Is it good news or bad?

In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama mentioned two pieces of his K–12 policy agenda: his plans to train new math and science teachers and his plans to improve school safety. Politics K–12 notes that inaugural addresses are not typically policy-laden, so one can fairly infer that these two items top his second-term to-do list. In this week’s Education Gadfly Show, Mike Petrilli—self-professed “koala dad”—expresses unease over placing STEM education on a pedestal over all other subjects.

Last Friday, a federal appeals court upheld Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s public-sector-union reforms in full, rejecting the unions’ charges that the law violated the Equal Protection clause and the First Amendment. But according to the School Law blog, the practical effect of the ruling is “unclear” due to litigation in a separate state court. We will be watching.

A fresh batch of federal data shows that the U.S. public high school graduation rate rose to 78.2 percent in 2010—a thirty-five-year high. But before you bake Arne Duncan a cake and sing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow,” be sure to listen to this week’s Education Gadfly Show for a wee slice of humble pie. Has our fixation on graduation rates incentivized schools to cheapen the value of diplomas—say, with bogus credit-recovery programs?

After the ouster of Indiana State Superintendent Tony Bennett (who, subsequently, was snapped up by Florida), Hoosier Republicans began to push for the state to withdraw from the Common Core. Last week, Fordham’s Mike Petrilli visited the Indiana State Senate to make the case for staying the course with the standards. Read his full testimony on Flypaper.

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