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Teacher education programs, take note: today U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce a program designed to leverage federal financial aid to reward teacher training programs that produce teachers who consistently raise student test scores and have a high number of graduates who land teaching jobs and stay in the profession.

From Stephanie Simon over at Politico:

The Obama administration plans to use tens of millions in federal financial aid as leverage to reward teacher training programs that produce teachers who routinely raise student test scores — and to drive the rest out of business.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce the revival of a push to regulate hundreds of teacher preparation programs Friday at a town hall meeting with White House policy director Cecilia Muñoz. He plans to release a draft regulation by summer and aims to enact it within a year.

The goal: To ensure that every state evaluates its teacher education programs by several key metrics, such as how many graduates land teaching jobs, how long they stay in the profession and whether they boost their students’ scores on standardized tests. The administration will then steer financial aid, including nearly $100 million a year in federal grants to aspiring teachers, to those programs that score the highest. The rest, Duncan said, will need to improve or “go out of business.

Simon reports that the proposal is sure to draw heavy amounts of criticism.

Many traditional education schools are especially uneasy about the drive to hold them accountable for how well their graduates’ students perform on standardized exams. “It’s not that [such measures] shouldn’t be used at all, it’s the relative weight of it, compared with other metrics that might be really informative,” said Mary Harrill, senior policy director for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

The formulas for measuring how much “value” a teacher adds to a student’s test scores are complex and often carry a sizable margin of error.

Read the full story by clicking here.

As Jeffrey Toobin points out in the New Yorker today, it was one of North Carolina’s own who wrote the recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision invalidating the President’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Who wrote this judicial atrocity? No surprise—it was David Sentelle, who has a long and disgraceful reputation as a partisan hack on the bench. A protégé of Jesse Helms, his fellow North Carolinian, Sentelle is most famous for engineering, in 1994, the dismissal of Robert Fiske as the Whitewater Independent Counsel and replacing him with Kenneth Starr. (How’d that work out?) As a judge, Sentelle has been a thoroughgoing reactionary for thirty years.

It was a decision, Toobin says, that “serves as a useful reminder of where power resides in Washington. Presidents come and go, but the judges are there forever. And they know it.”

Thankfully though, as Toobin adds, judges also go on senior status, as Sentelle has announced he will do in February.

Read more here.

The Obama administration will stop deporting young immigrants that entered the United States and children and went on to live law-abiding lives, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

The move is a major victory for immigrant rights groups, which had come close to getting the protections through last year’s DREAM Act, which would have given a path to citizenship or residency to young immigrants who came into the country without documents at the behest of parents and then went on to attend or graduate from high school, received a GED or enlisted in the military.

From the AP story:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.

The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.

A formal announcement will be made later today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, according to the AP.

The new plan aims to protect young immigrants from deportation who entered the U.S. before age 16, and are now under the age of 30, have been in the country for five years, have no extensive criminal history and have attended or graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military. The youth may then be able to apply for work permits, which would permit them to work in the country legally.

Correction note: The original version of this post incorrectly stated that the DREAM Act applied to those who pursued higher education. The DREAM Act would have affected those who gradated from a U.S. high school, and the post has been changed to reflect that correction. Apologies for the mistake.

Also, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services is updating information regularly on the new Obama administration policy, and you can click here to get the most updated information about how the policy will be carried out.