Roundup: Common Core, Charter Groups Spending Big in Iowa & NY

Common Core and charter supporters are spending big, according to stories from the Sunshine Institute and the NY Daily News:

Pro-Common Core Group Tops Political Ad Spending in Iowa via Sunlight Foundation: The advertising campaigns have not targeted a particular candidate, but there is no doubt it benefits former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who is announcing his campaign next week and will travel to Iowa on Wednesday, June 17 for an event at the Molengracht Plaza in Pella at 5:15p.  The ads will also benefit the only other prospective candidate who hasn’t backed away from Common Core, Ohio Governor John Kasich who is coming to speak at a Greater Des Moines Partnership event on June 24th.

NY groups spend more than $13 million to push education reform NYDN: The study from Hedge Clippers, a union-backed activist group, says New York City-based Families for Excellent Schools has spent more than $10 million on ads and lobbying since January 2014 to lift the charter school cap and allow for the creation of more of the publicly funded, privately run schools.

Fairfax County Supervisor Gross fights off challenger in Democratic primary Washington Post: in the last quarter, Swanson outraised Gross nearly four to one, mostly due to a large donation from Leadership for Educational Equity, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that helps teachers and other educators run for public office.

House Looks to Resurrect ESEA Bill for Action as Early as Next Week PK12: The stalled renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could start moving again in the U.S. House of Representatives, sources say.

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids? Washington Post: From Rand Paul on the right to Elizabeth Warren on the left, members of the Senate education committee pushed aside their policy disagreements earlier this spring when they voted unanimously in favor of a bipartisan revision to the widely reviled No Child Left Behind law.

Fact Checking Gov. Scott Walker on His Education Record PK12: Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., is expected to announce his presidential candidacy really, really soon. So exactly what might his education platform be? And how have his policies played out in Wisconsin? See also APJS Online

Former Florida governor’s reforms – acclaimed by Obama – may become a liability Hechinger Report: When he was asked about the Common Core during his recent visit to Iowa – a sparsely populated state that nonetheless enjoys great influence because it’s the first to select the parties’ nominees for president – Bush never referred to the initiative by name, and insisted that he opposed the federal government’s meddling in education.

What Can We Learn From the Investing in Innovation Program Five Years Out? PK12: The Investing in Innovation program will have been worthwhile, even if some of the grantees haven’t yielded the results they were initially hoping for, a top official at the Department said.

Freedom, Not Fries? Texas Official Wants Deep Fryers Back In Schools NPR: The agricultural commissioner wants to roll back a decade-old ban on soda machines and deep fryers in schools. He says it’s not about giving kids a treat but about giving school districts the choice.

Michelle Obama Talks About Race and Success, and Makes It Personal NYT: The first lady has been opening up about her own struggles and the “insults and slights” that even living in the White House has not protected her family from. See also AP.

Researchers: Five ignored factors affect outcomes for poor children Washington Post: School leaders and policymakers trying to improve academic results for disadvantaged children need to look outside the classroom at social and economic conditions that directly affect a child’s ability to learn, according to a new report released Wednesday. 

Populist lawmakers back testing opt out bills SI&A Cabinet Report: Legislators in two states are moving to allow parents the option of not having their children take state standardized tests, even though the move risks the loss of federal education funding if too many sit out on test day.

After delay, a Success Academy co-location plan earns rare rejection from city panel ChalkbeatNY: The rejection was panel’s latest display of independence from the de Blasio administration, which appoints eight of the body’s 13 members but has publicly encouraged panel members to speak their minds. (Only 11 panel members were present Wednesday, and it was not immediately clear whether one had abstained from voting on the Midwood proposal.)

Emanuel touts bogus graduation rate WBEZ Chicago: More than half of the 2,200 labeled as moving out of town or going to private schools actually went to alternative schools. Another 610 of the so-called transfers were listed as getting a GED. State law and policy dictate that students who leave districts to go to GED programs are dropouts. An additional 1,300 had no explanation of what school they were supposedly transferring to or were vaguely listed as going to different states or countries.

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.