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AM News: Let's Get This Testing [Opting Out] Started

Opt-out movement aims to lure more African-American, Latino parents Politico: Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan drew attention to the racial disparity in 2013 when he remarked to state superintendents that “white suburban moms” were rebelling against new academic standards because their kids had done poorly on the tough...

Chancellor on State Tests: 'I Don't Believe in Opting Out' WNYC: "I don't believe in opting out," she told reporters at a Brooklyn high school where she announced an expansion of dual-language programs for the fall.

For teachers unions, budget is more proof of a pendulum shift in New York education policy ChalkbeatNY: The charter sector is excited about a funding boost, while the unions are relishing an ideological shift that got its start months ago and is borne out in the state’s newfound support for “community schools.” The satisfaction of both groups points to a larger theme: In a shift, the budget had much more to do with haggling over funding than arguing over education policy.

General Electric Pledges to Spend $50M on Boston Initiatives AP: General Electric pledges to spend $50 million on initiatives in Boston, including $25 million in public schools

High school dean, responsible for discipline, charged with having heroin in her office Washington Post: Dean was handcuffed and led out a back door of her New Hampshire public school, but students and parents weren't told what happened for six weeks, when parent saw her name on a police arrest log.

Health Scare at Malibu School Sets Off Media War NYT: A debate over window caulking with the toxic chemical compounds has divided a California school district and parents like Cindy Crawford.

Bill, Chelsea Clinton spend day volunteering at Oakland schools SF Gate: Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, joined hundreds of volunteers at an Oakland school Sunday for a day of service that included a coat of paint and freshly potted plants.

Site News: Rainy, Tweety Monday

Happy Monday. I'm working on a big project today but will be Tweeting and Facebooking here and there nonetheless:

 

AM News: One-Day Chicago Teachers Strike Is No April Fool's Joke

Chicago Schools to Close as Teachers Launch One-Day Strike AP: Teachers in Chicago are launching an unprecedented one-day strike. See also Sun-Times, Tribune, WBEZ

Chicago Teachers Union pushes broad message for fiscal reform with walkout Tribune: The union's repeated threats to strike over pay and pension issues in recent weeks have evolved into a labor-led fight against Rauner's anti-union agenda, and a call for new revenue amid a state budget impasse that has jeopardized social service programs and public universities.

White teachers and black teachers have different expectations for black students Washington Post: New study provides more evidence that race plays a role in expectations of academic success. See also HuffPost.

Teacher-Pay Equity: An Unforeseen ESSA Wrinkle EdWeek: Teacher-salary comparability isn't one of the allowable topics in ESSA rulemaking, but that's not stopping the topic from cropping up in the negotiations.

Mayor de Blasio Meets With Parents Opposed to State Testing NYT: An Education Department official said that although the mayor continued to believe the tests were important, he wanted to hear the parents’ views.

Shirley Hufstedler, Pioneering Judge and First Cabinet-Level Education Secretary, Is Dead at 90 NYT: Shirley Hufstedler set as her goal at the new Education Department to bolster programs that gave assistance to the disadvantaged and the disabled.

One application for many L.A. Unified school options? That's the district's plan KPCC: Currently, each of these programs has its own application process and its own deadline; families must submit magnet applications by November, for instance, but paperwork for Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS) comes due in late April. What's more, parents can't apply for every program online.

High Lead Levels Found at More Newark Schools NYT: Nearly a quarter of samples collected in school buildings in the district last week had concentrations above the federal threshold.

Fewer Suspensions in City Schools After Discipline Changes WNYC: The New York Civil Liberties Union called the new numbers a strong indicator that schools are getting better at resolving minor behavioral issues — especially with the drop in suspensions due to insubordination. See also Chalkbeat.

AM News: Opt-Out/Testing Season Begins Soon In States Like NY, IL

To Opt Out or Not? Dueling Messages Before Next Week's Tests WNYC: Leaders of the opt out movement accuse the city’s Department of Education of withholding information from families about their right to boycott the state tests, in what appears to be an attempt to reach a broader audience before next week’s tests.

Will Parents Opt Their Kids Out Of PARCC Test Like Last Year? WBEZ: The PARCC is aligned with Common Core standards, which are national standards. Some parents think the PARCC and other Common Core tests ...

Friedrichs ends with a whimper Politico: SEIU's Mary Kay Henry, NEA's Lily Eskelsen Garcia, AFT's Randi Weingarten, and AFSCME's Lee Saunders all held a joint press call after Tuesday's decision, and “all four of us understand the importance of working together and combining our resources, ...

