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

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

News & analysis

Steve Jobs, Apple’s visionary, dies at 56
Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple who helped usher in the era of personal computers and then led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday. He was 56. (New York Times)

John Sculley on Steve Jobs
He always looked at things from the perspective of what was the user’s experience going to be? But unlike a lot of people in product marketing in those days, who would go out and do consumer testing, asking people, “What did they want?” Steve didn’t believe in that.He said, “How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is? No one has ever seen one before.” (Cult of Mac)

Innovators remember Steve Jobs on Wired’s homepage (Wired)

TFA teachers: How long do they teach? Why do they leave?
The good news is that nearly two-thirds stay in teaching beyond their two-year commitment. However, less than a quarter stay in their initial, low-income school for more than three years. Given TFA’s commitment to closing the achievement gap — a goal shared by many other fast-track preparation programs — this revolving door transfer of teachers from the schools that most need skilled, experienced teachers remains a serious problem. (Ed Week)

Beth Hawkins Parses the new TFA teachers data
What I think is noteworthy is that TFA’s new teachers, two-thirds of whom join with the intention of leaving after two years, stay or quit for the same reasons as teachers credentialed the traditional way, i.e. at colleges of education, who intended to sign on for life. (Learning Curve)

Achievement First has opened their online resource library to everyone (Achievement First)

Rhode Island: Dept. of Ed seeks to expand high school career programs
If Rhode Island’s young people want to find good jobs, more of them will have to start exploring possible careers and acquiring skills while they’re in high school, say officials at the state Department of Education. “The one thing we know about almost every student is that at some point in their lives, they are going to want and need to get a job,” said Andrea Castaneda, who oversees career and technical education at the state Department of Education. “And our responsibility is to prepare them, not merely for a job, but for a rewarding career.” (ProJo)

Rhode Island: Children enter RI State House with roses to thank Chafee
About 15 children entered the State House Wednesday afternoon with their parents and other adults in tow to present Governor Chafee with roses — a symbol of appreciation for his support of in-state tuition rates and possible driver’s permits for undocumented immigrants. (ProJo)

Minnesota: St. Paul schools launch enrollment campaign
The enrollment campaign is part of a three-year long effort to attract 3,000 more students. St. Paul is the state’s second-largest school district, with about 39,000 students in pre-kindergarten through high school. In Minneapolis, the state’s third largest district, a campaign called “We Want you Back” has encouraged dropouts to return to school. (MPR)

New Jersey: Democratic leader George Norcross calls for more charter schools, change to teacher tenure
George Norcross, a south Jersey Democratic power broker and insurance executive, called for more charter schools, a change to the teacher tenure system and corporate sponsorship for public schools at a forum tonight. (Star Ledger)

Ohio: Teacher merit pay used to sell “Issue 2”
The battle over efforts to repeal an Ohio law that puts limits on the collective bargaining powers of teachers and other public workers is well underway. The controversial law, backed by Republican Gov. John Kasich and opposed by many Democrats and by teachers’ unions, was approved earlier this year, and a ballot item to repeal the measure, known as Issue 2, will go before voters Nov. 8. Backers of the law apparently are betting that one of its provisions—the creation of a merit-pay system for teachers—will prove popular with the public, judging from a recently released ad. (State EdWatch)

Maryland: Higher alcohol tax to pay for school projects
Money from higher prices at bars and liquor stores is paying for athletic fields in Howard County, renovations to schools in Montgomery County and a new high school performing arts center in Anne Arundel. On Wednesday, Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved $18 million for school construction projects in the three counties, doling out the first chunk of revenue from the 50 percent increase in the sales tax on alcohol that the General Assembly approved in April. The tax rose to 9 percent, from 6 percent, starting July 1. (Baltimore Sun)

California: New database tracks California foster students’ records
Just a few years ago, Sacramento County foster students would often be put in the wrong grade levelor in classes they had already completed when they enrolled in a new school. Now foster students across the state are benefiting from a database called Foster Focus, developed by the Sacramento County Office of Education. The database tracks foster students’ grades, credits, course schedules, residential history, shot records, attendance, Individual Education Plan, the name of the child’s social worker and other information. (Sac Bee)

