Is the tide turning at last?

There may be hope after all.

An overhaul on Georgia’s zero-tolerance policies, the kind of law that Emanuel Jones said he was elected to the Georgia Senate to write, passed his chamber Thursday and now heads to the House.

SB 299 would give principals and school systems more discretion in how they handle disciplinary cases in their schools. Jones’ bill targets the widespread use of “zero tolerance” in schools, which critics say criminalizes students for minor and sometimes insignificant offenses.

I really really really really really hope that this is the start of the backlash I’ve been waiting for.  Or perhaps it’s already long since started and I’m just finding out.

But really, what’s more likely is that this breath of common sense is an aberration.

Obama backs merit pay, charter schools

In his first major education speech, President Obama came out for linking teachers’ pay to student performance and expanding effective charter schools, AP reports. He also supported lengthening the school day and year, improving early childhood education and raising erratic state standards in the speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He called for more spending and more reforms.

“The future belongs to the nation that best educates its citizens,” he said. “We have everything we need to be that nation … and yet, despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us.”

Jay Mathews called it the “largest assemblage of smart ideas” on schools he’s seen, but wonders if Obama can make it happen.

“Provocative,” says Flypaper.

Ken DeRosa calls it “long on lofty rhetoric,” but “short on anything that stands a good chance of working. He was counting on five ponies.

Everybody loved the speech — teachers unions and charter advocates, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans included — reports Politics K-12.  The details will determine whether the teachers’ unions continue to cheer, says Teacher Beat.

Well, Gerald Bracey thought Obama blew it by listening to fearmongers. Here’s Part II of his HuffPo post.

In his obligatory section urging parents to shape up, Obama told this story:

When I was a child, living in Indonesia with my mother, she didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school so she supplemented my schooling with lessons from a correspondence course. I can still picture her, waking me up at 4:30 in the morning five days a week to go over some lessons before I left for school. And whenever I’d complain or find some excuse for getting more sleep, she’d patiently repeat her most powerful defense — “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

I love that story.  Raising your kid to be a functional adult — or president of the United States of America — is no picnic.

Update: The National Education Association unequivocally opposes merit pay, points out EIA Intercepts.