Today, we kick off a three-part series on what gets in the way of matching the right teachers with the right schools. Part one dissects the flawed teacher placement system that can undercut schools from making straightforward choices on the fundamental issue of who teaches in their classrooms.

We also explore how the system influenced charter schools to secede from the school district, how principals manipulate the rules and why the system evolved this way in the first place.

If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been a little more quiet than usual in the past few months, this is why! Parts two and three will be up later today and Tuesday.

And now for the rest of your newsblitz:

 

  • The budget still looks pretty grim for San Diego Unified, the Union-Tribune reports. City News Service quotes a school board member on finding out that there might be only $237,000 in discretionary money by July 2012: “$237,000? We spend that in a sneeze in this place.”
  • Both the North County Times and the Union-Tribune delve into a teen leadership program called PLUS at a San Marcos high school. One teen says, “I want people not to feel isolated. I want to spread unity throughout our school.”
  • A new report finds that the neediest students in California are still being taught by the least prepared teachers, and that teachers aren’t being taught to emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving, the Los Angeles Times writes. The San Francisco Chronicle focuses more on the teacher training angle of the report.
  • Also in the Los Angeles Times: A charter school is opening its own coffee shop to raise money.
  • Cupertino schools may raise class sizes and eliminate the gifted and talented program to save money, the Cupertino Courier writes (reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News). Sound familiar?
  • Editorials on education: The Los Angeles Times opines that California’s pursuit of more school stimulus dollars has been reckless. The Union-Tribune praises those San Diego Unified math scores and argues that this is why we need tests.
  • The Associated Press does a nice job explaining the political debate over California vying for more school stimulus money. The San Jose Mercury News zeroes in on the issue of charter schools, which Schwarzenegger advocates, and how that’s shaping the debate.
  • Joanne Jacobs blogs that academic tracking, which puts kids on different paths through their coursework, has fallen off in middle schools, a study finds.
  • The Washington Post reports that a new bill would quadruple the federal funding for performance pay, which gives teachers more money for doing well on multiple criteria, not just test scores. Meanwhile in Boston, one such bonus is overruled by an arbitrator who says it violates the teachers’ contract.

— EMILY ALPERT

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