Ed News- May 24, 2012

Office of the Commissar of Current Events

Due to the Memorial Day holiday and some weekend travel plans this edition of the “Ed News” will be out one day early. Look for the next issue on Tuesday May 29th.

And now to the news. Here’s a truly impassioned defense of public education that identifies certain groups/organizations that are out to destroy it: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13510
LAUSD is going to apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education for Race to the Top Funds. California’s previous applications for the money were rejected. The Department is now allowing individual districts to apply directly for the funds. LAUSD wants to use the grants to help implement new teacher evaluations that include student test scores. This article quotes Linda Darling-Hammond’s speech on Monday afternoon in Los Angeles. Yesterday’s L.A. Times has the details: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0523-teachers-evals-20120523,0,3011182.story
In a front page story in the same paper the issue of “zero-tolerance” behavior policies for students is getting a renewed look: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-zero-tolerance-20120523,0,61074.story
The May 28th edition of Newsweek magazine is out with their annual ranking of the “Best High Schools in America.” You can read the main story and click on several related side ones here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/20/our-report-card-on-the-1-000-that-make-the-grade.html
If voters fail to approve Gov. Brown’s revenue initiative on the November ballot he is proposing that districts be allowed to shorten the school year by up to 15 additional days in order to off-set mid-year budget cuts as detailed in the San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/22/MNM41OM1B3.DTL#ixzz1viNAKTki
The LAUSD board, by a 4-3 vote Tuesday, approved a proposal to implement its recently enacted plan to require more rigorous college-prep classes for graduating high school students as described in this item from the L.A. Daily News: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_20686506/lausd-board-oks-college-prep-plan?source=rss
The San Diego Unified board, by a 4-1 vote on Tuesday, approved the final issuance of over 1,500 pink slips. The move could leave almost 20% of the district’s teachers without jobs for the new school year. You can check out all the grim details in this report from the San Diego Union-Tribune: http://web.utsandiego.com/news/2012/may/22/sd-teachers-rally-to-save-jobs/
LAUSD reached a settlement in a case of sexual harassment against former superintendent Ramon Cortines as explained in this article from today’s L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0524-lausd-cortines-20120524,0,3133076.story
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney explained his education policies in a speech delivered yesterday to a group of Latino businesspeople in Washington, D.C.: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-romney-20120524,0,2404218.story Both Valerie Strauss: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/romneys-extreme-education-vision/2012/05/23/gJQA7UJulU_blog.html and Diane Ravitch: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/05/23/the-romney-education-agenda/ were quick to pass judgement on his proposals.
Diane Ravitch bemoans the growing role of Wall Street investors and hedge fund managers in the school “reform” movement: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2012/05/how_wall_street_invested_in_sc.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BridgingDifferences+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Bridging+Differences%29
And finally, a massive annual report released today from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), highlighted in Education Week, contains a myriad of educational statistics including student attitudes about their classes and goals. This article contains a link to the full study (378 pages!) titled “The Condition of Education 2012:” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/24/33condition.h31.html?tkn=WLRFLeaGqn48cfBU8d86uxzyGW0jezy7DN4F&cmp=clp-edweek You can read the MUCH briefer (4 pages) official overview here: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/overview.asp

Happy Memorial Day!

Dave Alpert (’71)
Chief Commissar

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