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 & analysis:
Lawmakers May Debate Testing, Teacher Evaulations in NCLB Renewal

Big news of the week is that the U.S. House of Representatives may consider a long-stalled bill to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. (It’s set for possible floor consideration on Thursday, according to the House schedule.) (Education Week – Politics K-12) 

Connecticut School District Teaches Advocacy Skills
It’s easy to feel powerless when the early-childhood education programs you’ve relied upon are slashed, but the folks at the Parent Leadership Training Institute in Middletown, Conn., understand that knowledge is power. (Education Week – Early Years) 

‘Hybrid Districts’? Michigan’s K-12 Boss Pushes His Vision
How much should local school districts focus on student achievement, to the exclusion or reduction of just about everything else? For Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, the answer is very clear, and he has a five-year plan to go with his answer, which revolves around new county-wide districts. (State Ed Watch) 

View Point:
Elisa Villanueva Beard: What We Heard: Initial Thoughts From the Listening Tour

Four months ago, Matt Kramer and I were jointly honored with the task of leading Teach For America forward. Our first decision was not to act but to stop and listen. We started by hearing reflections from the parents and students we work with, as well as our corps members, alumni, staff, critics and partners from across the country. (Huffington Post) 

Charter schools — a report card
What can the education world conclude about charter schools after their first couple of decades in existence? Something so simple that it’s almost earth-shattering: The best ones benefit students enormously, especially those students who are low income, African American or still learning English. And the bad ones are far worse than if the students had stayed in their public schools. It’s not hard to ensure that charter schools are good; it just takes a modicum of oversight and the political will that too many school boards have been unwilling to exercise. (Los Angeles Times) 

Why We Need State-Based Education R&D
In recent surveys, state education officials have indicated that they recognize that better decisions require better information, but few said they have the capacity to analyze the education-related data they are required to collect. This year, research from the Government Accountability Office and the American Institutes for Research corroborated the state surveys, revealing that states rarely use research and analysis in their decisions to reform and improve schools. (Education Week)


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