Policy News

Weekly Education News Brief

Brought to you by the Penn State Education Policy Studies Student Association (EPSSA)
Questions or comments, please contact Nnenna Ogbu (nnenna.ogbu@gmail.com)
In the news
Alabama balks at Feds’ demand for enrollment figures
“The Justice Department sent letters Monday to 39 school superintendents seeking lists that include the race and national origin of students, as well as whether English is their primary language. Justice Department attorneys also want the names of students who have withdrawn from school and the dates they left. The Obama administration is concerned that the law enacted by Alabama’s GOP-controlled legislature this year may discourage students from going to school. The agency wants the information to determine if further action is warranted. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the letter went to districts with significant Hispanic populations. Alabama has 132 school districts.”

Board approves Idaho online class requirement
“Education officials on Thursday gave final approval to a plan that makes Idaho the first state in the nation to require high school students to take at least two credits online to graduate, despite heavy criticism of the plan at public hearings this summer. The measure is part of a sweeping education overhaul that introduces teacher merit pay and phases in laptops for every high school teacher and student.”

LAUSD faces suit linking teacher ratings to student performance
“A group of parents and education advocates is preparing to sue the Los Angeles school district, demanding that it follow an arcane 40-year-old law that requires all California school systems to link teacher and principal evaluations to student performance .”

Study: public school teachers aren’t underpaid
Despite Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s consistent calls for increased teacher salaries, a new study says that most public school teachers aren’t actually being underpaid. The new research from The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute suggests a majority of public school teachers are making more than they likely would in the private sector. The co-authors of the study said they hope their work reverses the widespread perception that teachers aren’t earning high enough wages.”

Spotlight: Student loan debt

‘Occupy’ protesters target college costs as student debt rises
“Roughly two-thirds of the class of 2010 borrowed for college, and they were hit especially hard because the unemployment rate for new college graduates stood at 9.1 percent the year they graduated—though that’s less than half the rate for counterparts who only have a high school degree. Another cause for concern: because of data limitations, the figures do not include students at for-profit college, where other recent data show 96 percent of graduates have loans and they borrow nearly 50 percent more than those who graduate from other four-year schools…These figures, on top of last week’s College Board report showing a 7.3 percent increase this year in tuition prices at public four-year colleges, highlight the challenge of college affordability at a time when states have significantly cut support for higher education. “

College Students’ borrowing hits an all-time high
“Students are borrowing more money to pay for college than ever before. New data show that students who graduated in 2010 carried 5 percent more debt than in the previous year. And education debt is expect to grow in the coming years, as students struggle to pay higher tuition costs. “

College graduates’ debt burden grew, yet again, in 2010

Policy and Politics

One-third of Minnesota schools ask voters for help
“The phone banks have been humming for three weeks straight in the headquarters of the teachers’ union for Minnesota’s largest school district, as Anoka-Hennepin teachers and their allies plead with voters to renew an operating levy worth $48 million a year…School officials say they are turning to local taxpayers because their balance sheets are in tatters after years of lagging state funding and an accounting shift during the past legislative session that pushed 40 percent of state school aid payments into the next fiscal year. “

Washington considers cutting all school bus funding
The yellow school bus could become another victim of the Great Recession in some parts of Washington. Gov. Chris Gregoire doesn’t want to see her state stop spending money to get kids to school. But any squeamishness over student transportation cuts isn’t enough to keep that $220 million idea off her list of ways to potentially deal with a $2 billion budget shortfall.”

Some CPS schools giving parents progress reports – on themselves
“In addition to their children’s report cards, Walsh [Elementary School] parents were among the first in Chicago Public Schools to receive a progress report on the school itself, showing precisely how well, and in many cases how poorly, that school is keeping students on track for college. “

Wisconsin Senate shifts gears on sex education to emphasize abstinence
“The Wisconsin Senate approved a Republican-backed bill late Wednesday that would require sex education teachers to stress abstinence over contraception, despite complaints that the measure would leave children ill-informed and do little to curtail teen pregnancy and sexual diseases. “
Poor increasingly cluster in impoverished areas
The U.S. poverty rate was 15 percent last year — the highest in almost two decades. New numbers out Thursday from the Brookings Institution show that the nation’s poor are increasingly concentrated in extremely poor neighborhoods. This creates additional problems for those trying to work their way out of poverty .”

In the courts
School has a charter, students and a strong opponent: its district
“The district, in Westchester County, sued the State Education Department and the Amani school this year, calling the approval an “arbitrary and capricious” decision, and sought to block Amani from moving forward. It has refused to turn over state, federal and local aid money to Amani, so the state has begun paying the charter directly. During the summer, district workers were sent to knock on the doors of Amani students to check that they lived in the district, a tactic that angered some parents. And in recent weeks, the district has delayed providing special education services to Amani students. “

Indianapolis district that ended bus routes faces lawsuit
An Indianapolis woman has sued a suburban school district that stopped running free school buses, and she could be joined by thousands of other parents. Lora Hoagland filed the lawsuit against the Franklin Township schools Tuesday in a Marion County court. Her attorney said he plans to seek class-action status for the suit, which could then be on behalf of about 8,000 families in the school district.”

Educational Leadership
San Diego board member wants to slash teacher pay
A school board member on Monday proposed slashing teacher pay 10 percent in California’s second-largest district, the latest salvo in a debate over whether wrenching cuts will be required to prevent insolvency…Scott Barnett, a taxpayer watchdog advocate who won election to San Diego’s five-member school board last year, said he wanted employees to accept a 10 percent pay cut, postpone scheduled pay increases and begin paying health care premiums.”

State yanks Atlanta schools’ federal standing
State education officials have yanked the federal standing of more than 40 Atlanta elementary and middle schools named in a massive cheating scandal, which could lead to sanctions and may force the schools to return thousands of dollars in federal money. The Georgia Department of Education announced the revocations Wednesday, saying the schools will be marked as not making “adequate yearly progress” under the federal No Child Left Behind law. The schools may have to offer extra tutoring, provide professional development for teachers and allow parents to transfer their children to higher-performing schools.”

