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I’m checking out the first day of school in Clairemont today — hope traffic doesn’t mean I get a tardy slip. But first, your daily newsblitz!

  • The Union-Tribune writes about the massive overhaul in staffing that San Diego Unified schools are undergoing, thanks to a golden handshake that encouraged veteran teachers, principals and other employees to retire. Other changes include bigger classes, smaller supply budgets and technology in a scattering of grades across the school district.
  • KPBS reports that the San Diego Unified school board is back to work, too, and it’s trying to set goals.
  • Remember all the furor over Obama giving a speech to schoolchildren? You can read the actual text of it here.
  • Parents are suing the Clovis Unified School District for allegedly gouging them with fees for band, color guard and other activities, the Fresno Bee reports. One woman got a bill of more than $2,400 that had to be paid before her daughter could participate in graduation ceremonies. They say the fees stigmatize kids who can’t pay and make some school activities inaccessible to all children.
  • Less money, more problems: The Los Angeles Times delves into unusual ways that schools are trying to scrape together cash. Beverly Hills schools, for instance, are going to try to sell Beverly Hills High apparel.
  • The Sacramento Bee reports on an effort to get schools to serve more local and organic food to kids. So does the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.
  • And a lengthy editorial in the Los Angeles Times on teachers unions. The editorial argues that unions are still badly needed to protect teachers, helped professionalize teaching and fought for better school funding. But it acknowledges that work rules have “ossified” over time. It applauds the Los Angeles union for stepping up to run schools that have been put up for grabs by Los Angeles Unified. Meanwhile, a columnist takes a different tack, arguing that tenure has to go.
  • A guest blogger at This Week in Education takes apart some of the arguments in the New Yorker article on “rubber rooms” where teachers wait for hearings on incompetence or other alleged failings. He takes aim at the idea of judging teachers based on statistical analysis, writing: “Who would enter a profession where you have a 10% chance per year that the invalid use of a statistical model would damage or destroy your career due to no fault of your own?”
  • The New York Times reports that the stimulus money is being used to plug holes in school budgets, but cuts are still happening despite the stimulus.
  • Testing, testing: The Washington Post reports that D.C. schools can’t muster any evidence to show that they actually investigated potential cheating at schools were scores suddenly skyrocketed. And USA Today writes about a campaign aimed at shifting the new incarnation of No Child Left Behind away from standardized testing.
EMILY ALPERT

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