The big news of the day is the Federal investigation of CPS and Byrd-Bennett, and the news that CPS insiders are discussing an interim to replace Byrd-Bennett until the investigation is complete. Then there's financial news related to ISBE, Rauner, and Rahm. Meanwhile, 3 states halted Common Core testing because of computer problems, and New Jersey reported statewide opt-outs ranging from 4 to 15 percent, and Hillary Clinton talked Common Core in Iowa.
CPS Board president says Chicago schools under investigation WBEZ Chicago: In a statement released Wednesday, Chicago Board of Education president David Vitale says federal authorities requested interviews with several employees. He says the board was made aware of the investigation on Tuesday and is cooperating fully.
CPS Under Federal Investigation Chicago Tonight: Catalyst Chicago, an education magazine, first reported on the connection between Supes and Byrd-Bennett. The article also discovered that Byrd-Bennett didn't disclose the connection on financial forms
Feds investigating Chicago Public Schools CEO Byrd-Bennett WLS: Federal authorities are investigating Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.It involves a $20 million no-bid contract that was awarded to her former employer, SUPES Academy in Wilmette. CPS officials have discussed the possibility of appointing an interim CEO until the investigation is complete.
Rauner's school board moves to offset CPS cuts Tribune: Chicago Public Schools would get $33.3 million to soften the blow of recent state budget cuts under a plan approved Wednesday by the State Board of Education.
Illinois board of education names new leader, OKs severance deal for Koch Tribune: Tony Smith — a charismatic but sometimes unpopular leader who closed struggling public schools, butted heads with teachers unions and created more privately run charter schools in California — was hired Wednesday as Illinois' new state school superintendent.
Emanuel scoffs at Rauner suggestion that CPS declare bankruptcy Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday threw cold water on Gov. Bruce Rauner's suggestion that Chicago Public Schools should consider declaring bankruptcy to get its financial house in order, instead returning to the argument that the state should provide relief for the cash-strapped district.
Common Core Tests Halted in 3 States Because of Server Issue AP: A problem with a computer server is stopping Common Core testing in Nevada, Montana and North Dakota after a previous technical issue delayed it last month, officials said. See also WSJ: Common Core Testing Optional in Montana.
Montana Lets Schools Cancel Smarter Balanced Testing After Technical Woes State EdWatch: Montana Superintendent Denise Juneau said it would be "in the best interest of our students" to let districts cancel Smarter Balanced testing if necessary.
More Students Opt Out of N.Y. State Exams WSJ: In New Jersey, the average “parental refusal” rate was 4.6% for elementary schools, the state said. The biggest number of opt-outs came in 11th grade, where the combined refusal rate for English language arts and Algebra II was 14.5%.
Senate Committee Makes Progress On Updates To Education Law AP: In all, the committee has passed 24 amendments and defeated six. Dozens more amendments were debated but withdrawn as lawmakers sought to find common ground and leave some of the tougher fights for later.
Despite Demand, Charters Keep Seats Empty WNYC: Despite increased interest in charters, and the selective, nail-biting application process, public records indicate that thousands of seats in New York charter schools go unfilled.
Talks cool between Los Angeles Unified, teachers union LA Daily News: In a sign contentious talks have cooled, the teachers union and Los Angeles Unified on Wednesday agreed to meet again this week. Friday's meeting will mark the third unscheduled round of talks the sides have agreed to hold in the weeks.
LAUSD ditching Pearson iPad program software, demanding multimillion dollar refund KPCC LA: Pearson and Apple representatives could not be reached for immediate comment, but Pearson said last year it held up its end of the deal when questions about the software arose.
Why is Teach For America struggling to recruit? PBS NewsHour/WTTW Chicago: Teach for America has sent more than 33,000 participants into schools in low-income, high need communities since it launched in 1990. But as Brandis Friedman of public television station WTTW Chicago reports, the organization is now having a harder time recruiting new candidates.