Roundup: California Tenure Lawsuit Restarts, Obama Nominee Testifies, Chicago Teachers Protest

In ‘Vergara’ arguments, unions say courts should stay away from teacher tenure debate KPCC:  Much of Thursday morning’s oral arguments in the California Court of Appeals was spent wrangling over whether it was appropriate for a court to weigh in — or whether teacher job protection laws were a matter of policy best left to the state legislature. See also NYT, LA Times, EdSource Today, LA School Report.

Obama’s Pick For Education Says Teachers Saved His Life AP: President Barack Obama’s choice to serve as Education Secretary says he rose to his current position because New York City public school teachers “literally saved my life.” At his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, John B. King Jr., told the story of his mother’s death when he was eight and his father’s passing four years later. See also New York Times and Education Week

Chicago Teachers Union Rallies Over Expected Layoffs, TIF Funds Tribune: A small group of Chicago Teachers Union members and supporters rallied Thursday outside City Hall to protest expected layoffs and repeat a long-standing call for using surplus tax-increment financing funds to help Chicago Public Schools. The district is expected to announce the number of employees being laid off next week. See also Sun Times.

In an impoverished Silicon Valley neighborhood, a bold approach to preschool: This new preschool has a bold vision: bring the kind of early education that affluent kids get to an impoverished neighborhood. No number and letter drills here. It’s play-based and the curriculum is driven by children’s interests and explorations. It’s paid for largely by public preschool funds. And Educare also caters to the children not lucky enough to get a preschool seat through free community play spaces.

Activists Will Discuss Future of Opt-Out Movement at Sold-Out Conference EdWeek: Activists at United Opt Out’s upcoming conference will work on ways to keep momentum going in their push against standardized tests, and to broaden their basket of issues.

Dallas ISD teachers plan appeal after losing fight against new pay-for-performance system Dallas Morning News: The National Education Association-Dallas is representing 91 teachers who contend the Teacher Excellence Initiative is flawed. The evaluation system bases a teacher’s pay on performance, student surveys and test scores.

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.