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Education Opinion

Ten Edu-Stories We’ll Be Reading in 2013

By Rick Hess — January 02, 2013 3 min read
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Last year, I took a shot at predicting some of the key edu-headlines we’d be reading in 2012. You can check ‘em here to score my accuracy for yourself. Meanwhile, here’s a guess at some of the key edu-headlines we’ll be reading in 2013:

10] “The Common Core fight turns increasingly nasty, as embattled Tea Party conservatives lash out at Republicans who they see as apologizing for Obama administration overreach. A few additional states opt out of the standards, while many more express ‘concerns’ about the implementation, cost, and quality of the assessments, and announce that they’re hitting the ‘pause button’ while waiting for the smoke to clear.”

9] “With $17.83 that U.S. Department of Ed staff scrounged from couches in the building’s staff lounge, Secretary Duncan enthusiastically announces a new grant competition: ‘Race to the Top- Rural Census Tracts of the Midwestern Plains Edition.’”

8] “Republican governors enviously eye Michigan’s right-to-work law and consider proposing similar legislation. Two to three states indicate that they are prepared to move forward, sparking bitter Wisconsin-style standoffs with public employee unions. The fallout deepens the partisan divide between Republican reformers and Democrats for Education Reform, who work hard to make it clear that they side with the unions in these clashes.”

7] “The College Board continues its 2012 hiring binge by snatching up Apple’s education division, Jeb Bush, Melinda Gates, and the animation team at Pixar. College Board president David Coleman allows, ‘We’re done for the moment, but I’ve got my eye on Biden, Bill Clinton, and maybe half the Harvard ed school faculty.’”

6] “Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and the CTU inspire like-minded union members to push back against new teacher evaluation systems and reduction in force policies. Unions in several districts strike in the fall, citing the CTU’s September 2012 triumph as proof that they can outmaneuver management if they have the courage to stand firm. Lewis becomes an increasingly visible icon, as she flies in to rally the troops during these standoffs.”

5] “The parent trigger garners attention as new states adopt legislation and takeover processes are initiated in a handful of additional schools (though most are immediately bogged down in litigation). The heightened scrutiny fuels difficult questions about how well the concept will actually work in practice, especially amidst continued mixed results for turnaround efforts more generally.”

4] “States continue to default on their Race to the Top promises, but no one pays much attention. This is in part because journalists are busy cataloguing all the ways in which states are busily violating their waiver promises.”

3] “New U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin become union celebs when Sen. Warren (D-MA) rejects proposals to move public employees from traditional pensions to defined-contribution benefit plans (e.g. 401k plans), and instead calls for mailing $5,000 checks to teachers and cops. Sen. Baldwin (D-WI) echoes Warren, saying, ‘Hell yeah. Let’s give ‘em 5k instead of 401k’s.’” Their ensuing chest bump is commemorated by will.i.am in the hit, “Benjamins for Public Servants.”

2] “New teacher evaluation systems are tested in court for the first time. The complaints illuminate just how shaky the data systems are and how little thought has been put into ensuring that the systems are defensible given the contours of employment law. Superintendents and school board members get nervous when union attorneys start talking about seven figure class action suits, initiating a whole new set of teacher evaluation challenges.”

1] “A grad student at Wichita State writes a 30-page term paper on her iPhone, prompting 60 Minutes and The New York Times to breathlessly hail the new era of ‘massively miniaturized learning.’”

Now, I’m not much of a prognosticator, so don’t go betting the house on any of this. But I guess we’ll see.

The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.