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:
Chicago teachers strike deadline could be delayed

Five days and counting. And as a strike threat looms, both sides in the Chicago teachers contract talks meet again Wednesday. The teachers union house of delegates will meet Wednesday and could vote to extend the strike deadline if they believe that progress is being made at the bargaining table. CTU said that is unlikely, however. Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is talking about the teachers strike, saying he believes a strike will be averted. While Emanuel was at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina working to get President Barack Obama re-elected, he is also working behind the scenes not to be the first Chicago mayor in 25 years to deal with the teachers strike. (ABC Local) 

Jeb Bush Says Education Film Will Be ‘Game-Changing’ For Reform Movement
It’s been six years since Jeb Bush held political office, but since he left Florida’s governorship, he has been working on an issue now at the center of escalating political headwinds: education reform. And when even former teacher union organizers like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villagairosa are siding with the reform movement, that’s a clear sign of significant momentum. Bush, now 59, could benefit from his long association with education reform efforts if he harbors any ambitions for higher office. Bush was the subject of speculation about whether he might run for president in 2012. If the GOP’s current nominee Mitt Romney loses this fall, Bush’s name will be in the running for 2016. (Huffington Post) 

Academic success in special education not linked to spending, study finds
The amount of money spent by school districts on special education varies greatly around the country, and some districts that spend less than others are getting better academic results from students, according to a study released Wednesday. The study, sponsored by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, suggests that some districts are overspending on special education, which has become a growing segment of school budgets around the country. If all districts spent the median amount on special education, it would save $10 billion a year, according to the study, which was written by Nathan Levenson, a consultant and former school superintendent. (Washington Post) 

Education Funding Drops In More Than Half Of States
The recession’s impact on American education has not yet dissipated, as more than half of states are slashing their education budgets this year. According to a new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 26 states will spend less per pupil in fiscal year 2013 than the year before, and 35 are still spending at levels lower than before the recession, after adjusting for inflation. The cuts, stemming from the recession in 2007, were relied on heavily rather than a combination of cuts and revenue increases. While states balanced their budgets and saw lessened impact through $100 billion in federal stimulus money for education, the funding dried up at the end of the 2011 fiscal year. (Huffington Post) 

California teacher evaluation bill abandoned by lawmakers
Education advocates Friday hailed the eleventh-hour defeat of controversial efforts to rewrite state rules on teacher evaluations that they said would have weakened initiatives in Los Angeles and elsewhere to improve the quality of public school instructors. Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) had revived a long-dormant bill, AB 5, in the last few weeks of the legislative session to push forward his plan for a statewide uniform teacher evaluation system featuring more performance reviews, classroom observations, training of evaluators and public input into the review process. (Los Angeles Times) 

View Points:
Q&A with Paul Tough: Obama’s big missed opportunity in education

What if much of what we think we know about success is wrong? What if the metrics we use in college admissions, for example, aren’t capturing the qualities of character and mind that we should actually care most about? And what if the content of one’s character truly does matter more than anything else? Paul Tough, a former editor at The New York Times Magazine and the author of “Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America” (2008), has written a new book about these very questions. In “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character,” Tough looks at character traits integral to success—curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, perseverance and self-control, among them—and considers their relation to raising children and running schools. (US News)


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