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:
Schools not told that test questions were posted online

Investigations into the online posting of items from standardized tests are getting underway belatedly because state officials failed to alert most affected school systems of the problem. The issue arose at 11 districts across California, including in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale. In all, 36 test items appeared online, apparently after students took photos during testing in April and May. The L.A. Unified School District was notified weeks ago about images of such things as blank answer pages, but not about the leak of one or more actual test items, said Paul Hefner, a spokesman for the California Department of Education. The state linked the test-item breach to North Hollywood High School, which was news Wednesday to Principal Randy Delling and senior administrators. (Los Angeles Times) 

Opinion: The quiet overturn of No Child Left Behind
The Obama administration is increasingly becoming known not for its legislative achievements but for its federal waivers to legislative achievements. It has exempted favored groups from immigration laws, welfare-reform work requirements, even provisions of the Affordable Care Act (more than 1,300 businesses and unions have been given a reprieve from health-care coverage rules). The boldest use of the waiver power, however, has come on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). More than half of the states have been granted exemptions from the law’s requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. When a law’s provisions are ignored in a majority of cases, it can properly be considered overturned. (Washington Post) 

New Jersey:
NJ Adds School Districts to Test New Teacher, Principal Evaluations

As a new tenure reform bill awaits Gov. Chris Christie’s signature, his administration is moving ahead slowly with the system that could provide the centerpiece of the reforms: a new teacher evaluation system. A few weeks later than expected, the state Department of Education yesterday announced another 10 mostly suburban districts would be participating in the pilot of a new teacher evaluation system this coming fall. The state also had hoped to add an additional 10 districts from the pool of communities with high concentrations of poverty, but decided to reopen the grant process when the first round failed to come up with enough qualified districts, officials said. (South Brunswick 

Pennsylvania lawmakers pass legislation to establish teacher evaluation system

The House voted on Thursday in favor of sending House Bill 1980, which would implement a new teacher evaluation system for school districts throughout Pennsylvania, to the Senate for consideration. House Bill 1980 would establish a statewide, comprehensive rating system for teachers, administrators and non-teaching professional employees based on multiple measures of student achievement and traditional classroom observations. “House Bill 1980 sets clear standards for measuring educators based on how our students are performing in the classroom, so we can make sure our children have the best possible opportunity to succeed,” said Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), a co-sponsor of the bill. (Bucks Local News)

Eric J. Cooper: Why we need to relentlessly pursue diversity in schools

The promise of integrated schools began with Mendez et al v. Westminster School District et al, a 1946 federal court case that challenged racial segregation in Orange County, Calif. schools. It was followed by Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. After a period of school desegregation, poorer public schools have become increasingly re-segregated. At least 70 percent of white students attend schools where at least 75 percent of the student body is white, and more than half of all black students attend poor urban schools where 90 percent are members of “minority” groups, according to the U.S. Department of Education. (Washington Post – The Answer Sheet)

Mark Edmunson: The Trouble With Online Education
“AH, you’re a professor. You must learn so much from your students.” This line, which I’ve heard in various forms, always makes me cringe. Do people think that lawyers learn a lot about the law from their clients? That patients teach doctors much of what they know about medicine? Yet latent in the sentiment that our students are our teachers is an important truth. We do in fact need to learn from them, but not about the history of the Roman Empire or the politics of “Paradise Lost.” Understanding what it is that students have to teach teachers can help us to deal with one of the most vexing issues now facing colleges and universities: online education. At my school, the University of Virginia, that issue did more than vex us; it came close to tearing the university apart. (New York Times)


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