Cleveland’s on the rise. Chicago?…not so much.

Times are tough for the nation’s largest union: Fresh off Scott Walker’s recall victory and a narrowly avoided strike by its own employees, the NEA is bracing for the reality that its 2013-2014 membership may be 15 percent lower than its 2009-2010 peak. What remains to be seen is whether it and the AFT will respond to dwindling memberships by doubling down on  current dogmas or opening up to change.

Kudos, meanwhile, to Buckeye State lawmakers for approving key elements of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s school reforms on Tuesday. Now it’s up to the city and district to make the promise of merit-based layoffs and greater equity in charter funding a reality.

President Obama used his latest weekly address to call for more federal dollars to bridge budget shortfalls, keeping teachers in classrooms and class sizes from creeping upwards. Someone would do well to remind him that it might be better to push for greater cost-effectiveness in U.S. education policies and practices. Someone like, maybe, Secretary Duncan?

The Chicago Teacher Union raised the likelihood of a Windy City showdown when 90 percent of its members voted to authorize a strike if negotiations with the district break down next fall—although Gadfly’s not betting against Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

A California judge sided with a group of parents this week and ruled that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) must obey state law and use student academic progress in teacher evaluations. Of course, the fact that parents needed to sue to have a longstanding statute enforced is a pretty good distillation of how far we have to go to fix teacher policy.

At the risk of piling on, the Los Angeles Board of Education’s Tuesday decision to slice five days from next year’s calendar needs attention. Yes, the district’s budget is in tatters and everyone is feeling the pinch—1,300 teachers will lose their jobs and those remaining will receive a 5 percent pay cut—but this solution only hurts students.

On Monday, Mike posted a list of the twenty-five zip codes that saw the greatest increase in the white shares of their population between 2000 and 2010. The neighborhoods were located in some predictable places when it comes to gentrification (Brooklyn and D.C), but also included a few surprises (Chattanooga? Oklahoma City?). Clearly, cities nationwide are experiencing major demographic shifts; the Gadfly hopes education leaders are prepared to take advantage of a once-in-a-generation chance at school integration in once-predominantly minority communities where the proportion of white residents is rising.

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