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:
Study: Georgia Children in State-Run Preschool Show Growth, But Classroom Quality Could Improve

An evaluation of 509 students enrolled in Georgia’s state-funded universal preschool program in 2011-12 showed that the children made significant growth in language and literacy skills, math skills, general knowledge and behavioral skills. The children in the program who had the greatest gains were those who came in with limited English proficiency. However, classroom practices remain, in general, at “medium quality,” the report noted. (Education Week – Early Years) 

More States Consider ‘Parent Trigger’ Laws
The push for the “parent trigger” option for turning around struggling schools continues, with new laws under consideration in 12 states’ legislative sessions, even as such laws already on the books remain unused in all but one of the seven states that have them. (Education Week) 

‘A-Plus’ Countries Falter on International Math Study
Ongoing overhauls of state mathematics standards are intended in part to prepare American students to compete with their international peers. Yet a new analysis of the most recent Trends in International Math and Science Study suggests that so-called “A-plus countries”— whose math achievement in 1995 prompted American educators to take a page from their standards in developing the Common Core State Standards in math—have not sustained that achievement in more recent exams, and that better examples of academic leaders might be found closer to home. (Education Week – Inside School Research) 

New York:
Latest PEP appointees’ ties to charter schools are questioned

Mayor Bloomberg’s latest appointments to the Panel for Educational Policy are two men with ties to charter schools that have faced panel votes. The appointments — made without fanfare — are drawing criticism from other panel members and critics of the panel, who say the new appointees’ interests make them unable to assess proposed policies fairly. A proposal involving Success Academy Charter Schools, which one of the new board members has represented in legal proceedings, is up for a vote at tonight’s panel meeting. (Gotham Schools) 

Grading Philly-area schools

Grading schools is always a tricky business.  But PennCAN, the local arm of a national nonprofit that aims to “enact research-based education reforms that will give every child in their state access to a great school,” has attempted to do just that — assign a letter grade to every school and school district in Pennsylvania in a new database released today. ( 


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