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:
Charter Advocates Lobby to Restore Tax Credit for Facilities

A coalition of nearly 60 charter school organizations is urging members of Congress to revive a recently expired federal tax credit, one that the advocates say has proved critical to helping the independent public schools secure funding for building space. (Education Week – Charters and Choice) 

Arguments in Louisiana voucher suit scheduled for next week
A Baton Rouge judge will hear arguments next week over whether Gov. Bobby Jindal’s statewide voucher program and other sweeping education changes were properly created by lawmakers. ( 

Standardized Testing A Foreign Concept In Finland With World’s Top Students
As the United States focuses more on using tests as a means of holding educators and school districts accountable, Finland–which is one of the top performers on international tests–has gone in the opposite direction. (Hechinger Report – Lessons from Abroad) 

Teacher Generation Gap Not Surprising
Two new national surveys found that attitudes about controversial issues affecting the teaching profession divided along generation lines. According to Teach Plus and Education Sector, newer teachers are more open to changes than veteran teachers when it comes to tenure, ratings and compensation. (Education Week – Reality Check) 

New Jersey:
A new contract for teachers is shaking up New Jersey’s largest city

Newark’s public schools are dreadful. Although they have been under the supervision of New Jersey’s state government since 1995, there has been little improvement since then. Only 40% of students read to the standard prescribed for their age, and in the 15 worst-performing schools the figure is less than 25%. More than 30% of pupils do not graduate. Few of those who do are ready for higher education. Of those who entered one local establishment, Essex County College, in 2009, a whopping 98% needed remedial maths and 87% had to take remedial English. As a result, fed-up parents are taking their children out of Newark’s public high schools and placing them in independent charter schools. Many public-school buildings now stand half-empty. The best teachers often leave in despair. (The Economist) 

View Point:
Give charter schools their due

By now, it should be apparent that charter schools have been the spark to the education reform flame in the Los Angeles Unified School District. At first, applicants hoping to open publicly funded but independently operated charter schools had to fight for every new campus, opposed by school board members who were strong union allies. But as charters showed remarkable progress with disadvantaged and minority students who had been failing in regular public schools, appreciation for them increased. New laws limited the grounds on which the school board could reject charter applications, and the election of a more reform-oriented board brought the number of students attending charter schools to nearly 100,000, about twice as many as in the New York City school system. (Los Angeles Times) 


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