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January 25, 2012
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After attracting criticism for his description of how sequestration would impact schools (most notably, his comment that schools were already sending “pink slips” and that 40,000 teachers would be out of a job), Education Secretary Arne Duncan apologized for his “choice of words,” but emphasized that the cuts are still a big problem. Apology accepted—though we still miss the Arne Duncan who used to say that “doing more with less” was “the New Normal.”
After a school board election with a price tag in the millions, Los Angeles superintendent John Deasy’s job appears to be safe, at least for now. The board president, Deasy ally, and two-term incumbent Monica Garcia, won her district handily despite fierce opposition of the unions, though one-term incumbent and union ally Steven Zimmer won a close race versus a reform-y newcomer. Whether or not the reformers maintain a voting majority will be determined by a third race, which is headed to a runoff. Back to the trenches!
In an unprecedented move, Georgia governor Nathan Deal removed six members of the dysfunctional DeKalb County school board—and a federal judge upheld his right to do so. The case is likely to move on to the Georgia Supreme Court. But in the meantime, the search is on for six replacements. At the least, it’s a fascinating example of target="_blank"governance reform.
Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Texas became the latest (and possibly last) states to apply for NCLB waivers on February 28. Texas, which has eschewed the Common Core State Standards and all iterations of Race to the Top, is the one to watch—as the state has indicated that it does not plan to adopt several of the strings attached to the waivers. Good luck to them—we saw how well that went for California.
On Tuesday, a Baton Rouge judge struck down Governor Bobby Jindal’s signature education-reform package for “technical reasons”—specifically, the bill “bundled too many objectives that should have been spread out among multiple measures.” For a little hindsight, check out this week’s Education Gadfly Show podcast.