Chicago Teachers Union pushes broad message for fiscal reform with walkout Tribune: The union's repeated threats to strike over pay and pension issues in recent weeks have evolved into a labor-led fight against Rauner's anti-union agenda, and a call for new revenue amid a state budget impasse that has jeopardized social service programs and public universities. See also Crain's: April 1 teacher strike 'all but' assured, CTU says.

Chicago Teachers Union walkout raises legal questions Tribune: Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool insists it would be illegal, and Gov. Bruce Rauner calls it an "abuse of power." Even union members have sought reassurances...

Educator misconduct cases continue to choke the system SI&A Cabinet Report: The number of teacher misconduct cases awaiting an appeal hearing has actually increased since the governor and state lawmakers agreed last year to provide additional funding to help clear a backlog of some 265 open investigations.

Lower East Side families get first look at a sweeping plan to integrate schools ChalkbeatNY: The proposal would re-introduce families’ demographic information into the admissions system, under a model known as “controlled choice.” Now, families applying to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten would first submit information about their income level and whether they earned a high school or college degree, along with whether their child lives in temporary housing, is not a native English speaker, or has a disability.

School board backs away from rezoning proposal tagged by critics as segregation Washington Post: Loudoun County board drew criticism for a plan that would have created high-poverty schools.

A Diverse Teaching Force? This Search Firm Can Help, But It'll Cost You NPR: Meet Stratégenius Consulting — a company that helps schools find candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.

Detroit Schools to Get Stopgap Aid, More Corruption Alleged ABC News: The state's largest school district was in danger of starting to run out of money in April. The stopgap spending legislation shows the district's challenges "aren't just Detroit's problem, they are concerns for all of Michigan," Snyder said. 

AM News: Union Fee Win, StudentsFirst Merger, NY Primary Showdown

With Supreme Court Tie, Teachers Unions Dodge A Bullet NPR: The 4-4 ruling by the high court means the failure of an effort to overturn requirements that nonunion members contribute to the cost of bargaining. See also AP, EdSourceTeacherBeat, NYT.

Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst will merge with education advocacy group 50Can LA Times: Just several years after its glitzy launch, StudentsFirst, the Sacramento-based education group started by former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, is merging with another education advocacy organization, 50Can. See also The Seventy FourTeacherBeat.

Bernie and Hillary prep for New York clash Politico: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, a former president of New York's local teachers union branch, spent the past week talking to her own members and leaders in Albany and the Hudson Valley about the stakes of the election. See also PK12.

National PTA's New Stand on Opt-Outs Could Prove Timely This Testing Season EdWeek: The group's January update of its position statement on assessments, its first in 35 years, includes its opposition to policies letting parents remove children from standardized testing.

The overwhelming whiteness of U.S. private schools, in six maps and charts Washington Post: Should there be more civil rights scrutiny of private schools that accept taxpayer funding via vouchers?

Detroit Schools to Get Stopgap Aid, More Corruption Alleged AP: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep the Detroit Public Schools open through the end of the school year. See also District Dossier, Daily Caller.

In African-American Communities, Growing Interest In Home-Schooling NPR: When it comes to teaching their children at home, African-Americans often cite different reasons than white families.

Loudoun County school board votes down controversial rezoning plan Washington Post: The school board declined to push forward a plan to create two majority-poverty schools. See also WAMU.

D.C. now has more children. Here's where they're living. Washington Post: Neighborhoods just east of Rock Creek Park, like Columbia Heights and Petworth, saw the biggest jump in the population under 18.

AM News: Syrian Refugee Students, Chicago Teachers Walkout, Teachers Using Snapchat

For Syrian Refugees in New Jersey, a Bumpy Adjustment to School WNYC: In March, WNYC visited Aisha during science class at the Islamic school, where she copied words in English while her classmates answered questions with enthusiasm. She wore a blue and yellow uniform, which includes a yellow hijab for the girls.

Chicago Teachers Union sets plans for Friday walkout Chicago Tribune: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and an ally of CTU President Karen Lewis, is scheduled to appear at a teach-in on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University on Friday morning, according to a tentative schedule. See also: CTU: Teachers who cross picket line April 1 could lose union membership.

Say goodbye to eighth grade Algebra 1 and hello to the rise of Common Core math LA Times: Eighth grade math is changing: instead of emphasizing Algebra I where only some students thrive, many schools are placing all students in the same general class that covers several concepts. Common Core standards for the eighth grade call for all students to learn the same general math concepts,...

With ESSA on the Books, Here's an Early Look at Trends in State K-12 Legislation PK12: In many respects, officials in statehouses and state education departments are still figuring out how they'll proceed under ESSA.

