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EEP & Signatory News

  • DC Schools Chancellor (and EEP board member) Michelle Rhee reflects on the highs and lows of her last three years leading the DC Public Schools and the recent mayoral primary results on EdWeek.  EdWeek also features a video of Rhee’s thoughts; in her own words: “What a lot of people were thinking was it was too much, or too fast…But I think we can rest soundly at night knowing that we really believed that that sense of urgency was necessary. We didn’t want to wait another day knowing that another D.C. child was not getting the education they deserve,” she said, “so it was only the best intentions we had in terms of the pace of reform.”
  • From our partner, The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), on supporting the DREAM Act: This is an important time to make your voice heard in Congress.  The future of immigrant students across the nation depends on the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act,” which is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate as early as next week!  The “DREAM Act” is legislation that would remove existing barriers that prevent immigrant youth from fully contributing to our country because of their lack of legal status.  Don’t let our country lose another generation of young people who stand to contribute to our economy and society—sign the petition to urge your members of Congress to vote in support of this critical piece of legislation!
  • EEP Board member John Legend surprised students at Howard University yesterday as part of the mtvU’s Stand In program, and taught a lesson on race and education, USA Today reports.
  • David Rothkopf writes in Foreign Policy of the global implications of the local politics (the DC mayoral primary in particular), and the progress (or lack thereof) we’ve made as a nation to embrace our systemic educational deficiencies and compete globally again. This piece features the work EEP co-chair and NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Board member Michelle Rhee.


  • Jay Matthews takes a close look at what No Child Left Behind did and didn’t do, citing a new paper titled, “The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Students, Teachers and Schools.” The paper finds that No Child Left Behind helped fourth and eighth grade math achievement the most, particularly minorities, but didn’t do much for fourth or eighth grade reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
  • US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Sterling Elementary School in Pineville, N.C., where he participated in a discussion about turning around low-performing schools.
  • EdWeek reports that officials from each of the Race to the Top –winning states came to DC yesterday to finalize their budgets and discuss implementation plans.
  • An editorial in the New York Times urges DC mayoral primary winner Vincent Gray to protect the capital’s school reform efforts from being undermined in their infancy.
  • Milton Chen, Senior Fellow of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, writes in Edutopia that if technology motivates students, we should use it in all facets of instruction.  “Technology in its many forms is showing how teaching and learning can paint with a much broader palette of colors, from images and music to games, simulations, wikis, and many others, any time, any place, on laptops, desktops, and smartphones.”
  • Anne O’Brien, Acting director of the Learning First Alliance, writes in Edutopia of the importance of engaging parents in their children’s education, rather than just involving them in it.  She offers two options for increase parental engagement in schools:  a new model for parent-teacher conferences, and a principal-counselor-parent book club.
  • CNN (video, text) reports on President Obama’s announcement of a new education initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Jay Matthews evaluates the President’s new STEM plan in the Washington Post.
  • The Washington Post (video) covers the DC premiere of Waiting for “Superman” and interviews producers, participants and John Legend! (Additional coverage by The Hollywood Reporter)
  • State EdWatch reports that 37 states are hosting governor’s races this fall, and 8 of them have state superintendents’ contests on the ballot.

From the States
The Denver Post reports on the results of the Denver School Performance Framework, which ranks schools each year based on data points that consider everything from student attendance to parental involvement, but is weighted most heavily on how students improve academically from year to year.  Results show that the number of poorly performing Denver schools has been cut by half since 2008.
The Harvard Education Letter depicts “scenes from the school turnaround movement,” and highlights work being done in Hartford (CT) Public Schools.  “It is not yet clear—and may not be for a few years—if Hartford Public High School is actually being turned around. But test scores released in mid-July 2010 suggest Hartford may be on to something.”
The St. Petersburg Times reports that Florida’s class size mandate is pushing some students to take online courses with a certified teacher.
Michigan Radio reports that two Detroit elementary schools are participating in a new three-year, federally funded program to help keep students in school and on track to graduate from high school. The program will utilize mentors and tutors from the nonprofit City Year Detroit. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University will aid teachers and administrators with academics, while social workers from Communities in Schools will offer student-counseling services.
New York

  • The Associated Press reports that a fund created by the Goldman Sachs investment banking and securities firm, known as Goldman Sachs Gives, is giving $20 million for the Geoffrey Canada (EEP signatory)-led Harlem Children’s Zone – the largest ever by the fund.
  • News and Tribune highlights a teaching cadet program that allows high schools students to experience life as a classroom teacher.

North Carolina
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan lauds the work of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ strategic staffing plan, which provides cash incentives for the best teachers to work in low-performing schools, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Washington, D.C.
Speculation abounds about Chancellor Rhee. Will she stay? Will she go?  If she goes who might replace her?  The Washington Post, EduFlack, and TBD offer predictions.  (Of course we’re excited to see two EEP signatories – JC Brizard and Deborah Gist – in the mix.)

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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