Roundup: All Eyes on Michigan, Wisconsin, & the AFT

Today’s education news roundup includes stories about a failed effort to revamp teacher evaluation in Michigan, efforts to undo tenure in Wisconsin, and the AFT’s meetings with Hillary Clinton and other Democratic Presidential contenders:

How a senator stopped serious teacher evaluation reform in Michigan MLive.com: Today, the group’s cutting-edge efforts to improve teacher accountability, which seemed like a sure bet as recently as five months ago, have been essentially gutted. A central provision of their recommendations – to rid the state of its patchwork of local, often useless evaluation models in favor of rigorous statewide criteria – is gone from a new bill now before the House. Even some who support the watered-down bill privately admit it likely will do nothing to improve education for Michigan students.

Unions Subdued, Scott Walker Turns to Tenure at Wisconsin Colleges NYT: Gov. Walker and leaders in Wisconsin’s Republican-held Legislature are pushing the University of Wisconsin system to give a board largely picked by the governor far more control over firings and even curriculum.

Hillary Clinton could position herself to the left of Obama on education MSNBC: Hillary Clinton told members of a powerful teachers union in Washington D.C. this week that organized labor has an important role to play in public education, and that critics of unions are “dead wrong to make teachers the scapegoats.” See also BuzzFeedEdWeekNYT.

Students take online Common Core test with minimal interruptions EdSource Today: Millions of students have been able to take new online assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards this spring with minimal technical interruptionsThat’s according to the California Department of Education. Officials in six school districts and a charter school organization EdSource has been tracking as they implement the new standards said they have had very few interruptions in testing of any kind.

Hello McFly, One More Time: South Carolina’s 1998 Standards Push State EdWatch: Back in 1998, South Carolina decided to give its new standards some bite by holding students and schools more accountable through standardized tests.

New Charter Schools Could Come To Boston Boston Learning Lab: This summer, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will accept charter applications for all school districts in the state except Somerville, Lawrence and Malden, which are at their charter limits. Charter operators may apply for new schools or to expand existing ones. Boston could see new charter school seats for the first time since reaching a state-imposed charter limit in 2013.

NYC Schools to Get Audible Alarms After Boy’s Escape, Death AP: NYC installing 21,000 audible alarms at schools after disappearance, death of autistic student. See also ChalkbeatWNYC.

Baltimore Schools to Give Free Breakfast and Lunch to All Students District Dossier: The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched the Community Eligibility Provision in three states in 2011. Now more than 2,200 districts nationwide are participating.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.