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:
Aiming to simply do better than failure is not an option

Our country’s urban school systems are broken, and they can’t be fixed: That’s where Andy Smarick begins his book The Urban School System of the Future, and it’s the basis for his recent post urging that the Broad Foundation stop giving prizes to urban districts. (Fordham Institute Flypaper) 

Race to the Top District Winners Already Changing Their Plans
Nine months after the U.S. Department of Education named 16 winners to share $400 million in the first Race to the Top for districts, change orders already are being approved. (Education Week – Politics K-12) 

Charters Adopt Common Application Systems
In most school districts with charter school options, parents must navigate a complex web of charter school applications, deadlines, and lotteries specific to each individual school—but that is changing in a handful of cities across the country. (Education Week) 

D.C. education officials defend test-scoring decision
District education officials defended their decision to score the city’s 2013 standardized tests in a way that yielded gains in both math and reading, arguing Thursday at a D.C. Council hearing that it was the best way to demonstrate student progress as compared with prior years. (Washington Post) 

Why Aren’t More Ph.D.s Teaching in Public Schools?
American universities award more than 60,000 doctoral degrees every year. However, there are not enough academic jobs for all those graduates. One study asserts that only 41 percent of Ph.D.s will find tenure-track positions. Some studies are slightly more optimistic.  In a report for the academic journal PS, Jennifer Seagal Diascro reported that 49 percent of the 816 Ph.D.s who graduated from political science programs between 2009 and 2010 found permanent academic positions. (The Atlantic) 


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