November 13

[Ed. note:  due to the Veterans Day Holiday on Monday this edition of the “Ed News” has been delayed by one day.  Look for the next one on its regularly scheduled Friday publication date.]
     Are you ready for a rest from elections, campaigns and political ads?  If so, don’t turn around.  There’s is a major L.A. municipal primary election (mayor, city council, school and community college boards, etc.) coming on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, and the general election on May 21!  The deadline for candidates to file for the LAUSD school board was Saturday and the stakes couldn’t be higher as detailed in this item from Sunday’s L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1111-school-board-20121111,0,2597201.story
   Teach for America (TFA) is expanding its recruitment of candidates to include military veterans according to this item from the Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/teach-for-america-launche_n_2093060.html
   The Smithsonian Institution is offering a live, free online conference for teachers on Feb. 6, 2013, titled “Oh Freedom!  Teaching Civil Rights Through Smithsonian Collections.”  Registration opens in December and is required to participate.  Check out this website for all the details.  This link contains a “teacher spotlight video” that demonstrates how one U.S. History teachers uses the Smithsonian materials in her class:  http://africanamericanart.si.edu/conference
   The LAUSD school board, as expected, voted yesterday to restore the full school calendar and full pay for employees this year .  The L.A. Times explains the decision:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-20121114,0,1227667.story In another action the board voted to adopt a comprehensive food policy for the district: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/11/lausd-adopts-food-policy.html
   Valerie Strauss does it again.  She reprints a blog from a principal from Long Island who briefly describes her ordeal with Hurricane Sandy before getting down to explaining three fallacies that dominate the discussion of teacher evaluation “reform:”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/13/the-newest-rhetoric-on-teacher-evaluation-and-why-it-is-nonsense/
   Is good teaching innate or can it be taught?  Robert Bligh, former general counsel  of the Nebraska Association of School Boards, tries to answer the question:  “Who should teach?”  He provides seven points about teacher training programs.  [Ed. note:  be sure to read the last two sentences of this post.  They are most succinct!]  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/13/are-teachers-born-not-made/
   Have you heard the term “fiscal cliff” bandied about recently?  Have any idea what it means and how it pertains to education?  EDUCATION WEEK provides you with an excellent primer with 10 FAQs about this critical issue:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/11/fiscal_cliff_cheat_sheet_what_.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29
   The charter school movement is getting bigger and bigger each year.  Want to know how big?  This EDUCATION WEEK piece highlights a report released today with some startling figures:  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/14/13charters.h32.html  You can read the full report (6 pages), titled  “A Growing Movement: America’s Largest Charter School Communities,” from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools here:  http://www.edweek.org/media/napcsmarketshare-13charters.pdf  [Ed. note:  LAUSD is prominently mentioned throughout the report.  For example, it is serving more students than any other district in the country!  See the charts on p. 3 and 10 of the report.]   Speaking of the growth of charters, Valerie Strauss briefly reports on the passage (by 1.5 percentage points) of a charter school measure in Washington State after millions of dollars were poured into the campaign to see that it was approved:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/13/washington-to-allow-charter-schools-after-billionaire-backed-initiative-squeaks-through/
   And finally, more good news after the passage of Prop. 30.  Both UC and CSU have decided to withdraw planned tuition hikes now that the measure was approved by voters on Nov. 6, says an article in today’s L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-calstate-tuition-20121114,0,2973358.story
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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