First Bell

Jindal’s about-face on Common Core has created chaos in Louisiana, the New York Times reports, and turned some allies against him. Says one, “No permanent friends. No permanent enemies. Only permanent interests.” Somewhere, the Kingfish smiles.

Which U.S. city is the choice and charter capital? New Orleans? New York? Try Miami. This year, half of Miami-Dade students, 56,000 total, are in schools their families picked themselves, says the Miami Herald.

“There’s no sense in putting something as crucial as children’s education in the hands of a professional class with less accountability than others and with job protections that most Americans can only fantasize about,” opines the Times' Frank Bruni.  

Fordham’s Robert Pondiscio in the New York Daily News on the eye-popping test results posted by Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy.  If she’s got the secret sauce to student achievement, it’s time for it to be bottled and sold.

CSN News trumpets our new report The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don't Teach.  And Gannett Newspapers reminds readers of our review of Common Core, which gave the standards a B+ in English and an A- in math.

This pro-unschooling article in Outside magazine (naturally) says classroom education “enjoys scant historical precedent.” Bust those kids out of school! Turn ‘em loose in nature!  Know what else has scant historical precedent? Movable type. Penicillin. The internal...


Seven of the fifteen top-scoring schools on New York’s math proficiency tests this year were Success Academy charter schools. Richard Whitmire says the stellar results make founder Eva Moskowitz more toxic as she seeks to expand.

More evidence that memorizing basic math facts is good for kids. Healthy children switch from counting to math fact retrieval at 8-9 years old, says this new study.  

Waivers "gave states room to breathe," says Andy Smarick, "but what's left feels extremely messy," he said. Meanwhile, remember not to mention the “w-word” around Petrilli.

The trial raises two big questions, NPR notes: How common is cheating? And what else might be happening in schools as a result of tests?

Some teachers say they’ll boycott Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. now that Michelle Rhee has joined the board.

The New York State Education Department dropped the number of raw points needed to hit proficiency levels in half of this year’s Common Core tests, officials acknowledged to the New York Post.

Schools are not businesses, opines Berkeley professor David L. Kirp in The New York Times. That’s not an op-ed, responds Neerav...


A first look at today's most important education news

The Brookings Institution releases two new papers on public-pension reform—one on political lessons learned in the reform efforts of Utah, Rhode Island, Illinois, and New Jersey and one on their recommendations for a model pension structure. (Brookings)

Mayor Bill de Blasio contends that with his proposed higher income tax, New York City will be able to add up to 29,000 new pre-K seats. (New York Times)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for the first time ever, has issued guidelines regulating how food is marketed in schools, with the intention of cracking down on widespread junk-food advertising and teaching kids to make healthier eating choices. (NPR and Washington Post)

A new report out of the Center for Community College Student Engagement finds that black and Latino males attending community college have some of the highest educational ambitions of any other subgroups—but are also the least likely to realize those aspirations. (Hechinger Ed)

The latest in a string of concerns over student-data privacy, a recent study finds that cloud computing services used by some schools and districts to transfer student data are vulnerable to data mining for commercial purposes. In response to these and other concerns, the Department of Education is issuing new guidance on student data. (Digital/Ed and Politics K–12)

The Charters & Choice blog rounds up charter-school policy changes taking place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia....

A first look at today's most important education news.
  • In a letter issued to members of the House Budget Committee, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon claimed the education budget for the current fiscal year overestimates the revenue actually available. Meanwhile, in Mississippi, critics claim the $2.15 Billion education budget will not be enough. (Missouri Net and Mississippi Public Broadcasting)
  • Obama’s forthcoming budget will include funding for early childhood education programs (The New York Times)
  • Although Support for Common Core is at a‘critical juncture’, the Georgia Senate committee unanimously voted for legislation that will force the state to retreat from the Common Core. (Politico Proand Online Athens)
  • There is no easy fix for the California's teacher pension fund which faces a $71-billion shortfall. (The Los Angeles Times)
  • Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to veto a school prayer billwhich codifies students’ right to pray in school; wear religious clothing or accessories; and express religious viewpoints at school forums. (Politico Pro)
  • Major companies contribute $750 million worth of products and free high-speed Internet services to schools as part of Obamasschool Internet initiative. (Politico Pro)
  • There are fears that schools are promoting vocational education in lieu of more academic subjects.  (Politico Pro)

