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:
Schools Ask: Gifted or Just Well-Prepared?

When the New York City Education Department announced that it was changing part of its admissions exam for its gifted and talented programs last year, in part to combat the influence of test preparation companies, one of those companies posted the news with links to guides and practice tests for the new assessment. (New York Times) 

Parents to Get State ‘Assessment Guides’ for Common Core
Educating parents about testing for the Common Core State Standards just got a boost from the GE Foundation, which granted the National PTA a one-year $240,000 grant to prepare state-specific assessment guides for every state that has adopted the standards, the PTA announced today. (Education Week – K-12 Parents and the Public) 

Common-Core Tests in Georgia Show “Drops” in Math Proficiency
A new batch of results on end-of-course math tests taken by Georgia students appear to provide another illustration that as states prepare to start giving tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards, they may have to prepare for significantly lower proficiency rates and less-than-glowing headlines. (Education Week – State Ed Watch) 

View Point:
Joseph Stiglitz: Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth

President Obama’s second Inaugural Address used soaring language to reaffirm America’s commitment to the dream of equality of opportunity: “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.” (New York Times) 

Sara Mead: When We Think Things are Worth Buying, We Pay For Them
Great piece by Matt Yglesias calling into question the logic and value of early childhood advocates’ “return on investment” rhetoric. As is likely clear from this post, I’ve long been very frustrated with the constant focus on cost-benefit analyses from pre-k advocates and insistence that “pre-k pays for itself.” I think early childhood advocates think they’re being clever by making the economic case in this way: “See, this is such a valuable thing we can’t afford not to do it, and by the way, it will generate so much savings it won’t really cost anything! How can elected officials say no?” It’s like some kind of progressive version of the Laffer Curve. (Education Week – Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook) 

Getting Preschool Education Right
Even before the cost estimates and program details have been made public, President Obama’s proposal for expanding high-quality preschool education has encountered criticism from House Republicans. Yet decades of research has shown that well-designed preschool programs more than pay for themselves by giving young children the skills they need to move ahead. The challenge at the federal level will be to make sure that taxpayer dollars flow to proven, high-quality programs instead of being wasted on subsidies for glorified day care. (New York Times) 


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