De Blasio has the charter-school blues

Perhaps New York mayor Bill de Blasio is starting to see that attacking charter schools is a better Democratic-primary strategy than governing philosophy. This turn of events can be illustrated by his appearance earlier this week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show, where he encountered a surprisingly sharp round of questioning from the roundtable of (left-leaning) hosts on the matter. The New York Times notes that de Blasio is softening his rhetoric and reaching out to charter groups “more sympathetic” to his administration. With his approval rating already down to 39 percent—just ten weeks after taking office—here’s hoping Hizzoner will stop antagonizing charter schools altogether.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on an important school funding case this week, finding that the state’s legislature does, in fact, have the authority to make budgetary decisions—but that it also must maintain an educational system that meets constitutional requirements. In Education Next, Eric Hanushek contends that the court got it right. Unlike previous rulings in the state, the court indicated that the “total spending is not the touchstone for determining adequacy”; rather, the skills of students ought to be so.

In a new Huffington Post article, Diane Ravitch argues that the “reform” narrative is a fraud: NAEP scores and graduation rates are at their highest point in history for both whites and minorities, the dropout rate is at a historic low, and so on. But in this week’s Education Gadfly Show podcast, Mike Petrilli looks at the same information and comes to an entirely different conclusion: that the education-reform movement, rather than being unnecessary, is working. Listen in to hear more.

After rejecting a slate of curricular materials that claimed but did not deliver Common Core alignment, Louisiana state superintendent John White went back to the drawing board, embarking on an effort to identify quality materials for his districts. Now, he has unveiled a set of curriculum guides and unit plans that are Common Core aligned and optional (but recommended) for districts, as well as a frank review of various vendors’ offerings. Upstarts Eureka Math and Core Knowledge ELA received top marks, while some pretty big names (e.g., Glencoe and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) did not fare so well.

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