security concerns, announced it would close. See also WNYC: Sun Sets on Controversial Student Data Project inBloom. [EdWeek broke the story, far as I know.]

Vision, Reality Collide in Common-Core Tests EdWeek: A glass-half-full reading focuses on the exams' technological advances and embrace of performance-based assessment. On the flip side, a confluence of political, technical, and financial constraints have led to some scaling back of the ambitious plans the consortia first laid out.

U.S. News Releases 2014 Best High Schools Rankings HuffPost/ US News: Some familiar names joined Dallas-based School for the Talented and Gifted and the two BASIS schools in the top 10 this year, including the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Georgia and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia. Both schools retained their third and fourth place rankings, respectively, while Pine View School in Florida also held onto its No. 6 position.

Teachers are losing their jobs, but Teach for America’s expanding Hechinger Report: Of the first 13 Seattle recruits whose two-year commitment is now over, Maldonado and 10 others remain in their classrooms. While he thinks TFA should have done a better job before bringing his cohort to the city, Maldonado says he still believes strongly in the organization and worked at its summer institute in New York City last year.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Talks To ABC News’ David Muir ABC News: "How did I go to a commuter college that cost $50 a semester? Because a lot of other people put a little something in that kept the costs low at a public school so I had a chance and a lotta kids like me had a chance to get an education, and go out, and do something with it."

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AM News: Growing Republican Infighting Over Common Core

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Republicans See Political Wedge in Common Core NYT: The Common Core, a set of national educational standards, is seen by some conservatives as federal overreach. But in contrast to the Affordable Care Act, it has Republican defenders.

Jindal, teachers agree over firing appeals process NOLA.com: Gov. Jindal has agreed to adjust a 2012 state law surrounding teachers' job security and firings that he helped craft, after losing a legal battle with an educator facing dismissal earlier this year.

15 Years After Columbine, Are Schools Any Safer? NPR: The mass shooting at Columbine High School spurred schools to adopt "zero tolerance" policies. Do they work? NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez and former principal Bill Bond discuss.

A Scientific Experiment: Field Trips Just For Teachers NPR: Educators say the middle grades are a key time time to get kids jazzed about science, but many teachers say they lack the tools they need. In Chicago, a science museum is helping to fill the the gap.

Kansas: First Lady’s Visit Draws Criticism NYT: Some Topeka high school students and their parents said they would rather keep their graduation day just a family affair, and not include Michelle Obama.

National Service Advocates Say Washington Has Abandoned Its Bipartisan Promise To Them BuzzFeed: In 2009, national service advocates celebrated as President Obama and a large bipartisan coalition in Congress pledged to expand prized AmeriCorps slots from the current 80,000 to 250,000, fulfilling a promise to expand national service supported by Presidents Clinton and Bush.

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AM News: Teachers Suffer States' Common Core Uncertainties

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Teachers Anxious as Policymakers Waffle on Common-Core Decisions State EdWatch: The indecision about the common-core standards in many states has led some teachers to believe that policymakers are leaving them in the lurch.

Competing Views of Teacher Tenure Are on Display in California Case NYT: In a case that has drawn national attention, lawyers have been arguing over whether California’s laws on teacher tenure, firing and layoffs violate students’ constitutional right to an education.

Arne Duncan: "Inspiring" To See Children Cross The Border To Get An Education RealClear Politics: "They're our kids and they are trying to get a great education. These are children and families who are trying to live the American dream."

School Foundations vs. Title I Funds Voice of San Diego: In its simplest form, the conversation goes like this: Foundations don’t worsen inequities because schools in low-income neighborhoods get federal Title I money and other funds from the state government to meet the needs of disadvantaged students. The assumption, in other words, is that the differences are a wash.

Tennessee School Voucher Bill Fails to Garner Support From Lawmakers Parents/Public: Tennessee parents whose children attend failing schools won't get vouchers to send them to private school after the governor-penned bill can't muster enough political support.

RIP FCAT, The Florida Test With A Chorus Of Detractors NPR: The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT, is being replaced by a test aligned to the Common Core State Standards. StateImpact Florida's Sammy Mack remembers FCAT and its controversial run.

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AM News: College Board Reveals Sample Questions From New SAT*

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College Board Provides A glimpse Of New SAT NYT: Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday. The College Board announced last month the test will include real-world applications and more analysis. See also WPost, HuffPost, Vox, LA Times.