Standards: a critical need for K-16 collaboration
“However, a survey released earlier this year found that barely half the school districts in states that have adopted the common standards have begun the intensive process of aligning their teaching to the standards. And, no one seems to be asking whether colleges and universities are considering the standards and how they relate to college-level work. This is more important than ever, particularly given the level of authority granted to postsecondary institutions to approve the standards in the NCLB waiver-request guidelines. For that reason, states will need to move quickly to get postsecondary institutions on board with the common core. In addition, state legislators and other community leaders who have been standing on the sidelines of the common-core debate are finally going to have their say. “
Michigan prepares for failing school test scores
“Far fewer students would have scored well on state standardized tests during the past four years if higher cut scores that take effect this school year had been in place, the Michigan Department of Education said Thursday. In the most dramatic example, only about 35 percent of third-graders would have scored “proficient” in math last year, rather than the 95 percent who did, said officials who released results from the four-year period.”

2,140 Alabama public employees retiring over costs
More than 2,100 of Alabama’s public employees plan to retire Dec. 1 to avoid paying more for health insurance as retirees. The deputy director of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Marc Reynolds, said Thursday that 2,140 employees had their retirement papers postmarked by Tuesday’s deadline. That includes 1,660 education employees.”

Blogs and Opinions
Principals rebel against ‘value-added’ evaluation

Race to Inflate: The evaluation conundrum for teachers of non-tested subjects


Weekly Education News Brief
Brought to you by the Penn State Education Policy Studies Student Association (EPSSA)
Questions or comments, please contact Nnenna Ogbu (nnenna.ogbu@gmail.com)
In the news
Effort to repeal California gay history law fails
“Opponents of a California law requiring that the contributions of gays and lesbians be taught in public schools failed Wednesday in their attempt to qualify a ballot referendum to repeal the law. The groups wanted to force a vote on Senate Bill 48, the nation’s first law requiring that public schools include gay rights milestones and gay and lesbian contributions in social studies lessons. It takes effect in January.”
Report: layoffs hit 3 percent of NY teachers
“Layoffs hit nearly 3 percent of teachers in New York this year, according to a survey released Tuesday by the state Council of School Superintendents. That translates into more than 7,000 teacher layoffs, said Richard C. Iannuzzi, president of the New York State United Teachers union. Another 4,000 unfilled positions were eliminated. More than 4 percent of school administrators also were laid off.”
LA schools to boost equity for minority students
“A 19-month civil rights investigation of the Los Angeles Unified School District found that the district failed to provide an equal education to English-learners and black students, resulting in wide academic disparities, the U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday. The district, the nation’s second-largest, agreed to remedy the disparities through a variety of measures, including a complete overhaul of its English-learning program and improving resources such as computers and library books to schools with predominantly black student bodies.”
California governor signs aid bill for illegal immigrants
“Illegal immigrants can now apply for state-funded scholarships and aid at state universities after California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed the second half of a legislative package targeting such students.”
Spotlight: NCLB flexibility
Flexibility on tutoring pleases districts, worries industry
“The U.S. Department of Education’s plan to grant states broad flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act will free up as much as $800 million in money school districts now must set aside for tutoring students, but may mark a significant financial blow to an education industry that has grown up around serving low-performing schools.”
‘America’s tutor boom’: By the numbers
Public schools may be suffering, but the private tutoring business — a $5 billion industry — is growing like gangbusters. Times may be tough for many Americans, but, as the quality of public education grows shakier, it still pays to be a tutor — or at least a corporate tutoring firm. While the rest of the economy has sputtered and stagnated, the ‘supplemental education’ sector has grown tenfold over the last decade. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers to ‘America’s tutor boom.'”
No Child Left Behind waivers worry some advocates
“[T]he Department of Education is inviting all states to apply for waivers from the No Child Left Behind law. The waivers could win relief for schools where a small number of students are falling short of federal requirements. But advocates for minority and special education students worry their students will be ignored.”
Policy and Politics
Obstacles in path of PA governor’s school voucher plan
“[S]ay voucher and controversy crackles. Perhaps that is why Corbett dubbed the vouchers ‘opportunity scholarships.’ Will struggling city schools be forced to improve? Or will they be bankrupted? Will upstate schools get overlooked? Will children gain or lose? Pollster G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College said the battle mirrors the voucher debate 16 years ago, which did not break on party lines.”
Proposal stirs charter school debate: Choice vs. quality?
“A legislative proposal to lift the state cap on charter schools would provide parents unprecedented options for K-12 education, but some critics fear it would litter the state with ineffective, profit-minded operators. The legislation, part of a sweeping package wending its way through the Legislature, would make Michigan among the least restrictive states. Other states have lifted caps in recent years as they competed for U.S. education grants.”
FCAT soon could be a lot tougher to pass
“Passing many of Florida’s crucial FCAT exams may soon be more difficult, and the percentage of students failing likely could zoom upward, under a proposed new scoring system being considered. The state’s new algebra exam for middle and high schoolers also would be graded by a tough standard that, if it had been in place this year, would have meant a failure rate of 45 percent.”
State school board deadlocked over charter expansion
“An unusually divided state Board of Education couldn’t agree Tuesday on how to advise the Michigan Legislature on a package of bills that would allow an unlimited number of charter schools to open statewide, among other changes. The typically agreeable board’s inability to come to a consensus leaves Michigan Department of Education officials to figure out how to provide feedback to lawmakers on the nine-bill package making its way through the Legislature.”
Texas schools sue state, saying funding is unfair
“A coalition of more than 150 Texas school districts said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit against the state over a school funding system it says is unfair, inefficient and unconstitutional. The coalition represents more than one in 10 Texas districts. It accuses lawmakers of turning a blind eye to the state’s troubled school financing system for years and exacerbating the flaws this summer when they slashed public school spending by more than $4 billion to close a massive budget gap.”
State launching childhood obesity prevention programs in New Bedford, Fitchburg
“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been awarded a $1.7 million federal grant to launch pilot programs in New Bedford and Fitchburg to fight obesity in children ages 2 to 12. The four-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is aimed at combining proven clinical and community-based obesity programs for the greatest effect on children’s health.”
Educational Leadership
Non-educators can now run PA school districts
“Becoming a school district’s top dog used to mean starting at the bottom of the education food chain. Not anymore. State leaders have made several changes to the Public School Code, among them waiving a requirement that superintendents be educators. Under Act 24, which Gov. Tom Corbett signed June 30, the state expanded its eligibility criteria to include candidates who haven’t taught but hold a graduate degree in business or finance.”
Mississippi starts offering students 3 pathways to graduation
“A new Mississippi Department of Education initiative will make it possible for some students to graduate from high school with fewer than the 24 credits currently required.
The Pathways to Success program aims to better connect education and the workforce. Beginning this spring, all eighth-grade students must chose one of 16 career clusters that most interests them.”
Teacher ratings linked to tests for first time
“The state Department of Education and the state’s largest union representative for teachers have come to an agreement on how to rate teachers for the current school year. For the first time, student test score data will be used as one measure for rating teachers in Delaware. This comes one year after the state rolled out a new computer-based assessment for students that helps measure test score growth by requiring students to take the exam several times during the school year. The test score data are part of a five-component ranking system that also takes into account other factors.”
Early educator union sought
“Massachusetts teacher unions are attempting to enroll more than 10,000 early childhood education workers in the private and nonprofit sectors, a move that could boost their woefully low pay but critics say could also drive up tuition rates.”
Panel revokes teaching licenses of 11 in Atlanta
“A Georgia state commission decided Thursday to revoke the teaching licenses of eight teachers and three school administrators in the Atlanta Public Schools, imposing the first sanctions in one of the nation’s largest school cheating scandals.”
Higher Education
Most US colleges not asking sexual orientation
“Gary Rold didn’t necessarily consider himself a pioneer when he decided that Elmhurst College would begin asking applicants about their sexual orientation…Rold’s decision touched off a flurry of publicity after advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students lauded Elmhurst as the first in the nation to ask applicants about sexual orientation — an idea that has gotten little traction elsewhere. Now the question is, will other colleges follow suit?”
Scott: State doesn’t need more anthropologists
“When it comes to college degrees, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is no fan of anthropology. In comments this week, Scott said he wants the state to shift more funding to degrees that have the best job prospects, and repeatedly singled out anthropology as one of the losers.”
Ohio universities to drop most remedial classes
“The nearly 40 percent of college freshmen in Ohio who are not ready for college-level work will take most of their remedial courses at community colleges under a statewide plan that dramatically changes how four-year schools provide instruction to those needing extra help. The changes come as colleges and universities across the state convert to a semester calendar, in part to ease the transfer of credits between schools. Both changes are meant to save students money as the cost of higher education continues to rise faster than inflation, and student loan debt reaches $1 trillion.”
Blogs and Opinions
Why gifted education misses out
My dangerous colleagues in anthropology
Weekly Education News Brief
Brought to you by the Penn State Education Policy Studies Student Association (EPSSA)
Questions or comments, please contact Nnenna Ogbu (nnenna.ogbu@gmail.com)
In the news
Students arrested in SAT cheating case in N.Y.
A prosecutor in New York is investigating whether students in other districts on Long Island took part in a cheating scam on college entrance exams that resulted in the arrest of seven current or former students at a prestigious high school. The arrests were made Tuesday on allegations that one of the seven associated with Great Neck North High School, a 19-year-old college student, took the SAT exams for the others in exchange for payments of up to $2,500.”
SAT cheating scandal: Are stakes getting to high for college admission?:http://news.yahoo.com/sat-cheating-scandal-stakes-getting-too-high-college-200954851.html
Judge lets key parts of Alabama immigration law stand
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked parts of Alabama’s crackdown on illegal immigration but let stand a provision requiring public schools to determine the legal residency of children. The Alabama law is widely seen as the toughest state measure on illegal immigration, and supporters hailed the judge’s decision as ‘a great victory.'”
Bill comes due on Race to Top’s varied goals
Winners of the $4 billion Race to the Top jackpot committed to grand goals in using the federal grants to raise student achievement, as measured by higher test scores, narrowed achievement gaps, and increased graduation and college-going rates—all in four years. ..Down the road, there will be some official assessment by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, which is undertaking two studies. …The first is part of a broader study of the $100 billion in education spending from the ARRA, the 2009 federal economic-stimulus package.  The second is a five-year, $13 million study of the Race to the Top and the federal School Improvement Grant program .”

