May 2011 Archives

Wisconsin's Highest Court Next Stop for Bargaining Law

Wisconsin's Supreme Court will hold a hearing on June 6 on the state's controversial law that restricted collective bargaining for most state workers, about two weeks after a circuit court judge declared the law invalid.

Perry vs. Obama in 2012 Would Offer Plenty of Intrigue

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he's considering a bid for the White House. The Republican's candidacy would almost certain underscore stark contrasts between him and President Obama on the federal role in education.

N.J. Supreme Court Orders Funding Boosts for Poor Urban Districts

The New Jersey Supreme Court orders funding restored to the state's poorest urban districts.

State EdWatch on Hiatus

I'll be on break from May 20 and May 27, and returning to State EdWatch after that.

AFT Calls for End to Pension 'Spiking,' Says Most Benefits Are Fair

The American Federation of Teachers calls for changes in pensions that will control their costs, such as double-dipping. But it also says some of the rhetoric about high pension costs for taxpayers are overblown.

Idaho Schools Chief Warns Against Using School Resources for Politics

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has issued a memo warning teachers, administrators, and others against using school grounds for political purposes. The state's leading teachers' union says it is being targeted by the proposal

A More Optimistic Budget Outlook in California, Other States

The budget situation in California, and a number of other states, has improved, with more tax revenues than expected rolling in. That could mean more money for K-12.

John King Named Education Commissioner in New York

John King, a 36-year-old Brooklyn native, has been named New York's next education commisioner. He will be the first African-American and Puerto Rican to hold the job.

A Primer on Class-Size Reductions, from Brookings

A report from the Brookings Institution says that state lawmakers, when considering class size reductions, may want to consider keeping them low among disadvantaged students at early grades.

A Dust-Up, Then Peace, Between Diane Ravitch, Deborah Gist

A meeting between Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and education historian Diane Ravitch produces controversy, but both sides are now taking a conciliatory tack.

'Don't Fail Me': CNN Tells Story of Three High-Achieving Students

On Sunday, May 15, CNN will air the documentary "Don't Fail Me," which follows three elite, high-achieving students as they attempt to pursue their academic dreams—and face major challenges along the way.

Ally of Jeb Bush, John McCain Helping Pawlenty Presidential Campaign

Phil Handy, an influential former Florida state board of education official, is helping Tim Pawlenty's campaign for president. Handy worked on John McCain's 2008 campaign for the White House.

Paul Pastorek Resigns as School Superintendent in Louisiana

Paul Pastorek, the Louisiana state schools chief who won praise for setting new and more demanding academic standards in his state, has resigned from that post. He will go to work for an aerospace and defense contractor.

Pastorek Expected to Resign as Louisiana Schools Chief

Paul Pastorek, who as served as Louisiana's state superintendent of schools since 2007, is expected to resign, sources tell the Associated Press. Test scores have improved under Pastorek though he has occasionally angered state lawmakers.

A Less-Publicized School Plan from Mitch Daniels

A recent measure signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will switch local school board elections from the spring to the fall.

Funders of School Choice Aim to Boost 'Competition'

Funders at a "policy summit" on school choice said that they view the financing of voucher programs and charter schools as a way to promote competition in American education.

California Teachers' Pension Benefits Not Excessive, Study Says

As debates over public pension systems play out in California and around the country, a new study shows that many workers in the state have quite generous retirement benefits, compared to the private sector. Teachers' benefits? Not as much.

Big-Time Budget Standoff in California

California Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed placing a series of tax extensions and increases on the ballot, but GOP lawmakers won't budge. Schools could be looking at cuts, as a result.

Does New Indiana Voucher Law Squeeze Private School Rights?

A Cato Institute scholars says Indiana's far-reaching voucher law will detract from the academic freedom offered to private schools.

Michigan Policy Helped Poor Districts Academically, Not Rich Ones, Study Says

A study finds that a landmark Michigan policy, which sought to create more level funding between rich and poor districts, helped students in the poor districts academically, but appears to have hurt those in wealthier systems.

NEA Looks to Put Dollars Behind Ballot Efforts

The National Education Association is backing an effort in Idaho to collect enough signatures to have an item placed on the ballot to overturn a collective bargaining law. It's also likely to focus on similiar efforts in other states, including Ohio.

Idaho Petition Drive One of Many Challenges to New Bargaining Laws

An Idaho teachers' union is launching a petition drive to block a series of new laws that change collective bargaining rights. It's one of a series of legal and political challenges to new laws in the states.

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