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:
Obama Urges Big Preschool Expansion in State of the Union Speech

President Barack Obama called on Congress in his State of the Union address to significantly expand access to preschool to all 4-year-olds from moderate- and low-income families, and to create a new spin-off of his Race to the Top program aimed at pushing high schools to adopt curricula that better prepare students for the jobs of the future. (Education Week – Politics K-12) 

Tough Sledding on Pre-K Politics: Why Access and Quality Aren’t Easily Divorced
My colleague Andrew Rotherham is an astute analyst of education politics, and his analysis of the significant obstacles facing any federal push on pre-k coming out of tonight’s State of the Union is pretty dead on. I would quibble with one point is his analysis, however. Andy writes: 3) There is no center to hold. The basic battle lines are people who think expanding access to pre-K is paramount and those who think improving quality in pre-K is. (Education Week – Sara Mead’s Notebook) 

NCLB Waivers Weaken Grad Rate Accountability, Study Finds
Many states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law are relaxing or ignoring federal regulations designed to hold schools accountable for the number of students who graduate from high school on time, according to a new study released Tuesday. (Education Week) 

Maryland to counties: increase weight of state standardized test in teacher evals

The Maryland State Department of Education has told nine counties to increase the use of standardized tests in its teacher and principal evaluation models after rejecting plans the school systems submitted for approval. (Washington Post) 

Helping schools with troubled kids

The first time Kristy Collier’s daughter flew into a manic rage at school, the teacher and school leaders weren’t prepared to handle her screaming or chair-throwing. By the time Collier arrived, the worst was over. Her daughter, removed from the classroom, had crashed asleep in the nurse’s office. Bruises on her wrists were the only tangible sign of the struggle. (Star Tribune)

Op-ed: A modest proposal to improve public education

For years, academic excellence in American public schools has been progressively subordinated to artificial notions of fairness, diversity and social justice – and to union interests. (Patriot News) 



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