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

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

News & analysis

Advocates, policymakers give mixed early reviews to ESEA draft
So what do folks inside the Beltway think of Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.’s draft bills the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka No Child Left Behind)? That depends on whom you talk to. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, for one, isn’t happy with either the substance or the process. He said the administration is going to stick with its plan to give states waivers from pieces of the NCLB law in exchange for embracing certain reform priorities. Generally speaking, groups that represent school officials see the draft as a good starting point. But advocates that look out for particular groups of children, such as students in special education, are really unhappy with the draft. (Politics K-12)

Negotiators selected for teacher prep regulatory overhaul
The U.S. Department of Education has selected the panelists who will write new regulations for the reporting requirements for teacher preparation programs. The requirements are housed in Title II of the Higher Education Act. Rewriting them to make them more outcomes-based is one of the steps in the Education Department’s policy prescriptions for teacher education. (Teacher Beat)

Testing champion Romney sails to victory in New Hampshire
Former Massachusetts of Gov. Mitt Romney coasted to an easy win in the New Hampshire GOP primary last night, garnering nearly 40 percent of the vote. Romney has the longest roster of education advisers among the GOP candidates. And he’s got a record in the Bay State of championing standards-based reform. He pushed for science to be included in the state’s testing system, and leaned on a district that tried to wiggle out of a requirement that all kids pass an exit exam before graduating from high school. He also likes charter schools and performance-pay for teachers. (Politics K-12)

Ohio: State sets Race to the Top pace
Despite a change of administration and decisions by some districts to abandon the effort, Ohio is on track to implement sweeping reforms to its public-school system, according to an initial assessment of $4 billion Race to the Top grants. In first-year progress reports, the U.S. Department of Education was largely complimentary of the efforts made by the 11 states and District of Columbia to meet individually set goals for improving student and teacher performance. Federal regulators noted that Ohio adopted Common Core Standards to provide shared curriculum guidelines to schools, the same ones used in many other states that will allow the performance of Ohio students to be compared with their peers across the nation. The state established Innovation School Models, a competitive grant program to fund district efforts to boost high-school graduation rates, college enrollment and participation in STEM curriculum. (Columbus Dispatch)

New York: $700M in school aid put at risk
News of New York’s teacher evaluation problems have reached the White House, and hundreds of millions of dollars in education aid could be forfeited. Worth some $700 million, the state’s federal Race to the Top grant is in jeopardy, the White House said. Last week, the state Education Department froze School Improvement Grant funding for 10 districts that did not reach an agreement with their unions on a new evaluation system for teachers and principals, a dispute that has federal officials concerned New York might fail to reach its goals. (Times Union)

Maryland: O’Malley announces $370M in school construction
Gov. Martin O’Malley says he will be proposing more than $370 million for school construction in the fiscal year 2013 budget. O’Malley made the announcement on Tuesday with House Speaker Michael Busch in Annapolis. The governor says the amount, if approved, would be the second highest-single-year funding level in state history. O’Malley also says it brings the administration’s six-year school construction commitment to nearly $2 billion. O’Malley also says the administration will include $15.3 million for a bond program that funds school improvements. Another $6 million will be included in the Aging Schools Program. (The Capital)

Georgia: Schools top state of the state speech
Gov. Nathan Deal vowed Tuesday night to give Georgia teachers pay raises and end years of cuts to the state’s per-pupil funding formula. “Our schools are the front line in our effort to create prosperity,” Deal told members of the General Assembly during his annual State of the State address. “It is here we make our most strategic investment in the future.” Georgia teachers have gone without raises since the Great Recession began depleting state tax revenues four years ago, while annual reductions to the per-pupil funding formula have occurred for the last eight years. Deal said his fiscal 2013 budget recommends holding the line on formula cuts and providing $55.8 million for raises to teachers based on training and experience. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)


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