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

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

News & analysis

EdWeek unveils special report on labor-management collaboration
We here at Education Week are happy to announce a new special report, Joining Forces, on the concept of labor-management collaboration, reported and written by myself and several of my colleagues. Just as with last year’s special report on professional development, this is a very conceptual topic to write about. Scratch below the surface and you’ll find a lot of different ideas about what the term “collaboration” means in an education setting, how to do it well, even whether it’s a good idea. (Teacher Beat)

North Carolina: Pre-k program spending unlikely to change soon
A top North Carolina legislative budget-writer says there are no immediate plans to address preschool spending for at-risk 4-year-olds because litigation on the state’s program is running through the courts. Republican Sen. Richard Stevens of Cary made the comments Wednesday after an advocacy group held a news conference urging lawmakers to fulfill Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue’s request to spend $30 million to teach another 6,300 preschoolers starting in January. Rob Thompson with the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children says legislators should act when they return to work later this month. (News & Record)

New York: School Board 30 hears of plans for parent academy
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has announced that the Department of Education is planning to introduce a Parents Academy, beginning with the next school year. In a major policy speech on October 26, Walcott said, “We must work to develop strong partnerships with families in all of our schools.” Department of Education Executive Director for Family and Community Engagement Jesse Mojica, appointed to the post by Walcott in July, spoke to Community District Education Council 30 about the Parents Academy and other initiatives to help parents at the CDEC 30 meeting at P.S. 150 November 10. Mojica oversees the Office of Family Information and Action and serves as a liaison to the Panel For Educational Policy. (Queens Gazette)

District of Columbia: Court orders DC to expand preschool special education services
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the District has failed to provide special education services to hundreds of eligible preschool-age children and ordered that the city redouble its efforts to find, assess and treat those with special needs. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth issued a sweeping series of orders in a 2005 class-action suit (D.L. v. District of Columbia) brought by seven children and their parents, who encountered barriers and delays in securing special education services for which they were eligible under federal law. Lamberth set a series of performance benchmarks for D.C. special education officials and said if they were not met, more stringent intervention would follow, possibly in the form of a court-appointed special master. (WaPo)


Andy Rotherham: Forget Wall Street. Go occupy your local school district
It’s easy to get angry at banks and CEOs, especially as more Americans slip below the poverty line while the rich keep getting richer. But if the goal of Occupy Wall Street is improving social mobility in this country, then the movement really needs to focus as much on educational inequality as it does on income inequality. There is perhaps no better example of how the system is rigged against millions of Americans than the education our children receive. (Time)

Dana Goldstein: Why not occupy the schools? The failures of Bloomberg’s school reform agenda
There’s certainly a compelling argument to be made that 1-percenters are exerting an outsize influence over our nation’s schools, particularly urban schools labeled as “failing.” Some of the “school turnaround models” promoted by Bloomberg and President Obama, such as shutting down schools with low test scores or transforming them into charter schools, are those that are trendy among deep-pocketed philanthropists—folks like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, former SunAmerica/AIG chairman Eli Broad and Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow. The trouble with this narrative comes in comparing education reformers with greedy bankers. The dominant ethos of the school choice/Bloomberg/Obama reform movement is one borrowed not from Wall Street, with its desperate lust for profit, but from Silicon Valley, with its commitment to meritocratic innovation that—yes, of course—earns money, but also serves the public. (The Awl)

Mike Petrilli: Responding to Diane Ravitch, Randi Weingarten, and others on education, unions, and democracy
Just as liberals complain about the “one percent” corrupting our politics through unlimited campaign financing, so too do public sector unions thwart the public will by buying off officeholders with their own lavish spending and political muscle. And this problem is multiplied in education, what with its separate boards, which are often elected in off-cycle, low-turnout contests, making them even more accessible to “capture” by employee interest groups. That’s all true, I believe—at least in large school districts. According to a survey of school boards published earlier this year by the National School Boards Association in partnership with Fordham and the American Enterprise Institute, 35 percent of school board members in large districts reported receiving campaign contributions from teachers unions, versus just 1 percent of board members of small districts. (Flypaper)


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