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

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

News & analysis

Gingrich supports limited version of the DREAM Act
As the four remaining candidates for the GOP nomination duked it out in Florida during tonight’s debate, there was little talk of education. But former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did get a question on the DREAM Act legislation, which would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children and who go on to enter college or the military. Gingrich—Romney’s biggest rival—said during the debate (sponsored by NBC, National Journal and the Tampa Bay Times) that he wouldn’t veto DREAM Act legislation, but instead would work for a “signable version” that allowed only those who enter the military to work toward citizenship. Simply going to college wouldn’t be good enough, in his view. (Politics K-12)

Rhode Island: State up to no. 42 in higher-ed after biggest surge in U.S.
Rhode Island boosted public spending on higher education by more than any other state in the country this year after slashing it by double-digits during the recession, a new study shows. Rhode Island’s state government spent $193.6 million on higher education in its 2011-12 budget, a 13% jump from the $171.3 million budgeted the prior year, according to the annual Grapevine study released Monday. However, Rhode Island was one of only five states that has federal stimulus money for higher education in its current budget, and the whopping $30.2 million in stabilization funds Rhode Island received was twice as much as second-place New York’s $14.4 million and 190 times as much as West Virginia’s $158,781. (WPRI)

Rhode Island: Bills to watch at the General Assembly
Several education-related bills come up for committee hearings this week at the Statehouse. One bill would broaden the allowable reasons for teacher layoffs, but they would still have to be based on seniority. The House Committee on Labor is scheduled to take up that bill on Tuesday. The sponsor, Rep. Scott Guthrie (D-Coventry), is proposing that the state allow school districts to let teachers go for reasons that include budget cuts, program changes and loss of student population. The bill would also push back the deadline for notifying teachers of potential layoffs, from March 1st to May 15th. (Elisabeth Harrison)

New York: UFT’s new TV ad buy takes aim at Bloomberg’s school record
The United Federation of Teachers is turning up the heat on Mayor Bloomberg with a new television ad marking mayoral control’s double-digit birthday. The 30-second ad, which comes as the union is locked in stalemate with the city over teacher evaluations, targets Bloomberg’s education track record months before mayoral control’s 10th anniversary. (Gotham Schools)

New York: Seven schools on city hit list got high grades
Not all good grades go on the fridge. Seven of the 33 schools where the city is seeking to fire half the staff were rated an “A” or “B” on their latest city-issued report cards, a review by The Post found. That means roughly 260 teachers are slated to be cleared out from schools that were celebrated just last fall for making significant gains. The mayor plans to close and reopen the schools this summer. Although the city’s grading system rewards progress more than performance — meaning highly rated schools aren’t necessarily above average — no “A” or “B” school has ever been shuttered. (Post)


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