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

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

News & analysis

A Conversation with Arne Duncan
Michele McNeil sat down with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday for a wide-ranging interview on the hot education topics of the day: waivers, Race to the Top, reauthorization, and the election. (Politics K-12)

New York: Inching closer to agreement on evaluations for teachers
In the long-simmering debate over how to judge the quality of New York State school employees, there is one thing all sides agree on: a system should be in place. The sticking point has been agreeing about how to do it. There is the fight between New York City and its teachers’ union over the parameters of an evaluation system that must be put in place in 33 struggling schools. And there is the fight waged in court by the state teachers’ union, which sued the Board of Regents last year over its interpretation of a law on teacher evaluations. Some $800 million in federal money is on the line, as well as millions in state aid to local schools. On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put everyone on notice when he unveiled the details of his budget plan, ordering school districts to settle on a new teacher evaluation system by Jan. 17, 2013, or lose their share of a proposed 4 percent increase in education spending. He gave the Regents and the teachers’ union 30 days to resolve their lawsuit. It is either that, he said, or adopt an evaluation system that he would impose. (NY Times)

Minnesota: Two GOP lawmakers ask feds to deny state’s NCLB waiver
Two key Republican lawmakers are asking the federal government to reject Minnesota’s application for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. Patrick Garofalo, R-Farmington, and Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, are the two chairs of the main education committees in the Minnesota House. They say the Dayton administration is proposing changes to the state’s education system in ways that don’t follow current law. Garofalo and Erickson co-signed a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “While we support the effort to seek relief under a flexibility request,” the letter reads, “we must clarify that the (Minnesota Department of Education) submission or resubmission does not represent the will of the legislature nor all the stakeholders involved in the drafting of the flexibility request.” (MPR)

New Jersey: Christie says he can cut income taxes while boosting state aid to education
Gov. Chris Christie said he can institute an across-the-board 10 percent income tax cut and still increase state aid to education. As part of a day-long victory lap Wednesday to promote the ideas unveiled one day earlier in his State of the State address, the Republican governor told a town hall audience in Vorhees he would phase-in the cut over three years at a cost of $300 million per year. “The fact is there’s a lot of waste in government to be ferreted out over time,” he told hundreds of people in the atrium of a shopping mall, some perched over a balcony to get a good look. “I would tell you we’ll be able to do that not only without cutting aid to education but with increasing aid to education.” (Star Ledger)

New Jersey: Christie gets in heated exchange with charter school opponent
A vocal foe of a planned charter school in Cherry Hill got under Gov. Chris Christie’s skin during a town hall meeting here Wednesday. About an hour into a session that had been cordial and laced with applause, Cherry Hill resident Alan Erlich interrupted Christie as the governor was answering a question about the school, Regis Academy. Emotions quickly escalated. “I don’t have a solution for every problem,” Christie said to Erlich immediately after the interruption. “You had an opportunity to speak before. Here’s the bottom line: I don’t have a solution for everything.”But after Erlich charged the charter school’s approval was a favor for a Christie supporter, the governor denied the claim. (APP)

North Carolina: Atkinson to seek third term as state schools superintendent
Superintendent June Atkinson said today she will run for another four years as chief administrator of the state’s public schools, declining to step aside as at least two other fellow Democrats said publicly they were interested in the job. Atkinson, who was sworn in as superintendent seven months late in 2005 because of election litigation and sued four years later to protect her powers, said she doesn’t want to leave office during what she calls a remodeling effort for the public schools. “It was a hard decision, but there’s quite a few things that we have under way,” Atkinson said. “I feel like we’re in the middle of the game, and I don’t want to leave the game.” Atkinson, who had three decades of experience as a teacher and administrator within the state Department of Public Instruction before becoming superintendent, said she’s pleased that the high school graduation rate has increased from 68 percent within four years to 78 percent. (News-Record)


James Boutin, a veteran educator, lists his problems with Teach for America
It’s not the TFA corps members I have problems with (although a good many of them personify the organization’s arrogance and lack of respect for the teaching profession); it’s the notion and push behind the endeavor itself. I have nothing but the utmost respect for people who join TFA out of a sincere desire to effect change and teach their hearts out. I just caution them to be prepared for a potential rude awakening. (An Urban Teacher’s Education)


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