How Teachers Are Using Snapchat NPR: Teachers explain how they're applying the social media app to lessons and homework.

AM News: Testing Changes, Bad Water, Plus Trio Of Edu-Profiles (King, O'Connor, Gordon)

PARCC testing begins again but still no opt-out policy Chicago Sun-Times: For its second year, PARCC has been shortened. It has a simpler format, and results have been promised much sooner than last year — by the summer, rather than late autumn, so that teachers and parents can actually use the results. Those improvements still won’t stop a number of families in Chicago from skipping it.

Smarter Balanced test changes affect California special ed students KPCC: This year the Smarter Balanced test will allow students to control the volume and pitch on the computer program that reads a question to a student and that reads glossary words related to questions on the test. The test will also now provide Spanish language glossaries to help students who have a disability and who are classified as English Learners.

Schools Nationwide Still Grapple With Lead in Water NYT: The Flint, Mich., crisis has cast attention on the issue, but in schools from Jersey City, N.J., to Los Angeles, problems have dragged on for years. See also: Digging Further Into a Water Problem.

New Education Secretary: Bold Agenda. Just 10 Months To Get It Done NPR: John B. King Jr. talks about his priorities for a tenure that may be short-lived: implementing the new education law, high-quality preschool and college access, to name a few.

A Supreme Court Pioneer, Now Making Her Mark on Video Games NYT: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said she had never played video games until a few years ago. But now she is using them to teach students valuable civics lessons.

 Should Schools Ask Students About Their Sexual Orientation To Protect LGBT Rights? Washington Post: Researchers are calling on the federal government to begin collecting information about LGBT students’ experiences at the nation’s schools. Embedded in that argument, though, is a call to begin asking students to declare their gender identity and sexual orientation at school — a move that the Equity Project acknowledges is fraught with privacy concerns.

Education's Mr. Fix-it Christian Science Monitor/Hechinger Report: While he may be relatively invisible to the students, Mr. Gordon is hardly unknown outside the school. As the overseer of 21 charter schools in Philadelphia, he has carved out a reputation as a turnaround artist – someone willing to try to fix high schools that are failing, a task that many other reformers have shied away from in their quest to transform urban education. 

When School-Installed Software Stops A Suicide NPR: School administrators increasingly have the power to track students' Web browsing even when they're at home. The implications are complicated.

Brooklyn Private School Looks to Expand to ManhattanWSJ: Basis Independent, an ambitious, for-profit, private school that opened in Brooklyn last year, says it will expand to the Upper West Side in the fall of 2017.

How Chicago Will Keep Classes Going When Teachers Strike Tribune: Chicago Public Schools will provide about 250 "contingency sites" for students locked out of the classroom by a one-day teachers strike April 1, while also asking teachers who disagree with the walkout to report for work.

See additional news and commentary from over the weekend here.

Twitter Friday: News, Opinion & Analysis Via Social Media

Happy Friday. I'm working on a couple of longform pieces today. But that doesn't mean I won't be sharing out news, commentary, and all the rest. You can check out all my updates here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). You won't miss a thing, plus you can see the fun things people Tweet at me all day. 

AM News: Chicago Teachers Approve One-Day Walkout

CTU delegates give go-ahead for April 1 walkout Tribune: The Chicago Teachers Union's governing body approved a plan Wednesday to shut down the city's schools with a one-day walkout April 1. Union leaders called the walkout to bring attention to its differences with the district in contract talks and to push. See also Catalyst: Teachers split over CTU vote on one-day strike.

Protests erupt at St. Paul Public Schools board meeting; teacher contract OK'd MinnPost: Things hit a tipping point when Jim Endres, a substitute teacher, moved the focus away from students, asking the board to better support teachers in the classroom, including Olson. He started to elaborate on what he considers to be the impossible standards placed on teachers today because we have “something called political correctness,” when booing audience members began to drown him out.

Pennsylvania Governor Relents After 9-Month Budget Impasse AP: Pennsylvania's Democratic governor says he won't block Republicans' $6.6 billion no-new-taxes spending package after nearly nine months of budget gridlock.

Calif. Teachers, Administrators Disagree About How Well Common Core Is Going Teacher Beat: On common-core implementation, 70 percent of district leaders said their district had made good or excellent progress toward Common Core implementation. But teachers say there's room for improvement.

How one Minnesota school district handles a rising immigrant population WNYC: The United States is now home to the largest number of foreign-born black people in its history—and many are K-12 students enrolled in public schools. The English-learners among them are overwhelmingly native Spanish, French, or Haitian Creole speakers, but districts have had to adjust on the fly to meet the needs of students who arrive communicating in less frequently spoken languages such as Amharic, Haitian Creole and Somali.

