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:
Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color

In 1954 the Supreme Court declared that public education is “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”That landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Educationstood for the proposition that the federal government would no longer allow states and municipalities to deny equal educational opportunity to a historically oppressed racial minority. Ruling unanimously, the justices overturned the noxious concept that “separate” education could ever be “equal.” Yet today, nearly 60 years later, our schools remain separate and unequal. Almost 40 percent of black and Hispanic students attend schools where more than 90 percent of students are nonwhite. The average white student attends a school where 77 percent of his or her peers are also white. Schools today are “as segregated as they were in the 1960s before busing began.” We are living in a world in which schools are patently separate. (Center for American Progress) 

Poll Hints at Tight Race on Education Issues
Political independents give presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney an edge over President Barack Obama when it comes to which candidate would be better in strengthening public education, according to a poll released today by Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup. The former Massachusetts governor takes a 46 percent to 41 percent lead over President Obama on that score among those identifying themselves as independents in what is expected to be a tight election. (Education Week) 

How ‘Race to the Top’ Penalizes Smaller School Districts
The rules for the latest round of the Race To The Top grant program, offering school districts the chance to apply directly for a slice of $400 million in federal funds, could make it difficult — if not impossible — for many of them to even have a shot at the prize. The U.S. Department of Education has announced the final guidelines for school districts to apply either individually (in the case of larger districts) or in consortiums (for smaller districts with fewer than 2,000 students). In prior rounds, applications had to come from each state’s education department. (The Atlantic) 

ACT Finds Most Students Still Not Ready for College
Student performance on the ACT essentially held steady this year, with slight improvement shown in the math and science parts of the college-entrance exam. Still, 60 percent of the class of 2012 that took the test failed to meet benchmarks in two of the four subjects tested, putting them in jeopardy of failing in their pursuit of a college degree and careers. The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2012, released today by the Iowa City, Iowa-based nonprofit testing organization ACT Inc., includes performance information from students in the spring graduating class who took the ACT as sophomores, juniors, or seniors. This year, 1.67 million seniors or 52 percent of the U.S. graduating class took the exam. (Education Week)

Archdiocese hands over school management to independent foundation

In a radical, and nationally unprecedented, change to its 120-year-old education system, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is handing over management of its secondary and special education schools to an independent foundation. The recently-incorporated Faith in the Future Foundation aims to not only maintain but also grow a Catholic school system hit hard by declining enrollments, deficits and closings. It will manage 17 high schools and four special education schools, according to the terms of a five-year contract recently signed by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. It will be the first independently-managed Catholic school system in the country. ( 

View points:
Jason Richwine & Andrew Biggs: The Compensation Question

Public school teachers are “desperately underpaid,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said recently. A documentary film called American Teacher, which premiered last fall, portrayed heroic teachers struggling to get by on paltry incomes. The book on which the film is based went so far as to claim that “a teaching career guarantees a life of subsistence earning—month to month and hand to mouth.” Is public-school teacher compensation really inadequate? Like all public workers, teachers should be paid at a level commensurate with the market value of their skills, which represents the compensation needed to attract and retain a given set of workers. But comprehensive assessments of teacher compensation—covering salaries, fringe benefits, and job security—are uncommon. (Education Views) 


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