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:
Literacy By Third Grade A Renewed Priority For States

Flunked, retained, held back. Whatever you call it, increasing numbers of states are not promoting students who are struggling to read at the end of third grade. Thirty-two states have passed legislation designed to improve third-grade literacy, according to the Education Commission of the States. Retention is part of the policies in 14 states, with some offering more leeway than others. (Huffington Post) 

Boys, Girls, and Behavior
This recent Journal of Human Resources article on gender gaps in elementary school students test score performance and teacher-assigned grades contains a lot of fascinating stuff, so it’s unfortunate that the media coverage it inevitably attracts has been reduced to “elementary school-aged boys are actually smarter than girls, but teachers screw them over by giving them lower grades based on their behavior.” (Education Week – Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook) 

North Carolina:
NC needs to adopt best practices to measure teacher effectiveness

As the state legislature begins a new session and Gov. Pat McCrory begins the work of governing, North Carolina is at a critical juncture. The docket is already filled with an ambitious agenda, but one policy domain stands out for its outsized impact and opportunity: public education. (News Observer) 

Rhode Island:
The latest bad report card cries out ‘Fix our schools!’

In recent months, growing numbers of Rhode Islanders have finally awoken to the fact that our business climate is terrible, and something must be done if we want more jobs and opportunity here. Last month, Rhode Island dropped from next-to-last into a tie with Nevada for the worst unemployment rate in America. Given our significant advantages — location, port potential, quality of life, institutions of higher learning — that ranking is a damning indictment of Rhode Island’s public policy. (Providence Journal) 

View Point:
Jay Matthews: Why U.S. schools are better than we think
Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein, research associates at the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, have no respect for American cultural and political tradition. Their latest paper challenges one of our most cherished beliefs, that foreigners are threatening our future by producing much better schools. (Washington Post – Class Struggle) 



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