Roundup: Seattle Teachers Strike, NYC All In On Preschool

Seattle Teachers Strike On First Day Of School AP: Members of the Seattle Education Association, which represents about 5,000 teachers and support staff, said they will picket at all 97 schools Wednesday. See also NPR, NYT, Seattle Public Radio.

What makes a public school public? Washington state court finds charter schools unconstitutional Washington Post: Opponents of charter schools have long argued that the schools are private because they don’t have to answer to the public and in some states aren’t subject to key rules that apply to government agencies, such as open meetings and public records laws. 

2 WA charters say they will stay open this year despite Supreme Court ruling Seattle Times: Charter schools are organizing parents to lobby the Legislature for a long-term fix to the state Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday that such schools are unconstitutional.

Poll: California voters still unsure about Common Core EdSource Today: About one-fourth say they have not heard about the new standards. See also Hechinger Report.

Rand Paul Links Jeb Bush to Former President George W. Bush’s Edu-Record PK12: The Kentucky senator wants to paint rival GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and the former Florida governor’s brother with the same brush on education policy.

New York City Mayor Goes All-In On Free Preschool NPR: NPR’s Robert Siegel talks with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about the early days of his effort to provide free, high-quality preschool to all of the city’s 4-year-olds. See also Washington Post.

Parents May Spend Less This Year on Back-to-School Supplies, Despite Growing Need NYT: In the last decade, the average amount families spent on school items grew 42 percent, according to the retail federation’s projections this summer. It estimated that families with children in grades K-12 would spend an average of $630 this year, about 6 percent less than in 2014.

One of nation’s largest school districts ditches high school final exams Washington Post: Maryland’s Montgomery County will replace the two-hour tests with shorter assessments taken during the quarters.

Traffic on first day of school is smooth in Fairfax despite new start times Washington Post: Shift in bell times gives students more sleep but push more buses onto roads during rush hour.

Five big questions facing New York City schools as a new year begins ChalkbeatNY: This is school year number two for the mayor, who will be trying to pull off a number of complicated education initiatives at once.

How an unconventional principal turned around a struggling urban school Hechinger Report: Since then, the first-time principal and her team have made significant strides in student achievement, teacher satisfaction, technology upgrades and parent involvement. Today, due to improved test scores and a positive school culture, the school is one of only four of 33 that is on track to emerge from intervention status in Rhode Island.

A Door-to-Door Push to Get Parents Involved at Struggling Schools NYT: With the second full school year of his administration beginning on Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio is already under pressure to show improvement at these schools, which are among 62 low-performing schools targeted by the state for possible takeover. One of the keys to transforming them, his administration believes, is to get parents to show up more by turning schools into one-stop community centers offering services like medical and dental clinics, adult courses and counseling.

National union leader calls for settlement for Scranton teachers Scranton Times-Tribune: Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6-million member national union, told the board that education is the “great equalizer,” and teachers only want to make a difference in the lives of their students. 

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.