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San Diego: Reform rollback

The School Board has angered school leaders and the teachers union by eliminating the jobs of about 170 master teachers, who acted as coaches for classroom teachers and helped with lesson planning, according to the Feb. 10 San Diego Union-Tribune. The board also voted to scrap the positions of content administrators, who organized training and supervised teachers. Both positions were a key component of reforms championed by outgoing Supt. Alan Bersin, who sought to focus on improving teacher training and called the board’s decision a mistake. Teachers and principals said master teachers had helped to raise achievement, and some schools plan to continue paying for the positions with discretionary funds. The board created positions for “academic support teachers” who will work only in low-income schools, primarily teaching small groups of low-achieving youngsters.

New York: Billions for schools

A judge has put a multi-billion-dollar price tag on improving education in the city’s schools, ordering that $5.6 billion be spent every year to insure that children receive the ‘sound education’ guaranteed by the state constitution, according to the Feb. 15 New York Times. The judge, who has been overseeing a long-running lawsuit over school funding in the city, also ruled that an additional $9.2 billion be spent over the next five years to reduce class sizes, relieve overcrowding, update laboratories and libraries and other improve schools. The legislature will decide how the state and the city should share the burden of the costs.