Spotlight: Education and the Internet
Oklahoma school official tweets: Educators ‘dirtbags’
“Oklahoma’s schools superintendent said Thursday that her chief of staff calling school administrators ‘dirtbags’ in a personal Twitter
post was a ‘poor choice of words’ — but called a lawsuit targeting parents of special-needs children that prompted the comment vindictive and ‘groundless.'”
White House, Facebook, MTV fight cyberbullying
Top federal IT officials have teamed with Facebook and other private-sector organizations in an effort to respond to cyberbullying, a problem that increasingly is plaguing young people as they use social media. U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra and President Obama’s Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt are encouraging social-networking platforms and application developers to create new tools to “prioritize reports of abuse and corresponding interventions that might mitigate an escalating situation,” according a White House blog post by the two IT officials.”
Probe finds fraud in U.S. distance education
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) identified a ‘serious vulnerability’ in distance education programs due to frauds committed by students and recommended a stricter enrollment process for colleges.”

Policy and Politics
Ohio school teachers support Senate Bill 5
Increased awareness of the fiscally responsible attributes in Ohio Senate Bill 5(Issue 2) is prompting public employees to come out of the closet and share accurate facts with their coworkers and families. The pressure from union leaders on teachers, firefighters and law enforcement officers to follow the rank-and-file mindset must be exhausting. Even if you oppose the fiscal reform, you should credit the bravery of public employees willing to not only form their own opinions but state them publicly.

