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

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

News & analysis

Not your mother’s PTA: Advocacy groups raise money, voices, hopes
“Few in today’s K–12 education reform movement look to the PTA to fight for dramatic change or engage in direct conflict with the public education establishment,” notes Bruno Manno, in a new article for Education Next.  But while the PTA has become, in many ways, an extension of the public schools, other organizations have sprung up to organize, educate, and mobilize parents to fight on behalf of the interests of children and to challenge the education establishment. Manno looks at three such organizations – Parent Revolution, Education Reform Now, and Stand for Children. (EdNext)

Minnesota: Franken mixes math, mirth and education-bill backing in visit to Patrick Henry High
The senator’s visit to Patrick Henry, located on the city’s far north side, was intended to give him the opportunity to talk about the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s markup last week of a proposed overhaul of the failed No Child Left Behind education law. A member of the committee, Franken depicted the bill, which faces uncertain reception by the entire Senate on Nov. 8, and quite possibly a wholesale rebuff by the House of Representatives, as a bipartisan victory and a “real improvement on NCLB.” (Learning Curve)

Minnesota: New form to help students decipher confusing financial aid info
Sizing up competing college financial aid offers should become easier with some federal help announced today at the University of Minnesota. The government’s “Know Before You Owe” project would cut through confusing terminology and establish one easily understandable report for students to compare each college’s total cost and financial aid, including loans and scholarships. Under the current system, it’s difficult to discern when a college is offering free money and when it is factoring in a student loan, said student leader Amanda Bardonner. (MPR)

Maryland: State identified as a leader in teacher evaluations
Maryland is one of 17 states leading a movement to evaluate teachers based on student performance in the classroom, but the state doesn’t require a teacher to be evaluated on an annual basis, according to a new report. The National Council on Teacher Quality report released Wednesday analyzed states with the most ambitious teacher evaluation policies, including Maryland. NCTQ is a nonprofit based in Washington that advocates for changes to policies governing evaluations, training and pay for teachers. (Baltimore Sun)

New York: Mayor’s schools set students up for failure when it comes to college preparation, but more graduate
Schools founded by the Bloomberg administration are failing to prepare students for college, performing worse than older schools at a key new measure, a Daily News analysis has found. The 135 Bloomberg-founded high schools that don’t screen applicants for grades or attendance earn higher marks for graduating students on time, though. On average, the new schools graduate roughly 70% of students in four years. But just 12% of students who graduate are prepared for college. (Daily News)

Rhode Island: Teachers say their pensions have been targeted
As a day-long pension reform hearing turned to night, public employees dominated the testimony presented to legislators. Most were school teachers, and they talked not only about dollars and sense but also about their passion for their jobs and their fear that the changes proposed hit their profession hard. Teachers contended that the proposed increase in retirement age to 67 is not realistic for teachers whose jobs are physically demanding, not just academic. (ProJo)

Rhode Island: State senator still seeking opinion on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants
State Sen. James C. Sheehan said Wednesday that he was disappointed to learn this week that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Rhode Island has declined to offer “advice or an opinion” on a decision by the state Board of Governors for Higher Education to offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants. Sheehan, D-North Kingstown, said he wrote to U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, seeking an opinion on the board vote, but was told this week that the office will not be offering advice. The office did say, however, that it has forwarded Sheehan’s letter to the Justice Department, in Washington. D.C., seeking guidance. (ProJo)


Implementation Matters
Education policies cannot be successful if school districts are required to implement those policies in ineffective ways. While education policymakers passionately discuss the merits or flaws of big picture policy ideas, once policies actually make it into law few look back to see how the policies work in day-to-day practice. This is unfortunate, because overly burdensome or complicated administrative requirements can trip up policy goals. (Straight Up)

The wrong fix for No Child Left Behind
The revised No Child Left Behind Act that passed out of the Senate education committee last week goes too far in relaxing state accountability and federal oversight of student achievement. The business community, civil rights groups and advocates of disabled children are rightly worried that the rewrite of the law would particularly hurt underprivileged children. (New York Times)

Alex Johnston: What does ESEA re-write mean for ed reform on the state level?
In taking the fundamental outlines of federal education policy for granted, we may not have looked closely enough—through the lens of what the students in our own states really need—at what aspects of NCLB are essential to preserve, and what’s best left alone, and what’s most in need of an upgrade. Time to take these questions seriously, and to keep investing in the constructive relationships and spirit of collegiality that hold us together as a network so that the inevitable differences of opinion in the coming ESEA debate become a spur to further engagement, rather than a source of ongoing division. (PIEnet)


Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts