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

Your daily clips are back from hiatus. Here’s what educators, advocates, wonks and policymakers are talking about today:

News & analysis

New census measure finds fewer children in poverty
Federal social programs are keeping nearly 2 million American children out of poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s first new poverty calculation measure in more than four decades. “The one very important message from the data is, although the number of children deemed to be living in poverty is reduced, it really is because the safety net programs are doing the job they were intended to do,” said Sheila Smith, the director of early childhood programs for the New York City-based National Center for Children in Poverty. (Inside School Research)

New York: High schools with more high-needs kids more likely get bad grade, review shows
High schools serving the most challenging students were much likelier to get saddled with a bad grade from the Department of Education than schools that serve few high-needs kids, a Post analysis found. The review showed that of the 100 high schools with the fewest number of high-needs kids, 50 were rated with an A grade — and not a single one was hit with a D or F. Just 15 scored a C. By contrast, of the 100 high schools with the greatest number of high-needs kids, 21 managed to get an A — while 19 were rated with D’s or F’s. (New York Post)

Minnesota: 2010 graduates average $29K in debt
A higher percentage of the class of 2010 from Minnesota colleges and universities graduated in debt and owed more money on average than graduates in the rest of the nation, according to a new report. The Project on Student Debt reported Thursday that Minnesota students who took out loans graduated with an average of $29,058 in education debt, the fourth-highest in the nation. It also found that 71 percent of the Minnesota class of 2010 graduated in debt, the fifth highest share nationally. (Brainerd Dispatch)

Tennessee: Following the rules for evaluations off a cliff
Last year, when Tennessee was named one of the first two states to win a federal Race to The Top grant, worth $501 million, there was great joy all around. So you would think that educators like Will Shelton, principal of Blackman Middle School here, would be delighted. The state requires that teachers be evaluated by their students’ test scores, and that principals get into classrooms regularly to observe teachers. Mr. Shelton is a big believer in both. But not this. “I’ve never seen such nonsense,” he said. “In the five years I’ve been principal here, I’ve never known so little about what’s going on in my own building.” Mr. Shelton has to spend so much time filling out paperwork that he’s stuck in his office for long stretches. (New York Times)

Georgia: Voters in three counties to consider continuing education sales tax
Voters in three counties will have the chance Tuesday to consider continuing a 1 percent sales tax for education. Athens-Clarke, Oconee and Oglethorpe county residents will vote on renewing a sales tax that helps fund each county’s public schools. School system leaders have picked out specific projects in many cases. (Online Athens)


Wendy Kopp names the world’s 7 most influential educators
“Providing an excellent education for all students–especially the 16 million children growing up in poverty– requires extraordinary commitment,” says Wendy Kopp. “These individuals, who aren’t often in the national spotlight, demonstrate the leadership we need to ensure all children gain the skills necessary to get to and through college.” (Forbes)

Mike Petrilli argues that we have a parenting problem, not a poverty problem
I glimpsed a quote from Kati Haycock yesterday, kicking off the Education Trust annual conference, saying that we can’t let “bad parenting” be an excuse for poor educational results. She’s absolutely right, of course. It’s not like our schools are running on all cylinders (especially schools serving poor kids), and if only parents were doing their jobs too, achievement would soar. And we’ve got several examples of school models that are making a tremendous difference in educational outcomes for kids, regardless of what’s happening at home. That said, it strikes me as highly unlikely that we’re ever going to significantly narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor unless we narrow the “good parenting gap” between rich and poor families, too. (Flypaper)

Dana Goldstein says the parenting problem is a poverty problem
If we want to get to the root causes of the “family values” issues in poor neighborhoods, we need to think not only about culture, but take a broad approach to social and economic policy-making, one that reforms the drug war, creates jobs, and, yes–educates people of all ages about the benefits of delaying childbearing and forming strong marriages. (Dana Goldstein)


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