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:
Legislative-Control Fights Up Ante on K-12 Policy

The fate and scope of state education policy changes passed in the last two years may well hinge on a few hotly contested—and precariously balanced—legislatures this fall, in an election cycle that will see 44 states with lawmakers going before the voters. In states such as Iowa and Wisconsin, where statehouse control is split between Republicans and Democrats, the stakes are immediate and concrete: a chance to extend, or scale back, dramatic changes in areas such as collective bargaining, school choice, and teacher accountability enacted after the GOP wave that swept over states in 2010. And the November outcomes could also have broad implications in other policy areas, including debates over adequate funding, at issue in Colorado, where the legislature is also split along party lines. (Education Week) 

DC investigators find cheating at 1 school but no widespread cheating on standardized tests
The District of Columbia’s inspector general has found that cheating on standardized tests occurred at one school in 2010 but has found no evidence of widespread cheating across the school system. The inspector general’s report was released Wednesday. It found at least one teacher at Noyes Education Campus coached students toward correct answers on tests. Inspector General Charles Willoughby wrote that there was “insufficient basis” to warrant investigating other schools as thoroughly as Noyes. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said in a statement that she hopes the report will put to rest suspicions of cheating. (Washington Post) 

Nevada gets waiver for No Child Left Behind mandates
Nevada no longer will answer to No Child Left Behind but will use a self-created system for holding its public schools accountable, according to an announcement Wednesday by the Obama administration. Simply put, the method of grading schools will change, as will standardized tests, consequences for failing schools, rewards for high-performing schools and teacher evaluations. “Today is a new day for education in Nevada,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. (Las Vegas Review Journal) 

Missouri ‘Right To Pray’ Amendment Allows Students To Reject School Assignments That ‘Violate His Or Her Religious Beliefs’
Missouri voters on Tuesday passed its “right to pray” amendment, reaffirming the right to pray in public and in schools. In an effort to further define First Amendment rights, the measure formally known as Amendment 2 passed with 83 percent of the vote. The amendment’s backers say it helps protect Missouri’s Christians, about 80 percent of the population, who say they are public targets. While the religious protections outlined in the measure are already guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, critics are drawing attention to another part of the amendment: “No student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs.” (Huffington Post) 

Transplanted teachers waiting — and waiting — for alternative certification process to jell

There are a number of Twin Cities transplants who have successful track records of teaching struggling students in other states. There are a number of expansion-minded, odds-beating schools here that would desperately like to hire them. And there’s a law on the books that is supposed to make it easier for newcomers who learned their craft in nontraditional teacher training programs elsewhere to get the Minnesota licenses they need to fill the jobs. Yet a year and a half after the law’s passage, hopeful teachers and their would-be employers are struggling to get the talent into the classroom. The new state “alternative certification” law was supposed to go into effect Aug. 1, 2011, but the Minnesota Board of Teaching has yet to create a process for licensing the teachers. (MinnPost) 

New school year: doubling down on failed ed policy

Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt credited his teammate, Jamaican runner Yohan “The Beast,” Blake, with helping him improve by beating him in earlier races. The defeats forced Bolt to reflect on what he needed to do differently to improve. Bolt’s victory modeled a powerful lesson: Always try to learn from your mistakes, rather than repeat them. As children head back to school after a decade of No Child Left Behind, will they benefit from lessons learned from this sweeping and expensive failure? Will schools do anything differently to avoid NCLB’s narrowed curriculum, teaching to the test and stagnant achievement? Sadly, instead of learning from the beastly NCLB, the Obama administration is doubling down on a failed policy. Here are two examples of NCLB’s mistakes and how coming “reforms” will continue or intensify the damage, not correct it. (Washington Post) 


Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts