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:
A Romney Win Could Upend K-12 Federal Policy Landscape

If Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wins the November election, his ascension could endanger—or dismantle—key Obama administration education initiatives and lead to a slimmed-down and less activist U.S. Department of Education. Gone could be any federal support for the Common Core State Standards, which Mr. Romney has cast as a state issue. The outlook would be cloudy for another “Early Learning Challenge,” a $500 million Obama competition, since Mr. Romney has not made early education a key part of his platform. And in a nod to fiscal conservatism, he wants to combine duplicative teacher-quality programs into a block grant. (Education Week)

Arne Duncan tries to smooth relations with teachers
Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a careful effort Tuesday to smooth relations with teachers, saying the Obama administration understands that many educators feel besieged by the national push for new evaluations and faster improvements in student achievement. “I know some educators feel overwhelmed by all of this change,” Duncan said during a wide-ranging speech at the National Press Club in Washington. “Teachers always, always support accountability and a fair system of evaluation. They want the feedback so they can get better. But some of them say it’s happening too quickly and not always in a way that is respectful and fair.” (Washington Post)

Applying Lessons From Charters to Regular Public Schools
Those who believe that charter schools have the potential to boost educational opportunities for large numbers of students across the United States also acknowledge a simple truth: that charters today occupy a relatively small slice of the public school market, and at their current rate of growth it would take many years for them to reach a substantial portion of the population. (Education Week – Charters and Choice) 

Oakland schools to let feds monitor discipline of black students
The Oakland Unified School District and the U.S. Department of Education reached an agreement last week that would allow federal officials to monitor the district’s efforts to curb the number of out-of-school suspensions of its African American students. The resolution, which the Oakland school board passed unanimously, closes an investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into whether African American students were disciplined more frequently and harshly than their white classmates. The agreement was reached Thursday. (Los Angeles Times) 

In several metro-area school districts, more kids to count

As school districts take their fall student tally, the state’s top spot may be up for grabs. Preliminary counts show that longtime No. 2 St. Paul added 210 students this year, the third straight year it has exceeded projections. Total enrollment is now 37,986. (Star Tribune) 

School Funding Inequity Forces Poor Cities Like Reading, Pa., To Take Huge Cuts

The day before school starts, 8-year-old Tianna wakes up worried. She’s worried about the cafeteria food that she receives for free, because usually “it’s nasty.” She’s worried about making friends, since she’ll be in a new school. But most of all, she’s worried about where all the fired teachers will go. (Huffington Post)

View Points:
Christopher Paslay: K-12 cuts and consequences

The results of Pennsylvania’s annual standardized tests came out recently, and it seemed everyone was pointing fingers. Math and reading scores are down an average of 1.5 points statewide – 8 points in Philadelphia. Teachers’ unions are blaming cuts in education funding for the slump, and they have a point. (

Michael Mulgrew: Bloomberg blocks teacher ratings
Since Mayor Bloomberg took control of the school system, more than 67,000 teachers — the equivalent of the entire teaching forces of Los Angeles and Chicago combined — have left our schools. Many veterans opted to retire, others to go to jobs in the suburbs. But thousands of newer teachers also walked out the door, frustrated by both the challenges of teaching in New York City and the lack of support from a system that could have helped them succeed with their students.  (New York Daily News)



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