Why This Teacher Says More Classrooms Should Be Modeled After Gangs Huffington Post: Gangs give their members true responsibility, says Emdin, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College. They make their members feel like they're part of a family -- a unit that will protect them. They give members a sense of "cosmopolitanism," or make them feel they're valued citizens of a larger community.   

Alabama lawmaker apologizes for bill requiring teachers be trained not to have sex with students Washington Post: And then there's the legislation in Kansas that would allow anyone who saw a transgender person in a school bathroom to sue the school for $2,500.... The state bills just keep on coming.

More Teachers Can't Afford To Live Where They Teach NPR: Rising rents, housing prices and living costs in the top real estate markets from Boston to San Francisco are putting the squeeze on teachers.

CPS Sues State Commission Over Charter School Closures WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool filed a lawsuit against the Illinois State Charter School Commission, challenging the commission’s ruling that three Chicago charter schools can stay open.

New York Public Schools Posts Lead Test Results Online WNYC: In response to reports of elevated lead levels in drinking water from Flint, Mich., to Newark, the New York City public school system is taking the extraordinary step of posting results from nearly 90,000 samples taken over the last 14 years.

One Monica in, one Monica out: How the LAUSD school board will change LA School Report: Meanwhile, fellow board member Monica Ratliff surprised many education and City Hall watchers last week when she quietly took out papers with the... 

AM News: Chiefs For Change, Chicago Teachers, Autonomous Schools

Some Cities Are Making Great Strides In Educating Low-Income Students HuffPost: Only two in 10 low-income students from big cities go to schools where they perform near or on par with affluent students. Over 60 of the country's largest cities have what the report classifies as "massive" achievement gaps.  On the bright side, the study -- funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation -- also highlights several cities that have made tremendous gains in helping vulnerable students.  

Chiefs For Change Brings on Six District Superintendents District Dossier: The organization, which advocates for the use of the Common Core State Standards and school choice, once consisted solely of state school chiefs.

Chicago Teachers Union Seeks Furlough Trade For April 1 Walkout Tribune: A CPS spokeswoman said the district would not consider such a trade. The call by union leaders for an April 1 walkout has elicited skepticism from some CTU members. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said the walkout will have to be approved by a substantial margin before leaders decide to go forward with the plan.

Autonomous schools gain ground in Minneapolis and across the nation MinnPost: In researching similar initiatives that have already taken root in cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Oakland,  and Denver, as well as in Massachusetts, Ohrn says there’s strong reason to believe CPS schools in Minneapolis have the potential to achieve similar outcomes.

Report finds massive under-investment in nation’s school buildings Washington Post: The last time the federal government attempted to survey the condition of the nation’s school buildings was in 1995. At the time, more than 8 million students attended 15,000 schools with poor air quality; 12 million students attended 21,000 schools in need of new roofs or roof upgrades; 12 millions students attended 23,000 schools with inadequate plumbing. See also EdSource Today.

Should Student Surveys Inform Teacher Evaluations? Educators Call It 'Bad Choice' WAMU: Research has found that student surveys are one of the most effective methods of assessing teacher performance, but educators that have already implemented a plan DCPS is looking at are cautioning teachers here to think again.

Plan to Restructure Detroit Schools Takes a Step Forward AP: The Michigan Senate approved a $720 million restructuring plan Tuesday that would divide Detroit's ailing school district in two as a means of retiring a massive operating debt over a decade

Education Data, Student Privacy Take Spotlight at Capitol Hill Hearing PK12: The House education committee weighs the issue at a time when some lawmakers are pushing to update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

The Untold Stories Of Black Girls NPR: Black girls are suspended from school at six times the rate of white girls. In a new book, Pushout,author Monique Morris tells their stories.

College Opens New Frontier In Education Outsourcing BuzzFeed: Pearson's deal with Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, a two-year school of some 9,000 students, is the first time the company has taken over recruiting for an entire university. It's also the first time Pearson will handle recruiting for a community college — earning as much as 20% of the school's tuition revenue from new students.

AM News: Staff Cuts At TFA, Plus New Pro Opt-Out NY Regent Head

Teach for America to cut national staff by 15 percent Washington Post: The two shake-ups will leave Teach for America with approximately 930 national staff members in fiscal year 2017, 410 fewer than it employed in fiscal year 2015, according to the organization. It’s a staffing level that the organization expects will be sustainable even if there are fluctuations in the number of new corps members it is able to recruit. See also AtlanticTeacher Beat.

