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

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

News & analysis

House budget plan would slash funding for 31 programs
Key formula programs would get huge increases, but big Obama administration priorities—including Race to the Top and i3—would get no money under a new spending plan for fiscal year 2012 released Sept. 29 by the U.S. House of Representatives panel that oversees K-12 funding. (Politics K-12)

Conversations between TFA’s Wendy Kopp and NEA’s Dennis Van Roekel
Teach For America founder and CEO Wendy Kopp and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel had a substantive discussion about the teaching profession today… showing that while some of their strategies for improving it may differ, they’re on the same page on many issues. (Teacher Beat)

Rhode Island: Providence superintendent says new teacher hiring process is intact
Supt. Susan Lusi says the new teachers’ contract does not dismantle the district’s new hiring process nor does it allow seniority to once again be the dominant factor in assigning teachers to classrooms. In an interview, Lusi tried to address persistent criticisms of the contract. Perhaps the biggest concern is that no one can be laid off to save money in the school budget during the length of the three-year contract. Critics say this will force the district to retain teachers who are no longer needed in a downsized district. (ProJo)

North Carolina: State grooms its best students to be good teachers
In 1993, when Mr. Williams graduated from high school in Goldsboro, N.C., with an A average and a 1,320 on his SATs, he had many options, but he chose the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. The idea is simple: the state pays top academic students to attend a public college, and in return they spend at least four years teaching in a public school. (New York Times)

Maryland: More bridge projects reported by state officials
Those bridge projects that everyone hoped would go away when they were introduced four or five years ago, are here to stay as long as the High School Assessments survive, it appears. Yes, more students, not fewer are using them to meet the HSA requirement, the state reported today. About 30 percent of all special education students and a third of English Language Learners are using the bridge plans to meet the graduation requirement. (InsideEd)

New Jersey: Dept. of Ed approves only 4 of 60 applicants to open new charter schools
Nine months after endorsing the largest group of new charter schools in state history, the Department of Education Friday approved four applicants from a pool of nearly 60. (Star Ledger)

New York: Mary Pasciak continues her reporting on the opaque admissions process to Buffalo’s City Honors
In the meantime, what I’ve been hearing loud and clear from the City Honors crowd is that they have been trying to get the word out about their admissions process, in the hopes of opening it up to as many students as possible — and they have been incredibly frustrated by the fact that the district does not seem to be trying to do the same. (School Zone)

New York: Education Dept. rejects latest offer to avert layoffs
With the clock ticking, the union representing most of the school employees scheduled to lose their jobs next week was dealt another blow on Friday, as the Department of Education rejected its latest package of cost-saving proposals meant to avert the layoffs. If the layoffs are not averted, next Friday will be the last day of work for the people who have received pink slips. (School Book)

New York: City teachers must juggle jobs to make ends meeet, documentary film “American Teacher”
After a day’s work teaching first grade at PS 261 in Boerum Hill, Jamie Fidler tutors students. To make ends meet, the Brooklyn mom sometimes holds a third job. “I leave the house at 7 o’clock in the morning and I get here at 7:45,” she says in “American Teacher,” a new documentary that points to long hours and low pay as the reasons many leave the profession. (Daily News)


High school admissions: Choice, but no equity
As part of a study I conducted of low-income Latino immigrant families’ experiences with the admissions process, I found that the Department of Education disseminates information in ways that are not accessible to all families in New York. This raises serious questions about whether choice and equity can actually be reached in the nation’s largest school system. (Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj)

Mike Petrilli asks if a single-minded focus on “college for all” is the enemy
I can’t help but wonder: with so many kids dropping out of college–and especially so many poor kids–should we reconsider our assumption that higher education is the ticket to the middle class? Isn’t it possible that lots of these kids would be better off pursuing the trades or (dare I say) the military? If you could figure out a way to do a rigorous study, I’d bet a lot of money that the military has a much better retention rate than higher education for similar young adults–and a much better track record at propelling its “graduates” into middle-class jobs. (Flypaper)


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