Roundup: Duncan at PTA, Kansas Budget Lawsuit, End Of Murdoch-Klein Tablet Effort

Today’s news includes a Duncan address to the national PTA conference, a breakdown in contract talks in Chicago, and word that Amplify, the Murdoch-Klein edtech venture, will stop making tablets (but will keep making software):

Duncan: These Are The Things Parents Should Demand From Schools HuffPost: While speaking at the 2015 National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duncan detailed a handful of rights he said all parents should be able to demand from their children’s schools. The rights, which span preschool through college, include free quality preschool, affordable quality college and high, challenging standards in a well-resourced school. 

Obama Administration Further Dials Back College Rating Plan WSJ:  The Obama administration continues to dial back once-aggressive plans to rate colleges and draw off federal dollars from the weakest schools, saying instead they intend to present new information about performance to empower consumers.

Changes for teachers bring CPS contract talks to a halt Tribune: Emanuel has had regular and productive talks with Lewis in recent days, but the mayor and his team have been unwilling to bend on the district’s teacher evaluation system, said a City Hall official familiar with the negotiations. The administration contends that its changes to how CPS grades teachers has led to improved academic performance.

Kansas Court Rules Against Parts of State School Funding Law AP: State officials and an attorney for four school districts challenging the law said the decision from the three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court would force the state to provide between $46 million and $54 million in extra aid next week, distributing the money under an old formula that legislators junked. See also EdWeek.

News Corp. Is Winding Down School Tablet Sales Bloomberg Business: The media company, whose executive chairman is billionaire Rupert Murdoch, is no longer ordering new tablets from its manufacturer in Asia, though it has stock on hand for existing school customers, according to the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Favorite GOP Primary Game: Bashing Jeb Bush on Common Core PK12: The 2016 election season is just getting started, but there’s already a favorite sport among GOP contenders: Hitting Jeb Bush for his support of the Common Core standards.

State Relaxes an Order Preventing Teachers From Discussing Standardized Tests NYT: Teachers who grade standardized tests, who are required to sign confidentiality agreements, can now discuss some test materials once they’ve been released by the state.

Marva Collins, Educator Who Aimed High, Dies at 78 NYT: At Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, which she opened in 1975, Ms. Collins set high academic standards, emphasized discipline and promoted a nurturing environment.

Report Criticizes Walton Foundation Funding Methods for Charter Schools EdWeek: Under accountability, for example, the AFT and In the Public Interest, a watchdog group that is skeptical of charters, call for requiring companies and organizations that run charter schools to make board meetings public in the same way that traditional public schools are required to do, release financial information on annual budgets and contracts, and allow regular state audits.

Principal addresses Harvard-Stanford admissions hoax that led to scandal Washington Post: In the wake of an international scandal, the principal of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology described a student’s elaborate college admissions hoax that garnered massive media attention as unrepresentative of the elite Virginia school.

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.