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:
13 States Adopt 3rd Grade Reading Policies, But Details Vary

In my story last week on state legislative races that could prove decisive for K-12 policy, Iowa’s decision regarding 3rd-grade reading requirements makes an appearance. My colleague Erik Robelen also wrote an extensive piece back in March on the issue, and how more states are looking at retention for those who don’t demonstrate proficiency.
For those seeking a statistical (and clear) view of the policy situation, look no further than this detailed analysis provided by Stephanie Rose at the Education Commission of the States. The most general news is that in 2012, 13 states passed legislation intended to identify, intervene, and/or retain students who struggle to demonstrate reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade. That brings the total number of states with reading policies specifically targeted at 3rd graders to 32, plus the District of Columbia. More specifically, D.C. and 14 states now have the controversial ability to retain students based on a lack of reading proficiency. Among reporters, trends are perhaps second in popularity only to strong coffee, but it’s probably fair for the media to say that for 13 states to take action on one specific policy area of public education in one year is a significant shift. (Education Week – State Ed Watch) 

Paul Ryan On Education: Less Federal Control, Student Loan Interest Rates And Vouchers
Mitt Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his vice presidential candidate over the weekend offers new clues about what a Romney administration could mean for federal education policy. Although Ryan hasn’t made education a signature issue during his seven terms in Congress, he believes the federal government should cut back its involvement in education. “Stagnant student achievement levels and exploding deficits have demonstrated that massive amounts of federal funding and top-town interventions are not the way to provide America’s students with a high-quality education,” says Ryan’s website. “It is imperative, then, that we allocate our limited financial resources effectively and efficiently.” (Huffington Post) 

New York:
Education Data Companies Chosen

New York state education officials Monday said they selected four companies to build a broad education database that will host students’ test scores, curriculum materials and education apps, paid for by up to $50 million in federal Race to the Top funds. The state’s trying to catch up after its original plan to give a $27 million contract to education-technology company Wireless Generation was scrapped last year by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He cited concerns in the wake of the London-based newspaper phone-hacking scandal involving News Corp.,  which owns both Wireless Generation and The Wall Street Journal. (Wall Street Journal) 

View points:
Editorial: Education reform not done in N.J.: Next up, ‘last in, first out’

New Jersey’s teacher tenure bill was signed into law this week, a resounding victory in the first round of the reform fight — but it’s not over yet. To get that crucial legislation passed, reformers had to abandon their push to end the practice known as “last in, first out,” which protects absolute seniority rights during times of layoffs. The state’s largest teachers union insisted upon it. Now, that sacrifice will fall hardest on cities such as Newark that face hundreds of layoffs over the next few years. They’ll be forced to purge their younger teachers, including even the most talented and hardworking ones. (NJ. com) 

Four Reasons The Paul Ryan Pick Doesn’t Matter A Lot For Education
The Paul Ryan pick obviously matters politically and on substance. But specifically for education does it matter much?  Some people seem to think so, for instance the usually cautious Rick Hess is all excited about the Paul Ryan VP pick (and apparently getting paid a bonus for each time he uses the phrase “serious”) and thinks it portends big news for education.  OK, Paul Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, so by definition proposals he puts out are “serious” in a way that the latest Ron Paul missive is not.  But serious and workable or likely to happen are two different things. (Eduwonk) 


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