OK, OK. I’m giving all of you an extension on our best and worst worksheets contest. Please keep sending me entries — you get another week to gather them out of your backpacks and binders. Remember, you could win a free T-shirt and a book! Now to your daily newsblitz:

  • We delve into the question of whether San Diego Unified schools have overstepped the legal line that guarantees children a free public education when asking — or requiring — families to pony up for classroom supplies, fees or uniforms for athletics and clubs. One mother is raising the issue here, but it’s come up across the state, and it raises questions about how schools can ensure equity without cutting off fundraising entirely.
  • We blog that Katherine Nakamura may have a second competitor for her seat on the San Diego Unified board: Business owner and parent Stephen Rosen, who got steamed about how budget cuts were handled last year.
  • And we enlist you to help us go over this detailed list of how San Diego Unified ran up $16.6 million in added spending that wasn’t included in its budget, just a few months into the school year. Keep sending me your thoughts at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org!
  • A new elementary school campus is under construction in San Marcos, the Union-Tribune reports. It’s being funded by local developer fees and redevelopment money.
  • KPBS reports that San Diego Unified says it will talk early and often about budget cuts to get the public more involved this year.
  • An anonymous donor has stepped forward to save after-school art classes for kids in Escondido, the North County Times writes.
  • Outside experts are visiting a Sacramento-area school district to help it understand whether it uses its money effectively to help students achieve, the Bee reports. The analysts are also visiting Los Angeles Unified and Pasadena schools.
  • A new teachers contract in Connecticut has been heralded as a national model, Education Week writes. It lays the groundwork for major changes in how teachers are paid, supported and evaluated.
  • Nearly 70 percent of the staff reductions in the Washington D.C. school district came from its neediest schools, the Washington Teachers Union found. The Washington Post blogs that the school district says the results aren’t as out of line as they look because those schools were more likely to lose enrollment and cut staff to compensate.
  • One teacher blogger asks: What do you think about using data to evaluate teaching the way former San Diego Unified Superintendent Terry Grier wanted?
  • More sad news in education circles this week: Ted Sizer, founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools, has passed on. “He dared to challenge the conventional wisdom that seat time equaled learning, that grades actually measured performance, and that students should be sorted for instruction by perceived ability,” George Wood wrote of Sizer. Blogger Alexander Russo has the full announcement here.

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