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:
For the past 31 years, since I stumbled across amazing things happening at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, my main topic as an education writer has been schools whose low-income students have been raised to unexpected heights of academic achievement. There are many schools in the Washington area that have done that. What about those that haven’t? (The Washington Post)
New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s selection of Carmen Fariña to be the new chancellor of the nation’s largest school system is notable for many reasons. She’s the first career educator to land the job in more than a dozen years. She’s only the second woman to helm the system. (Cathie Black, who served for a rather disastrous three months in 2011, was the first.) And, like more than 14 percent of New York City’s public school students, Fariña was an English-language learner. (Education Week)
Big questions loom about just how much money Congress will steer to individual programs—including the Obama administration’s marquee competitive-grant initiatives—with lawmakers on House and Senate appropriations committees facing a Jan. 15 deadline to fill in details on the current year’s spending plan or face another government shutdown. (Education Week)
The two recent rural winners in the federal Race to the Top district competition hope to be national models on how to improve educational outcomes for poor, rural students…Of the five winners in this round, they were the only two to claim the rural priority, but at least one other Race to the Top district winner, a consortium of four districts in central South Carolina, also includes rural schools. (Education Week)
We don’t know exactly how much money was spent training Will in his first year of Teach for America, but we know it was a lot. We would guess the total sum is above $50,000, a figure that includes district training costs, school training costs, the money Teach for America spent, and Will’s master degree classes. (The Atlantic)
Mao Vang knows good teaching is about connecting with her students. The California-born St. Paul resident says her Hmong heritage makes it easier for some of her students at LEAP High School to identify with her. “For me, it doesn’t take as long to build a relationship,” Vang said. “We understand each other.” (Twin Cities)
New Jersey
50CAN’s newest outpost, JerseyCAN, has produced a user-friendly “Framework for Excellence” for the state’s leaders. It gives the Garden State credit for some noteworthy accomplishments then spells out some of its biggest challenges. (Fordham Institute’s Flypaper)


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