March 30, 2016

“A Little Bit Unethical,” Plus Friedrichs Fallout, Sakena Yacoobi, Mergers, Methods, CMO Growth, Evidence, And Bears!

By Bellwether

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I moderated a small luncheon discussion yesterday with Sakena Yacoobi, an education leader in Afghanistan. She won the 2015 WISE Prize for her efforts to improve education in that country. Inspiring leader and an interesting conversation. Challenging context she operates in but she’s getting results. You can learn more about her life and work here. She’s appearing at Harvard tomorrow.

The Times on Friedrichs. Noah Feldman on the teachers union’s good fortune. Here’s the Department of Education’s statement on yesterday’s 4-4 Friedrichs decision:

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

 Labor unions have helped to build our nation’s middle class, playing a critical role in increasing workers’ wages and ensuring there are workplace protections. Today’s announcement that the appeals court ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association will stand means educators will continue to be able to focus on what is most important—helping students learn and prepare for success in school and in life.

Some reformers are grumbling it’s a weak statement, but what exactly do you expect from a Democratic administration in an election year?  I’m sure a secret ballot vote on it at 400 Maryland Avenue would be interesting but that’s not the point. In any case, the teachers’ unions are running around claiming this decision, which affirms the lower court’s ruling, is a big rejection of Friedrichs. In fact it’s an 11th hour reprieve for them because of the passing of Justice Scalia. It’s more noteworthy that King didn’t parrot their talking points (and they didn’t love the statement either!). Now, for the teachers unions, a lot riding on whether the Republican blockade in the Senate holds or whether a new justice is appointed before the election.

In Detroit, corruption charges:

At the heart of the alleged scheme is businessman Norman Shy, 74, of Franklin,  who is accused of paying $908,500 in kickbacks and bribes to at least 12 Detroit Public Schools principals who used him as a school supply vendor in exchange for money — some for as little as $4,000, another for $324,000. He secretly did this for 13 years, scamming school after school to the tune of $2.7 million with the help of principals who benefited along the way, prosecutors allege…

…”It’s pitiful that they’re going after principals who are probably just doing what they need to do even if it might be a little bit unethical in order to provide the students in their schools with the supplies and materials that they need that district and the state should be providing us,” teacher Cathy Brackett said. “They should be going after the big thieves who have come into the district under the guise of emergency managers and consultants who have skimmed not just thousands of dollars but millions of dollars away from our students and just move on to their next gig, seemingly without repercussions.”

So, you want to recruit a CMO to your region? Here’s a new report from NACPS with some information about how to do that.

Methodological pushback on the Education Equality Index. 50CAN and StudentsFirst are merging.

Achieve on post-secondary remediation and readiness state by state. Results for American on local governments and evidence-based policymaking (pdf). And a compendium of blog posts on evidence and policy (pdf).

Bears playing on a hammock.

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