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Monday News Roundup: How Educated Is Your Legislator?

A lot of state lawmaking sessions have ended for the year, after months of frenzied activity on education issues. But the news never stops. Over the past week, we've seen a host of interesting stories focused on state politics and schools.

A few highlights:

  • How educated is your legislator? The Chronicle of Higher Education set out to answer that question by examining the educational backgrounds of the more than 7,000 state lawmakers around the country. On the whole, about 75 percent of the nation's state legislators have a bachelor's degree. By that standard most educated statehouses were California (90 percent with at least a bachelor's degree), followed by Virginia, Nebraska, New York, and Texas. The bottom five, starting with the states with the small percentage of lawmakers with a bachelor's, were New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, New Mexico, and Arkansas.
  • In South Carolina, the state board of education voted 13-3 to ask that state schools chief Mick Zais reconsider his vow not to allow the state to pursue money through the federal Race to the Top competition. But the board's options appear to be limited. Zais immediately said he would not change his mind. He has been an unusually outspoken critic of the Race to the Top—which his predecessor and other state leaders applied for—saying accepting the money would allow federal intrusion in to the state's schools.
  • The Chicago Tribune has a profile of Jonah Edelman, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Stand for Children, a story that looks at his organization's political work on school issues. Edelman and his organization were major players in the successful passage of a sweeping Illinois measure (set to be signed into law today) that ties teacher promotion, tenure, and removal to performance.

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