Rosa, new head of New York education policy: As a parent, ‘I would opt out’ ChalkbeatNY: Rosa spoke about the need to retool the tests to rebuild trust with parents, and said that families have the right to choose what is best for their children. “If I was a parent and I was not on the Board of Regents, I would opt out at this time,” Rosa told reporters Monday, shortly after she was elected chancellor of the Board of Regents.

Prospects for the Next President Keeping John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: On the Senate education committee, Sanders joined the rest of his Democratic colleagues by voting to advance King's nomination to the full Senate earlier this month. But he is listed as not voting in the full Senate on King's nomination. Generally speaking, if Sanders wins out, there's no reason to believe the unions would significantly alter their political strategy regarding King.

Alternative education program still in danger after budget restoration Boston Globe: “I always hated school, to be honest . . . but I had men that I could look up to and get knowledge from,” Luis Aponte, now a student at Northeastern University, said of the Diploma Plus program in Charlestown.

Kansas Campuses Prepare For Guns In Classrooms NPR: A Kansas law will allow students to carry concealed weapons into their college classrooms, and many teachers aren't happy about it.

Pierre Omidyar helps fund education startup Tinkergarten BBJ: The startup specializes in outdoor early childhood education, helping educators lead activities for kids outside. The activities include "outsmart a leprechaun" and "celebrate the winter solstice." Tinkergarten said the company now has classes running across 14 states.

AM News: NY Opt-Out Advocates Unsatisfied By State Testing Changes

New York's Opt Out Movement Revs Back Up WNYC: State education officials... shortened the tests for all grades in both math and English, though only slightly so (some parents say the change is negligible). Students this year will be allowed as much time as they need to finish the tests. And, according to the state education department, teachers have played a more active role in reviewing test questions. But making small revisions and acknowledging flaws did not appease Deutermann and other parents gathered for a rally in Long Beach, Long Island on Sunday. 

GOP Candidates Taking Aim at Common Core Academic Standards AP: Republican presidential candidates are taking aim at the Common Core academic standards, criticizing them as an overreach of the federal government even though they were created by the states.

Spike in weapons seized in schools, pro-charter group reports ChalkbeatNY: The data, which the city did not dispute, shows that the police recovered 1,678 weapons in the 2014-15 school year, an increase of 170 weapons from the previous year. (That included a significant spike in taser and stun gun recoveries.) 

Montclair Still Feels Strife From School Tests Posted Online in ’13 NYT: Documents circulating through a liberal New Jersey township lately are adding new fuel to a fierce, long-running battle over education philosophy in the local schools.

The ‘Broad plan’ for LA schools grows to more than charters only EdSource Today: Whether the shift in approach represents a sincere effort to involve the school district or a strategy to blunt intense criticism from defenders of traditional public education, or maybe both, Castrejón says the group intends to examine district schools that are excelling and replicate their efforts in low-income areas of Los Angeles where academic performance is lagging.

New Parent-Trigger Bills Fail to Gain Traction in States This Year EdWeek: Legislators in four states have introduced parent-trigger bills this year, but none of those proposals have moved forward so far. See also LA Times.

Separate but equal? Wealthy county’s plan would concentrate low-income, Hispanic students Washington Post: A debate in Virginia centers on serving high-need students amid concerns about segregation.

Student suspensions in Calif. charter schools follow familiar, troubling patterns KPCC: The study also found the demographic disparities in suspension rates at charter schools differed little from the rates at non-charter schools, suggesting charter schools have played a significant — but not outsized — role in the creation of a so-called "school-to-prison pipeline."

Name Games: Donald Trump Isn’t Alone in Exploiting the Word ‘University’ NYT: Students have been taught to trust places called universities, even though few of them actually are.

Student stabbed at Boyle Heights elementary school LA Times: A student at Bridge Street Elementary School in Boyle Heights was rushed to the hospital after a reported stabbing Thursday morning, officials said. A parent told KTLA that the victim was a fifth grade boy who was attacked by another student. Los Angeles Fire Department officials said they responded...

Retiring: Claims of Age Bias Rise, but Standards of Proof Are High NYT: Even though a law meant to protect older workers has existed since 1967, proving discrimination has since been made tougher.

AM News: Duncan's New Gig, Legal Loophole For School Lead

Arne Duncan to Focus on Disconnected Youth at the Emerson Collective PK12: Duncan's official title will be managing partner for the Palo Alto, Calif.,-based philanthropy and advocacy organization, which is led up by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. See also Washington Post, USA TodayWSJ.

Newark Schools to Test Pupils for Lead as Officials Cite Longstanding Problem NYT: As many as 17,000 students may have been affected, but the immediate plan will be to offer testing to children who attend two early-childhood programs at schools where lead was detected in the water.

