Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

News & analysis:
The Proven Way to Fight Income Inequality: Education
For progressives, the buzzy phrase of the moment is income inequality. President Obama plans to make it the focus of his upcoming State of the Union address after sermonizing about the issue in December. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made it the centerpiece of his campaign and the theme of his inauguration ceremony. Freshman Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren gained national celebrity because of her outspoken criticism of moneyed interests. (The Atlantic)

Eric Cantor vows fierce protection of school choice
Calling school choice the best route out of poverty, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took aim at New York City’s new mayor on Wednesday for his cooler stance toward public charter schools and warned that Republicans may hold congressional hearings on the education policies of Democrat Bill de Blasio’s administration. (Politico)

Obama Administration Has Little Love For ‘Zero Tolerance’
The Obama administration wants public school officials to rethink how they discipline and punish students who misbehave. In the mid-1990s, states put in place harsh “zero-tolerance” policies in response to a rise in violence, bullying, drug use and school shootings. But studies show that too often kids are being punished just as harshly for minor offenses. Black, Latino and disabled students are disproportionately affected. Now the departments of Education and Justice are issuing new guidelines to help schools re-evaluate their disciplinary policies. (NPR)

Why the U.S. Results on PISA Matter
In 2012, 65 nations and education systems participated in the Program for International Student Assessment. These tests, covering mathematics, science, and reading, provide direct international comparisons of skills. Sadly for our nation, the recently released results are sobering. (Education Week)

State Lawmakers Face Tough Choices on Common Core
State legislators begin their 2014 sessions this month grappling with the best way forward on the Common Core State Standards in a tricky political climate, with a majority of governors and lawmakers up for election in the fall. (Education Week)

New test, same old questions over control in education debate
Old controversies over who should set education standards are flaring up again as Massachusetts moves toward new federal-based curriculum and standardized testing designed to prepare students for college and careers beyond high school. (Lowell Sun News)

Md. may no longer technically be No. 1 in education
Maryland’s superintendent of schools has no plans to take down dozens of signs in the windows of her agency’s headquarters that proclaim Maryland No. 1 in education. Likewise, Gov. Martin O’Malley is unlikely to stop bragging that Maryland is No. 1 in the nation, a point he made again Wednesday on Twitter. (Baltimore Sun)

New York
Helping educators implement the Common Core
New York City by all accounts is considered a frontrunner in implementing the Common Core (CC).  New York State was the second in the nation to adopt the CC standards in 2009, just after Kentucky. Now, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted them. (Hechinger Report)

New Jersey
Four state superintendents update Board of Education on progress

Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson told the New Jersey State Board of Education today that her efforts to reform the state’s largest school system are driven by one key question. (The Star-Ledger)


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