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:
Report: American Education Isn’t Mediocre—It’s Deeply Unequal

It’s so common to see studies about the United States’s lackluster academic performance compared to other countries, it’s barely newsworthy anymore. The American education system, the story goes, is mediocre. A new report from the National Center for Educational Statistics complicates that picture a bit. It attempts to rank how individual states compare internationally, and ends up showing a wide gap between the highest-performing states and the lowest: Massachusetts does quite well against other countries, while Mississippi, Alabama, and the District of Columbia do poorly. (The Atlantic) 

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy to resign
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy has told Board of Education members that he plans to resign in February, according to high-level district officials, including some who asked not to be named. (Los Angeles Times)

The Missing Link in Teacher Evaluation
New forms of teacher evaluation are taking root throughout the country, but a new report from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) unintentionally reveals the initiatives’ serious limitations. (Education Week – PD Watch) 

New York:
Bloomberg’s Education Plan Is Working: Don’t Ditch It

Bill de Blasio, the likely next New York City mayor, has made a lot of promises about public education. No additional charter schools; no free space for many charter schools educating city kids; less reliance on student test performance to judge schools; and a moratorium on the closure of low-performing schools.  Though these pledges have come piecemeal, together they would dismantle the reforms Michael Bloomberg implemented during his 12 years as mayor.  Before this happens, it’s worth looking at what Bloomberg’s policies have accomplished and what is at risk if they are tossed out. (The Atlantic) 

North Carolina:
Educators, lawmakers sound off on the state of public schools

Decked out in matching colors and receiving a standing ovation from a crowd of their peers, a handful of teachers from Murray Middle School on Thursday presented state lawmakers with a petition to be exempt from recent legislation that replaces tenure and raises for master’s degrees with merit pay. (Port City Daily) 

School reforms should put children first

There is no question that public schools in Philadelphia need to be fully funded, and that obligation ultimately rests with the governor and those of us who serve in the state legislature. But money alone will not address all the problems that confront our schools. We need real reform in Philadelphia, starting with eliminating seniority as the sole basis for hiring, transferring, or laying off teachers. I learned this lesson the hard way, and it was my son who paid the price. (Philadelphia Inquirer) 


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