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AM News: After Obama Push, Google Relents On Student Data Privacy Pledge

After Initially Holding Out, Google Signs Student-Data-Privacy Pledge EdWeek: Any possibility that the pledge might have slipped from the public's attention vanished last week, when President Barack Obama publicly lauded the effort and urged more companies to get on board.

State Of The Union Doesn't Mention No Child Left Behind Rewrite Efforts HuffPost: Obama mentioned few specifics about K-12 education, one of his administration's top priorities during his first term. Notably, the president mentioned not one word directly about one of his education secretary's priorities for 2015: rewriting the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, the Bush-era school accountability law. Obama also failed to mention the words teacher and testing. See also PK12, Washington PostPBS NewsHour.

Who sat in the First Lady's State of the Union box? Vox: Malik Bryant (Chicago, IL) Thirteen-year-old Malik Bryant sent a letter to Santa over the holidays, but rather than request the usual gifts, Malik wrote: "All I ask for is for safety I just wanna be safe." The President wrote back to Malik, encouraging him and underscoring that Malik's "security is a priority for me in everything I do as president." Malik lives with his mother Keturah and his two sisters in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He is in seventh grade, and his favorite subject is math.

Cuomo’s Education Agenda Sets Battle Lines With Teachers’ Unions NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to seek changes to teacher evaluations and charter school limits, reforms that, uncharacteristically for a Democrat, will put him in conflict with the unions. See also ChalkbeatNY, WNYC.

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

Many school districts in state don't comply with teacher evaluation law LA Times: Major California school districts are failing to comply with a state law that requires them to evaluate teachers in part by how much their students have learned, according to a study released Wednesday.

Florida District Fires National Superintendent of the Year Finalist District Dossier: The Hillsborough County, Fla., school board has ousted veteran schools chief MaryEllen Elia, triggering a $1.1 million buyout of her contract.

The reality of life and death intersect for students at two Oakland schools PBS NewsHour: Some students may find such a realistic simulation cause for nervous laughter, but Jorge Ruiz, 17, and his classmates are serious, listening and watching closely as Boykin and a colleague push a plastic infant through the mannequin’s “birth canal” and out onto a gurney.

Parents, Educators, Anti-Testing Critics Attend 'Opt-Out' Conference EdWeek: Critics of high-stakes standardized testing are gathering for a national conference this weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Unless he learns to work with Congress, President Obama's community college proposal is going to be as lacking in impact as his other recent education proposals have been -- in other words, it will make very little difference in Americans' lives, in spite of his good intentions. This is very disappointing to some of us who voted for him twice: after years of watching gridlock between President Bush and Congress, I for one thought, in voting for two senators (one of whom, Joe Biden, had decades of experience in the Senate), that the new administration might be more effective at enacting legislation to help with solving this country's many challenges. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened, and if last night's speech is any indication, nothing interesting will occur in this fourth quarter unless it is at the initiative of the new Congress, from which I have high hopes, at least with respect to education.

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