House Education Panel On School Safety On Wednesday, members of the House Education & Workforce Committee mulled over ways to keep schools safe in light of the horrific Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting, reports Politics K-12. Witnesses told the committee that "school resource officers, additional guidance counselors, and professional development for educators can help schools head off tragedies," the blog reports. But there was next to no conversation about gun control. Hmmm.
Arne Duncan, Fact-Checked The Washington Post's fact checker gives U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan four Pinocchios for his remarks on teachers in a West Virginia county getting pink slipped -- already -- in light of sequestration. The Post found no news reports about these pink slips before learning that these were just "transfer notices," sent to Title I teachers unrelated to the upcoming across-the-board cuts. And the Head Start layoffs Duncan's staff referred to in that county? They're getting canned because under the Education Department's new re-competition rules, their Head Start center isn't getting renewed.
Wyoming Wants A Waiver Wyoming announced that it, too, will seek a waiver from No Child Left Behind as the law's performance deadlines approach, reports the Star Tribune. Officials say the state's school accountability system already aligns with what the federal government is looking for in these waivers. Already, the Education Department has approved waivers for 34 states. G'luck!
Chicago Reprimands Six Charter Schools Chicago Public Schools added six charter schools to its list of underperforming schools, a move that shocked charter operators, reports WBEZ. They had only hours of notice before their "warning list" status went public. The status means the district will review their charters once every year, rather than once every few years -- probably a good move on the accountability front. One charter school issued a statement saying ""it is impossible for charter schools to meet a moving target of accountability, or effectively participate in a constantly shifting process. Four CPS administrations in five years have continuously moved the goal posts."
Expensive L.A. Races? As we've previously reported, the Los Angeles school board races are getting mighty expensive, to the tune of $3.4 million. And the pro-charter folks are outspending the union thus far. What's going on? Here, bi-coastal gadfly Alexander Russo has a rundown of "what's really happening" in LaLaLand schools. "Not all of the union's spending seems to be reported and accounted for," Russo writes. "As good as the disclosure requirements are in LA, it's a self-reported system and there have been a handful of times where UTLA-PACE, the independent expenditure committee that funds the campaigns, hasn't reported things that seem like campaign activity, or has transferred funding between different IE accounts in ways that are hard to explain and may not match up as they should."
Amy Wilkins Starts At College Board Civil rights and education activist Amy Wilkins is stepping into a new civil rights position at the College Board, as we report. The SATs were first created to help level the college admissions playing field for students from all backgrounds and incomes. But critics contend that the goal has been sullied by test-preparation opportunities that benefit wealthier students. "These students are within our care, and we observe patterns that are unequal," College Board president David Coleman told me. "We are going to act to ensure that these kids have the opportunities they need."