School districts may lose funds for unvaccinated students
Cash-strapped school districts are grappling with the potential loss of funding for students sent home for not having a state- mandated whooping cough vaccination or exemption on file.
Many students still haven’t gotten their shots on time, and their districts are at risk of losing aid.
Some districts are sending unvaccinated students home as the law states, and some are allowing them to attend classes even without the shots. The question is: Will the state pay school districts for any unvaccinated student?”

‘Renaissance’ schools chalk up big gains in Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s new “Renaissance” turnaround operators are reporting big gains on Pennsylvania’s 2011 state standardized tests at the seven long-struggling public schools that were converted to charters last year. All the converted schools saw improvements in both reading and math scores. Six of the seven saw double-digit gains in math.”

Shrinking Texas school payrolls add to unemployed
The $4 billion in cuts to Texas public schools this summer might be starting to hit Gov. Rick Perry where it hurts most—his record on creating jobs. Texas lost 900 jobs in local school districts in August, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. August is when back-to-school hiring typically resumes after districts purge payrolls in the summer, yet districts statewide kept shedding jobs last month for the first time since at least 1990.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg unveils new plan to evaluate, pay teachers
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is making a new run at revamping how the district hires, evaluates, trains and pays teachers. Last year, performance pay and a surge of new student tests used to rate teachers brought protests from educators and parents. Today, top administrators will brief the school board on the “talent effectiveness project,” a term that includes testing and performance pay. But it’s not just a new label to deflect controversy, says board Chair Eric Davis.”

Money pours in for charter supporters in Louisiana state board election
The votes won’t be cast and counted for weeks but several candidates for Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education already hold big leads when it comes to raising money, evidence that the usually low-key BESE elections are drawing new attention from self-styled reformers and business interests. Those interests typically back charter schools and an accountability system that has seen the state take control of failing schools from local officials in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.”

In the courts
Courthouses rife with education policy battles
State-level battles over changes in education policy have shifted in many places from legislative chambers to courthouses, as unions and other critics of new laws challenge them on the grounds that they violate state constitutions and worker contracts.”

California school districts sue state over funding cuts
A coalition of school districts and education groups sued the state of California on Wednesday, seeking the restoration of more than $2 billion in funding they say public schools are owed under state law. The lawsuit seeks the return of $2.1 billion in education funding that was cut from the 2011-2012 state budget. The plaintiffs say districts are owed that money under Proposition 98, a 1988 voter initiative that guarantees California public schools a minimum level of funding.”

Teaching and Learning
Classroom ‘crisis’: Many teachers have little or no experience
As children around the country settle in for the new school year, millions of them are sharing more than desks, sandwiches and sniffles. Chances are good that they are being taught by teachers with little or no experience. The odds that a child will be taught by a new teacher have increased dramatically over the past two decades. In 1987-’88, the most common level of experience among the nation’s 3 million K-12 public school teachers was 14 years in the classroom.  By 2007-’08, students were most likely to encounter a teacher with just one or two years of experience.”
Final Pre-K Now report pushes prekindergarten-12 strategy
[Monday], the Pew Center on the States released Pre-K Now’s final report, Transforming Public Education: Pathway to a Pre-K-12 Future. The report advocates shifting state and federal policymaking in education toward a pre-K-through-12 system. At the state level, it argues that states need to maintain and increase their investments in prekindergarten programs and to take the pre-K focus on the whole child and move it up through the K-12 system.

French teachers strike over job cuts under Sarkozy
Tens of thousands of French teachers and their supporters took to the streets Tuesday for a national strike and protests over education job cuts under President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government. As children nationwide packed into a shrinking number of classes because their teachers were out, Sarkozy insisted that his first responsibility was to private-sector workers and employers facing international competition at a time of economic woe, not state employees.”

Higher Education
R.I. board approves in-state tuition for illegal immigrants
A higher education board has approved a measure that would allow students who immigrated to the United States illegally to pay in-state tuition at Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities. The Board of Governors for Higher Education voted unanimously Monday evening to change the policy after hearing several hours of public testimony.”

White House grants $500 million to community colleges
Administration officials [Monday] touted $500 million in grants for  community colleges, using the occasion to push for President Barack Obama’s now-stalled proposed stimulus.”

College graduation rates are stagnant even as enrollment rises, a study finds
A report to be released on Tuesday by a group seeking to raise college graduation rates shows that despite decades of steadily climbing enrollment rates, the percentage of students making it to the finish line is barely budging.”

Education Department seeks to ease approval process
The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday proposed to make approval procedure for new programs easier under the ‘gainful employment’ education rules, which was finalized last October, to make for-profit education companies more accountable for federal aid.”


Weekly Education News Brief

Brought to you by the Penn State Education Policy Studies Student Association (EPSSA)

Questions or comments, please contact Nnenna Ogbu (nnenna.ogbu@gmail.com)

In the news

The end is near for No Child Left Behind

The nation’s embattled key education policy may soon meet its administrative death. The White House today is detailing requirements for states that want to apply for waivers from essential components of No Child Left Behind, a law all sides call out-of-date and impossible. Its central provision requires every student to test at grade level in math and reading by 2014. But now, the Obama administration is providing a way to let states off the hook and hoping all states will take advantage…Several states have already indicated they plan to apply. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/09/23/the-end-is-near-for-no-child-left-behind

Hear more: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/23/140730703/obama-to-waive-parts-of-bush-era-education-act?ft=1&f=1013

Teachers ratify deal ending strike in Washington

Jubilant teachers in Washington state’s third-largest school district voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to ratify a contract deal that ended their weeklong strike and staved off proposed pay cuts.http://news.yahoo.com/teachers-ratify-deal-ending-strike-tacoma-wash-010510718.html


Kansas City School District loses accreditation

“Missouri education officials revoked the accreditation of the Kansas City School District on Tuesday after it failed for several years to meet most of the state’s academic performance standards, an embarrassing blow to the beleaguered district that is also trying to find a new superintendent. The decision by the Missouri State Board of Education means the district has more than two years to improve and regain accreditation before it could face state takeover. The decision was approved without dissent and is effective Jan. 1.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/20/456333mokansascityccreditation_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

