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:
Michael Bloomberg Gives $200,000 To Support Idaho’s Education Reform Laws

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $200,000 to Education Voters of Idaho, a nonprofit group championing three education reform laws known as Students Come First, which will be addressed on the Nov. 6 ballot as Propositions 1, 2 and 3. The laws would limit collective bargaining rights for teachers, implement merit pay and eventually grant a laptop to every high school teacher and student. According to StateImpact Idaho, “Yes” votes will keep the laws in place, while “No” votes will repeal them. (Huffington Post) 

Fresno teachers union lets district apply for federal grant
After a marathon debate, the Fresno teachers union agreed to endorse its school district’s application for a federal grant that would require controversial changes in instructor evaluations. The Fresno Teachers Assn. became one of the few teachers unions in California to back a school district’s proposal for a federal Race to the Top grant, signing off on it just before 2 a.m. Friday. The $40-million grant application proposes to boost literacy skills for young students in 67 elementary schools with a blend of new technology and traditional instruction. (Los Angeles Times) 

L.A. Schools Fail to Gain Union Backing for Race to Top Grant
An effort by the Los Angeles Unified School District to win a high-profile $40-million grant has unraveled after the L.A. teachers union declined to sign the application, a condition for the competition imposed by the federal education department. (Education Week) 

Wis. Judge Overturns Gov.’s Education Powers
A portion of state law that gives the governor the power to approve or block new education rules and policies is unconstitutional, a Madison judge ruled Tuesday. Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith said the statutes give the governor more power over schools than the superintendent of public instruction, a violation of the Wisconsin Constitution. The ruling restores Superintendent Tony Evers’ ability to design policies affecting everything from teacher licensing requirements to voucher schools without going through Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s office. (Education Week)

Obama, Romney talk about education visions
Listen to President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as they lay out their visions on how to educate America’s young people. (Washington Post)

New Jersey:
N.J. Gov. Urges Teachers to Forego Days Off

Gov. Chris Christie strongly urged teachers on Thursday to voluntarily be back in the classroom next week on their canceled convention days and suggested he could force them back to school even though they are entitled to take the time off. (Education Week) 

View Points:
Linda Darling-Hammond and Edward Haertel: A better way to grade teachers

It’s becoming a familiar story: Great teachers get low scores from “value-added” teacher evaluation models. Newspapers across the country have published accounts of extraordinary teachers whose evaluations, based on their students’ state test scores, seem completely out of sync with the reality of their practice. Los Angeles teachers have figured prominently in these reports. (Los Angeles Times)


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