October 26

Three important events are fast approaching:  Halloween (Oct. 31), the national election (Nov. 6) and the ALOED book club (Nov. 7).  Mark your calendars NOW. 
    And now to the news.  Any idea how many charter schools there are now in California?  How many do you think LAUSD hosts?  This article from the Fresno Bee contains some eye opening figures:  http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/10/24/3040770/calif-sees-record-number-of-new.html  As charter schools proliferate they are coming under increasing scrutiny.  A recent report from the U.S. Dept. of Education was highly critical of the California Dept. of Education for lax oversight of charters in the state.  SI&A Cabinet Report has the details:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2594
   Do you consider Teach For America (TFA) a threat to traditional teacher training programs? If so, you should be aware that many charter networks are also developing their own, in-house plans for preparing new educators. The HECHINGER REPORT describes how this is working: http://hechingerreport.org/content/in-search-of-high-quality-teachers-charter-network-trains-its-own_9982/  THE AMERICAN PROSPECT suggests that as TFA grows larger and larger it’s agenda is already shifting from solely training new teachers to creating a cadre of politcians that are bringing its policies into the government arena:  http://prospect.org/article/teach-america%E2%80%99s-deep-bench
    A report from the College Board released Wednesday finds that college costs are on the rise again according to this story in The New York Times: 
   Californians are faced with two important propositions on the November ballot (30 and 38) related to education.  NPR station KPCC reports that voters in several other states are confronted by the largest number of school-related tax measures in 20 years:  http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2012/10/22/10642/voters-decide-funding-public-education-many-states/  A poll released on Wednesday shows support dropping for both propositions 30 and 38.  They both are now favored by less than 50% of the voters sampled.  EdSource has an excellent account of the history of Gov. Brown’s initiative (30) and the obstacles it has faced in trying to ease the financial strain on the state’s schools.  A sidebar to this article discusses the latest poll results and includes a link to the full survey (34 pages) with figures for a number of interesting statewide issues:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/school-initiatives-bumpy-road-to-the-ballot-box/21934#.UIlxX2nuUl–   The UCLA IDEA Friday “Themes in the News” analyzes the latest polling results and offers some suggestions about what the pro side should do in the remaining days before the election:  http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=5c175b6ade&e=f7d7cb8d5d
   The California Supreme Court voided Tuesday a settlement between the LAUSD and lawyers representing three middle schools that proposed that teacher lay-offs could be based on factors other than seniority.  The ruling cleared the way for the original litigation to proceed to trial.  Need some clarification on this issue?  The L.A. Times attempts to make sense of it:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/settlement-voided-teacher-layoff-process-to-go-to-trial.html
   LAUSD Supt. John Deasy and UTLA are at odds over a $40 million grant application for Race to the Top funds as explained in the Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-grant-20121025,0,2882361.story
   The blog “HechingerEd” published by The HECHINGER REPORT highlights a newly released poll of teacher attitudes and demographics on a number of subjects.  Among other things it finds that today’s educators are less experienced than in the past and more open to new evaluations that include student test scores.  The nationwide survey includes opinions from 1,015 teachers and is titled “Great Expectations: Teachers’ Views on Elevating the Teaching Profession.”  This article includes a link to the full report (16 pages):  http://hechingered.org/content/survey-todays-teaching-force-is-less-experienced-more-open-to-change_5719/
   The Corona-Norco Unfied School District was the runner-up for the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education.  It will receive $150,000 in college scholarships for making the most progress in student achievement and closing the achievement gap.  The winner of the $550,000 first prize was the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  EdSource has the specifics: http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/corona-norco-a-first-time-finalist-for-the-broad-prize/22047#.UIlxh2nuUl
   The treasurer of the Costa Mesa High School marching band booster club is alleged to have stolen $40,000 from the group over a number of years according to this story in the L.A. Times:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/marching-band-booster-club-treasurer-accused-of-stealing-thousands.html
   ALOED presented a panel on the uses of technology in education on Tuesday.  Check out this latest innovation.  The Roland Unified School District recently unveiled a mobile app that allows parents to stay connected to important news about the district and their children:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/rowland-unified-school-district-unveils-mobile-app.html
   And finally, Valerie Strauss reprints a commentary for her blog in The Washington Post titled “Will Teachers Help Decide the Presidential Election?”:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/10/25/will-teachers-help-decide-presidential-election/?wprss=rss_answer-sheet

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar

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