June 19, 2012

The “Ed News” offices will be closed for an extended period while the Chief Commissar is travelling with his wife.  Please look for the next issue on or around Friday, July 20th.  As always, thanks for reading!
   LAUSD teachers and staff approved the labor agreement between UTLA and the district in voting last week.  The results, released Saturday evening, were much closer than the vote on the previous pact.  UTLA has the nuts and bolts: http://www.utla.net/system/files/TAresults2012.pdf  Yesterday’s L.A. Times covered the story this way: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0618-teacher-deal-20120618,0,766786.story  You can also get detailed area voting results, the full text of the agreement, a summary and a Q&A about it on the UTLA website: http://www.utla.net/
   The Chief Commissar attended the speech by Linda Darling-Hammond on May 21st at the RFK Community School.  You can see photos of the event and peruse her PowerPoint presentation (it provides an excellent overview of her talk) at this UTLA website: http://www.utla.net/ldhspeech
   Speaking of UTLA, an op-ed in yesterday’s Times profiles A.J. Duffy, the union’s previous president, and what he’s been up to since stepping down as the head of the organization: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-newton-column-duffy–20120618,0,7486057.column
   An extended editorial in the same paper looks at Gov. Brown’s proposal to change the way schools are funded in this state.  The paper is in favor of the plan . . . BUT . . . thinks it lacks accountability.  You can read about the plan and what the Times thinks about it here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-school-funding-california-20120618,0,659933.story
   Standardized test scores may be discouragingly low in many areas of California but one area where the state shines is in A.P. results based on a comprehensive report from the College Board.  It’s all described in this story from TOP-Ed.  It contains a link to the full report (36 pages) titled “Eighth Annual AP Report to the Nation:”  http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/06/18/california-students-improvement-on-ap-exams-deserves-more-attention/
   Did you happen to read about the planned special summer time administration of the SAT for a group of elite students?  The whole idea raised some hackles among several individuals who complained and, according to this story in the L.A. Times, the College Board backed down and cancelled it: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-summer-sat-20120618,0,6109708.story
   Now that an L.A. Superior Court judge has ruled that LAUSD must include student test results as part of its teacher evaluations, the L.A. Daily News has a follow-up story reporting on what comes next: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_20879293/teacher-evaluation-plan-test-lausd-superintendent-john-deasy?source=rss
   It’s not too often that you find education related news in the Business section of a newspaper but today’s L.A. Times is reporting that media tycoon Sumner Redstone is donating $100,000 to the LAUSD for an anti-bullying program: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sumner-redstone-sponsors-antibullying-text-line-for-la-schools-20120618,0,3465701.story
   How’s this for a top-name commencement speaker?  The South Bay Daily Breeze describes the graduation speech delivered by Bill Clinton to the senior class at Redondo Union High School that includes the former president’s nephew: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_20869585/special-guest-bill-clinton-delivers-redondo-union-high
   How would shortening the school year effect students, parents, teachers and district finances?  The Sacramento Bee tries to provide some answers: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/4572022/schools-facing-shorter-year.html#storylink=cpy
   You may recall the controversy surrounding a couple of schools in the Anaheim Unified School District that issued student notebooks that were color-coded to show how they did on the standardized tests.  It was one of the early stories the “Ed News” covered when it first debuted.  The state Senate voted on Monday to ban the practice as briefly reported by the L.A. Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/06/student-notebooks-standardized-testing.html
   Valerie Strauss looks at the very significant issue of per pupil funding disparities among the various states based on a newly released report from the second edition of the National Report Card titled “Is School Funding Fair?”  This article includes links to the full report (36 pages) and the executive summary: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/school-funding-disparities-persist-analysis-shows/2012/06/19/gJQA0Cj5nV_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet
   How important is the “summer slide” in student learning and how much do low-income, minority pupils lose compared to their more affluent peers?  Again, Valerie Strauss steps to the fore reprinting a blog that addresses this salient point: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/untapped-strategy-for-ed-reform-summer-learning/2012/06/18/gJQA3L9amV_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet
   The Minneapolis Post interviews one of the founders of the value-added test model who, it turns out, is a big critic of how the scores are being used: http://www.minnpost.com/learning-curve/2012/06/student-testing-pioneer-angermeyr-skeptical-about-high-stakes-trends
   The latest NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) science results focused on a new test that checks on a student’s ability in grades 4, 8 and 12 to perform both hands-on and computer-based science activities.  This differed from the traditional scientific knowledge test scores that were released last month.  The results were not encouraging as detailed by this story in Education Week: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/19/36naep.h31.html?tkn=RZOFAGpoiSRuwYTgvtsy%2FyTV11bLMnwdpqO%2F&cmp=clp-edweek
    And finally, on a lighter (?) note, it’s graduation time and that often means student pranks.  Some may seem harmless, others may be clever but most are downright silly or stupid,  This piece in Saturday’s L.A. Times describes some of the recent ones and how schools/districts are cracking down: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-graduation-pranks-20120617,0,2558278.story
Summer begins officially at 4:09 p.m. (PDT) tomorrow.  Happy Summer

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