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:
Refocusing the Rhetoric on Common Core

In small but significant ways, conversation about the common core is being reframed. For the three years I’ve covered common standards and assessments, people have been talking about how to get slow-moving education systems up to speed quickly enough to do well on the tests in 2015. (Education Week – Curriculum Matters) 

Senate Panel Nips at Key Obama Competitive Grant Programs
The Obama administration’s signature competitive grant programs—Race to the Top, Promise Neighborhoods, and the School Improvement Grants—survived, but took some serious abuse this week from some Democrats during the Senate Appropriations committee’s consideration of a bill to finance the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2014, which starts Oct. 1. The bill, which was approved by a Senate appropriations subcommittee earlier in the week, includes a huge boost for prekindergarten programs, another big Obama priority, here.) (Education Week – Politics K-12) 

Does Obama’s Early Education Proposal Have a Chance?
Children’s advocates high-fived when President Obama called for “high quality preschool” for “every child in America” in his State of the Union Address. The details of the plan are considerably more complicated — for one thing, federal money would be used mainly for poor and working-class kids, though states would be encouraged to include middle-class youngsters as well; and for another, the proposal encompasses initiatives for infants and toddlers, like Early Head Start, as well as pre-k — but the hosanna to preschool wasn’t a throw-away line. (Huffington Post) 

View Point:
Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael Petrili: Education reform a test for GOP

Add education to a long list of vexing policy issues for today’s fractured Republican Party. It’s not that complicated at the state level, where dozens of GOP governors have, over the years, proven their mettle by promoting higher standards, greater accountability and wider parental choice. But in Washington, Republican presidents and members of Congress have struggled mightily to find an approach that both embraces reform and respects a limited federal role. (Politico) 


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