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 and Analysis:
Duncan Sharpens Second-Term Agenda, Stresses Teacher Quality

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan continued to lay out his priorities for the next four years in a speech today, emphasizing that he thinks teacher preparation is broken and that the best educators need to be teaching the highest-need children. (Education Week – Politics K-12) 

Jeb Bush, With Cash And Clout, Pushes Contentious School Reforms
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush soared to rock star status in the education world on the strength of a chart. A simple graph, it tracked fourth-grade reading scores. In 1998, when Bush was elected governor, Florida kids scored far below the national average. By the end of his second term, in 2007, they were far ahead, with especially impressive gains for low-income and minority students. (Huffington Post) 

Standardized Testing Costs States $1.7 Billion a Year, Study Says
Standardized-testing regimens cost states some $1.7 billion a year overall, or a quarter of 1 percent of total K-12 spending in the United States, according to a new report on assessment finances. (Education Week) 

Minnesota Task Force Urges Legislature To Drop State’s High-Stakes Math Exit Exam

A state education task force is urging the Minnesota Legislature to drop the state’s high-stakes math exit exam after a Minneapolis school district analysis projected that 19,000 students — representing 31 percent of the state’s student population — are likely to fail the exam when it becomes mandatory for graduation, even after repeated retests. (Huffington Post)

New Jersey: Teachers’ Contract Includes Peer Review
A newly ratified teachers’ contract in Newark creates several firsts for New Jersey. Some teachers will have the opportunity to earn up to $12,500 extra for getting a superior performance rating on evaluations, teaching in a low-performing school, or teaching a high-need subject. Also for the first time, peer reviews will become a formal part of the evaluation process. (Education Week) 

New York:
Student surveys seen as unlikely evaluations element, for now

Inspired by a 2010 study that found that students’ feedback about their teachers helped predict how well the teachers’ students performed on state tests, New York City asked some schools last year to test out a student survey that could become part of new teacher evaluations. But if the city and its teachers union agree on a new evaluation system this year, student surveys are unlikely to play a role, according to people on both sides of the negotiating table. (Gotham Schools) 

View Point:
Tom Vander Ark: Will Common Core State Standards Accelerate or Slow Innovation?

Some friends are working on a paper on the topic of common standards and innovation. The primary question is how and whether the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will accelerate or slow innovation. The answer is that common standards are a big boon to innovation for four reasons. (Getting Smart) 



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