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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

AM News: All Eyes On California & Rhode Island

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Even Seattle Has A Charter School Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Oklahoma Loses NCLB Waiver Over Common Core Retreat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: New Year, New iPad Plan For LAUSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Districts Brace For Unaccompanied Minors

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

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

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

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

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

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

More education news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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AM News: Teachers Union Wins Another LA School Board Election

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

AM News: NYC Mayor Touts National Pre-K Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: NYC Parent Organizing Group Expands To Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Friday Roundup Lacks Any Clear Theme Or Headline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Common Core Movement Rolling On, Despite Setbacks

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Union Defends Tenure/Seniority Rules Against Lawsuits

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

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

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

COMMON CORE

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

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

AFTER-SCHOOL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: State Giving Early Peek At New Test Reesults

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily News Flickr swanksalot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Cities Prepare For Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: 7 Seattle Charter Schools Proposed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Districts See Uptick In Central American Refugee Children

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Changes Afoot In California & New York City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: John White Blasts Bobby Jindal Over Common Core

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AM News: CT Teachers Endorse Malloy Over Ed Reform Critic

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

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

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

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

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

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