Read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/456835mokansascityccreditationtransfers_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

Kansas City families scramble to transfer to suburban schools: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/456835mokansascityccreditationtransfers_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss


Newark creates Teacher-Innovation Fund from $100M Facebook donation

Newark teachers will have access to $600,000 in grant money meant to encourage innovative teaching methods that can be replicated district-wide, education officials announced Wednesday. Money for the creation of the Newark Teachers Innovation Fund comes from a $100 million donation by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, given to Newark schools exactly one year ago. An additional $47 million in philanthropic donations have been raised so far toward matching Zuckerberg’s grant.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/456710njnewarkschoolsgrant_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss


CMS named country’s top urban school district

After three grueling years, staff, students and supporters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools basked in national attention and community pride after claiming the nation’s top award for urban education Tuesday. The 2011 Broad Prize brings $550,000 in scholarships, bragging rights for the district’s 17,750 employees and a surge of educators and policymakers eager to see what CMS has done to help low-income and minority students succeed and graduate.” http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/21/2624792/cms-named-countrys-top-urban-district.html


Spotlight: Single-Sex Classrooms

Wake County expands school choice, OKs single-sex schools

Wake County students, who have long enjoyed a wide array of public school options, are poised to get several more. For the past three decades, they could attend a base school, which offers a general education. Or they could choose from magnet schools that offer lots of electives — from archery to classes in rap music and architecture. On Tuesday, that menu got bigger — but not without some political resistance.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/05mct_ncschoolchoice.h31.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss


Class distinctions: where boy doesn’t meet girl

Inside Barbara Noone’s sixth-grade classroom at Willard School, educational posters hang on the walls and books are stacked on shelves. But the seats are filled only with girls. The class is part of a single-gender classroom program the school launched three years ago with two single-gender sixth-grade classes, one for boys and one for girls. This year, the program expanded to the fifth grade, with one all-boys and one all-girls classroom. The students say it works for them.” http://www.pressherald.com/news/where-boy-doesnt-meet-girl_2011-09-19.html


Single-sex education is assailed in report, ineffective

“Single-sex education is ineffective, misguided and may actually increase gender stereotyping, a paper to be published Friday asserts. The report, “The Pseudoscience of Single Sex Schooling,” to be published in Science magazine by eight social scientists who are founders of the nonprofit American Council for CoEducational Schooling, is likely to ignite a new round of debate and legal wrangling about the effects of single-sex education.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/education/23single.html?partner=rss&emc=rss


Single-sex schools have negative impact on kids, study says

“Boys and girls may be opposites, but new research shows that in the classroom, separating the two sexes may not be the best way for either gender to learn and grow. A new report, published in the journal Science, states that students who attend single-sex schools are no better educated than those who attend co-ed schools. Plus, children are more likely to accept gender stereotypes when they go to an all-boys or all-girls school.” http://abcnews.go.com/Health/single-sex-schools-negative-kids-study/story?id=14581023


Policy and Politics

Too much GI Bill money going to for-profit schools?

“The nation’s for-profit colleges and universities have reaped a windfall from the Post-Sept. 11 GI Bill. The top for-profit companies brought in around $1 billion in benefits in the last year alone. And some lawmakers say federal regulations encourage these schools to target current and former members of the military.” http://www.npr.org/2011/09/22/140712378/too-much-gi-bill-money-going-to-for-profit-schools?ft=1&f=1013

Read more:http://news.yahoo.com/profit-colleges-getting-more-gi-bill-dollars-135632636.html


Education impact of Jobs Bill under debate

Educators and analysts are taking a hard look at whether the $55 billion K-12 portion of President Barack Obama’s nearly $450 billion jobs plan will provide the jolt to schools still feeling the pinch of a sputtering economy that the administration hopes. The plan faces long odds on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are struggling to trim at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years in a climate hostile to tax increases. But, if the plan does pass, some sympathetic analysts argue it would help school districts cover the cost of long-delayed school repairs and avert big layoffs and program cuts.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/04jobs_ep.h31.html?tkn=ZOCFSoDD1eQhBnDI32LWKVtzuX0PO4%2BnB4dH&cmp=clp-sb-ascd


Textbook adoption the new face of banning books

Book-banning used to take place most often at a very local level. Even then it would make headlines if a classic work of literature was banned or removed from a school’s curriculum or library. In more recent years, curriculum rules for public schools have been established at the state level, often by elected officials or board members appointed by elected officials. Many of them are reluctant to be associated with book-banning or other broad curriculum changes that might attract the attention of the press and more moderate voters, as what happened with the Kansas State Board of Education in the run-up to the 2006 election. Instead, many states have instituted a textbook adoption system in which school books must be on a state-controlled and -approved list before any public schools in the state can purchase them. http://news.yahoo.com/textbook-adoption-face-banning-books-223600744.html


Half Philadelphia School Reform Board resigns after Ackerman buyout

“Signaling another major change in Philadelphia School District leadership even while it is about to search for a new superintendent, two members of the School Reform Commission resigned Monday, one of them its chairman. Both Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr. and Johnny Irizarry were appointees of Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who is charged with replacing them.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/20/05mct_paoverhaul.h31.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

Watch more: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/video?id=8345641


Census: Recession takes big toll on young adults

 Young adults are the recession’s lost generation. In record numbers, they’re struggling to find work, shunning long-distance moves to live with mom and dad, delaying marriage and raising kids out of wedlock, if they’re becoming parents at all. The unemployment rate for them is the highest since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others. Data released Thursday from the 2010 census show the wrenching impact of a recession that officially ended in mid-2009. There are missed opportunities and dim prospects for a generation of mostly 20-somethings and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged period of joblessness.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/22/457019uscensusrecessionsimpact_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

In the Courts

Minnesota AG sues over aid to for-profit

The Minnesota attorney general has joined a lawsuit against Education Management Corp., alleging that two of its schools in the state illegally collected taxpayer-financed financial aid. [Attorney General Lori] Swanson’s office joined the U.S. Department of Justice and five other states in the lawsuit filed this summer against EMC in federal court in Pennsylvania.http://news.yahoo.com/minnesota-ag-sues-over-aid-profit-colleges-201746638.html


