August 17

With the onerous 2014 deadline for reaching 100% student proficiency under NCLB looming, a number of states have requested waivers from some of the law’s mandates.  This entry from the Huffington Post explains what the waivers entail and why NCLB is “Not Dead Yet.”  California’s waiver is highlighted:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/no-child-left-behind-not-_n_1776546.html?utm_hp_ref=education 
   Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University has helped develop and use a new teacher training evaluation.  She discusses the program and addresses some early criticisms of it in this article from INSIDE HIGHER ED: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/08/13/essay-argues-real-teacher-education-reform-going-led-profession
   Most LAUSD teachers had a pupil-free day on Monday.  That evening many of them were greeted by a recorded phone message from UTLA president Warren Fletcher urging them not to participate in a voluntary district sponsored pilot teacher evaluation.  The L.A. Times reports that Supt. Deasy was not pleased with the way the calls were phrased: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teacher-test-scores-20120816,0,716334.story
   CNN featured an interview with Michelle Rhee a-week-and-a-half ago.  Diane Ravitch responded to what was said by Ms. Rhee in a follow-up commentary on CNN:  This article contains a link to the original interview with Michelle Rhee: http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/my-view-rhee-is-wrong-and-misinformed/
   School districts have followed many different roads for balancing budgets in the face of severe revenue shortages.  Some have laid off teachers and increased class sizes.  Others have reduced the number of days in the school calendar or tried to trim various non-classroom programs.  This item from NPR station KPCC looks at how students in California will be attending school under very different calendars this year as a result of these various budget trims: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2012/08/14/9427/public-school-students-enter-classrooms-unequal-in/
   A controversial bill (AB 5, first introduced in 2010) is being revived in the California Legislature.  It would require school districts to collectively bargain with local teachers’ unions regarding any changes to educator’s evaluations.  It received a hearing before the State Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday and passed on a 5-2 vote amid charges it was an attempted end-run around a recent court ruling that required student test scores to be included in any new teacher evaluations.  Today’s L.A. Times has all the details: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teacher-eval-20120817,0,4167806.story  SI&A Cabinet Report had this story on the committee hearing on AB 5:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2495  A commentary in EdSource suggests that students and parents need a say in designing and should be part of any new teacher evaluation system: http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/give-parents-and-students-a-voice-in-teacher-evaluations/19092
   A brand new state-of-the-art K-5 (LAUSD) school opened on the old Hughes Aircraft property Tuesday in the Playa Vista area of the city.  It currently houses about 200 students but the enrollment is expected to swell to its 575 capacity as a mini-baby boom seems to be sweeping the development.  The school has a high level of parent involvement according to the story in Tuesday’s Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-playa-vista-school-20120814,0,7155024.story
   The “Great Recession” is now approaching 5 years in length.  According to data analyzed from a recent study by Georgetown University highlighted in this article from The New York Times, less educated people (those with high school diplomas or less) are having a bigger problem with unemployment that those with some college education or more.  The article has a link to the study titled “The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm” (52 pages):  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/us/job-losses-persist-for-the-less-educated.html?_r=2&ref=education
   And finally, a story in Tuesday’s “Ed News” discussed a study from UC Berkeley that found that LAUSD students who moved into new school facilities made strong academic gains as compared to students who remained in overcrowded and poorly maintained buildings.  The poor classroom conditions resulted in a court case, Williams vs. California, that included a settlement that provided for a massive school building program.  Friday’s UCLA IDEA “Themes in the News” looks at the conditions prior to the case and reviews the findings of the Berkeley study: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=776e9a30f4&e=f7d7cb8d5d

 

 

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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