Tuesday, January 15, 2013

UPDATE: Joy Resmovits: Iowa Education Reform Plan, Texas Budget Fight: Ed Today

Joy Resmovits: Iowa Education Reform Plan, Texas Budget Fight: Ed Today:

Michael Bloomberg's Rough Week With Labor, Graduation Rate Increases: Ed Tonight

A Somewhat Happy Education Headline? America's students are graduating high school at higher rates, according to a new Harvard report (via the Wall Street Journal.) In 2000, researchers found, 77.6 percent of Americans ages 20-24 had high school diplomas; 10 years later, 83.7 percent of that same group held diplomas. "The improvement was particularly sharp among blacks and Hispanics," WSJ reports. "For instance, in 2000, 61.2% of black men between 20 and 24 had finished high school; in 2010, 72.0% of black men in that age bracket had." But even so, 20 percent of American men between 20 and 24 -- and 14 percent of women -- still lack that crucial certification.

Are We Focusing On The Wrong Kids? In a new Economic Policy Institute paper out today, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein make the case for taking a closer look at international testing data. They also said they 

Teachers Union Donations: Who Gets NEA Cash?

Mike Antonucci went through the National Education Association's financial disclosure report so you don't have to. The NEA is the nation's largest teachers union. He found that the union spent $15 million on advocacy -- $3.8 less than the previous year.

Some interesting (but mostly predictable) grantees include Center for American Progress, American Bridge, Committee for Education Funding, Economic Policy Institute, Education Writers Association, Marylanders for 

New York School Bus Driver Strike Looms, Union Blasts Bloomberg

NEW YORK -- As New York City school bus drivers head toward a strike, slated for Wednesday morning, the national president of the drivers' union accused Mayor Michael Bloomberg of trying to gut standards for workers in public services, comparing the mayor to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who controversially rolled back collective bargaining rights for public employees in that state.

"This is the New York equivalent of Scott Walker's attempts to strip workers in public services of their wages and benefits," Larry Hanley, president of the 190,000-member Amalgamated Transit Union, told The Huffington Post. "That's what it's intended to do. It is an assault on the foundation of decent wages and decent health care and decent retirement standards."

Bloomberg, in turn, has accused the union of "abandoning" the city's students. "With its regrettable decision to 

Iowa Education Reform Plan, Texas Budget Fight: Ed Today

Ed Reform Coming To Iowa? Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad is planning a big, $187 million push on education this year, reports KCRG. "We have many good schools with committed educators, but they are stuck in a system designed for the 20th century, not the 21st century. I am ready to invest significant resources into these educational reforms, which truly have the power to dramatically raise achievement," Branstad said. "I do not believe we should spend even one minute discussing additional resources to prop up our current educational structure until we have first agreed on the reforms our children need."

Ed Budget Fight In Texas? Members of the Texas legislature are calling for slight increases to education funding, according to CBS Local. But Gov. Rick Perry (R) has other ideas. According to the report, he's focused on cutting taxes.

California Testing Movement Questioned? Last week, we noted that an education official in California wanted to suspend standardized testing in certain grades. But now, John Deasy, who heads the Los Angeles Unified

International Test Scores Often Misinterpreted To Detriment Of U.S. Students, Argues New EPI Study

NEW YORK -- Lawmakers should be more careful when using international test scores to drive education policy, argues a pair of researchers in a new paper for the left-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute -- because the results aren't always what they appear to be.

According to a new paper released Wednesday, the average scores on international tests -- the numbers over which advocates and politicians do much public hand-wringing -- don't tell the whole story of America's academic performance, and inferences based on those averages can be misleading, Stanford education professor Martin Carnoy and researcher Richard Rothstein argue. They found that contrary to popular belief, international testing information shows that America's low-income students have been improving over time.

"Policymakers are quite sophisticated about domestic test scores," Rothstein said in an interview. "We know that student achievement varies by social class. We were concerned that all of this publicity about international test scores reports simply average national scores." The study touches on a question that has long driven