Connecticut: Shut out twice, CT tries again in Race to the Top competition
Twice rejected in a bid to win federal Race to the Top dollars, the state is poised to try again, this time in the area of early childhood education.The state Department of Education is working with the governor’s office and nine other state agencies and offices in seeking $50 million to strengthen the state’s preschool efforts, particularly for children with pressing needs. (CT Post)

Maryland: National report highlights Baltimore highlighted for its efforts to curb suspensions
A national report released today underscores the widely-known disparity in suspensions of minority students and their non-minority counterparts. In the report, Maryland is highlighted for its efforts to curb punitive suspensions and expulsions, and Baltimore is highlighted for its effort of significantly reducing its suspension rate in recent years–though the number of suspensions in the district is up this year, including those for “soft offenses” like disrespect and insubordination. (InsideEd)

New York: Despite ongoing DC-37 protest, Walcott says layoffs fight is over
Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she would hold a hearing on the layoffs, the largest ever under Mayor Bloomberg, and a late-afternoon rally to oppose the firings attracted a large crowd.But Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said this morning that nothing could be done now to avert the layoffs, set to go into effect on Friday. “DC-37 layoffs will still happen. I’ve been very consistent about that. It’s unfortunate but it’s the reality of the budget situation we face now,” he told reporters after a breakfast to honor the nonprofit organization PENCIL. (Gotham Schools)

Georgia: Immigration law’s impact unseen in schools
After Georgia enacted its tough new immigration law this year, proponents expressed hope that it would sharply reduce the strain illegal immigrants put on the state’s public schools and other taxpayer-funded resources. School officials don’t track the immigration status of their students in Georgia but had been watching for significant losses in enrollment at the beginning of this school year. Instead, the combined enrollment for metro Atlanta school systems is up by more than 2,600 students from a year ago, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of state and local figures. (AJC)


Why aren’t K-12 reformers more worried about the higher ed bubble?
As teacher Art Samuels told me, making college seem an immediate possibility (that requires immediate hard work) is vital throughout high school. But he also wants to prevent the poor financial choices he’s seen graduating seniors make at other charter schools. This is less of worry for students entering top-tier schools, which can often afford to give scholarships, than for those heading to commuter colleges, where a slight upgrade in reputation is not worth a six-figure debt. The more a school invests in college-bound culture, the more of this kind of sophistication we need in the oldest grades. Yes, it’s wonderful to help students “climb the mountain to college.” We can’t let them tumble down the other side. (Michael Regnier)

Ed Sector’s Bill Tucker probes the “flipping” phenomenon
Given education’s long history of fascination with new instructional approaches that are later abandoned, there’s a real danger that flipping, a seemingly simple idea that is profound in practice, may be reduced into the latest educational fad. And, in today’s highly polarized political environment, it also runs the risk of being falsely pigeonholed into one of education’s many false dichotomies, such as the age-old pedagogical debate between content knowledge and skills acquisition. (Ed Next)

Kevin Carey argues that the GOP wants to take education policy back to the 1990s
Everybody hates the No Child Left Behind Act. In the last few weeks, both conservative Republicans and President Obama have announced plans to overhaul George W. Bush’s signature education law by sending power over K-12 schooling back to the states. On the surface, this might seem like a rare moment of bipartisan consensus. Don’t believe it. The two plans actually represent radically different views of the federal government’s responsibility for helping children learn. (TNR)

Little Finlands Everywhere
But while we can’t be Finland, we can still have Finland here and there—by making little Finlands everywhere.Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone has been tried, and so far sustained. One would think it could be tried elsewhere. And indeed it has. Even though funding for President Obama’s Promise Neighborhoods initiative remains uncertain, according to this post by guest blogger Christopher Frascella at The Quick and the Ed, another project exists in the U.S. “The Parramore Kidz Zone in Orlando, Fla., is an explicit attempt to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone.” Yes, this is a piecemeal approach. But it’s a pretty good piece of a pretty good meal, is it not? (Title I-derland)


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