Lisa Gibes is 50CAN’s vice president of strategy and external relations. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

News & Analysis

Rural Districts Score Big in Latest Race to Top Round
In selecting the winners for the second round of the Race to the Top district competition, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a strategic decision to invest a large chunk of the $120 million in grants in rural America. (Education Week)

Top Three Things the President Did for K-12 Education in 2013
At the turn of every calendar year, it seems that lists abound that remind us of everything that happened in the prior year and give a sneak peek of what to expect in the next. Seeing these often celebrity-heavy lists crowd my social media feeds got me thinking – what would a list of the President’s accomplishments when it comes to education look like for 2013? (Education Week)

The Future: What 32 EdLeaders Are Excited About
With two historic shifts under way simultaneously–the adoption of high common college and career ready standards, and the shift to personal digital learning–we asked 32 education leaders what they were excited about. (Education Week)

Zero Tolerance, Reconsidered
Schools across the country are rethinking “zero tolerance” discipline policies under which children have been suspended, even arrested, for minor offenses like cursing, getting into shoving matches and other garden-variety misbehavior that in years past would have been resolved with detention or meetings with a child’s parents. (New York Times)

Closing the Skills Gap
Today, nearly 11 million Americans are unemployed. Yet, at the same time, 4 million jobs sit unfilled. This is the “skills gap”—the gulf between the skills job seekers currently have and the skills employers need to fill their open positions. (Politico)

Report gives local Teach for America educators high marks in math
Just a few months before Artemus Werts stood before classes in Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, he had to relearn math concepts he hadn’t reviewed in years.
Werts, a 2011 Rutgers graduate who joined Baltimore’s teaching corps through Teach for America this year, began replacing formulas with patterns, talking himself through problems step by step. He found the skills not only came back to him, but stuck. (Baltimore Sun)

Minneapolis school race could heat up
With a majority of Minneapolis school board seats to be filled in November, this year’s campaign will take shape this month as the Feb. 4 precinct caucuses loom. (Star Tribune)

New Jersey
A Successful Education Needs All the Right Inputs
As another year draws to a close and a new one begins, I find myself reflecting on all of the changes that are now taking place or are about to take place here in Newark in order to ensure that all of our children have access to a quality public education. It is clear that what we are experiencing is a monumental shift in thinking about education. Not just in Newark, but also all across America. (NJ Spotlight)

Education Issues Will Help Shape Christie’s Second Term
After four years of political drama involving school reform and education policy in New Jersey, could Gov. Chris Christie’s second term be even more eventful? (NJ Spotlight)

The List: Top 10 Education Highlights of Christie’s First Term
Since being elected in 2009, Gov. Chris Christie has made education one of his keystone issues, and in his first term, there’s no doubt there has been a plethora of changes for New Jersey’s public schools. (NJ Spotlight)

New York
New Schools Chief May Take N.Y.C. in Different Direction
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has chosen Carmen Fariña, a 40-year veteran of the city’s public schools, to be his schools chancellor. She’ll steer an agenda that could sharply pivot the nation’s largest school district from the policies that have dominated it for more than a decade. (Education Week)

NY task force reviews rollout of education reform
New York’s education policymakers say they really were listening, even to the shouting, during a series of volatile public forums held to explain a slate of education reforms intended to better prepare public school students for college and the job market. (Education Week)

North Carolina
Charter schools poised for expansion in North Carolina
The next two weeks will determine how rapidly North Carolina’s charter-school movement expands, at a time when supporters say the schools are giving families more choices and critics say they’re harming traditional public schools. (News & Observer)

Rhode Island
After Radical Change, R.I. School Shows Signs Of Improvement

In 2010, Central Falls made headlines for firing every high school teacher. The firings were part of a federal program promising big changes at the nation’s worst schools. Four years later, there are signs the program is helping, but there are also questions about whether the improvement will last. (NPR)


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