September 5

CORRECTION: The previous edition of the “Ed News” was incorrectly dated Aug. 30.  It should have been marked as Aug. 31.  The Chief Commissar regrets the error.
   Things are getting hot on the union/school board negotiating front.  The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) gave the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) a ten-day strike notice last week which means the union could call a strike as early as Sept. 10.  Most Chicago students returned to school yesterday.   You can get all the details from this report: http://truth-out.org/news/item/11222-chicago-teachers-union-to-file-ten-day-strike-notice-say-reports
   Two principals with LAUSD high schools were reassigned after they allowed 3 students to make up a social studies class within a couple of days in order that the seniors could graduate.  Monday’s L.A. Times explains all the details: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-principals-20120903,0,3535436.story
   The ongoing saga between parents, the courts and the Adelanto school board over the parents’ attempt to take control of their underperforming school via the parent-trigger law sparked a strongly worded op-ed in the same paper urging the board to quit defying a judge’s ruling in the case: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-oe-newton-adelanto-desert-trails-20120903,0,3861867.column
   According to yesterday’s Times, the district and its police force are using a new, proactive tactic against student truancy and other misbehavior.  Instead of issuing citations requiring possible court appearances and fines for infractions, the police will refer miscreants to community centers where they will get counseling and guidance instead of punishment: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-citations-20120904,0,6846698.story
   The Democrats are meeting in their national convention at Charlotte this week.  Teachers’ unions have always been major supporters of the party, providing money and foot soldiers for registration and get-out-the-vote drives in return for support on policy issues.  This year the alliance between the party and union groups may be fraying.  One bone of contention was the screening of the pro parent-trigger, anti-teacher union film “Won’t Back Down” in the city yesterday.  The Times explains what else is causing the schism: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-education-dems-20120904,0,6567521.story
   A parent activist on school reform and a long-time Democratic Party supporter writes a blog, reprinted by Valerie Strauss, explaining why she’s ready to do battle with the party over its education policies: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/lifelong-democrat-ready-for-fight-in-charlotte-over-school-reform/2012/09/03/5398a26c-f39c-11e1-a612-3cfc842a6d89_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet
   The Democratic Party platform stresses the Common Core Standards along with other issues.  This piece from Education Week explains what’s in the document and contrasts it with what the Republicans wrote: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/09/dem_platform_praises_common_co.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29
   A new bill, SB 1458, cleared the state legislature and was sent to Gov. Brown for his action.  It would change the way schools are evaluated with less of an emphasis on standardized test scores and more on other factors.  A similar bill was vetoed by Brown last year.  You can get all the details from this brief item in The Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/01/4777707/bill-revises-school-rating-system.html#storylink=cpy  An article from SI&A Cabinet Report describes several other bills awaiting the governor’s action that deal with student behavior, suspensions and expulsions: http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2521  Another bill headed to Gov. Brown’s desk, SB 1200, would help clear up confusion over what type of math should be required of students in the 8th grade.  Ed Source tries to clear the fog: http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/state-board-now-can-wade-back-into-eighth-grade-math-debate/19710
   And finally, the Los Angeles Daily News provides an update on negotiations between the LAUSD and its unions regarding a new teacher evaluation system: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_21469300/lausd-proposes-new-teacher-evaluation-system-negotiating-utla?source=rss

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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