Rhee-grets, She Has A Few? Former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is out with a new memoir this week (called "Radical"), and she's making the talk show rounds to promote it. Yesterday, she told George Stephanopolous on "This Week" that maybe she shouldn't have fired that principal on TV. "My style is very deliberative and very focused on doing what's right for kids. And so I wouldn't change that so much," Rhee said. "Should I have fired ineffective principals? Absolutely. Should I have done so on national TV? Probably not." Here's a Times interview, in which she says she regrets initially not taking test security questions seriously. Also, Rhee is scheduled to be on The Daily Show tonight, so that should be fun!
Vouchers To Grow In Ohio? In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's (R) budget plan would reduce funding gaps between wealthy and poor public school districts and also create a new voucher program, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The new vouchers would give about $4,250 a year toward private-school tuition to any kindergartener whose family is making less than 200 percent of the poverty line. The next year, Kasich would expand the program to include first graders. While an existing scholarship plan currently does something similar for 15,702 students, a full 1.8 million students would qualify for the new plan's income requirements The budget plan includes a 6 percent overall school funding increase the following year, and then 3.2 percent more the next year.
Reform Fatigue In L.A.? "Antonio Villaraigosa Led The Way On Education Reform, But His Potential Successors Are Reluctant To Pick Up The Torch," reads the headline of an L.A. Weekly blog post.. The two top mayoral contenders to replace Villaraigosa at the helm of the nation's second largest school district aren't campaigning Villaraigosa-style reforms. The West Coast city's dynamic seems to echo New York's -- mayoral candidates have eschewed, for the most part, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's big, controversial reform agenda.
It's back to school for Congress. Today, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, held his first organizational meeting with the 113th Congress's iteration of his committee. In his opening remarks, Kline said reauthorizing No Child Left Behind will remain a "top priority." NCLB, the sweeping law that governs public K-12 education, expired in 2007.
So There Was An Inauguration... As you might have heard, this weekend, President Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term. And at the inauguration, he gave a speech. The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss teased out O's references to education. (Hint: There weren't many. For the most part, Obama lumped in education with other domestic policy issues in need of reform). More here from Politics K-12.
Obama 2.0? As part of the Huffington Post's series on Obama's second term ("The Road Forward,") we reported out this story on his plans. The White House and Education Department have so far been pretty tight-lipped about their plans, but a few little birdies told us that they're cooking something up on the early education front. See here for more.
Cluster Suck? The New York Daily News takes another look at the StudentsFirstNY teacher distribution report and finds something stunning: 20 percent of teachers are "bad" teachers in each of 14 Brooklyn schools. To give you some perspective: only 3 percent of all city school teachers got these negative ratings. And two of those schools received "A" ratings from the Department of Education. (I should note here that these ratings are volatile, etc., but you already knew that.)
No Closure Cash? A recent trend in urban education has been school closures. New York City recently made headlines for releasing a lengthly list of schools slated to be closed. Philadelphia has made similar news. And Chicago is now deciding which of its "underutilized" schools it will close. A similar thread between all these closures has been the argument that closing schools saves money. But a new study adds to the growing body of evidence that shows this may not actually be true.