The New Jersey Record has high hopes for Education Commissioner nominee Chris Cerf (EEP board member).  In an editorial published today, the paper hoped that the new commissioner would end (or quiet) the long-standing feud between Trenton and the NJ Education Association, the state’s largest union.  “If he is confirmed by the Senate, we hope Cerf will draw on his considerable experience to enlist the state’s teachers as the key players they are in this enterprise.”

According to a report issued today by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), extreme poverty in the United States increased during 2009 by 12.9 percent, expanding the number of people living below 50 percent of the poverty threshold by more than 2.1 million. As a result, extreme poverty was the fastest growing income group in America last year.

A recent study by the American Enterprise Institute titled “Choice without Options” (pdf) suggests that while a large percentage of DC parents choose to send their children to a school other than their zoned school, far fewer actually send them to a higher proficiency school.

The Center on Education Policy’s new report on testing finds, for example that a steady increase in the number of states using an exit exam (some kind of test students must pass in order to graduate).  EdWeek covers the findings.

The Atlantic Wire summarizes a new report titled “The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality” by Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek (EEP Signatory), which suggests that a “good teacher produces $400,000 more in future earnings for a class of 20 students than an average teacher.”

The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that the Qunicy School District is using a $200,000 federal grant to buy an array of portable “netbook” computers and other cutting-edge devices that allow selected teachers to try new educational techniques in the classroom.

NM Politics reports that Governor-elect Susana Martinez of has nominated Hanna Skandera to lead the Department of Education in New Mexico.

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