Judge orders desegregation help for Tucson schools

A federal judge has ordered that a desegregation expert help resolve a decades-long battle to end racial disparity in the Tucson Unified School District. U.S. District Judge David Bury asked the district and Latino and black plaintiffs to find eligible individuals who could serve as a “special master” to make sure the district eliminates all vestiges of segregation.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/17/455575ztucsonschooldesegregation_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss


Federal court reviewing Arkansas desegregation funding case

A federal appeals court began reviewing a lower court order on Monday that would end state payments to Arkansas public schools that began over two decades ago to aid in desegregation efforts. Arkansas has one of the nation’s largest remaining court-ordered desegregation systems in a state where President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957 summoned the National Guard to allow nine black students to attend Central High School after Governor Orval Fabus denied them access.”http://news.yahoo.com/federal-court-reviewing-arkansas-desegregation-funding-case-021905960.html

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/rock-desegregation-plans-back-court-14543411

Judge: State can’t withhold taxes after overpaying

“A judge has ruled that the Arkansas Department of Education cannot withhold property tax funds from two districts that were overpaid in state school funding, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Wednesday. Education officials weren’t immediately ordered to return the money. The newspaper reported that Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued the ruling Tuesday, saying property taxes are controlled by the state but that current Arkansas law doesn’t allow the state to withhold property tax money from local school districts.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/456742rschooldistrictspayback_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

N.C. appeals court rules in charter school case

A North Carolina school district must distribute money from a specific account to charter schools, even if some funds are restricted for a special purpose, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The judges agreed unanimously with a trial court decision that the Rutherford County Schools owed Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy about $731,000 in back per-pupil funding over three years, based on funding levels in an account that all districts must keep for normal operating expenses.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/20/456256nccharterschoolfunding_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

Public school choice pushed in Michigan

At a time when many states are adopting controversial measures to launch or expand private school vouchers, Republicans in Michigan are taking a different direction, moving ahead with a plan that would greatly expand the menu of public school choices for students and parents. GOP lawmakers, who control both state legislative chambers, have introduced a series of proposals that would give students more freedom to attend schools outside their districts, increase options for taking college classes while in high school, and encourage the growth of charter schools and online education offerings.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/21/04choice.h31.html?tkn=NWCCbuckQPFxgmFVhk%2Fw6ZcE8Kv1fLn%2Flx6T&cmp=clp-sb-ascd

Teaching and Learning

Twenty states named to help craft new science standards

A cadre of 20 states will lead the development of a new set of common standards in science, according to an announcement today from Achieve, a Washington-based nonprofit managing the effort. Participating states span the country, from California and Arizona to Michigan and Maryland. They will help craft what have been dubbed the Next Generation Science Standards based on a frameworkdevelopedby a panel of the National Research Council earlier this summer.” http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/09/twenty_states_to_develop_new_n.html

Read the announcement:http://www.nextgenscience.org/states-lead-effort-write-new-science-standards

California district to defy state law, allow unvaccinated students to stay

Fresno Unified officials announced Wednesday they will defy a state law that bars students who haven’t provided proof of a whooping cough vaccination from attending school. District officials say they are keeping with their mission to teach. But also at stake are hundreds of thousands of dollars in state subsidies.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/22/05mct_cavaccines.h31.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

Detroit Public Schools to cut 1,5000 teachers despite lower student attrition

Detroit Public Schools plans to cut 40 percent of its current teaching staff by fall 2015. Deep staffing cuts are part of a deficit-reducing effort by Gov. Rick Snyder’s newly formed Education Achievement Authority. The cuts will save $74 million in salaries and $15 million in pensions, to be used toward the DPS’s $372 million budget deficit. Remaining staff will have greatly increased student loads. Of the 1,500 teachers who will lose their jobs, 1,100 are slated to be gone next fall. Detroit’s poorer performing schools will see the most staff cuts.” http://news.yahoo.com/detroit-public-schools-cut-1-500-teachers-despite-221800229.html

Read more:http://www.detnews.com/article/20110920/SCHOOLS/109200366/1026/Detroit-Public-Schools-plans-to-cut-1-500-teachers



NYC to open 50 new middle schools in next 2 years

“New York City’s schools chief vowed Tuesday to tackle the persistent problem of lagging student achievement in middle school by opening 50 new middle schools, closing failing schools and recruiting good teachers and principals for the middle school years. “ http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/20/456274nynycmiddleschools_ap.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss



Public schools face the rising cost of serving lunch

The federal government is making school meals more nutritious this year, but also more expensive. Under a little-noticed provision of the child nutrition bill signed by President Obama in December, which brought more fresh produce and less whole milk to cafeterias nationwide, school districts are required to start bringing their prices in line with what it costs to prepare the meals, eventually charging an average of $2.46 for the lunches they serve.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/education/20lunch.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Read the nutrition bill press release: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/12/13/president-obama-signs-healthy-hunger-free-kids-act-2010-law

International Education

In Brazil, a plan to send students to world’s top colleges

With their economy booming, their currency at a level that makes even London prices seem cheap and their foreign policy one of the world’s most ambitious (President Dilma Rousseff this week will to be the first woman ever to open debate at the U.N. General Assembly), Brazilians have gotten used to going abroad for tourism, business, shopping and diplomacy. Now their students are finally getting an incentive to see the world, thanks to a major government program that aims to award 75,000 scholarships to attend the world’s top universities. Available only to Brazilians studying subjects of strategic national importance, like engineering, they reflect “an effort by the government to take a quantum leap in the formation of a scientific and technological elite,” says Aloizio Mercadante, Brazil’s Science and Technology Minister. http://news.yahoo.com/brazil-plan-send-students-worlds-top-colleges-091006495.html


Carnegie Mellon plans to build campus in Rwanda

Carnegie Mellon University, based in Pittsburgh, will open a campus in Kigali, Rwanda, with the first group of 40 students to begin classes in fall 2012. The university made the announcement Thursday and also said the campus hoped to have up to 150 students by 2017.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/world/americas/carnegie-mellon-plans-to-build-campus-in-rwanda.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Syrian students increasing join protest

