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 and Analysis:
Duncan Sketches Out Second-Term Agenda

In his first major postelection remarks, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that he will use his second term to continue to leverage education improvement at the state and local levels, with a new emphasis on principal preparation and evaluation. And, he made clear that if Congress isn’t serious about reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which the No Chid Left Behind Act is the current version, then his department won’t devote a lot of energy to it. (Education Week – Politics K-12) 

High Standards Help Struggling Students: New Evidence
The Common Core State Standards, adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, promise to raise achievement in English and mathematics through rigorous standards that promote deeper learning. But while most policymakers, researchers, and educators have embraced these higher standards, some question the fairness of raising the academic bar on students who are already struggling. (Education Sector) 

Quality controls lacking for D.C. schools accepting federal vouchers
Congress created the nation’s only federally funded school voucher program in the District to give the city’s poorest children a chance at a better education than their neighborhood schools offer. But a Washington Post review found that hundreds of students use their voucher dollars to attend schools that are unaccredited or are in unconventional settings, such as a family-run K-12 school operating out of a storefront, a Nation of Islam school based in a converted Deanwood residence, and a school built around the philosophy of a Bulgarian psychotherapist. (Washington Post)

Detroit School Board Votes to Pull Out of State-Run Authority
After Michiganers voted last week to repeal the state’s emergency manager law, the Detroit Board of Education voted on Tuesday to end the school system’s contract with Eastern Michigan University and withdraw from the state-run Education Achievement Authority, which currently runs 15 schools, all in the city of Detroit. (Education Week – District Dossier)

Unlike DC, Baltimore takes test tampering seriously

What would happen if the D.C. school system rooted out the educators who appear to have tampered with thousands of test answer sheets? No D.C. principal has been fired or even disciplined for changing wrong answers to right ones, despite compelling evidence that some of them or their staffs did so. What if D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson shed her see-no-evil attitude and got tough? (Washington Post – Class Struggle) 

View Point:
Walt Gardner: Federal Spending and Test Scores

There’s very little that gets people riled up as much as the failure of increased spending over the years to noticeably improve test scores. This is particularly the case in today’s protracted recession when public institutions are competing for tax dollars. I’d like to try to clarify the issue by focusing exclusively on federal spending because I think it’s a bit easier to understand than looking at spending on the state level. (Education Week – Reality Check) 




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