[*Why is this such a big story other than it's a very slow week?]

Suspensions and expulsions: A close look at nine districts Seattle Times: Last year, the nonprofit Washington Appleseed had a difficult time finding out exactly how many students are suspended or expelled each year in Washington state.

Options likely to remain open, but DCPS will not manage it WPost: The District’s Options Public Charter School appears likely to continue operating at least through the end of the 2014-15 school year, but the city’s school system will not take over its management as previously hoped, D.C. government lawyers said in court Tuesday.

Louisiana Officials Squabble Over Fate of PARCC Tests State EdWatch: As in South Carolina, Louisiana is experiencing a dispute between state officials over whether PARCC tests should be given to students.

How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free NPR: In 2005, a group of anonymous donors in Kalamazoo launched a bold program. It pays for graduates of the city's public schools to attend any of Michigan's public universities or community colleges.

Classes Resume A Week After Mass Stabbing At Franklin Regional High School AP via HP: Students planned to gather in prayer and in support of one another on the football field of a Pittsburgh-area high school where classes were scheduled to resume Wednesday, a week after a mass stabbing.

News and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

 

AM News: Denver Schools Recruiting Deferred Action Teachers

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District hires immigrant teachers under new policy EdWeek: Lizarraga is one of two teachers who qualified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, and started work in Denver this school year. Boasberg said more will be hired this coming year.

D.C. Official Says School Boundary Proposals Will Change WAMU: Three proposals for redrawing school boundaries in D.C. will likely be changed before being approved, says D.C.'s deputy mayor for education. See also Washington Post

Amplify Education Tries To Build An Identity Outside Of News Corp's Shadow BuzzFeed: Klein pitches Amplify as a trendy ed-tech firm, setting up shop for the company in the hipster Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. And he repeatedly refers to Amplify as a "startup," pausing to point out a ping-pong table in the office where two employees are in the midst of a game. 

S.C. Chief Declares State Will Leave Smarter Balanced After All State EdWatch: Jacqueline King of Smarter Balanced told me that it's up to each state to decide who has the authority to pull out of the testing consortium. Remember, the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee has final say over which assessment the state uses in this case. 

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Am News: Common Core Implementation, Field Testing, & Oklahoma

News2D.C. Students Read More, Deeper With Common Core WAMU: Kelly Rabin, a social studies teacher at Browne Education Campus, says she really pushes her students to do more in class. 

How Common Core education standards are changing the way LAUSD schools test children LA Daily News: “You are not being tested,” the narrator explained. “The questions themselves are being tested.”

Facing bipartisan backlash, Oklahoma reconsiders Common Core education standards PBS NewsHour: Oklahoma is the latest state to move toward repealing the Common Core national education standards. Once a source of bipartisan support, the standards now face criticism from the left and right. 

Boston Finds That Quality Preschool Is Worth The Effort NPR: Teaching coach Marina Boni is watching Doyle's classroom closely. After the lesson, she commends Doyle for trying to tie the new wire project to the old, but she says photographs of the older, forgotten project might've made the connection a bit more concrete.

Investigators find no evidence of pre-crash fire in deadly Orland bus collision LA Daily News: Investigators have found no evidence the FedEx freight truck involved in a deadly crash with a bus full of Los Angeles-area high school kids in rural Orland was on fire before impact, despite a witness report it may have been in flames prior to the fiery collision, the agency said Saturday. See also LA Times

Outgoing HHS Secretary Oversaw Tougher Rules for Head Start Grant Renewals PK12: Sebelius, who joined the administration in 2009, also served as a tag-team partner with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in promoting a proposal from the White House to boost state-run preschool programs with $75 billion over 10 years from the federal government. They both visited child-care centers and made other joint appearances to talk up the proposal.

L.A. teachers union president ready to step aside for challenger LA Times: Los Angeles teachers' union president Warren Fletcher said he will no longer actively campaign for reelection, clearing the path for challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl to become the next leader of United Teachers Los Angeles. In the first round of voting in March, Caputo-Pearl received 48% of the votes and Fletcher 21%. The runoff election takes place this month with ballots set to be counted April 29.

