Lisa Gibes is 50CAN’s vice president of strategy and external relations. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

News & analysis:
‘No Child’ Law Whittled Down by White House

In just five months, the Obama administration has freed schools in more than half the nation from central provisions of the No Child Left Behind education law, raising the question of whether the decade-old federal program has been essentially nullified. On Friday, the Department of Education plans to announce that it has granted waivers releasing two more states, Washington and Wisconsin, from some of the most onerous conditions of the signature Bush-era legislation. With this latest round, 26 states are now relieved from meeting the lofty — and controversial — goal of making all students proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014. Additional waivers are pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia. (New York Times) 

GOP teachers balk at Obama-centric NEA convention that leaves conservatives on the sidelines
It had all the trappings of a re-election rally: thousands packing a convention center, Barack Obama T-shirts, videos celebrating the health care law, and a wall-size banner with encouraging messages to the incumbent president. “You are our knight in shining armor — Sarah C., Norman, Okla.,” read one inscription. But this Obama love fest in Washington was not a campaign event. The nearly 9,000 gathered were teachers in town for the National Education Association’s weeklong annual convention. For the Republican teachers in attendance, the digs at their political views were impossible to overlook.
(Washington Post) 

Louisiana Official Takes Key Post at State Chiefs’ Group
A longtime education official from Louisiana is taking his work to the national stage, where he will oversee work on standards, testing, and accountability for the Council of Chief State School Officers. Scott Norton, now an assistant state superintendent, comes with years of experience in the thick of that same portfolio of responsibilities in Louisiana. Louisiana State Superintendent John White offered high praise for Norton in a press release issued today. “Through his 18 years with the department, his work has been the driving force behind Louisiana’s assessment and accountability systems and most recently the move to Common Core State Standards and PARCC assessments,” he said. “Dr. Norton has certainly established himself as a leader in this work, not only in Louisiana, but on a national level.” (Education Week – State Ed Watch) 

Prince George’s faces superintendent search

The Prince George’s County Board of Education began a six-week summer break on Monday. But when it returns, the board will face the crucial task of finding a temporary replacement for outgoing School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. Hite, who was entering the final year of a four-year contract, announced last week that he was leaving to become the schools chief in Philadelphia. The announcement came on the heels of Deputy Superintendent Bonita Coleman-Potter’s decision to leave Maryland’s second-largest school system to take a job in Mississippi. Prince George’s is also in the middle of an election season, with five school board seats up for grabs. (Washington Post) 

Andy Rotherham: No Child Left Behind – The Problem Is Not The Policy, It’s Us

Everyone not chattering about the job numbers is chattering about this morning’s New York Times article on No Child Left Behind and the waivers that are increasingly freeing states from its requirements.  In general some waivers were necessary – and some were issued during the Bush Administration, too – because the law was supposed to be reauthorized in 2007 and 2012 is now half over. But when you read stuff like this line in The Times story, you can’t help but wonder how much of all this is “everybody knows” and how much is based in facts: “[No Child Left Behind] has been derided for what some regard as an obsessive focus on test results, which has led to some notorious cheating scandals.” (Eduwonk) 


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