A legal loophole might be exposing children to lead in the nation's schools Washington Post: Under federal law, the vast majority of schools don’t have to test the water flowing out of their taps and drinking fountains, and many states and districts also do not mandate water testing at schools. Even when districts do test their water, they don’t always tell parents about the problems they find.

Early-Ed. Measures Percolate at State, Local Levels EdWeek: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 450 bills with some tie to early childhood are pending in 46 states. At this early stage, it's unclear how many of those proposals will be enacted into law. But if local and state lawmakers follow the trend of previous years, many places will see increased early-childhood investment.

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will help dropouts in violence-plagued Chicago find jobs LA Times: Since Arne Duncan left his job as U.S. secretary of Education in December, a problem has been nagging him: the high numbers of kids dropping out of school, joining gangs and getting killed in his city, Chicago. So he’s taken on a new job, he said Thursday, that will help him find opportunities...

2 Breakfasts May Be Better Than None For School Kids NPR: A study looked at students who ate breakfast at school versus those who ate at home, at both places, or not at all. One of these groups had a higher risk of obesity, and it's not the one you'd think.

Why Big-City School Systems Are Going Broke US News: Detroit's school system, already $515 million in debt, can't afford to pay its staff past April 8. In Chicago, the city school district – the third-largest in the country – is a whopping $1.1 billion in debt. In Philadelphia, despite the school system there ending the year with an $88 million surplus, the city has backed a lawsuit against the state by other school districts over inadequate funding. More than 2,000 public school students in Boston also walked out of their classrooms earlier this month in opposition to proposed budget cuts.

High Schools Are Failing Girls Who Report Sexual Assault Huffington Post: Under Title IX, schools receiving federal funding must eliminate a hostile environment stemming from gender-based violence. And the Education Department has told schools since at least the Clinton administration that a single incident of severe sexual harassment -- such as an assault -- can constitute a hostile environment. So when a high school gets a report of a student-on-student assault, it's typically supposed to do its own investigation.

Fariña talks changes to metal detector policy, defends classroom breakfast WNYC: Chancellor Carmen Fariña told City Council members Wednesday that the city’s classroom breakfast program has had a “rocky start,” and signaled that metal detector policies could shift by next fall.

City Schools to See Some Money They're Owed — But Not All WNYC: Orlando said the mayor's preliminary budget includes more than $150 million to "raise the floor" from last year's minimum of 82 percent to a new minimum of 87 percent. This will affect 650 schools. However, Renewal Schools — which were already receiving extra funds — will receive 100 percent of what they were owed instead of last year's 92 percent.

Qualified Providers, Space Hard To Find For Seattle Preschool Program Seattle Public Radio: The promise of the city of Seattle’s new subsidized preschool program to bring low- or no-cost preschool to three- and four-year-olds across the city is facing a challenge as the city struggles to find space and providers for the second year.

Vaccination aversion has fueled measles and whooping cough outbreaks, study finds LA Times: A comprehensive new study of measles and pertussis outbreaks in the United States suggests that adults’ reluctance or refusal to vaccinate themselves and their children has played a key role in the resurgence of diseases that had been largely eradicated in this country.

AM News: UCLA Study Says Charter Schools Suspend More

Are charter schools suspending too many students? LA Times

See also EdWeek.

USDE Seeks Standard Rule on Flagging Bias in Special Education - Education Week

Charter school in the I Can network becomes first in city to unionize - Cleveland.com

Tests Show Elevated Lead Levels at Newark Schools Since 2012 - WSJ

AM News: A Metro-Less Day For DC Schools, Chicago Teachers Plan Walkout

Absences at D.C. public schools will be excused Wednesday, some charters to close due to Metro shutdown Washington Post: D.C.’s public schools will remain open Wednesday despite Metro shuttering its entire rail system for an unprecedented 24 hours. At least three charter schools, however, have decided to close, according to Tomeika Bowden, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Charter School Board.

CTU Leaders Plan Walkout At Schools on April 1 Chicago Tribune: Chicago Teachers Union leaders will ask its members to walk off their jobs April 1 for a one-day demonstration over contract talks and public education funding, Vice President Jesse Sharkey said Monday.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Cements Ties With Teachers Union Wall Street Journal: Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg once likened an endorsement from the New York City teachers union to a “kiss of death.” Mayor Bill de Blasio, by contrast, has embraced the United Federation of Teachers and its president, Michael Mulgrew, meeting more with him over the past two years than with any other registered lobbyist, city records show. The men usually chat weekly and sometimes daily.  

