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AM News: NEA Says "Let's Get This [Presidential Campaign] Party Started"

Nation’s largest labor union: We want 2016 hopefuls talking about schools Washington Post: The National Education Association, the largest U.S. labor union, is pushing to make public schools a front-burner domestic issue throughout the 2016 presidential race, union leaders said Wednesday. “We have 3 million members who want desperately to know what the candidates have to say to really, seriously improve public education,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García told reporters. “We intend to activate those 3 million members, the parents, even the students. See also Huffington Post, EdWeek (anyone else).

Unions and Garcia push for $15-an-hour minimum wage WBEZ Chicago: Garcia, members of the CTU, and activists with the national movement “Fight for 15” rallied outside the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday. They want all companies who do business with Chicago Public Schools to agree to a wage increase.

LAUSD educators typically earned $75,504 last year LADN: The typical Los Angeles Unified educator collected $75,504 in 2014, according to pay records obtained by this news organization ­-- the first time the school district has released the pay and name of every employee. [yikes!]

About 20,000 sign in favor of teacher-evaluation bill Seattle Times: Parents delivered a petition to legislative leaders in Olympia on Tuesday supporting a bill that would require student scores on state tests to be used in evaluating teachers.

New York Dreamers Begin Hunger Strike As State Budget Deadline Looms Huffington Post: A group of 10 undocumented youths launched a hunger strike Wednesday, vowing to pressure New York lawmakers to put funding for a proposed state version of the Dream Act back into next year's budget. 

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

Why Louisiana officials closed a struggling charter school while keeping a failing one open Hechinger Report:    Andrew H. Wilson Charter School could not get its letter grade out of the basement, falling to “F” this year after three years with a “D” while in operation in the Broadmoor neighborhood. Administratively, the school received a poor financial management score. It has about 625 students in kindergarten through eighth grades.

One third of New Orleans public school principals tried to choose their students, report says NOLA.com: One third of 30 New Orleans public school leaders told the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans they tried to pick and choose the best students. Of those 10 schools, eight had no entrance requirements and were supposed to take all children. The findings date to the 2012-13 school year.

Tennessee School Districts Sue the State Over Funding District Dossier: The seven districts allege that the state is not complying with the basic education formula and that discrepancies have shifted the financial burden to local school districts and schools.

Kentucky judges ponder case of school bullying suicide AP: Can schools and teachers be held responsible if a bullied student commits suicide?...

How snow days don’t hurt student progress, but absences do, in graphs Washington Post: It’s time to bury what you think you know about snow days and student achievement.Joshua Goodman, an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, examined weather data, student test scores and attendance figures in Massachusetts between 2003 and 2010. He found that school closures on snow days do not hurt student progress.

Does Becoming a Parent Make You More Selfish or Selfless? WNYC: We're asking this question because it came up in a conversation with Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz yesterday while she was discussing school choice. Plus, this article in the Atlantic talks about the roles of parents in choosing schools for their kids, and whether they should choose what's best for their children, or what's best for the neighborhood public school. 

Five Years In, It's Unclear if Common Core Is Helping Students US News: Two studies released this week – one from the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy and the other from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research – showed small gains on students' scores nationally on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and in Kentucky on the ACT. But it hasn't been determined whether those gains can be attributed to the Common Core standards, which most states only fully implemented within the last one to two years. 

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Re: the story on the New York students' hunger strike: Majority Leader Skelos is surely right to consider the obvious difficulties in explaining to middle class American taxpayers why their families should both take out expensive loans for their own children's tertiary educations and pay taxes to ensure free tertiary educations for illegal immigrants competing for places in architecture, engineering, and medical programs with children from families who may have been paying into the tax systems that have built those state universities over decades. The presence in this country of such entitled, self-centered protesters should be brought to an end by the next administration, one that will take seriously its constitutional duty, sworn in front of the entire world, to see that the laws of the country be faithfully executed, not waived whenever convenient.

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