From the NEA’s “Morning Bell” newsletter: Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s surprise announcement on Friday that he is stepping down generated a large amount of media coverage over the weekend, with reports focusing on the abrupt nature of Duncan’s departure, on his legacies as education secretary, and on President Obama’s decision to tap John B. King Jr. to serve as acting secretary for the remainder of his term. The Associated Press reported that Duncan’s seven years in office were “marked by a willingness to plunge head-on into the heated debate about the government’s role in education.” The Hechinger Report offers insight into Duncan’s “aggressiveness and urgency” as he pushed for more preschool funding and for performance-based teacher evaluations. It notes, however, that the tide is turning toward stronger state control over public education.
The U.S. Department of Education will distribute $157 million to create and expand charter schools throughout the nation, despite criticisms that the agency has done a poor job of overseeing federal dollars sent to charter schools. Read more here.
In related news, the North Carolina Senate voted 25-19 to share with charter schools more sources of funding that were previously available only to public schools. Read about it here.
On Sept. 16, CEA celebrated the progress made through five years of funding from the National Education Association Foundation’s “Closing the Achievement Gaps” project. With more than $1.25 million in seed money to grow partnerships in the community, we initiated the pilot “100% Project” in the 14 schools of the Briggs and Linden-McKinley high school feeder patterns. With CCS and the United Way of Central Ohio, we brought teachers and families closer together; inspired more teachers to grow professionally; expanded teachers’ opportunities to collaborate; and significantly increased third-grade reading and math scores, gains on high school student performance and improvements in the graduation rate.
Pictured at our celebration on Sept. 16 are (left to right): W. Shawna Gibbs, Columbus Board of Education; Tracey D. Johnson, CEA President; Harriett Sanford, CEO of the NEA Foundation; Daniel Good, Columbus City Schools Superintendent; and Gary Baker, President of the Columbus Board of Education.