September 29, 2004

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The No Child Left Behind Act has been the hallmark of President Bush’s education agenda and one of his most-touted domestic achievements as he campaigns for a second term.
A growing number of cost-conscious school districts are finding budget relief in low-cost computer software known as “open source” that can do everything from manage school Web sites to equip classrooms for learning.
At some 3,800 near-simultaneous "house parties" across the country last week, guests called on their federal lawmakers to put more money into education.
The Education Leaders Council, which has been grappling with financial and leadership problems for months, is merging with another Washington-based nonprofit organization.
Take Note
Can a district be a supplemental service provider if ithas too many failing schools?
California’s Garden Grove Unified School District won the Broad Prize for Urban Education last week, in recognition of its progress educating minority and low-income students.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Responding to heightened advertising and marketing pressure from the corporate world, 13 states have passed laws over the past four years to curtail commercial activities in schools, according to a report released last week by the federal Government Accountability Office. Those states joined 28 others that had already taken such action before 2000.
People in the News
A report by a group of experts on gifted education makes an impassioned plea for schools to allow exceptionally bright children to skip grades, start school early, or take other steps to push ahead their learning.
People in the News
The GAO surveyed 61 school districts to find out if their student-data policies addressed the commercial use of such information.
How much slack should a big-city district cut its schools to maximize student performance? That’s the question that New York City school leaders want to explore with an experimental governance model they are calling the "autonomy zone."
Though they are both relative latecomers to the charter school movement, New York City and Indianapolis show how municipal leaders can use the independently run public schools to spur innovation and broaden educational options in their communities.
Education Inc.
Need lunch money? Want tickets to a dance? Need to pay an activity fee? Just visit the school’s automated teller machine.
Colleges
The company founded by the late diet guru Dr. Robert C. Atkins announced last week that it’s getting into the business of influencing education policy.
Technology Update
Report Roundup
Harvey Howard arrived at New Grassy Creek Baptist Church in time to sample the spread of chicken wings and brown beans, cake and punch. The retired teacher was on his way to a board meeting at the Oxford Fire Department, but wanted to weigh in at his local National Mobilization for Great Public Schools gathering on the issue he’d been passionate about through 35 years in the classroom, and the 11 years since.
Helen Hunt says she has plenty of reasons to support public education. The Oscar- and Emmy-award-winning actress was educated in public schools, she has teachers in her family, and her 7-year-old stepson attends a public school.
Lily Eskelsen, the National Education Association’s secretary-treasurer, showed up for a party here with an acoustic guitar and, about a half-hour into the meeting, launched into verse.
Originally, teacher Jane Dugdale thought there would be for two “house parties” under the wing of the National Education Association here in her Radnor Township School District.
State Journal
The seven new members of the Illinois board of education granted embattled state Superintendent Robert E. Schiller a leave of absence last week and initiated negotiations to buy out his contract.
Early education’s star is rising in some state legislatures and in Congress, two reports issued this month suggest.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Federal File
A senator and Native American leaders took turns sharing what they see as good news last week during a briefing about national legislation that would affect American Indian schoolchildren.
The Senate education committee last week unanimously approved a bill to reauthorize the main federal vocational education law, but its prospects for final passage remain uncertain.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The chances that Congress will wrap up an overdue bill to renew the main federal special education law improved vastly last week, when the Senate announc ed that it was ready to enter final negotiations with the House of Representatives.
While President Bush has played a pivotal role in reshaping federal education policy during his 3½ years in office, in some ways his influence on the federal purse strings is less obvious.
Changes have come to many education-related programs under President Bush’s administration.
After two bitter strikes in three years, the community of Middletown, N.J., hopes to purge the venom from its school system.
A small school district in northeastern Ohio holds the record for the longest unbroken walkout ever by U.S. teachers.
When teachers in Marysville, Wash., complied with a court order to get back to work last fall, they ended a 49-day strike—the longest for teachers in state history.
Charter schools have done some uniquely creative thinking about service delivery and allocation of resources, write Priscilla Wohlstetter and Joanna Smith of the Center on Educational Governance.
Terry Roberts, director of the National Paideia Center, warns against sacrificing the educational value of 'wonder' for academic proficiency.
Schools must break free of the 'egg carton' organizational model, writes Arthur E. Wise, president of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
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