Saturday, January 30, 2010

California Education News Roundup from UCLA/IDEA


States said to lag in using data systems well

By Dakarai I. Aarons/Education Week

01-29-2010  -  States have made progress in building data systems that track student performance over time, but are behind the curve in sharing the information in a way that leads to meaningful decision making, according to a national survey released today. The Data Quality Campaign, a foundation-funded organization in Washington that promotes and tracks the use of data in education, has been focused since 2005 on identifying the key components of state data systems and pushing for their development. Now that much of that work is under way, the group is shifting its focus to describe and promote the use of the data. (more...)

New teachers facing tough times

  • 01-29-2010

by Linda Lou/Riverside Press-Enterprise

Jeri Bravo, 34, expects to receive her special education teaching credential in June. She isn't expecting a job offer by then. "I am pretty nervous about trying to find a job for the fall," Bravo said. "I am nervous and hopeful at the same time. I am going to keep trying until a door opens." Prospective teachers can attend a job fair at Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday. The university's Career Development Center is helping people such as Teryn Andersen, left, Carol Dixon, Angela Gallegos and Jeri Bravo. Just two years ago, 86 employers showed up at Cal State San Bernardino's annual education job fair. Carol Dixon, interim director of the university's Career Development Center, said the number was down to 40 last year. This year, only about 30 employers are attending the fair Saturday, and three large school districts that usually visit -- Los Angeles Unified, Riverside Unified and Colton Joint Unified -- will be absent, Dixon said. (more...)

Experts say a rewrite of nation’s main education law will be hard this year

  • 01-29-2010

By Sam Dillon/New York Times

In his State of the Union address, President Obama held out the hope of overhauling the main law outlining the federal role in public schools, a sprawling 45-year-old statute that dates to the Johnson administration. But experts say it would be a heavy lift for the administration to get the job done this year because the law has produced so much discord, there is so little time and there are so many competing priorities. In 2001, when Congress completed the law’s most recent rewrite, the effort took a full year, and the bipartisan consensus that made that possible has long since shattered. Today there is wide agreement that the law needs an overhaul, but not on how to fix its flaws. (more...)

Education is where Obama can claim success

  • 01-29-2010

Blog by John Fensterwald/Educated Guess

President Obama admitted mistakes, and issued a few mea culpas in his State of the Union address this week. But he also rightfully took credit for a fundamental change in approach to federal education policy, and promised more of the same. Obama’s approach to education hasn’t been bipartisan as much as it’s been entrepreneurial. With Race to the Top, Obama used a relative pittance when it comes to federal spending — $4.3 billion out of $70 billion in last year’s stimulus package for education – as bait to drive some big changes in the states.
In doing so, challenged two of the Democratic Party’s biggest allies, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, over expanding charter schools, using test scores to evaluate teachers, and replacing teachers and principals as one options in kick-starting failing schools. (more...)

Obama to seek up to $4B in new education spending

  • 01-29-2010

By H. Darr Beiser/USA TODAY

President Barack Obama said Wednesday his administration will work with Congress to expand school improvements across the country, saying the success of children cannot depend on where they live. As he prepares to ask Congress for billions of dollars in new spending for education, Obama said the nation's students need to be inspired to succeed in math and science, and that failing schools need to be turned around. In his State of the Union speech, Obama also called on Congress to finish work on a measure to revitalize community colleges. And he called for a $10,000 tax credit to families for four years of college, and an increase in Pell Grants. "This year, we have broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools," he said. "The idea here is simple: instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. (more...)

New critiques urge changes in common standards

  • 01-29-2010

By Catherine Gewertz/Education Week

A draft of grade-by-grade common standards is undergoing significant revisions in response to feedback that the outline of what students should master is confusing and insufficiently user-friendly. Writing groups convened by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association are at work on what they say will be a leaner, better-organized, and easier-to-understand version than the 200-plus-page set that has been circulating among governors, scholars, education groups, teams of state education officials, and others for review in recent weeks. The first public draft of the standards, which was originally intended for a December release but was postponed until January, is now expected by mid-February. (more...)

$113 million, 2-year, S.F. schools cut asked
  • 01-29-2010

By Jill Tucker/San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco's school Superintendent Carlos Garcia laid out his plan Tuesday to bridge an expected $113 million budget shortfall over the next two years, describing it as a long list of "horrible and deplorable" cuts that rival those experienced during the Great Depression. It's that bad, Garcia said. His plan, presented to the school board Tuesday night, would eliminate up to 400 district positions, including 100 teachers resulting from an increase in K-3 class size, from 22 students to 25. Garcia also called for decimating summer school, teacher training and other programs; shrinking paychecks across the board through unpaid furloughs; and cutting busing, especially for high school students. "I absolutely take no pride in what I'm going to share with you," he said earlier in the day. (more...)

Possible teacher layoffs would have big impact

  • 01-29-2010

By Jennifer Medina/New York Times

For more than three decades, New York City schools have soldiered on through turmoil, politics, recessions, budget crises and a changing cast of mayors and chancellors. But since 1976, the system has never carried out significant layoffs of teachers. That may soon change. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has said that if the city does not wring pay concessions from the teachers’ union and all of Gov. David A. Paterson’s proposed budget cuts are approved — a worst case — the city may have to get rid of 11,000 of its 79,000 teachers. Last year, about 3,800 were lost through attrition, mostly retirement, so if similar numbers are recorded this year, several thousand could receive pink slips. (more...)

California Education News Roundup

The California Education News Roundup is a daily publication that highlights news and commentary about California educational policy, educational reform, and related items of interest to California's educational justice community. Included are brief summaries and links to full articles from mainstream media, ethnic media, and select blogs. The News Roundup also features local education stories related to statewide education issues or to local advocacy campaigns. Finally, the Roundup includes selected national stories that may affect California educational policy and reform.

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