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

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

News & analysis

Teacher evaluation scaled back in senate’s revised ESEA draft
Senators working on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have decided to scale back provisions relating to teacher evaluation.The original bill, released last week, would have required all states to develop mandatory evaluation systems based, in part, on student outcomes. In the latest version, only districts that participate in the Teacher Incentive Fund—a voluntary federal program—will need to do evaluations. (Politics K-12)

New York: Regents set to alter rules for grading state exams
Teachers in New York State will soon be banned from grading their own students’ state standardized tests, a Board of Regents committee decided on Monday, part of an effort to curtail cheating on the high-stakes exams. (New York Times)

New York: State will jump on the NCLB waiver train
New York is joining the vast majority of states seeking to escape some of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. (Gotham Schools)

Maryland: Tell the state what type of leader is needed in the next state superintendent
The state school board is holding a series of open forums for members of the public to say what characteristics they would like to see in a new school superintendent. The public also may fill in an online survey at (InsideEd)

Ohio: 100,000 kids eligible for EdChoice scholarships
More than 100,000 students attending 226 schools in Ohio are eligible for EdChoice scholarships in the next school year, the state said yesterday. That’s up from 85,000 who qualified this year. The program offers tax-funded scholarships for private-school tuition to up to 60,000 students attending failing public schools. Elementary-school students get $4,250 and high-school students get $5,000 or all of the private school’s tuition, whichever is lower. (Columbus Dispatch)

Rhode Island: Achievement First applies to open school in Providence
Achievement First, a charter-school operator with schools in New York and Connecticut, wants to open two elementary schools serving students from Providence, Warwick, North Providence and Cranston. If approved, the first school would open in 2013 and the second would open in 2014. Both schools would begin with kindergarten and first grade and add a grade each year until the school reaches fifth grade. (ProJo)


Rick Hess’ take on the Harkin-Enzi ESEA proposal
The horrified shrieking you heard last week was the anguished cry of liberal NCLB enthusiasts denouncing the Harkin-Enzi ESEA proposal as a dreaded retreat into the distant past. I’m not worried about going “back” to 1994, partly because edu-world has changed (due in substantial part to NCLB) and partly because some of the “retreats” are actually sensible steps informed by a better sense of what the feds can and can’t do well. (Straight Up)

Meet the teachers’ union contract of the future
On Friday Geoff Decker of GothamSchools reported on the renegotiated contract between New York’s United Federation of Teachers and Green Dot, the California-based charter school operator whose schools are all unionized. Green Dot administrators must prove only “just cause” before firing a teacher–the same standard practiced within many non-unionized companies in order to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits. First-year teachers have no job security protections whatsoever, and all teachers will be evaluated according to the principles enshrined in New York State’s Race to the Top application: 20 percent of the evaluation score will be based on student standardized test scores, 20 percent on other measures of student academic growth, and 60 percent on classroom observation. I believe the teachers’ union contracts of the future will look a lot like this one–if we start making much-needed improvements in teacher preparation and allow teachers to get more actively involved in the administration of their schools. (Dana Goldstein)

A progressive in the age of austerity
I stopped by Chicago’s City Hall last week to interview the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff. I find “Rahmbo’s” Chicago agenda intriguing because it’s a microcosm of what the whole country will have to do for the next decade: find smart ways to invest in education and infrastructure to generate growth while cutting overall spending to balance the budget — all at the same time and with limited new taxes. It’s a progressive agenda on a Tea Party allowance. (Thomas Friedman)


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