Before Flint, Lead-Contaminated Water Plagued Schools Across U.S. NPR: Michigan isn't the only place dealing with lead-contaminated water. Schools all over the country have struggled to eliminate lead from water fountains and cafeterias — some for more than a decade.

Advocacy Groups Unhappy With List of ESSA Negotiators PK12: The list already has its share of critics, both among advocates for educational practitioners and those who represent parents or particular groups of students.

In Alabama, Teachers School Lawmakers NPR: The 2016 Teacher of the Year in that state decided it was about time the people who write the laws that affect schools actually see the inside of a classroom.

Wallace Foundation To Invest $47 Million In Redesigning Principal Preparation Washington Post: Strong principals are critical components of successful schools, and yet school leaders usually receive far less attention than teachers in the national conversation about education. The Wallace Foundation has been seeking to change that for years, investing millions of dollars in research into what makes a principal effective.

L.A. Unified board member Monica Ratliff eyes City Council campaign LA Times: To compete in the March 2017 council election, she will have to give up her seat on the seven-member at the end of her term. Los Angeles Unified School District board. Candidates cannot simultaneously run for two seats in the same L.A. municipal election.

AM News: Here Comes Common Core Testing Season #2 (Plus #DemTownHall)

See #demtownhall for notes from last night's Democratic debate.

Efforts to repeal Common Core gain steam in Kansas Washington Times: “Since last year it had no steam or momentum, and then all of a sudden it was passed out of the committee and on the agenda for a House debate,” said Brad Neuenswander, the state’s deputy education commissioner. “It’s a concern of ours because it still has some legs.”

Survey: Ohio Students Got A Grades on Paper Exams, F Grades Online EdWeek: Ohio is now part of a growing number of states that are questioning the validity of their online exam results.

Superintendents, but not teachers, give high grades to Common Core rollout EdSource Today: While a majority of superintendents and district leaders say their districts have successfully rolled out the new standards, classroom teachers in California are not as upbeat. In a questionnaire and interviews, they expressed doubts about their principals’ instructional knowledge and capacity to lead the transition to the new standards. 

Some 11th graders not getting message about how much new Smarter Balanced tests matter KPCC: CSU-bound 11th graders – the only grade in high school required to take the Smarter Balanced standardized tests – who exceed the standard don’t need remediation and can move forward with their Cal State enrollment. 

Southern Lawmakers Reconsidering Role of Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations EdWeek: Lawmakers across the South, home to some of the nation's most test score-centric teacher-evaluation systems, are rethinking the weight placed on value-added measures.

Charter school scandal haunts John Kasich Politico: Ohio Gov. John Kasich is an avid proponent of school choice, but his home state’s notoriously problematic charter school sector is often held up as an example of what can go wrong. In the last year, he successfully pushed for revisions to Ohio’s charter school oversight, but the sector remains embroiled in scandal.

Turmoil Behind The Scenes At A Nationally Lauded High School NPR: The early college model known as P-TECH has been copied all over the country, but it is is still a hotly contested work in progress, internal emails show.

Without support, Minnesota students left behind at graduation MPR: Minority students in Minnesota schools have a lower chance of completing high school than in nearly any other state, according to this Minnesota Public Radio investigation. And these schools already spend less money than any other state on the kind of support that might help the students.

Lessons From The School Where I Failed As A Teacher NPR: For years, NPR's Claudio Sanchez has struggled with his decision to leave teaching and the children he had grown so fond of.

For some parents, getting their kids to school is easier said than done WNYC: At San Diego's heavily immigrant Adams Elementary School, a push is on to improve attendance, an indicator linked to dropout rates.

AM News: Education Secretary Carson? (Not Gonna Happen)

Trump says Carson will have major education role in his administration PK12: In response to a question about Common Core, candidates opened up about their education agendas during a debate Thursday night.

Could Ben Carson be the Next U.S. Secretary of Education? State Edwatch: GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told a debate audience Thursday that former candidate Ben Carson would "be very involved with education" in a Trump administration.

New law means shorter expulsions, more schooling for disciplined students Seattle Times: Newly passed legislation shortens expulsions and requires school districts to help disciplined students keep up with studies, among other efforts aimed at improving education for minority kids.

LAUSD staff rejecting more charter applications, but the school board isn't always on the same page KPCC: García cut a deal, right there in front of the board room. As board members debated, García huddled with WISH's executive director and a California Charter Schools Association staffer. Then she returned to the dais to offer a compromise: overrule the recommendation of L.A. Unified staff and approve WISH's charter bid for three years, not five. By a 4-2 vote, the board agreed. WISH supporters, clad in red T-shirts, erupted in cheers.

