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:
Sequester Spells Uncertainty For Many Public Schools

If Congress and the Obama administration can’t agree on a budget deal by Friday, the federal government will be forced to cut $85 billion from just about every federally funded program. Every state could lose federal aid, and a myriad of government programs could shut down or curtail services — and that includes the nation’s public schools. (NPR) 

Sequester Could Leave Special Education Kids Without Important Services
Teresa Armstrong is steamed. The Virginia mother of four has spent the last few weeks watching, reading and listening to politicians argue about the country’s finances but fail to reach a deal to prevent impending across-the-board cuts to federal spending. She doesn’t understand how they can bicker endlessly while the consequences for her daughter, Angela, hang in the balance. (Huffington Post) 

California Districts Make Bid for NCLB Waiver
Nine California school districts today will seek a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act that would set up a radically different school accountability system from the rest of the state and present the biggest political and legal test yet of the U.S. Department of Education’s ability to grant flexibility in exchange for promises to enact certain reforms. (Education Week – District Dossier) 

School Turnaround Americorps Program Will Cost $15M, Target Poor Performance Says Arne Duncan
High school dropouts are costing some $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue every year, education advocates said in a report released Monday. If states were to increase their graduation rates, state and federal lawmakers could be plugging their budgets with workers’ taxes instead of furloughing teachers, closing drivers-license offices and cutting unemployment benefits. While advocates tend to focus on the moral argument that all children deserve a quality education, they could just as easily look at budgets’ bottom lines. (Huffington Post) 

D.C. clamps down on low-performing charter schools, approves Rocketship
One struggling D.C. charter school will shrink at the end of this academic year, another will be acquired by a high-performing school and a third will close if it fails to show improvement over the next several months, the D.C. Public Charter School Board decided Monday. (Washington Post) 

Only Half of First-Time College Students Graduate in 6 Years
As we’ve covered here many times before, there is an abundance of evidence showing that going to college is worth it. But that’s really only true if you go to college and then graduate, and the United States is doing a terrible job of helping enrolled college students complete their educations. (New York Times – Economix Blog) 

Among Philly teachers, anger and dismay at contract offer

Patrick Naughton is an enthusiastic social studies teacher and the dean of students at Robeson High School in West Philadelphia, but the first thing he did Wednesday morning was look for a new job. ( 


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