Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:
News and Analysis
As Gadfly readers know—from his “farewell address,” if not before—the irreplaceable Checker Finn stepped down as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s president last week, handing me the reins and the opportunity of a lifetime. As Checker made clear, he’s not retiring, disappearing, or giving up the fight—just letting go of the day-to-day responsibilities of managing an increasingly complex organization. He will, as he wrote, have more time than ever for troublemaking. American education will be the better for it. (Education Next)
The trial promises to be both bizarre and tragic, with elementary teachers facing the possibility of prison, a major metropolitan school district named as a racketeering “enterprise” and the likelihood that students’ stray pencil marks on bubble-lined testing sheets will be scrutinized like hanging chads. (New York Times)
The start to the school year in New Orleans offers a landmark moment in U.S. education. For the first time, a major urban school district will operate entirely with charter schools — publicly funded, but privately run, schools which have long operated at the fringes of big-city districts. (NPR)
New York
The state released half of the questions from the 2014 state exams last week, but some people want more—including Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. (Chalkbeat)
Each year, as predictably as classes end in June, the School District of Philadelphia faces a budget crisis for the coming school year. In 2014, the School Reform Commission, the school district’s state-imposed governing body, for the first time and in violation of the city charter, refused to pass a budget, arguing that there were insufficient funds to run the schools responsibly. Philadelphia’s mayor Michael Nutter said, “It is a sad day in public service that we find children being held on the railroad tracks awaiting some rescue to come from somewhere.” And yet, casting the school children of Philadelphia in the Perils of Pauline has become a yearly ritual. (Education Next)


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