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:
Obama Back-To-School Report Highlights Education Cuts, Teacher Layoffs

Hundreds of thousands of teachers have lost their jobs in recent years. And as U.S. students go back to school amid a presidential campaign with clashing budget visions, President Barack Obama is sounding the alarm. Since since the end of the recession three years ago, 300,000 educators have lost their jobs — 7,000 in the last month alone, according to a report the White House released Saturday, titled “Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom.” To remain financially solvent, 292 school districts took drastic measures that include a four-day school week and cutting full-day kindergarten. Pittsburgh laid off 280 teachers, the report said. Cleveland cut teachers and programs in music, art and gym. (Huffington Post) 

Time to waive goodbye to No Child Left Behind
As schools prepare to open for the 2012-2013 academic year, much of the local news in education has revolved around the release last week of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ratings. The results in Texas were terrible. According to the Texas Education Agency, only 44% of Texas schools met the AYP target for the past school year. Mansfield ISD was one of the many districts that failed to meet AYP as a district. The underlying premise of NCLB, that schools need to be held accountable for what they teach and the success of every student, is a good one in theory. However, the way NCLB measures accountability makes it almost certain that far fewer schools will meet AYP targets over the next two years. (Examiner) 

Education Aid Emerging as Campaign Issue
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s selection as the Republican vice-presidential candidate could spark a national debate about the future of education spending, an issue that’s gotten short shrift in the presidential campaign so far. As the two national party conventions approach, Democrats are already charging that the Wisconsin lawmaker’s controversial budget blueprint, which presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has largely endorsed, would scale back college financial aid and slash other funding for education. Rep. Ryan’s plan  seeks to put the nation on a firmer financial footing in part by dramatically curbing domestic spending. But it also sets up a clear contrast with the record of President Barack Obama, who has pumped unprecedented sums of money into education programs. That record is due in large part to the big, but time-limited, infusion of money through the 2009 economic-stimulus package. (Education Week) 

New York:
Many New York City Teachers Denied Tenure in Policy Shift

Nearly half of New York City teachers reaching the end of their probations were denied tenure this year, the Education Department said on Friday, marking the culmination of years of efforts toward Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s goal to end “tenure as we know it.” Only 55 percent of eligible teachers, having worked for at least three years, earned tenure in 2012, compared with 97 percent in 2007. An additional 42 percent this year were kept on probation for another year, and 3 percent were denied tenure and fired. Of those whose probations were extended last year, fewer than half won tenure this year, a third were given yet another year to prove themselves, and 16 percent were denied tenure or resigned. (New York Times) 

North Carolina:
North Carolina School District Cuts Teacher Pay, Jobs To Provide Laptops For Students, Sees Scores Increase

After making the controversial decision to cut teacher pay and 65 staff members — including 37 teachers — in favor of providing students with a laptop,Mooresville public schools in North Carolina ranks third in test scores and second in graduation rates, the New York Times reports. Three years ago, Superintendent Mark Edwards elected to issue laptops to 4,400 fourth through 12th graders in five schools, using funds that would otherwise have gone to paying teachers. At the time, 73 percent of Mooresville’s students tested proficiently in math, reading and science. Today, that number is up to 89 percent, to complement an 11-percent increase in the district’s graduation rate from 2008-11. (Huffington Post) 

View points:
Frank Bruni: Teachers on the Defensive

RANDI WEINGARTEN, the powerful president of the American Federation of Teachers, took a rare vacation last week, but tweeting knows no holidays, nor does frustration with what can sometimes seem like constant assaults on the men and women at the nation’s blackboards. So her Twitter account remained active, and on Wednesday it took on a soon-to-open Hollywood movie, “Won’t Back Down.” In one tweet she expressed her wish that it “didn’t vilify teachers as so uncaring.” In another she noted that the main financing for the movie came from a school-privatization advocate who is no fan of teachers’ unions. (New York Times)


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