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AM News: Now, Anyone Can Try Out Common Core Field Tests

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Students are test-driving new Common Core exams. You can too Hechinger Report: You can try out sample tests that the test makers released to the public online and see for yourself if they boost your critical thinking skills. Here is a link to practice tests from PARCC, and from Smarter Balanced. Both groups also released individual sample problems previously.

A Plea to Move Forward From NY's Education Chief WNYC: "I hope that all of us — administrators, educators, parents and unions — can lay down our swords, soften the rhetoric, put aside the politics, and come together for the sake of our children," he said. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Arne Duncan urges New Yorkers to stick with Cuomo on teacher evals ChalkbeatNY: "I challenge you to support your governor as he challenges the status quo and tries to raise standards, raise expectations, and evaluate and support your teachers and principals,” Duncan said near the end of a brief speech at the National Action Network conference in New York City Wednesday night.

George W. Bush Defends No Child Left Behind AP: Former President George W. Bush has closed a three-day civil rights summit in Texas by saying education is the key for opportunity for poor and minority children and that he fears what he calls the 'soft bigotry' of low expectations is returning 50 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Tennessee Considers Parent Trigger Legislation Budget & Tax News: For several years, Tennessee parents and bipartisan legislators have worked to pass a Parent Trigger law to let families require reforms within.

9 killed when FedEx truck strikes bus carrying LA-areastudents Los Angeles Times:  LAUSD officials said students from Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Koreatown and ... Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. ... that all of our students recover,” L.A. Unified school board member Monica Garcia said.

CPS 'accounting adjustment' will increase funding to schools slightly; watchdog warns it's 'financially irresponsible' WBEZ Chicago: Despite looming pension payments, and as the district still reels from budget cuts and layoffs, Chicago Public Schools says it has found a way to slightly increase the amount schools get for each student next year.

AM News: Stressed Teachers; "So Long" From Sacramento

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American Teachers Feel Really Stressed, And It's Probably Affecting Students HuffPost: Gallup’s State Of America’s Schools Report, released Wednesday, says nearly 70 percent of K – 12 teachers surveyed in a 2012 poll do not feel engaged in their work. The study said they are likely to spread their negative attitudes to co-workers and devote minimal discretionary effort to their jobs. See also Hechinger Report.

Sacramento Bails on NCLB Flexibility PK12: In a memo to staff today, interim Superintendent Sara Noguchi said, "It has become clear that [the district's] participation in the waiver from No Child Left Behind has impeded progress towards working more collaboratively to move our schools and classrooms forward." She referred to the waiver as a distraction. See also EdSource Today.

Testing help center 'inundated' with teacher calls KPCC LA: Last week, the help desk received an average of 637 calls each day from teachers asking for help with the new test, she said. Most were for basic problems setting up the tests.

'Value Added' Data Need Careful Analysis, Consideration, Statisticians' Group Says TeacherBeat: The American Statistical Association offers its take on the ever-controversial use of value-added methods in teacher evaluation.

Science teacher's suspension spurs petition drive LA Times: A popular Los Angeles high school science teacher has been suspended after students turned in projects that appeared dangerous to administrators, spurring a campaign calling for his return to the classroom. Cortines School's Greg Schiller was removed by L.A. Unified after two students' projects were deemed to resemble weapons.

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

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AM News: LA Settles $60M Seniority Layoffs Lawsuit

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L.A. Unified settles lawsuit over layoffs LA Times: Los Angeles school district officials announced a lawsuit settlement Tuesday that will provide $60 million in pay increases, services and staff at about three dozen schools, many hit hard by teacher layoffs. But the pact fails to deal with whether instructors should continue to be dismissed based on seniority. See also EdSource TodayLA Daily News.

Charter-School Fight Flares Up in Illinois WSJ: Hundreds of protesters filled the rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol on Tuesday denouncing nearly a dozen bills that would curb the growth of charter schools—the latest scuffle over expansion of the independently run public schools. See also WBEZ Chicago.

In Testimony, Arne Duncan Continues to Distance Himself From Common Core PK12: "I'm just a big proponent of high standards. Whether they're common or not is secondary," he told members of the House appropriations subcommittee that works on health, education, and other related issues.

Coalition launches to support New York’s Common Core rollout ChalkbeatNY: In a press release, the group said its goal is to combat “special interests’ attempt to delay the introduction of a new set of standards created and adopted by New York State teachers, parents, principals and state leaders in 2011.” 

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