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Korsmo’s education news roundup for July 17th



With summer in full throat – unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, where we’ve bypassed the summertime middleman and gone directly to fall – it would be easy to think there’s nothing going on in Ed News-land. No! Even for your intrepid writer (moi) on holiday (vacation) at an undisclosed location (Wyoming) the news beckons like last call at The Dollar Bar over on Sheridan Ave.  And we’re off…

Less than Zero: School funding has taken center stage in many states this year, Washington among them. In settling the state budget debate, legislators agreed to make cuts to teacher salaries, as well as administrators and other staff a part of the deal. But how that deal is playing out depends on the district, as cutting teacher salaries requires re-opening contracts already decided, or putting salary cuts into those being negotiated. In the end, what has been characterized as a 1.9% cut to teacher pay will likely be a hodgepodge of cuts, some of which will be teacher salaries.  Meanwhile, in Seattle, what defines a cut depends on which year’s budget you’re working with.  Cuts to next year’s budget – in which you calculated an  increase – should probably get characterized as something other than “budget cut” in today’s finance lingo. You say tomato, I say gazpacho.

Less than Zero II: While K-12 budgets are shrinking, there’s little left to shrink of the higher education budgets. Between proposed cuts to  Pell grants, significant increases to college tuition and diminishing state funds for student aid, our national goals to raise college completion are starting to feel like pipe dreams.

Resident Evident: Some good news on the federally funded teacher preparation front. The early word on teacher residency programs is that teachers feel more engaged in the school district and gives them good opportunities for engaging in the same classes in which they  will eventually teach.

Paper or Plastic:

  • Studies on class size reduction have provided a mixed bag of results and a new report from Brookings provides a thorough analysis of the research and begs the question of cost benefit.
  • The American Enterprise makes a case for school-based incentives over teacher bonuses.
  • It’s been a tough call about whether to include the latest flap created when Stand for Children CEO, Jonah Edelman said some things “he shouldn’t” have at the Aspen Ideas Festival. But we call ‘em like we see ‘em, here and Richard Lee Colvin probably sums it up best.

That’s all she write today, I’m watching the World Cup final and can’t focus for one more minute.

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