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Published in Print: November 19, 2003, as Report Roundup

Report Roundup

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States Slash Budgets For School Technology

State cuts in funding for educational technology last year more than offset increased federal support, a survey of state educational technology directors concludes.

For More Info
The State Educational Technology Directors Association's "State Budget Survey," the first of what are to be annual polls, is available to members of the organization.

Total state budgets for such technology dropped by an average of $3.5 million from the 2001-02 to the 2002-03 school year, according to the survey by the Arlington, Va.-based State Education Technology Directors Association.

Directors in 31 of the 50 states answered the survey, with a majority reporting that an average increase in federal technology funding under the No Child Left Behind Act did not make up for the state declines.

In addition, the survey found, almost half the states responding said they anticipated additional cuts in funding for educational technology during the 2003-04 school year.

—Andrew Trotter

Charter Challenges

New York state's charter schools have been a financial drain on school districts, and a moratorium on new charters is needed until there is more evidence the schools improve student achievement, a report contends.

The report—released this month by the New York State School Boards Association, the New York State United Teachers, and the National Education Association-New York—examines 23 of New York's 51 charter schools and the nine districts that finance them. Among other findings, it concludes that the financial impact of charter schools has forced some districts to make cuts to academic programs.

—John Gehring

School Choice

There is a cherished tradition of "educational freedom" in the United States that today's school choice advocates can learn from, according to a recent policy analysis from the Cato Institute.

The policy analysis by the Washington think tank, which advocates free-market policies and limited government regulation, provides a summary of the history of schooling in the United States as it developed from a largely decentralized model run by parents, teachers, and local leaders to a centralized public system with fewer educational alternatives. That shift, the analysis contends, resulted in a homogenized school culture and a system defined by bureaucracy that is often unresponsive to students and teachers. Now, the analysis suggests, the tide is shifting toward more acceptance of school choice.

—John Gehring

Dropout Data

High school dropout rates in 45 states ranged from a low of 2.2 percent in North Dakota to a high of 10.9 percent in Arizona during the 2001-02 school year, the National Center for Education Statistics says.

A majority of the states that reported their dropout rates to the agency had rates ranging from 4 percent to 7 percent, according to the report by the NCES, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

Equity and Achievement

Researchers from Fordham University's National Center for Schools and Communities have found a correlation between the distribution of some resources by the New York City education department to schools and the behavior of students at those schools.

For More Info
Read the report, "Equity or Exclusion," from the National Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham University. (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

For instance, the researchers found, schools with high rates of student attendance tend to have teachers who are more qualified than those in schools with lower attendance rates.

—Mary Ann Zehr

Academic Support

Urban students who are struggling in schools in three Massachusetts cities are being offered a wide array of academic-support programs, according to a report.

The report, produced by the Boston-based Mass Insight Education and Research Institute, reviews student-remediation programs in the Boston, Springfield, and Worcester school districts.

—Catherine A. Carroll

Vol. 23, Issue 12, Pages 12-13

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