Mile High- What happened in Colorado last week on teacher quality really is a big deal. The comprehensive nature of this bill is enormously significant and the AFT publicly breaking with the NEA on an issue this important. The CW is that because the AFT is a small player in CO it wasn’t significant. This has it exactly backwards. Because the AFT is a small player in CO but chose to do this anyway is a signal. In fact, it’s causing a weird nexus between the anti-union dues crowd and the anti-testing crowd. This Denver Post column is must-reading about it.
There is also a deal in New York on the table. It’s not as ambitious as Colorado or D.C. but before you dismiss it remember the context…this is NEW YORK. Here’s a taste of that. In addition, everyone fetishizing various numbers for what percent of a teachers’ evaluation should be based on test scores would be wise to remember that there is some room for innovation here because there are not hard and fast validated templates that can be laid over state or local systems right now as well as various technical constraints. In other words, some innovation is fine.
And speaking of politics, brutal column from the Indy Star. Sign of the times.
$23 billion question? Arne Duncan sent a letter to the Hill urging action on the $23 billion teacher job bill and The White House put the word out, too. A lot of folks in the reform community on the other side until some language addressing last hired/first fired policies is included. Also some challenges around budget rules, which mean a unified Democratic caucus is a must in the Senate. Stay tuned. Sawchuk has some important context in Ed Week. Absent some structural reforms the problem is going to get worse and worse and we’ll look a back at $23 billion as a bargain. Matt Miller on the issue here.
Almost Heaven? A great story about some bravery from State Senator Erik Wells got lost in all the other political news out of West Virginia.
Charlottesville filmmaker Chris Farina’s new film “World Peace and other 4th-grade achievements” is pretty cool and well worth your time.
Turns out you can run an outstanding school in East Palo Alto.
Joel Rose and School of One get a Freakanomics star turn in the NYT.
George Miller is going to take on Head Start and fraud later this week at a hearing Tuesday at 1:30. Could be some action coming out of this one. In fact, Miller knows you need to do that on a full stomach, so he met with Rachel Ray last week.
So what do Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Jackson Browne, Wayne Shorter, and Ben Harper have in common? They all played the annual benefit for ICEF Public Schools last week.
Georgia state chief Kathy Cox is going to lead the Delivery Institute.
Ben Wildavsky lays out the free-mind-trade argument under-girding his new book in the WSJ.
Great event on charters and special needs students next Monday, 24th, in D.C. And Arizona State is sponsoring a throw-down on improving American schools. It’s at the National Press Club June 4th.