Wonderful readers: Thanks for all your terrific tips on the $16.6 million that schools racked up in unplanned spending! I’ll be following up on your suggestions this week. Now to kick off your week with the newsblitz:

  • Four Southwestern College instructors were suspended after a rally protesting cutbacks, but the college says the suspensions were unrelated to the protests, the Union-Tribune reports. KPBS also brings more details about the tensions at the school.
  • Also in the UT: The county gave a no-bid contract for after-school services to a charity with three top county officials on its board of directors. Officials says there’s no conflict of interest because their service on the board is unpaid.
  • Southern California schools are getting explicit about what they mean when they say no sexy dancing by making kids sign contracts before they get on the dance floor, the Los Angeles Times reports. One school even has a “freak patrol.”
  • Disney is now offering refunds for all the Baby Einstein videos that did not, in fact, make your child a baby Einstein. This news from the New York Times, reprinted here in the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • The Wall Street Journal lines up three educators to gab on the question: What can schools do to improve math and science education?
  • The Associated Press zeroes in on Bill Gates and his foundation, which has been a force to reckon with in public education. The question that some educators and academics are asking is whether it’s a good thing for a private group to hold so much sway in public schools. Blogger Alexander Russo counters that he’s not so sure that the Gates Foundation is actually that powerful.
  • In Denver, charter schools are being prodded to ensure that they are open and accessible to students with disabilities, the Denver Post reports.
  • Federal education secretary Arne Duncan is scolding Hawaii for paring back the school year, the Wall Street Journal writes.
  • Education Week profiles the late Ted Sizer, an educator whose ideas reshaped the debate on reforming high schools. “He believed you really have to know your students and your teaching, and your school has to be responsible to kids as they are and not as data points or widgets on an assembly line,” one supporter said.

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