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:
New Graduation Rate Data Show Large Achievement Gaps

The U.S. Department of Education today released four-year high school graduation rates for the 2010-11 school year that, for the first time, reflect a common method of calculation for all states. The state-by-state data show graduation rates that range from 59 percent in the District of Columbia to 88 percent in Iowa. The new method requires states to track individual students and report how many first-time 9th graders graduate with a standard diploma within four years. (Education Week – Politics K-12)

U.S. Department of Education Announces 61 Applications as Finalists for $400 Million Race to the Top – District Competition
Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that 61 applications have been selected as finalists for the Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) competition. The 2012 RTTT-D program will provide close to $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers. (

Rethinking Literacy: Reading in the Common-Core Era
The shifts in literacy instruction envisioned by the Common Core State Standards are among the biggest in recent decades. And they’re far-reaching: All but four states have adopted the literacy guidelines. But whether the standards are shining a bright new light on reading or casting an ominous shadow over it remains a point of debate. (Education Week

CPS boss proposes 5-year moratorium on school closings
Trying to help sell drastic school closings this year, Chicago Public Schools is planning to commit to a five-year moratorium on shuttering schools starting in fall 2013. New schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced the commitment to a moratorium Monday at a City Club luncheon. (Chicago Tribune

Teacher Raises Earlier In Career Correlates To Better Student Performance: Study
A new study has found that frontloading teacher salaries —that is, awarding larger raises early in a teacher’s career and smaller raises later — are associated with better student performance in multiple grades. (Huffington Post

New York:
NY considers alternative high school pathways

With state education officials expected to act early next year to give high school students more career-specific pathways toward graduation and the working world, the idea is being endorsed as a way to improve graduation rates and fulfill demand for skilled workers in emerging industries. (Wall Street Journal

Feds Say No to Different Rating System for Pa. Charters

The U.S. Department of Education has rejected a change to the way that Pennsylvania evaluates charter schools, saying that they have to be evaluated in the same way as traditional public schools, the Associated Press reported Nov. 26. (Education Week – State Ed Watch

View Point:
Rahm Emanuel: How to rebuild America

Too much post-election analysis has focused on voter demographics and campaign mechanics, leaving Democrats in danger of drawing the wrong lessons from our electoral success. Demographics alone are not destiny. There is nothing in this year’s election returns that guarantees Democrats a permanent majority in the years to come. President Obama and the Democratic Party earned the support of key groups — young people, single women, Latinos, African Americans, auto workers in the Rust Belt and millions of other middle-class Americans — because of our ideas. (Washington Post) 


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