April 16, 2014 | Jennifer Medina, The New York Times
…For more than two months, lawyers have been arguing in state court over whether California’s laws governing teacher tenure, firing and layoffs violate students’ constitutional right to an education. And by the beginning of July, Rolf Treu, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, will deliver the first legal ruling on the case, which has attracted national attention. In states around the country, opponents of tenure rules, who have tried and largely failed to bring about changes through state legislatures, are looking to this case as a test of whether taking their arguments to court could prove more successful.
Lawyers for the students named in the case, Vergara v. California, have argued that California students are subject to an unfair system that deprives them of a fair education, which translates into the loss of millions of dollars in potential earnings over their lifetimes.
April 15, 2014 | Beth Hawkins, MinnPost
…The Legislature gets just as intensely political about this time every year. But there are some unique—and uniquely painful—dynamics at play in 2014.
Before adjourning for the midsession recess last week, the state House of Representatives and Senate cranked out a quartet of omnibus education policy and finance bills that ticked most major boxes. Yet chances are slender that all of the hard-won initiatives in those bills will survive the conference-committee process. And so those who would be allies in a typical year are likely to find themselves at odds.
April 11, 2014 | Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
In 1991, Minnesota became the first state in the country to pass a law allowing charter schools.
But the path to get there was a difficult one, said former state Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge, the law’s lead author.
“People didn’t understand why we needed chartering,” she said. “We had to make a case for providing more choices and opportunities for students in our K-12 system.”
April 11, 2014 | Steve Brandt, Star Tribune
Teach for America and the University of Minnesota are in a race with the calendar to win state approval for the first alternative teacher licensing program in the state before its scheduled start in June.
The Minnesota Board of Teaching got its first look at the proposal submitted by the university to train teachers over two years for TFA, mostly while they’re already teaching students.
The proposal has been controversial among some students and staff at the university, who say it undercuts traditional teaching programs. But proponents say it actually gives TFA corps members more upfront supervised time in classrooms—under an experienced teacher—than the current five-week TFA program to train teachers before they get their own classrooms.
April 10, 2014 | Ben Davis, The Newsleaders
…In 2013, Minnesota took an important first step by investing in scholarships for high-quality pre-K, but current funding reaches only 9 percent of eligible children.
Let’s thank our state legislators for this first step, and let’s urge them to increase funding for and access to top-notch pre-K. Doing so simply makes sense.