Former New York Officials' Trip Paid by Pearson

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protestHadas Goshen "School cuts hurt," chanted parents, teachers and education advocates who gathered in front of the Tweed building on Wednesday in another protest over the pending layoffs of school aides and other school employees.

Today's stories:

Add New York to the list of states where education commissioners have accepted free travel from the Pearson Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the testing company. The Daily News reports that in June 2010, Education Commissioner David M. Steiner flew to to London for a conference by the Council of Chief State School Officers, in a trip paid for by the Pearson Foundation. Later, the state signed a contract with Pearson to develop and administer new tests. Read more.

"My fellow commissioners and I knew that the Pearson Foundation was supporting C.C.S.S.O. for this trip, among others, but since it was the foundation and since no commercial aspects were involved, we saw no issue," Mr. Steiner told the paper.

The New York Post reports that parents in the Bronx are still recovering from a first-day-back bus episode that left them unable to reach their children for hours. A bus with nearly a dozen special education students did not return some of them to their homes until 9 p.m., and the bus company had to dispatch a new driver. Read more.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the police have arrested two men in connection with the shooting death of a Murry Bergtraum High School student and star basketball player. Then men were arrested in South Carolina, where they surrendered to the police. Read more.

And in national news, The New York Times reports that an international network of education nonprofit organizations, modeled on Teach for America, is persuading more young people to make two-year teaching commitments in their countries. Founded in 2007 by Wendy Kopp, who started Teach for America, and Brett Wigdortz, who founded a similar British organization. Teach for All now has 1,500 teachers in more than a dozen countries.

A more complete roundup of what's in the news can be found at Gotham Schools' Rise & Shine post.

Around town Thursday:

At 11:30 a.m. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, City Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer and Vincent J. Gentile and others will announce a new program to encourage children to read that involves forgiveness of library fines. The announcement will be made at the Seward Park Library in Manhattan.

At noon, the city's teachers' union is holding what has become an annual news conference to announce the number of classes citywide that are too large and top contractual limits. The news conference will take place outside of Murry Bergtraum High School in Lower Manhattan, which is one of several high schools that the union says have been particularly hard hit by swelling class sizes.