I’m talking today with Jaime Hernandez, who audited San Diego Unified to find out why African American and English-learning students are disproportionately likely to be placed in special education. Send your questions for him my way. Now — on to the newsblitz!

  • Teachers union takeover … of my blog, that is. Camille Zombro, president of the San Diego Education Association, is guest blogging today about “maintenance of standards” and why the union wants it. She boils it down to teacher workloads; critics say it’s a power grab. Check back soon for her first post. I’ve got the opposing view lined up for tomorrow.
  • The San Diego Reader blogs that the Rhoades School of Encinitas, which has been headed by the wife of former Union-Tribune editorial writer Bob Kittle, has been sold to a Pennsylvania company.
  • KPBS reports on a San Diego Unified plan to expand access to tough Advanced Placement classes to a broader, more diverse group of students.
  • The Sacramento Bee reports on the clash between the aims of the federal stimulus bill for schools and the ongoing budget crisis for California schools. And in more stimulus news, some California politicians don’t want the state to change its laws to vie for a second batch of stimulus dollars for schools, the Capitol Weekly reports.
  • Obama’s head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools is under fire for a situation decades ago when he failed to notify authorities after a teen told him he had had sex with an adult, the Los Angeles Times reports. He now says he should have handled the situation differently.
  • The Washington Post writes that D.C. schools will be among the first in the country to evaluate teachers based, in part, on test scores. The new system is a flashpoint with the teachers union, whose president argues that it turns teaching into “bean counting.” Proponents say it is a clearer way to measure student growth and reward adults who do it well.
  • Detroit schools are rewarding kids who show up on “count days” where their enrollment is tallied for budget purposes with prizes such as big-screen TVs and iPods, NPR reports.
  • Two education wonks blog that Jay Mathews was right to defend a D.C. principal for not getting amazing scores in a single year, and that the larger issue is that the accountability system there is unreasonable because it demands exactly those results.
  • USA Today follows up on last year’s remarkable investigation on school air quality with the finding that the feds are now noting elevated levels of a toxic chemical outside 15 schools in eight states.

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