Curtis Whatley is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

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News & analysis

Undocumented student publishes how-to guide for peers on finding jobs after college
A California doctoral student who’s an undocumented immigrant has published a free how-to guide on the Internet instructing similar immigrants on finding employment after college and maintaining good health “living in the shadows.” The inspiration for the book came from her family, she said. “My father has always told me look for solutions instead of the problems,” says Iliana Guadalupe Perez, an immigrant since the age of 8 when her parents brought her to the United States from Mexico. “I always try to find the solution to the problem, if this door closed, what can I do so it opens to me?” Perez’s immigration status has been her biggest problem: she is part of the millions of undocumented students around the country. But she is also a college graduate, and yet her legal status still stands in the way of her job prospects. It’s to the point where she wonders if doors won’t open, could there be a window? (CNN)

A last-minute reprieve on new teacher-prep rules
In a somewhat anticlimatic conclusion to a week of stressful negotiations, the brokers crafting new federal teacher-preparation rules have managed to convince the Education Department to consider giving them more time. They plan to have a conference call next week, during which the agency will determine whether or not to hold a fourth negotiating session. At today’s session, the Education Department and the non-federal negotiators were not able to come to an agreement about the key hot-button issue—whether to attach the federal reporting and accountability system for teacher preparation to a federal financial-aid program known as TEACH, which supports teachers in high-needs schools. Part of the problem was that this issue did not come to the table until the very last hour of discussion. There were a slew of last-minute proposals by a caucus of negotiators and counter-proposals by the Education Department, but ultimately time ran out. That prompted a lot of handwringing from negotiators who didn’t want to throw in the towel just yet. (MPR)

Minnesota: Dayton vetoes school payback; calls bill irresponsible
Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed a GOP effort to pay back some of the money the state has borrowed from schools in recent years. Dayton called the measure irresponsible because it would have spent $430 million from the state’s rainy day fund to pay a portion of the $2.4 billion owed to schools. In recent years the governor and lawmakers have held back a portion of state funds owed to schools as a way to balance the state’s budget. Schools still receive 100 percent of their state funding, but it comes in partial payments. Roughly 60 percent was paid out at the beginning of the fiscal year, with the remaining funds coming at the end of the year. In the bill, Republicans maintained that reserve funds should be used to pay back about 20 percent of the money schools are owed from the state. The governor, however, did not believe it made financial sense to spend money from the reserve fund, especially as the state struggles with its budget. (MPR)

New York: At one-year mark, Walcott sees improvement in education debate’s tone
Reflecting on his first year as chancellor of the city’s schools, one marked by protests over school closings and the public release of teacher rankings, Dennis M. Walcott said that, in some ways, the tone of the citywide education debate has improved under his leadership. In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Walcott said that he has tried to make himself accessible and visible to principals, teachers, parents and students by opening public meetings to more audience questions and frequently visiting public schools. But in a year when the Occupy Wall Street movement joined forces with critics of the Bloomberg administration’s education policies, public meetings have been just as raucous as in the past. “I think people view tone solely as the PEP meetings,” he said, referring to the Panel for Educational Policy, which has oversight over some schools issues. “But I think it goes beyond the PEP meetings. And I think the tone has changed. And tone is that, for me, I will respect you.” (School Book)

North Carolina: Panel considers ways to gauge effects of NC charters
A committee looking into the effects of charter schools on traditional schools may ask for more information from both groups in the future. Members of the state Public Charter School Advisory Council on Thursday began considering what kinds of additional information they should gather when they consider new charter school applicants. The State Board of Education asked the council for recommendations on how it should handle local school districts’ impact statements – their written responses to new charter school applications. School districts now offer generic statements about how the loss of money to charters will affect traditional schools. The committee, which is made up of members of the advisory council, discussed a number of changes on Thursday, including having school districts describe the impact on education programs as well as looking more closely at district test scores and demographic trends. Charters that propose special programs that duplicate district school offerings may also be asked to justify the startup schools. (News Observer)


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