Curtis Whatley is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

Here’s what educators, advocates, wonks and policymakers are talking about today:

News & analysis

Deadlocked negotiators fail to reach consensus on teacher-prep rules
Following a three-hour telephone call with negotiators during which consensus seemed frustratingly out of reach on new teacher preparation accountability rules, the U.S. Education Department declined to extend the rulemaking process any further, meaning it will craft the rules on its own. The final wedge issue on the conference call ended up being a familiar one: student-achievement outcomes. Several negotiators said they didn’t feel that such measures as “value added” were ready to be used to judge program quality. The breakdown in the process came as an abrupt about-face from last week, when negotiators seemed close to an agreement. But by the beginning of the conference call held this afternoon, the divisions among negotiators seemed to have grown more deep-set, with consensus far from imminent. (Teacher Beat)

Study asks: Is there an ideal amount of recess?
The amount of recess students have varies widely from school to school, and how much time students should spend playing and socializing during school hours has been the subject of some debate. New research in Arizona State University’s Education Policy Analysis Archives hopes to determine whether there is a most-effective way to schedule recess. In “Recess and Reading Achievement of Early Childhood Students in Public Schools,” researcher Ummuhan Yesil Dagli of Yildiz Technical University in Turkey describes how much time kindergartners around the United States spend in recess and in reading class, and whether that is connected to students’ scores on a reading assessment. It turns out that the amount of time students spend in recess and the amount of reading instruction they receive varies significantly by ethnic background and socioeconomic status. White students and high-income students spend the most time in recess, while black and Hispanic students and students of low-socioeconomic status get less recess. For instance, while only 1.8 percent of white students have no recess, the same is true for 10.7 percent of black students and 8.7 percent of Hispanic students. Of students in the top 20 percent in terms of socioeconomic status, 82.9 percent had recess every day, as opposed to 76.1 percent of those in the bottom 20 percent. (Inside School Research)

Maryland: Top court will decide if Dream Act goes to voters
The state’s top court has agreed to decide if Maryland’s Dream Act will be on the ballot this fall. The Court of Appeals said this week it will hear CASA de Maryland’s appeal of a judge’s decision to allow the referendum on the 2010 law. The court scheduled arguments for June 12. The controversial measure was designed to provide college tuition discounts to certain illegal immigrants. Opponents blocked the law from taking effect last year by obtaining enough signatures to bring it to a referendum. The immigrant advocacy organization and others then challenged the referendum. Last year, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed Maryland Dream Act and Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it. The law would extend to undocumented immigrants who attended three years of high school in Maryland and can show that their parents filed state tax returns the same in-state tuition discounts that legal residents receive. (Baltimore Sun)

Georgia: State yanks certification from 67 Atlanta educators accused of cheating
More than 65 Atlanta schools educators accused in a massive test cheating scandal will lose their teaching licenses in Georgia. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the state Professional Standards Commission voted Thursday to suspend the certificates of 47 teachers for two years and permanently revoke licenses for 19 principals and testing coordinators. A state investigation last summer revealed widespread cheating in nearly half of the district’s 100 schools. The commission’s vote puts a sizeable dent in the 180 educators accused in the probe. Until now, the commission had taken action against just 16 educators because the Fulton County district attorney’s office asked the state to hold off on its investigation. The teachers can appeal the commission’s decision. (Ed Week)


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