School Choice! Pensions, Bellwether Is Hiring, 100 For Emma, $23 Billion From EdBuild, Class Dojo, 21st Century Skills….More…

We’re hiring at Bellwether for a pension analyst, great role on an important issue. We just released our annual report so you can learn a little more about how we do things.

Lynne Graziano on Rebecca Lee Crumpler.

What would happen if a state stopped enrolling new teachers in its pension plan? Kirsten Schmitz on Alaska.

Chad Aldeman on how Boston is a microcosm for U.S. education trends.

Big school choice announcement from the Trump Administration (the funds could be used for activities beyond school choice but that’s the headliner). Ordinarily, and historically, when multiple choice options are in play it’s generally good news for public charter schools. Some of the earliest charter laws passed as a third way compromise in the face of real pressure for school vouchers and that dynamic still shows.

In this case, however, it’s sort of an open secret that President Trump doesn’t care much about education and that even within his administration there are disagreements about the merits of the tax credit policy. What’s more, it’s hard to see an action forcing mechanism to make the threat of this legislation credible or to see a Democratic House acting on it. In normal political times you’d never discount a presidential priority but this isn’t a priority and these are not normal times with a president who can stay on any message for long.  Counterfactual: It would have been fascinating to see a serious school choice plan from the administration – focused on blue cities and with real money behind it. This is not that plan and why it’s more likely to be a good Democratic talking point more than much else. Meanwhile, the Trump branding is not helpful for school choice more generally but is a boon for the teachers unions.  Good times.

The Economist on broader teacher strike dynamics. More pension debate in Kentucky. About two-thirds of Kentucky teachers get some pension, and more than 40 percent of Kentucky teachers reach the normal retirement age in the profession – far higher than most other states. (Although, like some other states, the situation is getting worse for new teachers as a way to shore up the pension plan).

Pretty good CA strike summary here.

Charter schools and Overton Windows:

In introducing the bills now, O’Donnell and the co-authors may be moving ahead of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, whom Newsom has asked to create a panel of experts to look at the financial effect and other impacts of charter schools. Newsom was responding to the Los Angeles Unified school board’s request for a moratorium on new charters in Los Angeles while the state considers changes to the state charter law. The as yet unnamed commission is to recommend its changes by July 1.

Class Dojo is evolving.

Here are two good Mardi Gras stories with an education flavor to them.

21st Century Skills!

Periodically students decide not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and school officials do stupid stuff like escalate the situation and have them arrested. And then everyone gets a soap box. What’s amazing, though, is that there is – literally as the kids say – Supreme Court precedent on this. And it’s not recent. Kids don’t have to stand. That this is even a thing is a good reminder of the sprawling nature of our educaiton system.

Are funders souring on K-12?

Another charter boarding school in D.C.

Either way I lose.