“Syrian students chanting for revolution marched outside the capital and other areas after class Thursday in a new tactic that brought a swift response from security services, who beat up or detained many of the young protesters, activists said. Children as young as 10 have been taking to the streets since the new school year started on Sunday, according to witnesses and online videos posted by activists. It appears to be the first major attempt to bring out the country’s schoolchildren to join the 6-month-old uprising.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/22/457038mlsyria_ap.html?r=1903474989

Weekly Education News Update – May 13, 2011

Compiled by the Penn State University Education Policy Studies Student Association (EPSSA)
Questions or comments, please contact Sarah Eckert (sarah.eckert@gmail.com)

Hot Topics
All kids, legal or not, entitled to school
On Friday the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to districts across the country to remind them that all students are entitled to a public education, regardless of status. These letters came out in the wake of reports that schools are checking the immigration status of new students. The Letter reminds districts that they “may not request information with the purpose or result of denying access to public schools on the basis of race, color or national origin”.
**Obama vows to keep fighting for the DREAM Acthttp://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2011/05/president_obama_vows_to_keep_f.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2Times updates value-added ratings for Los Angeles elementary school teachers
The LA times has updated their value added rankings and they now include data for about 11,500 teachers. This group of results also reflects changes in the way that scores were calculated. Analysis of these rankings highlights large disparities regarding instructor’s abilities to raise student test scores. The results are already being challenged by the teachers union.
**http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-utla-challenge-20110508,0,3954012.storyIn Pennsylvania, activists pour millions into the fight for school vouchers
In Pennsylvania, last year’s elections gave a big boost to voucher proponents. The Pennsylvania proposal would give public school students (originally only poor students, but now includes middle income students) thousands of dollars for tuition. Students in the School District of Philadelphia, for example, could get up to $7,500 per year in “opportunity scholarships”.
**PA governor links teachers’ unions to failing schoolshttp://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/09/business-us-corbett-schools-pennsylvania_8457858.html
**Related: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2011/05/funders_of_school_choice_aim_to_boost_competition.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
Evolving Stories

Continued coverage of ESEA renewal
“Renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is still moving slowly in the U.S. Senate, but the House Education and the Workforce Committee seems ready to act on Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.’s plan to move a series of smaller, more targeted bills, advocates say.”
**http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/05/13/31esea_ep.h30.html?tkn=MSMFcj5E97KFPrZzf7jszHofMJRAPxmSdtfC&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1CA teachers launch ‘week of emergency’ to help avert cuts to education
“Public school teachers, school employees and labor unions across California launched a week long “State of Emergency” campaign on Monday aimed at raising public awareness about the local effects of the state legislature’s failure to resolve a budget crisis that threatens deeper cuts in public school education.”
**Teachers arrestedhttp://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18056940?nclick_check=1
New York in Focus

Lost in the school choice maze
This is the time of year when 8th graders across New York City find out where they will go to high school. In 2004 the NYC Education Department instituted a controlled choice program to match students with schools in an attempt to give parents a choice to avoid the large neighborhood high schools. Students rank schools and schools rank students and elaborate computer matching process determines where the student will spend their next four years. Over the past three years the number of students who have not matched has increase.

Bloomberg to lay off thousands of teachers
As reported last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his budget at City Hall on Friday. This particular budget called to lay off 5,400 city workers–including 4,100 teachers. This is the first significant teacher layoff in New York since the 1970s.
**New teachers at risk for layoffshttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/nyregion/new-idealistic-teachers-face-layoffs-in-bloomberg-budget.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha29

In Queens neighborhood, schools are bursting
16 years ago portable classrooms were set up outside P.S. 19 to hold the growing number of students in the neighborhood. Those portable classrooms are still there, and they hold double the number of students they were intended to hold. What is more, they are starting to show their age.

Walcott names two deputies
“Walcott, the new city schools chancellor, made his first senior appointments on Wednesday, selecting a Philadelphia school official to oversee labor issues, and promoting a local superintendent supervisor to lead efforts to teach at-risk students and reduce the achievement gap between students of different races and economic classes.

Joel Klein: The failure of American schools

Changing of the Guard

Newark’s new school superintendent in her own words
Cami Anderson, the new superintendent of Newark schools, shares some of the lessons that she has learned over the course of her career. Among the other lessons she shares, she focused on giving children a full range of life choices.

Detroit schools still struggling as Bobb leaves
Two years ago, Robert Bobb was hired to help save Detroit public schools, but the school continues to lose students and money.

Louisiana Schools Chief Resigns
Paul Pastorek, Louisiana Schools Chief, will end his four year term on Friday. Pastorek, a former attorney, had a rocky tenure–but he does boast a list of improvements including higher graduation rates and increased test scores.

Rahm Emanuel outlines transition plan for CPS
On Tuesday Chicago Mayor-elect, Rahm Emanuel, released a plan for the upcoming transition. 14 pages of the 72-page report were devoted to his plans for Chicago Public Schools. Among other things, Emanuel Plans to lengthen the school day and focus on teacher evaluation.
**Also in Chicago: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/05/11/31catalyst_social.h30.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss


Big Changes

Kasich proposal would close schools that stay in the bottom percent for three years
“Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s education adviser has told school officials that schools that remain in the state’s bottom 5 percent for three years will be closed if the governor’s proposals pass the legislature.”

Illinois education overhaul at risk
A state overhaul bill, a compromise on some divisive issues, is about to be derailed by claims that it was altered at the last minute. The bill has already passed the state Senate, and had the support of teachers and unions. The bill would make it easier to dismiss teachers and toughen tenure rules. The union argues that the mayor has made a last-minute change, lengthening the school day.
The bill passes the Househttp://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-illinois-legislature-0513-20110512-53,0,6101492.story
And Duncan loves ithttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/13/illinois-house-passes-law_n_861439.html

NEA Leader: Tenure should be earned
On Wednesday, the leader of the National Education Association (one of the country’s largest teachers unions), Dennis Van Roekel, released a policy statement that tenure should be earned, and that those who fail to earn tenure should be counseled out of the profession. Van Roekel articulated that “no incompetent teacher should remain in a classroom”.

