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Christmas at the Waldorf-Astoria by RiShawn Biddle

Scenes of the Season: New York's Waldorf-Astoria at Christmastime

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and your families. And to those celebrating other holidays: Happy holidays to you and the ones you love.

Here is what’s going on in the dropout nation:

  1. The NEA’s Los Angeles local is suing L.A. Unified over its school reform plans. John Fensterwald’s response? The suit is merely “an attempt to preserve dues-paying members.”
  2. By the way: Check out my latest report, this on the pressures forcing the American Federation of Teachers to make some (small) moves towards embracing school reform, in The American Spectator.
  3. Tom Vander Ark offers more thoughts on the role of entrepreneurism in education and how it can improve education for all students. He also discusses some of the changes that need to come to education philanthropy.
  4. While some parents and teachers in the New York City borough of Queens are battling the closure of Jamaica High School, schools Chancellor Joel Klein isn’t backing down. Says he: “I would like to know — who would send their kid to a school that has a lower than 50 percent graduation rate. Well, if your kids wouldn’t go there, whose kids should go there?” He’s got a point.
  5. The Merced Sun-Star isn’t too thrilled with the California legislature’s struggle to pass a second round of Race to the Top-related legislation. Meanwhile, in Maryland, a former state board of education member accuses Gov. Martin O’Malley of being more-interested in teachers union votes than in take advantage of the federal money to improve academic achievement.
  6. And in Indiana, the state Department of Education has unveiled its plan for competing for Race to the Top dollars. It admits that it doesn’t meet many of the data system requirements. It will also require school districts to fully embrace reform in order to receive whatever RttT money the Hoosier State can muster. At least the state’s making some progress on the teacher quality front.
  7. For those looking for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act data on education stimulus spending, here is the state and program data for this month (in Excel spreadsheets).
  8. In Rochester, the mayor there wants to take over the city’s atrocious school district. He’ll likely have more success than his colleague in Milwaukee has had this year.
  9. At EducationNews, teacher Marion Brady accuses Arne Duncan, the charter school movement and education philanthropists of attempting to “hasten the destruction of… universal, free, public schooling.” But then, Brady offers suggested reforms that would fully alter traditional public education as we know it. Enjoy.
  10. Heritage Foundation’s Dan Lips reads Walter Williams’ discontent with graduation rates for blacks, then offers examples of how to improve educational achievement.
  11. The Economist discusses how technology disrupted the media business — in 1845. The interesting question for education policy types and teachers should be: What technologies will disrupt education policy as we know it today.
  12. U.S News & World Report looks at the role of post-Katrina New Orleans as the epicenter of the charter school movement and education reform. Slowly, the city’s education model is starting to resemble the Hollywood Model for education I touted some years ago.
  13. Edurati Review offers up its best posts of 2009. One of them: A well-thought explanation of why American public education must be reformed.

Sign up for the Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute news. Also, check out Dropout Nation’s featured reports:

  1. Making Families Consumers — and Kings — in Education
  2. Ability Tracking: Outmoded Idea in the New Education Paradigm
  3. Voices of the Dropout Nation: Walter Dozier on Education and Violence