September 8, 2004

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President Bush begins the crucial stretch of his bid for a second term with plans to build on the No Child Left Behind Act by expanding educational accountability in the high school grades.
District leaders in Philadelphia, citing the federal No Child Left Behind Act, are pushing for significant cutbacks in teachers’ seniority rights.
More schools nationwide will meet their annual achievement targets under federal law this year than last, if initial trends hold up. But parents in many states won't know how their children's schools did until well into the academic year.
With increasing attention focused on reading achievement and the potential for policy to bring higher standards to instruction, the reading agenda once controlled by those in academe is now being set more and more by Washington.
The Modesto, Calif., school district decided this past spring to keep hundreds of students out of college-preparatory courses unless they met a minimum score on state tests. But the district has re-enrolled the students in those courses to settle a legal challenge.
Take Note
New York state officials are advising districts to inspect the roofs of school buildings, following the recent collapse of an elementary school roof that is being blamed on faulty steel roofing joists.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
The fate of the largest charter school in Kansas City, Mo., has reached the state's highest court, as an unusual legal battle continues between the school and its sponsoring district.
Leadership
They might not constitute a revolution, but more districts and schools are joining the list of those that have turned away federal Title I money or found other ways to avoid having to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act.
Researcher Kenneth Leithwood is confident that education leaders affect student learning. But he's just as adamant that not enough is known about how they do so. And that's something he hopes to help change.
Scholarly Citings
A group of 23 researchers, educators, and government leaders, in a set of papers being published this week, is urging schools to do more to make students feel cared for and connected.
The average combined SAT score for 2004 was unchanged from the previous year, according to results released last week.
Theodore R. Sizer, the founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools, is one of the best-known names in education. Senior Editor Lynn Olson recently interviewed the 72-year-old educator about his new book.
States have been making some progress over the past three years in improving teacher quality to meet the demands of the No Child Left Behind Act, says a new federal report. But many states, it says, still have work to do to smooth paths to certifi cation, raise academic-content standards for teachers, and get more highly qualified teachers into the hardest-to-staff schools.
Sports
Debate over whether students do better or worse in charter schools raged on last week as a Harvard University researcher released new data suggesting that 4th graders in charter schools across the nation score higher on state exams than their counterparts at regular public schools nearby.
Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle announced two new, multimillion-dollar initiatives last week designed to move the debate about school choice from the ideological to the practical realm.
Philanthropy Update
Health Update
Report Roundup
The spells of reform that have characterized the field of reading over the past several decades have often showered favor on their respective heroes and shunned others with rival views.
Chief, child-development and -behavior branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
When it comes to the No Child Left Behind Act, sometimes geography is destiny.
Texas sent financial auditors and health inspectors into a Dallas-area school district last week, a move that suggested further state intervention could be next.
State Journal
High school students could earn academic credits for studying French in Paris, playing on their school football team, or strumming guitar in a rock band, under rules the New Hampshire's state school board is drafting.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Nevada’s Millennium Scholarship program is becoming a victim of its own success.
Alaska parents, teachers, and school advocates who say that a recent hike in education funding doesn't go nearly far enough have taken their concerns to court.
In a case that is making for strange political bedfellows, the Bush administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that teachers or coaches have a right to sue if they believe they have been retaliated against for complaining about alleged sex discrimination in schools.
Federal File
The Department of Education is asking the Dallas Independent School District to give back $1.8 million of a federal grant for bilingual education because it claims the school district didn’t spend the money on what it said it would.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The Bush administration's record on education continues to be a polarizing issue for many teachers, who were represented last week on the floor of the Republican National Convention as well as among the protesters out in the streets.
Excerpts from the education section of the 2004 Republican Party platform, approved Aug. 30 at the party’s convention in New York City.
A close observer of the Republican National Convention with an interest in education policy and a long memory might have recognized a familiar name from the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.
Researcher Samuel C. Stringfield left the ivory tower for a seat on Baltimore's city school board and learned five hard lessons about school reform.
Are all high-scoring schools efficient and all low-scoring schools inefficient? According to Professors Leanna Stiefel and Amy Ellen Schwartz, efficiency measurements could play an important part in improving the educational landscape.
English professor Dennis Baron draws unhappy parallels between George W. Bush's actions on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and the "direct instruction" occurring in the classroom the president was visiting.
Letters
The very best teachers are those who think of themselves as members of a larger world of learning beyond the classroom wall, believes historian James M. Banner Jr.

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