Did Jerry Brown Just Ding Arne Duncan? In his State of the State address yesterday, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) talked a bit about federalism and education policy. He proposed a new funding formula and called for more local control. (Some background: his more customized No Child Left Behind waiver was rejected by the U.S. Education Department). Then it got a little snipe-y!
"Then there is the Congress which passes laws like "No Child Left Behind," and finally the Federal Department of Education, whose rules, audits and fines reach into every classroom in America, where sixty million children study, not six million," Brown said. Brown continued:
Performance metrics, of course, are invoked like talismans. Distant authorities crack the whip, demanding quantitative measures and a stark, single number to encapsulate the precise achievement level of every child.
Hmmm, "distant authorities." Since California is on the West coast, could that mean U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C.? I called Brown's office to check, and they haven't gotten back to me. I'll update accordingly if they do.
Teachers Take Back Their Profession? Have you noticed the proliferation of organizations that purport to be the "voice of teachers?" Richard Lee Colvin of Hechinger Report fame takes stock of this trend in a new Education Next article. He writes about the "small but rapidly growing national movement to give classroom teachers opportunities to make a mark on their profession and on public education." Some of these groups are Teach Plus, Educators 4 Excellence, the Viva Project. It's a long read, but a good one.
As the first Democrat in nearly four decades to win Indiana's top elected education post, Ritz's next challenge is equally steep: navigate the tricky politics of the Republican-controlled statehouse.
"The waters are likely to be choppy and a bit turbulent," Ritz's chief of staff Craig Hartzer told StateImpact after her first week on the job. "But I'm very confident the new superintendent will be able to put her positions forward in a very persuasive way."
Though the path before Ritz is still fraught with pitfalls -- lawmakers are still pondering two proposals that would limit Ritz's powers -- even some conservatives say Ritz has started off her second term on the right foot.
More School Money For Idaho? Idaho schools chief Tom Luna wants 3 percent more for schools next year, reports the Idaho Press. Luna's budget includes a small raise for teachers -- restoring money pulled from salaries to enact the merit pay component from the so-called "Luna Laws" that failed the November election.