Roundup: GOP Debate, Baltimore School Police, New SAT Arrives

At GOP Debate, Candidates Talk Detroit Public Schools, Common Core PK12: Kasich said he’d like to slim down the U.S. Department of Education, but didn’t say whether he would bail out Detroit public schooos.

Baltimore school police officer in video was fired as sheriff’s deputy in 2003 Baltimore Sun: Spence was one of two Baltimore sheriff’s deputies who were fired in 2003 after a wrongful Taser attack that sparked outrage in the Hispanic community, according to reports in The Baltimore Sun at the time. See also AP, The Seventy Four, AP.

Students Get Early Crack at New SAT Exam WNYC: The new three-hour SAT has more emphasis on reading. The essay is optional. Only correct answers will be scored, so students are not penalized for guessing. And the test will no longer focus on obscure vocabulary words, in favor of testing students on vocabulary in context. See also AP, Washington Post, BuzzFeedHechinger Report.

Opt-Out Fans Urge Senate to Reject John King’s Ed. Sec. Nomination PK12: A group of progressives, including leaders in the opt-out movement, sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this week recommending that its members not confirm King, whose nomination is slated for a vote next week.

Illinois House passes bill to create elected CPS board Chicago Sun-Times: If the legislation makes it through the Senate — and that’s still a giant “if” considering that its president is hammering out a solution to the state’s stalled budget — Chicago’s Public Schools would be overseen by 21 democratically elected members of the public rather than the seven the mayor alone chooses. See also District Dossier.

At morning ‘walk-ins,’ advocates press Cuomo for more school funding Chalkbeat: Thursday’s demonstrations across the state are part of a national campaign led by the Chicago-based Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. The group said 40,000 people from 838 schools nationwide had attended similar events.

Flint Is in the News, but Lead Poisoning Is Even Worse in Cleveland NYT: By the most recent estimate, about 37 million homes and apartments still have some lead paint on walls and woodwork, 23 million with potentially hazardous levels of lead in soil, paint chips or household dust.

Do kids learn more when they trade in composition books for iPads? Washington Post: Montgomery County Public Schools has one of the nation’s largest laptop initiatives. At the halfway point, the district has distributed more than 50,000 laptops to classrooms at a cost of $21.8 million. Across the river, far-smaller Arlington Public Schools is halfway through an effort to provide an iPad Air or MacBook Air to every student in grades two through 12 by 2018; the school system has used $5.6 million in local and state funds.

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.