First bell: 10-29-12

A first look at the most important education news from the weekend and this morning:

Fordham's latest

"How strong are U.S. teacher unions?" by Tyson Eberhardt, Flypaper

"Do the Smarter Balanced released assessment items measure up," by Kathleen Porter-Magee, Common Core Watch

The Fordham Institute released a study on the strength of U.S. teacher unions today, including ranking state-level union strength in Florida and every other state. (Orlando Sentinel)

Newark teachers are divided over whether to approve a new contract with a merit-pay component. The highly anticipated vote, scheduled for today, has been pushed back by Hurricane Sandy. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

Education leaders in Georgia hope to restore a 180-day school year for the state’s pre-K program. (Associated Press)

While many accuse New York City’s elite exam schools of being discriminatory towards minority students through their reliance on tests for admission, the New York Times reports that many Asian students see the process as an important opportunity.

Several school boards in Connecticut are struggling to meet state-mandated levels of racial balance. (Wall Street Journal)

Reuters runs down education-reform initiatives on the ballot in states around the country.

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