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:
New study links LA Unified’s new schools to elementary student performance benefits

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s ambitious construction of 131 new schools over the last decade has shrunk severely overcrowded campuses, giving elementary students a major academic boost – but not high schoolers, according to a study released today. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, examined the district’s unprecedented school building program, financed by $19.5 billion in voter-approved state and local bonds. With the exception of the federal interstate highway system, this is the largest public works project ever undertaken in the United States. They found that thousands of children moving into new elementary schools over the 2002-2008 construction period enjoyed strong achievement gains that equaled up to 35 additional days of instruction, compared with the progress made by the average LA Unified student. Achievement gains for pupils moving to new facilities were stronger in English- language arts than in mathematics. (UC Berkeley News Center) 

Georgia schools chief to oppose charter amendment
Bucking his party on an issue dear to many conservatives, Georgia’s Republican education superintendent has come out against a constitutional amendment to guarantee the state’s authority to charter independent public schools. John Barge said he believes the proposal threatens local control and state financial support for traditional public schools. That argument puts the superintendent in line with teachers’ associations and the Georgia Democratic Party as the issue intensifies leading up to the Nov. 6 general election. “As we are looking at the funding issues across Georgia, we are in a dire situation,” Barge said. He ticked off a list of statistics: 121 of 180 Georgia systems with fewer than 180 days of classroom instruction, 4,400 teachers out of a job since 2008, public school enrollment up in the same span. (Online Athens) 

Legislators Question Effectiveness Of New Teacher Evaluation Law
Indiana school corporations are required to submit new teacher evaluation programs to the state Department of Education by next month, but some legislators expressed their concerns about the law at an education study committee hearing Tuesday. The IDOE piloted its teacher evaluation model, called RISE, in several school corporations last year. Schools don’t have to use that model. They can modify it, use other models or develop their own. But state law sets basic requirements that all evaluation models must follow, such as a minimum number of evaluations and a four-category ratings system. (NPR State Impact) 

New Jersey:
With NCLB Waiver, N.J. Lays Out Turnaround Plans

As many states embark on implementing their waivers from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, New Jersey is taking an approach centered on the creation of seven Regional Achievement Centers that will monitor and intervene in the state’s lowest-performing schools, which ultimately could be subject to closure by the state. The state has a long and controversial history of taking direct control of districts like those in Jersey City and Paterson. But this time New Jersey education officials say they have struck the right balance between state-driven priorities and the development of approaches that mesh with each low-achieving school’s needs. (Education Week) 

North Carolina:
Teachers study new standards

Pitt County teachers this week are getting an in-depth look at what the new Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards will look like in each teacher’s classroom. The new curriculum standards are the focus of this year’s Curriculum Summer Institute (CSI) at D.H. Conley High School, according to Tom Feller, Pitt County Schools’ Race to the Top coordinator. About 700 teachers are participating in sessions covering such things as what specific grade-level curriculum will look like once it’s aligned under the new standards, maintaining classroom order and helping children develop critical thinking skills. There also is time each day for teachers to collaborate and network to design lesson plans and assessments with the new standards. (Reflector) 

View points:
Eli Broad: The World Is Moving Forward, but American Education Is Stagnant

I am old enough to remember when America‘s K-12 public schools were the best in the world. I am a proud graduate of them, and I credit much of my success to what I learned in Detroit Public Schools and at Michigan State University. When I was in high school, not long after World War II, the United States had the top graduation rate. Since then, we have dropped behind 20 other industrialized nations. In less time than you just spent reading the last few sentences, another American student has dropped out of school. American students today rank 31st in the world in mathematics and 23rd in science. If the academic rankings of our most precious resource — our young people –¬ were the rankings of our Olympic athletes, it would be a source of major national embarrassment. The most shameful part of the picture — the one that, by my count, is the civil rights issue of our time — is the dramatically lower graduation rates for poor and minority students. These students are far less likely to have access to the best teachers. (Rocket News) 



Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts