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November 24, 2010 standard

Photo courtesy of Fallbrook Bonsall Village News

Just because it’s Thanksgiving week doesn’t mean there aren’t points to ponder:

  1. What is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s next step in getting support for making Cathleen Black chancellor of New York City’s schools? Based on what some speculate, some folks (namely New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York AFT boss Michael Mulgrew) want a more-education industry-versed person (essentially, a member of the educational status quo) to serve as Black’s co-pilot in overseeing the city’s Department of Education. Will Bloomberg play ball or pick one of outgoing Chancellor Joel Klein’s former deputies (notably Chris Cerf) and dare his opponents in a game of political chicken.
  2. Will incoming House Education and Labor Committee Chairman John Kline actually attempt an investigation (or show trial, depending on where one sits) of the Obama administration’s handling of federal stimulus funds — including Race to the Top money? Will he help back an effort by Utah’s Jason Chaffetz — who may take over one of the House subcommittees overseeing the District of Columbia — to revive the now-shuttered D.C. Opportunity voucher plan? The answer may be “no” to both.
  3. When will the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers admit that defined-benefit pensions and other parts of traditional teacher compensation are no longer worth defending? That answer may come in the next few years as the pension deficits of their affiliates finally start hitting the bottom lines. Or they end up like the NEA’s Indiana affiliate and go bust altogether.
  4. Will Detroit and Indianapolis — home to two of the nation’s most-persistent dropout factories — be among the latest cities to have their districts be taken over by state education departments. Indiana’s education czar, Tony Bennett, has already fired his shot across the bow of Indianapolis Public Schools (which has  seven of 21 schools — including the notorious Manual High — under probation for five consecutive years) and other districts. Eduspiel speculated on what would happen to Detroit Public Schools earlier this year. Either way, both can’t end up like Philadelphia — whose five-year Promoting Power rate declined from 74 percent for the Class of 2001 to 64 percent for the Class of 2009 since Pennsylvania state officials took over the district nine years ago.

By the Way: The State of Black CT Alliance — which helped successfully push for the Nutmeg State’s Parent Trigger law — is hosting its first annual Building Blocks of Educational Excellence Campaign Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Education Trust President Katie Haycock and yours truly will be speaking at the Dec. 16th event in Stamford, Conn., and will talk about to reform American public education and  Learn more (and buy your tickets) at the State of Black CT Alliance’s Web site.