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

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

News & analysis

GOP candidates take an anti-federal stance
For a generation, there has been loose bipartisan agreement in Washington that the federal government has a necessary role to play in the nation’s 13,600 school districts, primarily by using money to compel states to raise standards. But the field of Republican presidential candidates has promised to unwind this legacy, arguing that education responsibilities should devolve to states and local districts, which will do a better job than Washington. (New York Times)

Michigan: Another GOP vs. teachers’ unions battle emerges
A bill introduced by state Sen. Arlan Meekhof and other GOP lawmakers would forbid school districts from entering into contracts that require employees to pay union fees. The language of the measure specifically pertains to schools, and to unions representing 50,000 or more members—meaning that, as written, it would appear to target one union in particular: the Michigan Education Association. (State EdWatch)

Minnesota: Black students’ suspension rate at MPS is far higher than others
Minority students are suspended from Minneapolis Public Schools at drastically higher rates than their white peers, according to a new report commissioned by The Minneapolis Foundation. (Learning Curve)

Minnesota: Activists want Minn. school district to cut ties with Wells Fargo
Community activists want the Minneapolis Public Schools board to stop the district from banking with Wells Fargo. The group MN Neighborhood Organizing for Change said bank foreclosures have hurt the district’s bottom line to the tune of $28 million dollars. That is the amount in state funding the group estimates Minneapolis lost when students left the district after Wells Fargo foreclosed on their families’ homes. (MPR)

Maryland: Baltimore County average teacher salary is lowest among large systems
Baltimore County’s average teacher salary is the lowest among large school systems in Maryland, but its two top officials are some of the highest-paid, according to data collected by the state. (Baltimore Sun)

Georgia: Slower lottery sales hit pre-k program
Cuts to Georgia’s lottery-funded pre-kindergarten program are fueling high teacher turnover and jeopardizing years of effort to better prepare youngsters for school, educators say. Teachers this year left pre-k programs in droves, moving into elementary school openings to avoid a 10-percent, state-ordered pay cut that’s just kicked in. (AJC)

Connecticut: A new union leader assumes an influential role
To understand the power Mary Loftus Levine enjoys as the new leader of the state’s largest teachers union, one has to look no further than Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s remarks to a room full of school superintendents at their annual back-to-school pep talk. On what is one of the top issues for many superintendents — granting them the ability to fire bad teachers in a timely fashion — Malloy told the room that Levine will be helping his administration create and launch teacher evaluations to get bad teachers out of the classroom more quickly. (CT Mirror)

New York: Group urges more money to aid poor in school
At a conference on Tuesday, the Campaign for Educational Equity, an institute of the college, will make the case that the state, which spends an average of $18,126 annually per student, should also pay for an array of support services outside the classroom that would cost an additional $4,750 annually for every poor student, or millions more every year. (New York Times)

New York: Safe-school stats miss 20k violent incidents
The state Education Department failed to document roughly 20,000 violent incidents that had been reported by city schools in 2010 — sending the false signal that schools had suddenly become much safer, The Post has learned. (NY Post)


John White: The Big Easy’s school revolution
For generations, money was thrown at urban school systems; regulations were strengthened; school boards were empowered. Unions won tenure and other great benefits for their teachers. All of these efforts came from the top down. None improved outcomes for minority students. “We have tended as a country to solve problems like this more through generating energy by way of our entrepreneurs,” says Mr. White. “The approach [in New Orleans] is just government facilitating an entrepreneurial solution to this inequity.” (WSJ)

Rick Hess wants school chiefs with grit, not glitz
The demands of urban schooling–a lot of students and teachers, big budgets, and looming budget shortfalls–require tough-minded leaders able to navigate around familiar pitfalls. Here are four tips to keep in mind when seeking a supe equal to the challenge. (Straight Up)


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