Bill introduced to create office of rural education


Jefferson Parish school board members weight in on substitute teaching bill
Louisiana State Representative Tim Burns is sponsoring a bill that would require Louisiana school board members to teach for three school days each year of their term. They could teach whatever grade or subject they prefer, and they would be prohibited from being paid.

A civil rights class could be a model for a statewide program
Alabama’s department of education is considering expanding a black history course that is taught at one school to schools across the state.

Back to school for billionaires
Newsweek investigates how much of an impact big money from Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Eli Broad and the Walton family has had on education. Together these actors have injected almost $4.4billion into education–much of it going to poor urban districts. The results reveal that 9 of the 10 districts still are substantially below the state average for both graduation rates and test scores. Although many districts did report impressive improvements–the spikes were not enough to shrink the “gulf between poor, inner-city schools, where bit givers focused, and their suburban and rural counterparts”.
**and they are still handing out moneyhttp://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/05/12/31pioneer.h30.html?tkn=VXWF498whiTLI%2FQPswaajsZzcrtKwPABKRxk&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

Blogs and Opinion

Rupert Murdoch giving keynote at Jeb Bush’s ed reform summit

Deion Sanders, former Redskin, to open Texas charter school

Gingrich to throw his hat into the presidential ring

Students chime in with ideas to improve college completion

Let’s focus on gaps in opportunity, not achievement

Governor Christie on unions, presidential politics, and NCLB

How to unite squabbling education wonks

Weekly Education News Update

Compiled by the Penn State University Education Policy Studies Student Association (EPSSA)
Questions or comments, please contact Sarah Eckert (sarah.eckert@gmail.com)

Hot Topics Judge blocks contentious Wisconsin union law
On Friday a judge temporarily blocked the recent law intended to curb collective bargaining law in Wisconsin. The lawsuit was filed by the local Democratic district attorney, who alleges that Republican lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings law.
**http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/article_3cd50d3e-52aa-11e0-8763-001cc4c03286.htmlSystem in works to grade N.Y. teachers moving too fast?
New York State is currently fast tracking a new system to “better evaluate teachers”. In this system, which is being designed by a 50-person task force, teachers will be graded on a 100 point scale. The original goal was to have the system up and running for Math and English teachers in grades 4 trough 8 by this fall, but Cuomo wants to be able to include all teachers in the 2011-2012 school year. Many think that the system will fail if sufficient time is not taken to build the evaluations thoughtfully.
**Read about continued coverage of D.C.’s IMPACT evaluations: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2011/03/scrutiny_increases_as_dcs_impa.html
**Read about Teacher Evaluations in Boston: http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2011/03/25/visit_classrooms_early_and_often_and_give_new_tools_to_principals/U.S. Education Secretary calls for a revision of NCLB
Arne Duncan, speaking in Los Angeles, urges Congress to rewrite the law to measure how much students improve on standardized tests. He also says L.A. school management and teachers union leaders should negotiate a new contract that bolsters teacher evaluations.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0323-duncan-20110323,0,6591297.storyTeachers in Michigan lash back at proposed strike fines
“On Tuesday, state Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Genoa Township, introduced House Bill 4465, which would require the state superintendent of public instruction to suspend or revoke the certificates of public schoolteachers who break the state’s existing laws against striking. Teachers could request a hearing to keep their certificates, but if they fail ask for one or are proven to have participated in a strike, their certificates could be removed.”
Financial Concerns Continue
CA: Worst-case budget could shorten school year
In California some students may finish the school year in April next year, just after Easter–as much as six weeks early–under an extreme cost-cutting measure. Governor Kerry Brown has claimed that this possibility is more and more likely if his proposed tax extension does not pass.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/mar/20/school-year-could-end-weeks-early-under-worst-case/CO: Colorado schools strive to spare instruction as deep cuts loom
Colorado school districts are all coping with the budget cuts in different ways–Denver is trimming administration, transportation and support services, other schools are increasing class sizes and other schools will have even less materials.

Who are the deficits hitting hardest?
Budget shortages are occurring in schools and districts across the country, and are causing problems for students in affluent areas
in special education classes
and in poor neighborhoods in California


Let’s Move! Can it make a dent in the childhood obesity problem?
“Michele Obama’s public awareness program aims to improve the health of the nation’s children, and maybe even their parents’ health. Experts weigh in on its chances and the hurdles it must overcome.”
**Not if Virginia has anything to say about it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/politics/virginia-gov-mcdonnell-vetoes-pe-bill/2011/03/24/ABzY8USB_story.html

Michelle Rhee’s Bipartisan School Reform
“Once deified, now demonized, teachers are under assault from union-busting Republicans on the right and wealthy liberals on the left. And leading the charge from all directions is a woman most famous for losing her job: the former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.”


Diplomas and uncertainty for Japanese students
“Schools in Kesennuma, Japan begin class in April and hold graduation ceremonies in March; like spring, they represent renewal and rebirth. On Tuesday morning, in a school meeting hall in this tsunami-ravaged seaport, it became something else: an act of defiance.”

Madonna’s charity fails in bid to finance school
“A high-profile charitable foundation set up to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi, founded by the singer Madonna and fellow devotees of a prominent Jewish mysticism movement, has collapsed after spending $3.8 million on a project that never came to fruition.”

Higher Education In Focus

Gains, and drawbacks, for female professors
Twelve years ago, MIT admitted to “subtle but perverse” discrimination against female faculty members. In their efforts to address these inequities, MIT has become a model for promoting gender equity. A recent study indicates several unintended consequences, among them a growing sense that women have an unfair advantage.

At mining championship, winning might mean a job
Last weekend the Intercollegiate Mining Championship took place in Reno, Nevada. The competitions involve eight events, “each tied to a bygone era of prospecting” (gold-panning, using a jackhammer and sawing through a six-by-six inch timber).

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