Today's news -- December 12, 2013




Day of action reveals widespread anger with education policies

“We have to fight for our children’s education.” Those words, from Philadelphia parent Kia Hinton, crystalized a national sentiment expressed during a Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education held on December 9 in over 100 sites across the country. The multiple events – held from Maine to San Francisco, New Orleans to Minneapolis/St. Paul – constituted “the largest coordinated action to reclaim the promise of public education in recent memory,” according to a statement from the American Federation of Teachers, a lead organizer and sponsor of the various actions. The events took on many forms – from street protests and rallies to town halls and news conferences – but there were common grievances overlapping the events. Over and over, voices at these events complained of lack of resources for their schools and inequality of how resources are spread. Whether they were teachers calling out unfair evaluations, parents decrying of high-stakes testing, or students criticizing unfair discipline policies, they all expressed feelings of being no longer in control of their education destinies. And numerous voices in the audiences of these events pointed to governing policies that increasingly are perceived as being driven by corruption and profit making rather than the best interest of students. At a protest rally in Pittsburgh, a local organizer complained, “Our kids have lost kindergarten, music [and] art … We want smaller class sizes…we want our librarians back.” At a protest in Syracuse, a representative from a parent group stated, “Not every child gets the same kind of education in New York state … It depends on who you’re born to and where they live, what kind of opportunities are available to you, and that’s not just right … It’s not fair and it doesn’t serve our society.” A parent speaking at the event in Newark, New Jersey, urged the audience to take back the control of local schools that are now governed by an unelected board. “We need to get back our local control,” she said. “No one’s held accountable. They get to do everything they want.” Protestors in New Orleans staged their event in front of a school scheduled for closure, which will force parents into the district’s complicated and unfair “choice” system that sends many NOLA students to distant campuses in other parts of town. “Why do I have to look elsewhere if I shop here, if I pay taxes here, if I live here?” one of the organizers said. “It’s not a failing school. It’s a failing system that set up this school.”


A quality education for all public school students (by Sharon Glickman, AFT and NEA mentioned)


Secret policymaking on school reform is on the rise

Education reform policy around the country is increasingly being made in secret or without public input -- and with a lot of private philanthropic money. A number of recent stories reveal the extent to which policy makers and school reformers are going to push their reform agenda to expand charter schools and vouchers in an effort to step up the privatization of public education.


Sequester cuts hit hardest students and schools that can least afford the cost (Dennis Van Roekel quoted)


Florida sees slight gain in graduation rate,0,5127911.story


Palm Beach graduation rate drops, charter schools to blame,0,1050921.story


Franklin School Board, union agree on contract (Cathy Wood and Paul Burdette quoted)


A look at the different salary proposals from Palm Beach district, teachers union (CTA mentioned)


Pasco officials explore inconsistencies in teacher evaluation data


Flouting the law in Marion


Alachua schools to start serving more local food to students


Pinellas parents raise money to keep strings program going at two elementary schools


Palm Beach GOP votes to condemn Common Core


Common Core testing group aims to ease data security concerns


Lottery sleight of hand


The education agenda of the Walton family


Lawsuit challenges vouchers for North Carolina private schools


Charter founder in Ohio makes large political contributions, gets rich


Keys college's attrition rate is high


Floridians lead enrollment in federal health insurance marketplace


Report raises more questions about Florida Medicaid reform,0,


The inadequate, necessary budget deal


How “limited government” is burying a generation in debt


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