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

  • In South Carolina an Anti-Common Core bill was put on hold and members were given a week to consider a "compromise”. Meanwhile Wisconsin state Superintendent Tony Evers wrote a letter to state residents asking with them to put an end to a vote on bills slated for today that could undo the state’s adoption of the Common Core.(The Post and Courier and Journal Sentinel) 
  • Gov. Cuomo’s Common Core panel recognized that success for the standards relies heavily on support from the general public. However The National Education Association has pulled back their support for the Common Core, stating that the standards will not succeed without major ‘course correction’. (Politico Pro)
  • The Education Achievement Authority has lost the exclusive right to work on improving and overseeing Michigan’s lowest-performing school districts. The State Superintendent, Mike Flanagan, wrote a letter ending the exclusive clause of the contract. (The Detroit News)
  •    New Legislation in California would prohibit education-related websites and online services for kindergartners through 12th graders from using the students’ personal information for “any reason other than what the school intended or for product maintenance”. (The New York Times)
  •  Washington rejected a change in teacher evaluations, potentially putting its NCLB waiver at risk and marking the first time a Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has lost a bill. (The Seattle Times)
  • Seven former employees of a for-profit trade school filed a lawsuit against school officials, claiming they falsified records to enroll students and mislead them about their career
  • ...

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

Pearson's new iPad app may help students prepare for rigorous Common Core assessments. 
Louisiana follows in the footsteps of the many states that have re-branded the Common Core. 
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. plans to release a dramatic turnaround plan for the School District of Philadelphia. 
This week, Missouri Superintendent William Green spared the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools from dissolution. Instead, the state and district will work together to bring to restore the district's accreditation. 
Kansas passes a Bill that allows corporeal punishment to be used in schools. 
Oakland, CA schools adding more fresh produce to school lunch menus.
A first look at today's most important education news:



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

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces that he will formalize his policy on charging charter schools rent. Meanwhile, state officials say they would consider pulling back some building aid if the city appears to turn a profit on space used by charter schools. (Capital Playbook and Wall Street Journal)

Researchers find that the number of nonacademic professional and administrative employees at colleges and universities in the U.S. has doubled in the last twenty-five years, greatly outstripping the growth in the number of students or faculty. (Stay tuned for a soon-to-be-released Fordham report on similar issues in K–12 education.) (Hechinger Report)

A Vanderbilt survey finds that 63 percent of Tennessee teachers who teach subjects impacted by the Common Core think that the new standards will improve their instruction. (Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development)

The U.S. Census Bureau will overhaul the Survey of Income and Program Participation, a cross-sectional study that tracks over a four-year period the economic health of families. (Inside School Research)

The Understanding Language initiative will teach a second set of free MOOCs this spring for teachers seeking information on how to support English-language learners with the rigor of the Common Core State Standards. (Learning the Language)...


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


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

  • The New York Times profiles how pre-Kindergarten is having a “moment,” with support starting to stretch across party lines.
  • This week, Gallup is commencing a survey of 30,000 graduates of four-year universities in an attempt to gauge the value of a higher education. (Hechinger Report)
  • PBS airs American Promise, a documentary chronicling two African American, middle-class boys’ divergent paths from Kindergarten to high-school graduation. (You can watch the film online for free until March 6.) (PBS and NPR)
  • Connecticut, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Vermont are granted testing waivers, allowing them to exchange their standardized tests with PARCC or Smarter Balance field tests this spring. (Curriculum Matters)
  • New research from Education Next examines three school- and teacher-evaluation approaches, concluding that growth measures ought to compare the performance of schools and teachers in similar circumstances.