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:
Gifted, Talented and Separated

IT is just a metal door with three windows, the kind meant to keep the clamor of an elementary school hallway from piercing a classroom’s quiet. Other than paint the color of bubble gum, it is unremarkable. But the pink door on Room 311 at Public School 163 on the Upper West Side represents a barrier belied by its friendly hue. On one side are 21 fourth graders labeled gifted and talented by New York City’s school system. They are coursing through public school careers stamped accelerated. And they are mostly white. (New York Times) 

Will longer school year help or hurt US students?
Did your kids moan that winter break was way too short as you got them ready for the first day back in school? They might get their wish of more holiday time off under proposals catching on around the country to lengthen the school year. But there’s a catch: a much shorter summer vacation. (U.S. News) 

To lock classroom doors or not?
Behind a locked classroom door, a Los Angeles third-grade teacher purportedly committed lewd acts against students. The charges spurred demands for classrooms to remain open during the school day. But after the shooting deaths of 20 first-graders in Connecticut last month, calls were made to keep classrooms locked. (Los Angeles Times)

New York:
N.Y. Governor Unveils Education Agenda

Expanding the amount of learning time for students and creating a new class of higher-paid “master teachers” are among the major changes New York state needs to improve its K-12 system, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is also championing the idea of opening more community schools that would provide health care and family-counseling services. (Education Week) 

View Point:
Stephanie Marton: Defining and Funding “Need” in Education: Poverty Is Not the Only Indicator

Improving education for the neediest of our children is America’s priority in education reform. Unlike several of our international competitors (e.g. China), we deliberately focus on the low end of performance, committing to “leave no child behind” rather than investing in the high achievers. Historically, education funders have used income as the primary criteria for deciding relative (dis)advantage in our schools, relying heavily on poverty as a proxy for student need. Though the income-based achievement gap is striking, our commitment to such a poverty-centric perspective has led us to overlook other variables that are highly correlated with educational outcomes. In our quest to do right by poor students, we have failed to take into account equally meaningful meaningful risk factors that disadvantage students. (Huffington Post)


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