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
Obama Push on Mandatory Attendance Age Stalls in States
Various news outlets are highlighting an Associated Press report that despite President Barack Obama’s call for states to raise their compulsory school attendance age to 18 in his State of the Union speech at the start of the year, officials in all but one state responded with an implicit, “No thanks.” In his Jan. 24 address, Obama specifically called on states “to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18,” saying that it would directly lead to more high school students earning diplomas. The consensus concerning the mandatory attendance age, which my colleague Lesli Maxwell wrote about in February, usually is shaped by the idea that just raising it is not a magic bullet. To adopt the kind of comprehensive policies that many experts agree would make raising the compulsory attendance age truly effective would not only be more complicated, but would also cost states more money. That is what often (and especially recently) turns off state lawmakers. As a result, only 21 states and the District of Columbia require students to be 18 before they drop out of school.
This year, compulsory age efforts in a few states that Lesli mentioned in her story, such as Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey, went bust. (Education Week – State EdWatch) Drops Michelle Rhee Group Under Pressure From Progressives
In a surprising reversal,, the progressive online powerhouse that channels grassroots energy into petition-based activism, has dropped two anti-union clients, including Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, according to multiple sources familiar with the decision. The move comes after intense pressure from the labor movement and other progressive allies, who accused the for-profit company of betraying its liberal roots by partnering with Rhee, the former head of Washington, D.C., public schools, and the similarly aligned group Stand for Children headed by education advocate Jonah Edelman. The ouster of StudentsFirst and Stand for Children was confirmed by a spokesman. (Huffington Post) 

College Board launches education advocacy campaign with 857 desks on National Mall
While schools across the country are letting out this week, class is in session on the National Mall. That is where the College Board set up 857 student desks in the blazing sun Tuesday. The empty desks — one for each student who drops out each hour of every school day, according to the College Board — are part of its “Don’t Forget Ed!” campaign. For the launch Wednesday, College Board representatives including college-aged students will circle the seats on the Mall, asking passersby to sign petitions urging the presidential candidates to say more about education reform. (Washington Post) 

New York:  
New York Senate Passes Cyberbullying Bill

The New York State Senate approved a bill Monday that legally defines bullying to include digital and in-person harassment, either on- or off-campus. An expansion of the 2010 Dignity for All Students Act, the bill attempts to alter state education law by making cyberbullying illegal, although no criminal punishment would be attached. The bill needs approval from the State Assembly by Thursday, the end of the legislative year, for it to take effect. (Education Week – Digital Education)

Rhode Island:
Gist recommends lagging charter school be closed

Acting on her promise to toughen the oversight of Rhode Island’s 16 charter schools, Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist is moving to close the state’s oldest charter at the end of the 2012-13 school year, citing dismal math scores and poor leadership. Gist is recommending that the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education not renew the charter for the Academy for Career Exploration, formerly Textron/Chamber of Commerce, when its five- year charter expires next year. In materials for the Regents’ work session on Thursday, Gist criticizes the school’s performance while noting that its reading scores are higher than the average in Providence, the district where the school is located. While 80 percent of ACE’s juniors scored proficient in reading, none were proficient in math on the 2011 New England Common Assessment. Ten percent were proficient in math in 2010; 2 percent in 2009. “ACE has consistently failed to educate its students in math,” Gist wrote in a four-page memo to the Regents, who will likely vote on the matter later this summer. “Overall, the school’s administrative and board leadership has not provided oversight for student learning.” (Providence Journal) 

Richard Buery and Nitzan Pelman: Let Education Reform Blossom in New York

Just weeks after President Obama awarded New York State a reform-friendly waiver to onerous federal “No Child Left Behind” education rules, for-profit education firms are threatening to strangle the new reforms in the crib.At issue is the federal Supplemental Education Services(SES) program, which currently diverts hundreds of millions of federal Title 1 dollars from school districts to outside tutoring providers. A few of these outside groups do good work. But multiple reports and investigations of the SES program have shown bloated budgets, profiteering and corruption. An evaluation of the implementation of SES revealed that providers were providing, on average, only 45 hours of services to these high-need students. And national evaluations sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences, most recently by the leading educational evaluation firm Mathematica Policy Research, have found that SES has little to no impact on raising student achievement. Current SES programs are often poorly coordinated with school-day instruction, and success is often driven more by marketing budgets than impact on students. New York can put these funds to better use. (Huffington Post blog) 



Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts