September 25

The “Ed News” will be taking a break to allow the Chief Commissar to do some traveling.  Look for the next issue on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
   And now to the news.  Want to know what the issues were surrounding the Chicago teachers strike?  The Chicago Tribune has put together a very detailed 4-page chart comparing what was initially offered by the CPS and what the CTU finally agreed to.  Be sure to scroll down to see the entire chart:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-comparison-of-cps-proposals-20120917,0,892291.htmlpage  In light of the Chicago strike, Sandy Banks, in her Saturday column for the L.A. Times, discusses the role student test scores should play in teacher evaluations:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-banks-teachers-strike-20120922,0,3953025,full.column  There are many lessons to be taken away from the strike.  This blog from Waging Nonviolence says learning about how a democracy works is one of the key ones:  http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/09/chicago-teachers-strike-a-street-level-lesson-in-democracy/  Now that both the students and teachers in Chicago are back in their classrooms, the postmortems regarding the strike are appearing.  This one is from a Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a teacher activist.  It’s titled “What We Won in Chicago:”  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/11704-what-we-won-in-chicago  This one is from Dissent magazine and is titled “Who is Victimizing Chicago’s Kids?”  http://dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=835  The author of this blog from In These Times believes that the end of the strike is really the beginning of a “multi-year revolution” in school reform:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/13876/chicago_teachers_strike_lessons_learned/   Randi Weingarten, president of the nation’s second largest teachers union, AFT (American Federation of Teachers), is taking her show on the road.  She’s touting the victory in Chicago and collecting ideas from teachers from around the country on what reform should really look like.  The Washington Post has all the details:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/after-chicago-success-union-leaders-spread-their-message/2012/09/21/cad16290-0424-11e2-9b24-ff730c7f6312_story.html
   Gov. Brown signed into law several bills aimed at changing school disciplinary and suspension policies according to this article from Saturday’s L.A. Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0922-brown-bills-20120922,0,6624796.story
   California’s 112-campus community college system is facing some daunting challenges as explained in this prominent, front page story from Sunday’s Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-college-overview-20120923,0,7703496,full.story
   You’ve certainly heard the comment that a college degree is the ticket to a much higher paying job.  But what happens if most of the jobs created over the next ten years only require a high school diploma?  This article from the Next New Deal highlights a study that wonders what happens to the U.S. economy if that scenario truly plays out:  http://www.nextnewdeal.net/education-silver-bullet-fixing-economy  You can read the full report (18 pages) titled “Where Have all the Good Jobs Gone?” from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) here:  http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/good-jobs-2012-07.pdf
   The battle lines over education reform will soon be focusing on Idaho where voters are faced in November with a proposition that deals with tenure, performance pay and classroom technology.  Opponents of the measure claim the target is not “the teachers” but “the union bosses.”  The New York Times lays out what’s at stake in this vote:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/us/idaho-education-overhaul-is-subject-of-referendum.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
   Valerie Strauss, in her blog, comments on a recent report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA (highlighted by the “Ed News”) that pointed out the growing segregation of the nation’s public schools:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/school-segregation-sharply-increasing-studies-show/2012/09/22/5b34111a-04c6-11e2-91e7-2962c74e7738_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet
   This blog from NationalJournal poses a series of questions about what teacher evaluations need to include.  It doesn’t, necessarily, provide the answers but it does include a link to a video (7:11 minutes) titled “Teachers on Teacher Evaluations” from two groups, “Teach Plus” and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in which a number of educators comment on the new evaluations they are working under:  http://education.nationaljournal.com/2012/09/teacher-effectiveness-here-to.php
   The Washington, D.C., public schools have a new five-year plan to boost collective proficiency in math and reading from 23% to 63% in the 40 lowest performing schools.  Jay Matthews, in his blog for The Washington Post, calls these goals “fantasyland:”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/dc-schools-test-score-fantasyland/2012/09/23/9a269696-052e-11e2-91e7-2962c74e7738_blog.html?wprss=rss_class-struggle
   And finally, sexism rears its ugly head again.  This time, as Valerie Strauss reports, professors at the college and university level were biased against females who were studying the sciences.  Her information comes from a new study of the subject from Yale University:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/science-professors-biased-against-females–study/2012/09/25/edafb888-06be-11e2-a10c-fa5a255a9258_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet   You can read the full report (6 pages) titled “Science Faculty’s Subtle Gender Biases Favor Male Students” here:  http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/14/1211286109.full.pdf+html

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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