Chicago Full-Day K? In the midst of much bitter infighting over school closures in Chicago, Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are announcing an initiative that is perhaps aimed to quell the melee: all CPS schools will have full-day kindergarten, reports the Sun-Times. "The change will make full-day kindergarten available to 30,700 children next fall -- 4,200 more than this school year," the paper reports.
Netflix Reauthorizes No Child Left Behind? Or so quips this EdWeek headline. Real-life Congress hasn't yet reauthorized NCLB (since 2007!), but characters on the Netflix series "House of Cards" do. "[Writer Beau] Willimon noted on Twitter that he hinged the plot on education because it affects us all directly and indirectly, and because of the contention that often revolves around education reform," EdWeek writes. Read the full story for a taste of which education fights the show covers. My take: Obviously TV isn't reality, but there are a few major inaccuracies. The most glaring one in my eyes is that teachers unions can't legally hold a national strike over some federal legislation they dislike!
McDonnell Gets By With A Little Help From His Friend As Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) continued his push for education reforms in Virginia, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) stopped by for a little nudge in the right direction, reports the Associated Press. "Jindal was in Richmond for U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's fundraiser, so Gov. Bob McDonnell took the opportunity to have his fellow Republican talk about grading schools on an A-to-F scale and allowing the state to take over chronically failing schools," AP writes.
Happy Waiver Day! Today, the Senate's Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the No Child Left Behind waivers, featuring none other than U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the big cheese himself. Catch our preview here.
Gates's Gigantic Growth? Michigan State University Professor Sarah Reckhow takes a look at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's funding patterns over on Alexander Russo's blog. "The decade from 2000 to 2010 was a time of enormous growth and evolution for the Gates Foundation," Reckhow writes. "Warren Buffett's pledge of more than $30 billion substantially increased the Gates Foundation's resources, and grant-making more than doubled from 2005 to 2009. Even more marked are the Foundation's dramatically shifted priorities." Over the years, Gates has shifted its money from directly funding schools to instead subsidizing research, advocacy and activism.
When it comes to education, the role and effects of technology has been a tough nut to crack. As tomorrow's Digital Learning Day approaches, education groups and officials are offering up their recommendations.
Last night, former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee stopped by The Daily Show to promote her memoir, "Radical." Host Jon Stewart's mother is a teacher, so he pressed Rhee on many of these policies, especially his (and teachers') dissatisfaction with the heavy emphasis on standardized tests.
Rhee The Radical? Former Washington, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee continues the book tour for her memoir, "Radical," stopping last night at the Daily Show. She talked to host Jon Stewart about standardized testing, school accountability, and poverty. Stewart's mother was a teacher, so it's always interesting to see him interview education figures. For now, watch the interview here. More on that soon. And stay tuned -- Rhee is slated to appear on HuffPost Live at 1:30 p.m., so set your, er, Google calendars to remind you!
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.
Walmart-Backed Engagement? Catalyst Chicago has reported that Chicago's community hearings on school closures are being underwritten by the Walton Foundation. Catalyst notes that Chicago Public Schools officials have said they "don't want to link the volatile issue of school closings with the equally volatile issue of charter school openings," but Walton is a major backer of charter schools. Media isn't allowed to attend these community sessions. "This grant is allowing us to initiate what is probably the most inclusive and rigorous outreach to parents CPS has done to include their voice at the front end of this process," a CPS spokesperson told Catalyst.
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.
Scott Walker-Style Merit Pay? Speaking at a Friday convention, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he wants the state to begin a program that would pay partially teachers in accordance with their ratings, reports the Badger Herald. "One of the things we're looking to do going forward is to put additional resources into public education over the next two years in this budget in a variety of different ways is in part ... put money behind performance," Walker said. "How can we provide an incentive bonus?"
Mayor Of New York State? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has had it. Speaking to a joint legislative panel in Albany, Bloomberg said the school districts that submitted teacher evaluation plans that expire in a year have committed "fraud," reports the Buffalo News. Bloomberg also said that the holdup over NYC's evaluations -- the so-called "sunset" provisions -- surprised him. Ernest Logan, who heads the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators, is miffed, to say the least. "The mayor turned the truth upside-down," he wrote in a Monday letter to his membership that was forwarded to HuffPost. "We can't comprehend how he can claim surprise when the issue was on the table throughout both unions' negotiations and was approved ... for virtually every other district statewide."
Tom Harkin Out? This weekend, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) announced he won't be running for reelection. While the "liberal lion's" announcement made news, what I didn't see mentioned in many stories about the retirement is that Harkin is chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee -- the very one that is in charge of dealing with the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. So what's next for HELP? Harkin has told me he intends to reset the reauthorization process while he's still there, but as the folks at Politics K-12 note, that desire could "set up an interesting dynamic with the Obama administration," which is more focused on implementing the waivers it has issued from the law to 34 states and Washington, D.C. The White House wasn't exactly thrilled with the bill his committee moved last year.