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AM News: Florida Union Sues State Over 'Value-Added' Evaluations

Teacher Unions Sue Florida Over 'Value-Added' Teacher Evaluations NBCFlorida: The complaint challenges the Student Success Act passed in 2011. The current teacher evaluation system, partly based on scores from the high-stakes Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, violates teachers' constitutional rights of due process and equal protection of laws. "None of the plaintiffs teaches math or reading in the grades that the FCAT is given," said Andy Ford, the Florida Education Association president. "This lawsuit highlights the absurdity of the current evaluation system."


High School Redesign Gets Presidential Lift EdWeek: A flurry of good news appeared on the high school front this winter. Graduation rates were at their highest mark in nearly 40 years, record numbers of students were taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, and more high schools than ever were offering college credit through dual-enrollment programs. On top of all that, President Barack Obama applauded high school redesign efforts in his State of the Union address and encouraged districts to look to successful models for inspiration. Last week, he followed up with a request in his fiscal 2014 budget proposal for a new, $300 million competitive-grant program.

Nearly $500 million From Race to Top To Fund Early Learning, District Ideas PoliticsK12: About $370 million, will go to early-learning initiatives, including to six states that only received 50 percent of their awards the first time around. The remaining funds will go for new states that pitch early-learning improvement ideas. (Preschool is top priority for President Obama.) But there are some things that aren't clear, including exactly how much will go for early learning in new states. Also unknown is whether the department will conduct an entirely new Race to the Top district competition, or make awards to districts that came close, but did not win, last year.

NYC ‘Cheating teacher’ claims up NewYorkPost: A first-ever breakdown of probes conducted by the Office of Special Investigations, the Department of Education’s internal investigative arm, shows that 221 cases of cheating were reported to the agency last year — up from 128 allegations reported in 2009. Overall since that year, the internal unit has received at least 623 reports of cheating and opened probes on 449 of them, but has substantiated wrongdoing in just 67 of those cases.

Creative Classes: An Artful Approach To Improving Performance NPR: The Turnaround Arts Initiative, spearheaded by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, is using an intensive arts curriculum to try and improve eight low-performing schools. They're located in Denver; New Orleans; Des Moines, Iowa; and on a reservation in Montana, among other places, and they all serve students from poor families. Some were considered to be the lowest-performing schools in their states.


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