What exactly is a good school? California is trying to find out. LA Times: George Green V, a 19-year-old student, wants you to know what it means to have a black teacher with dreadlocks like his.“When I see him teach, I’m looking at myself in the mirror,” he said. Green is studying at Sacramento Charter High School. He was diagnosed with depression at age 10, and feels...

America's High School Graduates Look Like Other Countries' High School Dropouts NPR: The PIAAC study the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies — looks at the skills adults need to do everyday tasks, whether it's at work or in their social lives. Japan and Finland led the group in literacy, math and technology skills, while the United States' performance was average or well below average in each category.

Segregationist Byrd's Name to Be Axed From Virginia School AP: A Virginia school division decided Thursday to remove a prominent segregationist's name from a school, saying students should not be educated in a building named after a man who sought to shutter schools rather than integrate them.

Chicago District Sues Ex. Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett for More Than $65M District Dossier: The Chicago School District says former superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett and associates with SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates conspired to defraud the school district and stole money from city's school children.

AM News: Senate HELP Committee Approves Obama EdSec Nominee, NY Regents Chief Reflects

Senate Education Committee Votes to Advance Education Secretary Nominee PK12: Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. is one step closer to being a full-fledged cabinet official with Wednesday's 16-6 vote by the Senate education committee. See also Washington Post.

Merryl Tisch, Board of Regents Chief Who Set Off Testing Backlash, Reflects on Her Tenure NYT: Dr. Tisch, who is stepping down this month, said she tried to do too much, too fast during her time as chancellor, but justified her sense of urgency.

Educators on front line of desegregation debate say city must take the lead Chalkbeat: "The segregation wasn’t organic, and the integration is not going to be organic either,” said Jill Bloomberg, the principal of Park Slope Collegiate, a grade 6-12 school in a gentrifying part of Brooklyn where many schools remain racially isolated.

2 Baltimore School Officers Arrested in Assault on Teenager NYT: A video shows one of the officers slapping and kicking a young man at a school as the other officer stands by.

L.A. County report on special education sees 'crisis' LA Times: Some students with disabilities in Los Angeles County are getting shortchanged by the bureaucracy that is supposed to ensure they receive a good education, according to a consultant’s report discussed on Tuesday.

Arizona Set to Provide Districts a 'Menu' of Standardized Tests State EdWatch: The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to provide all students in grades 3-8 just the same exam.

Lead fear forces water ban in 30 New Jersey school buildings AP: Elevated levels of lead caused officials in New Jersey's largest school district on Wednesday to shut off water fountains at 30 school buildings until more tests are conducted, but officials said they don't believe the contamination poses any serious health risks....

This Kansas high school student must pay back $3,000 after smugglers helped him leave Guatemala WNYC: This sophomore in Kansas from Guatemala juggles algebra — and the reality that he must soon pay the smuggling fee he owes from coming to the United States.

AM News: 2nd Common Core Testing Season Starts This Week In CA

As students sit down for second year of new exams, pressure is on to perform KPCC LA: When students across the Southland and California sit down to take the Smarter Balanced exams beginning this week, the pressure will be back on to show improvement over last year's scores. And that pressure is manifesting itself in some of the preparations schools are taking for the tests.

L.A. Unified school board approves another charter against district recommendations LA Times: In a 4-2 vote Tuesday (board President Steve Zimmer abstained), the school board decided to let the group open Wish Academy High School under a three-year charter.

An LAUSD Teacher Is Named National Teacher of the Year Finalist LA Magazine: Jocz is known for his innovative teaching style and creative curriculum. His YouTube channel, Jocz Productions,  boasts nearly 14,000 subscribers and offers a crash course in U.S. history aided by pop culture references to help students remember the material (details about the Social Security Act are set to the catchy tune of Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” and the National Recovery Act is scored by Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind.”)

Removing barriers facing AP test takers SI&A Cabinet Report: State sources will cover the cost of Advanced Placement exams in an effort to boost historically-dismal participation by high school students.

Shadow a Student Challenge helps administrators understand kids EdSource Today: The weeklong challenge was organized to build empathy and spur action and sharing.

What Discipline Looks Like At A Boston School With 325 Suspensions Boston Learning Lab: Teachers walk along with the groups of students. Each teacher clasps a stick striped in rainbow colors, with clothespins bearing the students’ names clipped on from top to bottom. If your clothespin is at the bottom, in the red zone, it means you’ve misbehaved. And everybody knows it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Correction: DC should not have been included. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Correction: DC should not have been included. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Annual Gates Letter Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Common Core Testing Discrepancies, Intensifying Chicago Confrontation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Clinton Wins Iowa With Teachers Unions' Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Snowstorm Recovery For East Coast Districts

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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