A few readers have asked where the heck I’ve been. I’m digging deep on a project, but I promise I’ll be back to my normal antics soon. In the meantime, read up with the newsblitz!

  • San Diego Unified trustees voted to halt spending and hiring last night. There will be exceptions, of course, but the ban is an attempt to save up as much money as possible out of the roughly $220 million that has yet to be spent or encumbered for schools. We blog about it here. KPBS takes it on too.
  • Educators, business leaders and community members who earlier petitioned the school board to find a way to keep Superintendent Terry Grier met yesterday to discuss how to improve schools. I couldn’t get into the meeting, but the gathering could mark the beginning of a new coalition on school matters.
  • Carlsbad schools are holding an open hearing on how they should spend state dollars that used to be earmarked for specific purposes, but are now available for other uses, the North County Times reports.
  • Parents can now spark reforms at their schools if a majority vote for changes, the Los Angeles Times writes. It’s a new initiative for Los Angeles Unified that gives parents new powers.
  • Closed schools aren’t sitting idle around Sacramento, the Bee reports. Repurposing the schools for other programs has helped districts avoid letting the buildings fall into disrepair.
  • The Bee also reports that the California Charter Schools Association has announced that charters are growing this year, with new schools opening up and enrollment expanding.
  • A custodian who recruited students for retro modeling shoots is going to be fired by a San Jose-area school district, the Mercury News writes. He protests that he got the green light to recruit and that the shoots weren’t overly sexy. An ethicist says it’s worrisome that school officials would ever think this sort of recruiting was OK.
  • A new study says that high schools aren’t dropping the ball when it comes to preparing kids for careers in math, science and engineering — the kids are just defecting to other fields when they graduate. Education Week explains the nuanced report.
  • Here’s a fascinating one: A study in Chicago, where schools were closed for poor performance, found that most kids were sent to schools that did no better and the students didn’t seem to perform any better themselves, the Chicago Tribune and Education Week report. This is a big deal because Arne Duncan, the federal education secretary, is pushing school closures as part of his school turnaround plan.
  • Controversial D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is trying to regain trust among teachers after layoffs and the introduction of a new evaluation system, the Washington Post writes.
  • And now for something completely different: A former NBA strength and conditioning coach is now working as a teacher at an unusual charter school that pays teachers six-figure salaries. NPR has a fun snippet about his new gig.

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