This story from the Los Angeles Times portends really tough times for that district's teaching force. The school board approved a measure to give 2,300 teachers the pink slip if the fiscal situation doesn't improve. No wonder the state is pushing so hard for operating relief in the stimulus package currently being fleshed out on Capitol Hill. The story also indicates that the district will probably have to give up its love of smaller class sizes, suggesting that some may rise to nearly 30 students. The layoffs, the story indicates, would be targeted at teachers with fewer than two ...


Mike Antonucci, the union watchdog blogger at EIA Intercepts, has this contrary viewpoint to what he calls the "mass hysteria" in the media about the unionization of two New York City KIPP schools. "All this hoohah is silly," he writes. "How many stories have you read about the 355 new charter schools that opened this year? How many of them are unionized?" It's certainly true that a vast majority of charter schools are not unionized, and the teachers' unions have had a very hard time making inroads into such schools in the past. Still, the fact that charters that are ...


Our intrepid colleague Alyson Klein reports on a letter ostensibly sent by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education opposing New Leaders for New Schools President Jon Schnur, Teach For America CEO Wendy Kopp, and Education Sector Co-Founder Andy Rotherham, also known as "eduwonk," as appointments for the Education Department. The gloves are really off in this letter, which says that Kopp, Schnur, and Rotherham "have evidenced a constant and intense disregard for working with the organized education community" and that their appointments would signal "expansion for organizations that promote the revolving door of under-qualified teachers as the best ...


Florida's two experiments with merit pay in recent years disappeared like a hangover after a prolonged date with controversy. But some state lawmakers still want to revisit the concept by spending on a merit-pay plan some of the federal stimulus-package dollars that might fall into Florida's lap. Senate Select Committee on Florida's Economy Chairman Don Gaetz told the Associated Press yesterday that the one-time money shouldn't be used for recurring expenses such as salaries. "We've got to build an education infrastructure that can keep giving us economic development muscle as we go forward," he said. "If we spend this money ...


Here's a fairly big feather in the teachers' unions' let's-organize-charter-schools cap: Leo Casey at EdWize reports that a majority of teachers at a KIPP school in Brooklyn have decided to unionize and signed authorization cards with the United Federation of Teachers. This is significant news because unions have long struggled to bring charter schools into their fold without much success. New Orleans, where the teachers' union has been struggling to survive, is one of the more obvious examples of this. On the other hand, this is the second major piece of news in under two months on big-city charters going ...


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee's confirmation hearing for Arne Duncan, President-Elect Obama's nominee for Education Secretary, is focusing heavily on teacher-quality issues. You can watch it now at http://help.senate.gov/Hearings/2009_01_13/2009_01_13.html, or check in with us later when we'll bring you more details....


As inauguration fever grips many citizens in this nation, the two teachers' unions are giving teachers some help with bringing the Jan. 20 event into the classroom with a joint offering lesson plans on inaugural history. The guides, available here are designed to teach students about the history of Inauguration Day, and include information about the 2009 schedule of events and background about traditional inaugural ceremonies. The guides also suggest ways to supplement the lessons with discussion topics, films, books, and other educational Web sites. Students can, among other activities, compare and contrast the backgrounds of the two presidents from ...


Here's an interesting tidbit: K-8 teachers would, apparently, like to see Barack Obama as "Principal for a Day." Chicago-based educational publishing group Northpoint Horizons surveyed about 1,400 teachers on various aspects of education, including what supports and strategies they feel they need to be successful educators. But the question on principal for a day is indeed telling: Obama won three times as many votes as any other nominee. The top-10 vote getters also included Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush, Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Benjamin Franklin, and John F. Kennedy. There's no ...


The nose-diving economy has brought out the creative side of lawmakers trying to solve long-running problems in schools, like teacher retention. In Utah, where a study found that more than half the teachers who left their jobs in 2006-07 have taught for less than five years, a lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would make home-buying more affordable for new teachers, thereby giving them an incentive to stay on. Teachers in their first five years on the job would get $15,000 loans to buy homes. They would pay interest on the loans, but the $15,000 principal would be ...


A merger between the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers? Now that's one we haven't heard in almost a decade, since efforts to bring the two teachers' unions under a single umbrella were quashed by the NEA's Representative Assembly. But this week, after the presidents of 12 labor unions issued a joint call for unification when President-elect Barack Obama's transition office said that it would prefer dealing with a united labor movement, there's been some speculation over whether this might also translate into a teachers' union merger. The New York Times had this quote from Randi Weingarten, ...


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