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Florida’s Grading System Has a Purpose--Diane Ravtch's Blog 7/22/12

Florida has perfected a useless system of grading schools.Matthew DiCarlo of the Shanker Institute analyzed the school grades from Florida and found that they reflect poverty and income levels, not school quality. If the school enrolls large numbers of poor kids, it stands a high chance of getting a D or an F from the state.

From Huffington Post: 7/23/12 Bold Leaders for our Public Schools by Martin J. Blank

Strong leaders are key to building strong and innovative schools, and so I want to share some insights about the tremendous people who are leading the community schools movement. I'm talking about people like John Porter, Jan Christensen, and Richard Carranza, all superintendents and, all of whom are working to transform their local schools into community hubs.

Honor the Fourth of July-Keep Our Schools Democratic!

Recently I posted about the requirements of the new Race to the Top grants for school districts. The federal Dept. of Education has doubled down on the emphasis on standardized tests by moving to use them not only to judge schools, but also to judge teachers and administrators. Even more  disturbing is the new requirement that tests for schools boards be developed.  Is this just another way to end democratic control over public education?
 

Race To The Top Grant Might Not be Worth Its Cost to SCUSD

Restrictions on the Use of the Grant Mean the Money Can't Help Restore Education Cuts
 

EdWeek---Districts Gear Up for Race to Top Scramble

By Alyson Klein and Christina A. Samuels
Leaders of some large-city school districts say they are prepared to jump into the competition for nearly $400 million in new Race to the Top grants from the U.S. Department of Education. But the head of a coalition of rural districts said that while the money would be welcomed, it may require too much effort from small district staffs to apply for and to administer.

Parents flunk Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst

Michelle Rhee report card

Report card exposes flaws in corporate agenda and failures to push through legislation in many states this year

Parents Across America (PAA) unveiled a report card today that gave Michelle Rhee’s education lobbying organization, StudentsFirst, failing grades.

The report card grades Rhee on her position on issues and on legislation she pushed in states across the country this year. Despite her ability to spend millions to hire professional lobbyists and flood the airways with ads, parents, teachers and community members were able to defeat her in Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee, Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa.

Most of Rhee’s agenda runs counter to what parents identify as their top priorities, including small class sizes, less high-stakes testing, improving neighborhood schools, recruiting and retaining strong and experienced teachers, and giving parents a real voice in governing schools.

Will Sac City Unified Race to the Top?

California failed to receive RTTT grants under Gov. Schwarzenegger. Gov. Jerry Brown and Supt. Torlakson have applied for a waiver for No Child Left Behind trying to have California meet guidelines under its own terms instead of the Federal governments. Brown has declared he wants to lessen the emphasis on high stakes testing for California children and direct the millions of dollars spent on testing and data tracking systems elsewhere.

Race To The Top 2012 Invites School Districts To Compete

 by Joy Resmovits
Race to the Top, the U.S. Education Department's $4.35 billion contest, is getting personal.  The competition this year opens $400 million in grant money to school districts -- and not states, like in previous rounds -- with a focus on "personalized learning," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce Tuesday. 

Sac City Unified's Board Resolution Creates Division and Dissension Among Teachers

                Last Friday night at an emergency school board meeting that wasn't televised, the SCUSD school board resolved to set aside an administrative law judge's ruling on skipping teacher seniority on layoffs. In voting for the resolution, the board decided to protect newer teacher's jobs at  Superintendent's Raymond's Priority Schools, rather than accepting the judge's decision that the teachers at the priority schools didn't meet the criteria for skipping layoffs laid out in the Education Code.

Layoffs by Seniority Contested

By John Fensterwald - Educated Guess
Administrative law judges have ruled that San Francisco Unified and Sacramento City Unified exceeded their authority to protect teachers at high priority, low-performing schools from districtwide layoffs this year.

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