Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quick Hits

Kentucky teachers file lawsuit over right to leave unions: Four Kentucky public-school teachers have filed suit in federal court against three teachers unions, alleging that the groups refused to let members resign. The educators, from the Jefferson County school district, asked a judge to grant their suit class-action status. A spokesman from the National Right to Work Foundation, which is backing the case, said that although the case would only apply to Jefferson County teachers, it could have repercussions for public employees in unions across the country. (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

NCLB needs to be changed in 2010, Duncan urges: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is calling on educators and others to help rewrite the No Child Left Behind law by early next year. Duncan says the administration supports the testing and accountability portions of NCLB but hopes the law can go further in respecting the "honored, noble status of educators." Duncan will deliver a speech on the topic today, where he is expected to ask for a "greater sense of urgency" in reforming education. (USA TODAY)

Teacher: Literacy education must adapt to a changing world: Critical thinking can and should be taught through analyzing online media, and accurate assessments of literacy should start considering the multiple information platforms today's students use, argues Paul Barnwell, a middle-school language arts teacher in Kentucky. A continued reliance on nothing but traditional texts will not prepare students to understand or influence the media of their future, Barnwell writes in this column. (Education Week)

Research on New York City charter schools points to achievement gains: Students enrolled in New York City's charter schools outperformed their public-school peers on standardized tests, according to a study. A Stanford University economist compared the state test results of students who were randomly selected to attend charter schools with students who were not chosen through the city's charter-school lottery. A gap in achievement widened as students spent more time in charter schools. (The New York Times)

Opinion: Education reform is progressing, but Obama must take on NCLB: President Barack Obama is planning bold education reforms driven in part by federal stimulus funding, but he has yet to take on what Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus contends is his biggest challenge: No Child Left Behind. The pivotal test of his education policy will be whether Obama can keep the law's focus on accountability while giving schools more flexibility, Marcus writes. (The Washington Post)

Florida city looks at possibility of seceding from school district: City officials in Boca Raton, Fla., are considering the possibility of turning their city's 10 public schools -- part of the Palm Beach County School District -- into charter schools run by the city. Although the public schools in Boca Raton are performing well, city leaders are concerned about recent moves by the school district -- including a change from a one-teacher plan and new elementary-school homework rules. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Panel releases draft of national education standards: A group of experts and educators has released a draft of its proposed national education standards for students in English and math. The broad curriculum guidelines are expected to get more specific in 2010, when grade-by-grade standards will be outlined. For now, the proposal includes an expectation that students will be able to solve systems of equations and real-world problems using math and develop writing skills based on tone and topic. (The Washington Post), (Education Week)

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