Every week, The Next America produces a collection of education articles that catch our eye. These date from Oct. 14-21.
Study Finds D.C.’s Controversial Teacher- Evaluation System Is Working. The IMPACT system — started by Michelle Rhee when she was chancellor of Washington’s public schools — has caused more low-performing teachers to leave the school system and seems to have improved the performance of both strong and weak teachers, according to a study by Thomas Dee of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and James Wyckoff of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Teachers judged effective, by classroom observation and test scores, received significant raises. The New York Times’s Economix blog has a good review of the findings released last week, while the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess in Education Week offers some thoughts on what makes IMPACT unique.
Almost Half of Public-School Students Are Low Income. Forty-eight percent of public-school students now qualify as low-income, compared with 38 percent a decade ago, according to a new report from the Southern Education Foundation. In 17 states, more than half of children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Thirteen of the 17 states are in the South. The Atlantic Cities
Philadelphia Schools Get Injection of Funding. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, has released $45 million in state funding to allow 400 teachers, counselors, assistant principals, secretaries, and others to staff the city’s cash-strapped schools. The number of school nurses won’t be increased — a mistake, advocates say, citing the death last month of a sixth-grader who suffered an asthma attack at a school without a nurse. Philadelphia Inquirer
California Law Increases Transfer Opportunities for Community-College Students. A California law will give community-college students more opportunities to transfer to California State University campuses — at least, that’s the goal. Faculty leaders at both community colleges and Cal State say the bill signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown just makes the transfer process even more complicated. EdSource
Chicago Suburbs Aim to Diversify Teaching Workforce. In Chicago’s suburbs, there can be up to a 75 percentage-point gap between the share of minority students in a school district and the teachers in front of the classroom. School districts are fanning out to college job fairs to recruit a more diverse teaching force — but they face a challenge, because fewer minorities than whites enter the teaching profession. Daily Herald
CFPB Scrutinizes Servicing of Student Loans. Borrowers of private student loans submitted more than 3,800 complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year. According to the bureau, the majority of high-debt borrowers have private loans. Private loans generally have higher interest rates and lack some consumer protections available with federal loans. The New York Times
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Donald Trump is set to issue a new and more focused executive order clarifying the scope of his travel ban, hoping that the order will survive legal challenges. The new order would focus on the same seven countries, "but would only bar entry to those without a visa and who have never entered the United States before. Unlike the original order, people from those countries who already have permanent U.S. residency (green cards) or visas would not face any restrictions." Some lawyers believe the government will now have much stronger standing, though lawyers who challenged the initial order see the same core problems with the forthcoming ban.
"President Donald Trump announced Monday that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will serve as his next national security adviser, filling the void left last week by the sudden dismissal of Michael Flynn. ... Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been serving as the acting national security adviser since Flynn's exit, will return to his role as chief of staff of the National Security Council." The pick was widely praised on both sides of the aisle.
"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."