Teacher Pension Plans, StudentsFirst, and RttT Amendments

EEP co-chair Joel Klein pens a powerful op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on why teacher pensions don’t work, explaining the negative effects of costly teacher pension plans on school operating budgets, and ultimately teacher quality and school performance. “Defined-benefit pensions helped bring the once-vibrant U.S. auto industry to its knees… Alas, the same kind of pensions are now hollowing out public education… Today incoming governors—Democrats and Republicans—faced with this dismal equation are looking for a way to undo the damage and get out from under these unsustainable promises.”
The Associated Press highlights the work of StudentsFirst founder and EEP board member Michelle Rhee, as she takes her reform message nationwide with her new organization.  To date, the organization has recruited 140,000 members and has raised $1.4 million!
EdWeek reports that the Obama administration has released a memo (pdf) intended to explain the types of amendments it will accept to original plans submitted by states for the federal Race to the Top competition—and the types of changes that would put the awardees’ funding at risk.
The Chief Research & Innovation Officer and the Public Affairs Officer of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) respond to criticism on KIPP school attrition rates on Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post.
Guest blogger Roxana Elden writes on Rick Hess: Straight Up about five words and phrases that “sound different to teachers” than to the policymakers and pundits who utter them. Her point is that policymakers and teachers rarely speak the same language, and those who seek “educator buy-in on the next big idea should first consult [her] translation guide… which explains some catchphrases and buzzwords that set off warning bells for teachers.”
As we noted last week, Governor-elect Jerry Brown has appointed new board members to the State Board of Education, replacing EEP board member and Parent Revolution founder Ben Austin in the process.  The governor has also eliminated the position of education secretary and the staff for that office, in an attempt to further cut costs. EdWeek covers the story.  The LA Times observes that many observers see Brown’s shakeup of the California Board of Education as a shift away from education reform initiatives such as charter schools, parent empowerment and teacher accountability.
The Associated Press reports that the Kentucky Senate passed a neighborhood schools bill Friday that would allow Kentucky children to attend the public school closest to their homes and permit school districts to establish charter schools.

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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