The Gap Grows

EEP & Signatory News

  • A Providence Journal column praises state education commissioner (and EEP board member) Deborah Gist for her work in upgrading conditions in the state for cultivating great teachers, citing additional praise by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
  • Jay Matthews writes on his Class Struggle blog that DC Schools Chancellor (and EEP board member) Michelle Rhee is central to the future of DC Schools, as the District prepares for democratic primaries this fall.


  • The Department of Education announces that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty (EEP signatory), Washington, D.C., Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee and U.S. Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez will join 100-150 students and parents in “walking to school” Tuesday along a two-block route from Lincoln Park to Maury Elementary in the nation’s capital.
  • The Race to the Top 2nd round winners could be announced as early as tomorrow – watch our twitter feed (@edequality) for up-to-the-minute information!  A “major announcement regarding the Race to the Top fund program” is scheduled for 1pm Tuesday. To Dial-in: 888-324-9653, passcode: “Competition”
  • The Washington Post features a balanced piece on new Teach for America recruits and their expanding role in schools across the country.
  • Since the Schott Foundation report on young black men in public schools was released last week, there has been extreme interest in the subject across the media.  Bob Herbert writes a powerful call-to-action piece in the New York Times, urging the black community to “demand justice on a wide front — think employment, education and the criminal justice system — while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by.” The Dropout Nation podcast (audio) takes the issue head-on, recommending that we reform the way we teach reading to young black men and men of all races to help stem this aspect of the dropout crisis.  EdReformer calls for new schools in at-risk areas for the underserved black boys in our country.  A Philadelphia Inquirer editorial notes that in these distressed urban areas, white males are not succeeding, either.
  • Big Ideas in Education summarizes a new Gates- and Joyce- commissioned study (pdf) of six Teacher Incentive Fund sites, by Dr. Jonathan Eckert.  The study found that the models in these sites included significant teacher support, and that more teachers in each district wanted to be incorporated into the program.
  • EdWeek reports that states and districts are trying to decide to use their share of $10 billion on jobs aid. Some are using cash to reverse layoffs, while others plan to hold onto the aid as the stimulus “funding cliff” looms.  Politics K-12 asks what states will do when the “federal tap slows down?”
  • Politico reports that President Obama has appeared to call a “truce” with teachers unions, softening his tone on teacher quality and evaluation as the school year approaches.
  • A guest article on Education Next by Stephen Frank (director of Education Resource Strategies) challenges the long-held idea of class size ratios and their connection to student achievement, saying that moving past the one-teacher classroom model in general will offer more flexibility to help all students learn.
  • A lot has happened in the world of education – and education reform – this summer.  The New York Times put together a summer education news round-up of all of the most important education news of the last few months (as covered by the NYT).
  • An EdWeek commentary provides lessons that the education reform community can learn from First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign.
  • The New York Times follows parents who decide to wait until their children are a year older to enroll them in kindergarten (aka “red-shirting”), citing parental concerns about maturity and growth potential of their kids.
  • The Washington Post Answer Sheet blog asks “where’s the rigor?” in American public schools.

From the States

  • The LA Times reports that the Los Angeles teachers union has decided to reopen talks on evaluations with the school district leaders, but refuses to say whether the value-added method, even as just a part of teacher reviews, will be on the table.
  • The LA Times highlights Green Dot’s takeover of Locke High School on the troubled Watts campus, and shows that education reform is never easy.
  • The San Bernardino Sun highlights newly-opened Hardy Brown College Prep, a charter school which focuses on improving student achievement of the largely black population in that area of the San Bernardino City Unified school district.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Fulton School District will be evaluating whether to seek permission to become the largest charter school system in Georgia — and one of the biggest in the country — in Fall 2012.
Des Moines businessman Richard O. Jacobson has pledged $11 million to create the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy at the University of Northern Iowa, which will focus on educating, coaching and mentoring teachers and administrators to develop effective instructional practices based on current reading research.
The Boston Globe reports that months after the state passed legislation to double the number of charter school students in the lowest-performing school districts in the state, the number of charter school applications has tripled, with 10 out of the 42 applications coming from cities north of Boston.
A Kansas City Star column offers a series of necessary reform efforts for the city (and the nation) to revolutionize education. “But to do it in this country will require educators, politicians, parents, children and others to collectively be ‘smart, disciplined, focused and courageous’ to turn the culture of failure in schools into academic success. That’s the aim of the Kansas City School District, which this summer shed about 1,100 employees and closed nearly half of its 61 schools to concentrate resources on boosting student achievement ahead of school starting a week from today.”
New Jersey

  • Inside Jersey asks – Who will win the war over the future of public education? – highlighting both sides of the education reform battle in the Garden state, from the governor’s administration to his teacher union opposition and other school choice advocates across the spectrum. The article features E3 director (and EEP signatory) Derrell Bradford.
  • The Record reports that calls are mounting for a New Jersey teacher tenure system based on teachers’ skills, and details Governor Christie’s efforts thus far toward the effort of tenure reform in the state.

The Dallas Morning News reports that rising passing rates on the state’s school exams (known as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS) suggest that black, Hispanic and poor children are catching up with their wealthier, white and Asian classmates. But the number of students scoring high enough to be considered on-track for college shows that racial and economic gaps persist – and some are growing.
A Virginian-Pilot editorial discusses the stalled progress on education reform in the state.  “A cursory glance at the latest Standards of Learning test results might lead to the conclusion that Virginia’s schools are on a downward trajectory. While that’s not quite the case, the state’s schools are stagnating in a status quo that may be harder to shake off because too many students, parents, teachers and community leaders are satisfied with existing performance levels.
Washington, D.C.
The Washington Examiner interviews Susan Schaeffler, a former public school teacher who is the founder and CEO of DC KIPP, a group of four academically successful charter schools that are publicly funded and privately operated, and serve more than 800 low-income students in Washington.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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