We’re kicking off a new feature here (and an old favorite at Chalkbeat New York) with a roundup of the most interesting commentary and insight on education we read this week. Read on and tell us what you think (or what we should include next week) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The big news of the week was a court decision to strike down California’s teacher tenure laws and well, everyone had an opinion.
- Everyone from the loudest voice opposing education reform to a conservative pundit weighed on the idea that eliminating teacher tenure can improve outcomes for disadvantaged students. (Room for Debate)
- “This lawsuit was never about helping students, but is yet another attempt by millionaires and corporate special interests to undermine the teaching profession and push their own ideological agenda on public schools and students while working to privatize public education” -president of the country’s largest teachers union. (EdWeek)
- One potential wrinkle in the judgement? A crucial statistic the judge cited had little basis in research. (Slate)
- But it also signals a major issue with the role of teachers unions in education. More and more, people see them as the problem. (Politico)
- One take on Vergara: Tenure laws might not make much sense, but neither does firing lots of teachers. (Atlantic)
But that wasn’t the only thing riling up the education world. A Washington Post article looking at billionaire Bill Gates’ involvement in the rollout of Common Core got people talking.
- One pundit says the article is bit too heavy on the conspiracy theories and ignores some of the realities of public funding. (This Week in Education)
- Another thinks the reporter held the article until it couldn’t affect any of the state legislative decisions around Common Core implementation. (Deutsch29)
- The article has also prompted calls for a Congressional investigation of the standards. (Common Dreams)
But the furor also raised the question: how much has it actually changed the classroom?
- This article’s author took a look at how much the Common Core actually changed test questions in Mississippi. (Washington Post)
- And students in New Orleans couldn’t even tell that they were being taught using the Common Core. (Hechinger Report)
Another school shooting in Oregon once again raised the question of violence in schools.
- Here’s a map of all 74 school shootings that have happened in America since Newtown, the latest this week. (HuffPo)
- Still, the big picture is that schools have gotten safer, not more violent, over the last two decades. (Vox)
- A satirical take on charter school lotteries has New York City administering poison pills to most applicants. (The Onion)
- A new-generation version of the classic science television show “The Magic School Bus” is headed to Netflix. (InsideTV)
- After two rounds of admissions lotteries, 2,500 incoming D.C. students still don’t have a school. (Greater Greater Ed)
- The surprise unseating of U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor has implications for education-related legislation. (Politics K-12)