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:
75 Examples of How Bureaucracy Stands in the Way of America’s Students and Teachers

We are all familiar with a public school. You might have attended one, or your children might go to one, or you might be familiar with the one down the street from you. But most of us are not familiar with what happens in school district central offices—where most decisions are made that determine whether students and teachers are set up to succeed. Over the last decade, through our foundation’s efforts to strengthen public schools, we have discovered numerous bureaucratic challenges facing urban school district central offices and state education systems that may help to explain why many well-intentioned efforts to improve public schools have not worked. (Broad Education)

Report Outlines States’ Teacher-Policy Shifts
A new report gives what’s probably the most comprehensive look to date at the teacher-quality legislative and regulatory action that has kept statehouses busy since 2009, when the federal Race to the Top competition put an emphasis on reworking teacher-evaluation policies. Written by Bellweather Education Partners analyst (and Education Week opinion blogger) Sara Mead, it’s a great resource for keeping tabs on all the complicated moving parts in these evaluation systems. (Education Week – Teacher Beat)

More high school students passing Exit Exam
The vast majority of the class of 2012 – 95 percent of the state’s 450,000 seniors – passed the California High School Exit Exam by graduation day, an all-time-high pass rate, according to results released Wednesday. Not surprisingly, state education officials celebrated the news, noting steady improvement from the 90 percent pass rate in 2006, the first year students were required to pass the math and English test in order to graduate. (San Francisco Gate)

ACT: Minnesota high schoolers tops

Minnesota high school graduates continue to beat the national average in the ACT college entrance exam. The test measures how proficient students are in English, reading, math and science. It’s also a good indicator of whether students are ready for college level courses. Minnesota’s 2012 high school graduates scored an average of 22.8 points out of a possible 36. (Minnesota Public Radio)

New York:
Test monitoring offers glimpse into how city tries to preempt cheating

A test security practice that city officials devised to deter cheating before it happens is also being used to preempt schools already suspected of misconduct. Each spring, as part of its test monitoring program, the Department of Education disperses a small team to schools on testing days to scrutinize and enforce security guidelines. Some schools are picked randomly, but others were flagged by the department because allegations were lodged by school staff and test score data showed “anomalous” results in recent years, officials said. (Gotham Schools)

View points:
Kristina Rizga: Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong

Attendance: up. Dropout rates: plummeting. College acceptance: through the roof. My mind-blowing year inside a “low-performing” school. “SPEEK EENGLISH, TACO,” THE GIRL with the giant backpack yelled when Maria asked where to find a bathroom. The backpack giggled as it bounced down the hall. It had been hours since Maria began looking for a bathroom. Anger boiled inside her, but she didn’t know any English words to yell back. That was the hardest part. Back in El Salvador she’d always had something to say. The bell rang. A flood of shoulders and sneakers swirled around Maria, and she couldn’t see much until the sea of strangers streamed back into classrooms. Then she stood alone in the hallway. It was Maria’s first day at school, her first week in the United States. Her middle school in San Francisco was the biggest building she’d ever seen. It was bigger than the entire Best Buy store she’d walked through in awe on her first day in the city. (Mother Jones)


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