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

Here’s what educators, advocates, wonks and policymakers are talking about today:

News & analysis

Connecticut: ConnCAN announces Patrick Riccards will serve as their new CEO
Patrick is a tireless advocate for kids, and has transformed the work of countless organizations and campaigns over the past twenty years. From the National Reading Panel, to New Leaders for New Schools, to the National Governors Association, to the American Federation of Teachers, Patrick has been integral in building public support for issue-based organizations, especially those working to improve public schools across the country. Most recently based in Virginia as CEO at Exemplar Strategic Communications, Patrick has provided expert consulting on leadership and communications for a range of organizations focused on public education and other issues. (ConnCAN)

Maryland: Baltimore Community Foundation announces historic education endowment
School reforms in Baltimore City and Baltimore County stand to gain significant financial support under a historic $8 million endowment given the Baltimore Community Foundation that will double its resources to support education projects. (Baltimore Sun)

Maryland: Superintendent Hairston says he doesn’t plan to seek another contract
Baltimore County schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston said Thursday that he does not plan to seek another contract when his current four-year deal expires in June. “I have always said that I would not seek another term,” Hairston wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun. “Twelve years is a tremendous run for any superintendent.” Hairston has been superintendent of the 26th-largest school district in the country since 2000. (Baltimore Sun)

Minnesota: Voters conflicted over school district policy, property tax approval
A vote next month in the Anoka-Hennepin school district presents a problem for some critics of the district. People there have been divided over how the district addresses bullying and harassment, especially involving students who are gay and lesbian.Now, some of the harshest critics find themselves standing with the district on one matter — the need to pass a tax levy for schools. (MPR)

New York: Brown’s alumni magazine profiles Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky
Few people are as determined as Polakow-Suransky to bring the lessons of progressive education into the public school systems of our major cities. His mission in New York City is to find a way to reconcile the free-form, experimental approach on which he’s built his career with a system that depends strict, measurable systems of accountability. If he succeeds in reconciling an education philosophy he first learned at Brown with the rigid testing requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, he will have created an approach that could serve as a new model for public schools across the entire country. (Brown Alumni Magazine)

New York: Success charter is planning a school for Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Fresh from a bruising battle to open a charter school on the Upper West Side, Eva S. Moskowitz, the former city councilwoman who runs a network of charters in New York City, is gearing up to expand into middle-class areas by opening a school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, next fall. (New York Times)

New York: Could Buffalo replicate City Honors’ success?
One of Sam Radford’s children was accepted to City Honors this year, and boy, what an eye-opener that has been for Buffalo’s most outspoken parent leader. What he sees at City Honors is a structure for parent involvement. Each classroom there has a parent volunteer who is responsible for communicating with the parents in their classroom. Radford’s thinking is that when you have a parent responsible for communicating with the parents of the 20 to 30 kids in that room, that communication is going to be effective. (School Zone)

New York: Suspensions up so far this year in Buffalo schools
Through the end of September 2011, there had been 614 short-term (one- to five-day) suspensions, compared to 441 for that period last year. That’s an increase of slightly more than one-third. (School Zone)

Louisiana: Almost half of LA schools get failing grades
Forty-four percent of public schools got a “D” or an “F” in Louisiana’s first ever round of letter grades for schools, officials said Wednesday. “It simply means that we have a lot more work to do,” said Ollie Tyler, acting state superintendent of education. Others called the results a sobering wakeup call for nearly half of the state’s more than 1,300 public schools. (The Advocate)

Alabama: Immigration law worries Latino parents
With a tough immigration law in effect in Alabama, worried Hispanic parents are meeting with school officials. They fear for themselves and their children. (NPR)


All hail Finland?
Imagine if the founding fathers had looked across the globe for best practices in governance when developing our democracy. By measures of economic performance, England looked pretty great – so what if we had just split from them and adopted their governance model. All hail King Washington. The lesson here: the best existing system may not be the optimal system. Of course, plenty of things may be learned from other countries (thank you France), but wholesale adoption of the best existing system may not lead to the optimal solution. (Title I-derland)


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