First Bell: 11-27-12

A first look at today's most important education news:

Fordham's latest

"Lead the way, Newark Schools," by Andy Smarick, Flypaper

"Catching up from the break," by Andy Smarick, Flypaper

The Race to the Top 2012 district finalists have been announced. 10 percent of the sixty-one districts are charter school networks, including KIPP DC. (Answer Sheet and Washington Post)

Federal prosecutors have accused Clarence Mumford Sr., a former assistant principal, of running a test-cheating ring in three Southern states for standardized teacher-certification exams. (New York Times)

The Chicago Public Schools leadership has offered to put a five-year moratorium on shuttering more schools after its closures in the spring; this has heightened suspicion that there will be more school closures than previously expected. (Chicago Tribune)

The Wall Street Journal profiles the St. Louis Public School district, which have improved since a state takeover five years ago.

The U.S. Department of Education releases its first common measure of four-year high school graduation rates, which reveal glaring achievement gaps between students of different ethnicities. (Huffington Post and Politics K-12)

Following the repeal of Michigan’s emergency manager law, the future of the controversial Education Achievement Authority—a new district consisting of fifteen formerly failing Detroit public schools—is uncertain. (Detroit News)

A report by Governor Corbett’s administration warns of an impending pension shortfall in Pennsylvania. (Associated Press)

Texas’ Northside Independent School District’s website was attacked by hackers Saturday night in apparent retaliation for its pilot student-tracking program. (Digital Education)

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