01/15/2013 07:04 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Michael Bloomberg's Rough Week With Labor, Graduation Rate Increases: Ed Tonight

A Somewhat Happy Education Headline? America's students are graduating high school at higher rates, according to a new Harvard report (via the Wall Street Journal.) In 2000, researchers found, 77.6 percent of Americans ages 20-24 had high school diplomas; 10 years later, 83.7 percent of that same group held diplomas. "The improvement was particularly sharp among blacks and Hispanics," WSJ reports. "For instance, in 2000, 61.2% of black men between 20 and 24 had finished high school; in 2010, 72.0% of black men in that age bracket had." But even so, 20 percent of American men between 20 and 24 -- and 14 percent of women -- still lack that crucial certification.

Are We Focusing On The Wrong Kids? In a new Economic Policy Institute paper out today, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein make the case for taking a closer look at international testing data. They also said they found sampling errors in PISA data, a finding that did not sit well with PISA'er-in-chief Andreas Schleicher. Their analysis leads them to a fairly provocative conclusion: compared to their peer groups in other countries, our better-off students actually perform worse than our low-income students -- and maybe they should be the focus of education policy. Our story here.

Mike Bloomberg Having A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week? New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is not having the bestest time with labor this week. On the one hand, there are only two days until failure to negotiate teacher evaluations with the United Federation of Teachers will result in the loss of $300 million dollars in federal money. On the other hand, there's a school bus strike, which is slated to start tomorrow and would affect a disproportionate number of special-needs students. Que oy!

What Cheater, Where? The New York State Education Department today launched a new watchdog website that allows whistleblowers to report on possible testing infractions, reports GothamSchools' Geoff Decker. The site is the state's first tangible response to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's calls for more test security.

People: Tom Harkin's New Press Sec Allison Preiss, a Hill staffer who previously worked for Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), is setting up shop in the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee. She'll be working for committee chair Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) there. The committee has oversight over major education laws such as No Child Left Behind (which expired five years ago) and the Higher Education Act (which will expire this year). Welcome to the wacky, wonky, strange bedfellows-y world of education policy.

**Extra Credit:**
And now, a special report on education from the Onion.