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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Hall Talk: Is the Chicago Teachers Strike the ‘Super Bowl’ of Ed Reform?

It was a fascinating week in education news, with, of course, the Chicago teachers strike taking center stage.

Earlier this week, The Atlantic’s Andrew P. Kelly went as far as to call it the “Super Bowl of School Reform,” noting that, in broader terms, the labor dispute in Chicago is a reflection of the national education reform debate.

For Chicago’s educators, the most contentious points surround accountability and job security, with the union arguing for a teacher-evaluation system that doesn't rely too strongly on factors teachers can't control. The union was also negotiating for laid-off educators to take top consideration when new positions become available. Now, as negotiations hit the fifth day, a deal seems likely to come soon, according to the Chicago Tribune.

In the coming weeks, we'll see if the strike in Chicago opens up a national discussion about education reform.

Teen Launches Cheap Camera Into Space and Captures Stunning Photos

A 19-year-old from England took control of his science learning, by using an inexpensive camera to capture some stunning pictures of Earth from space. The teenager, whose background in aerospace consists of an introductory physics course, captured the images on a £200 budget. Your move, NASA. (The Telegraph)

Study: U.S. Trailing in Preschool Enrollment

America is still lagging behind other countries when it comes to early childhood education programs. A recent study showed just 69 percent of 4-year-olds in the U.S. are enrolled in preschool programs, compared to 95 percent in France, Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands. Sadly, the U.S. didn't even break the top 20. (Education Week)

Washington Post Columnist in Favor of Dropping Substitute Teachers

The Washington Post's Jay Matthews looked at the role of short-term substitutes in our schools, advocating that, because of the costs, it might be time to stop hiring them. Matthews makes the case for in-school floating educators who could fill in for absent teachers, and the author even goes as far as to propose the best taught classrooms don't need substitutes... (Washington Post).

Minnesota Charter School Uses Culture Shifts to Promote Improvement

Minneapolis College Prep opened this fall looking to close the academic achievement gap. The charter school made several culture changes -- from the dress code, to making the curriculum more engaging -- and their plan has borrowed ideas from the Noble Network of charter schools in Chicago. (MinnPost)

In Case You Missed It: Other Quick Hits

  • One teacher explains how the Kardashians, in a roundabout way, can teach educators a thing or two about reading instruction. (Ed Week)

  • This five-part series from Scholastic looks at how advances in neuroscience, technology, and the Common Core will change education for the Class of 2025 -- this year's crop of kindergarteners. (Scholastic)

  • Looking to start a Professional Development program? Here's four great ways to personalize your PD program from Edudemic. (Edudemic)

  • A recent edition of Newsweek proposed that higher education isn't worth the investment nowadays. Here, The Washington Post crunches the numbers, and although the returns aren't as great as they were in the past, it's still a great investment. Everything is easily digestible in a series of graphs. (Washington Post)

  • Hall Talk is a weekly roundup from Edutopia that features education news from around the Web. We'd love your help! Let us know of any must-reads we missed in the comments, or you can contact me on Twitter (@EducationMatt).

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