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

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

News & analysis

Teachers paid less in high-minority schools
In many ethnically diverse school districts across the country, teachers in schools that serve the top quintile of African-American and Latino students are paid significantly less—approximately $2,500 per year—than the average teacher in such districts, according to an analysis released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights. (Teacher Beat)

Students knowledge of civil rights movement has detiorated, study finds
“Across the country, state educational standards virtually ignore our civil rights history,” concludes the report, which is to be released on Wednesday. (New York Times)

Principals outline strategies they used to save their schools
Those strategies — adding tutoring, offering more teacher training, connecting students and teachers, and engaging families — predate the structural and human capital changes the Obama administration has mandated for failing schools. The best thing the DOE can do to support principals, according to [Deputy Chancellor Marc]  Sternberg? “Get out of their way and allow them to do their work.” (Gotham Schools)

Minnesota: Stillwater tests “flipping” homework and lectures
Stillwater Area Schools is testing the idea of flipping the traditional way of teaching math to fifth-graders by having students listen to lectures at home and solve math problems during class. So far, it’s been a hit with parents. (MPR)

Maryland: Abell Foundation report critical of tutoring program
A federally mandated tutoring program targeting thousands of students who attend Baltimore City’s worst performing schools is shelling out millions of dollars annually to organizations that are operating in the district with little oversight and virtually no academic accountability measures, according to a report released Tuesday by the Abell Foundation. (Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey: Rural schools sue for funding
Sixteen rural school districts have sued New Jersey, saying Gov. Chris Christie illegally cut their state funding. Under state law, the districts should receive nearly $19 million more than the $131 million they will get in the budget for this school year, according to the Education Law Center, an advocacy group for urban districts that is assisting on the case, which was filed last month in appellate court. (WSJ)

New Jersey: Bill lets ailing parochial schools turn into charter schools
Some New Jersey parochial schools facing closure because of declining enrollment may be allowed to convert into a public charter school, under a bill that passed the Senate yesterday. (Star Ledger)

New York: School Book puts NYC school progress reports in perspective
School Book gives readers several lists that put the put the progress of specific city schools in perspective. (School Book)

Louisiana: Charter school monitoring plan ready for review
The Louisiana Department of Education will lay out a plan for keeping a closer eye on independent charter schools today that includes restructuring the department’s charter office, an increase in funding and more clearly defined roles for the different state officials involved in the job. (Times-Picayune)

Ohio: Bill to expand vouchers draws flak
The Worthington Board of Education this week became the first local district to formally oppose House Bill 136, which would offer low- and middle-class parents tax-funded vouchers to pay private-school tuition, regardless of how well their public schools are doing. (Columbus Dispatch)

Opinion

Dana Goldstein makes an interesting case for offering vocational training in high school
Americans are–and probably should be–skeptical of efforts to “track” 15-year olds into specific careers… But some of the most thoughtful education reformers I’ve talked to in my reporting are Americans who are trying to seed workforce-relevancy into our own school system, by introducing young adults to possible professions in an intellectually rigorous way. (Dana Goldstein)

The increasing importance of teacher education quality
In 1988, the most common level of experience of K-12 teachers was 14 years. Twenty years later, the overwhelmingly largest group of teachers are in their first year on the job. Whether this was caused by No Child Left Behind, the retirement of Baby Boomers, or the ability to make more money elsewhere is unclear. What is obvious, however, is that teacher preparation is now more important than ever. (NCTQ)

John Merrow reviews Education Nation, says we need more imitation, less innovation
Please give equal time to ‘imitation.’ We have lots of good schools and good programs and good teachers, stuff that can and should be copied. Notice that I am not saying ‘replicate’ or ‘go to scale.’ Those fancy terms are part of the problem, frankly, because they scare away folks — or they become an excuse for not doing anything. (John Merrow)

Rick Hess lists the top ten education tweets from 2011
With social media playing an increasingly noteworthy role in the school reform effort, I thought I’d share… my list of the top ten school reform tweets of 2011. (Straight Up)

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