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Hundreds of Teachers Agree: Budget Cuts Are Gutting American Education

At a town hall event, teachers were honest about how budget cuts make it harder to close the achievement gap.


Put 350 Los Angeles teachers in one room and the conversation is guaranteed to get heated. It certainly did at Sunday's taping of Education Nation, the four-part NBC news special focused on figuring out how to improve schools in America. Veteran NBC reporter Raheema Ellis moderated, and although she did her best to steer three sets of panelists and the audience toward hot-button ed reform issues—teacher tenure, using test scores to evaluate educators, training students for the jobs of the future, and closing the achievement gap—it was clear that the crowd was fired up about the implications of making long-term policy decisions about those issues at a time when education budgets are being gutted.

Ellis set the tone by sharing dismal statistics about how California has defunded education—$20 billion slashed from schools and 30,000 educators laid off over the past three years. Ninety-six percent of the teachers in the audience said more cuts will have have a "huge" impact on their ability to succeed with their students and will keep America from being globally competitive.

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Court Decision Ends "Last Hired, First Fired" in Los Angeles Schools

The ACLU argued that the policy of firing the newest teachers first unfairly targets students in disadvantaged communities—and won.


Pink slipping teachers according to seniority is on the way out the door in Los Angeles—at least at schools in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger gave the go-ahead on Friday to a settlement that limits the use of seniority in teacher layoffs at 45 Los Angeles Unified School District campuses with high staff turnover. The settlement also decrees that layoffs at the rest of the district's schools must be equitably distributed.

The case, Reed v. State of California, et al., pitted the ACLU against the city's teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles. Massive budget cuts in LAUSD over the past few years have led to the layoffs of thousands of newer teachers. The ACLU argued that given these cuts, LAUSD's agreement with UTLA—the last hired, first fired method of doling out layoff notices—unfairly targets students attending schools in disadvantaged communities.

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Michelle Rhee to Permanently Partner with Florida Governor Rick Scott

The Sunshine State's the first partner for Rhee's new organization, StudentsFirst.


Michelle Rhee's going to be spending lots of time in Florida in 2011. The former head of the Washington, D.C., public schools is taking on a permanent role as an informal education adviser for the state's governor, Rick Scott. Rhee is also taking on the Sunshine State as the first partner for her new education organization, StudentsFirst.

In a statement, Rhee said:

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