October 20, 2004

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Since the federal No Child Left Behind law was enacted nearly three years ago, almost half the states have seen rising math scores on their state exams for elementary school pupils, a report issued last week says.
Voters in some states will cast ballots Nov. 2 on proposals that could shape the future of school spending for years to come.
A man detained in Iraq was found with computer disks containing information about crisis planning, emergency procedures, and possibly even floor plans for several U.S. schools.
As President Bush debated Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, his Democratic opponent for the White House, in their final campaign face-off last week, he told the audience, "Reading is the new civil right."
The Los Angeles school board has narrowly approved a plan to demolish most of the historic Ambassador Hotel and build three schools on the site that will house more than 4,200 students and ease overcrowding in nearby schools.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
A majority of the students who took the nation’s second-most-popular college-admissions test before they graduated this year were far from ready for the academic rigors awaiting them on higher education campuses, a study shows.
People in the News
Media
Teachers' aides are holding "postcard parties" in support of Sen. John Kerry, part of a program sponsored by the 1.3 million-member American Federation of Teachers.
With the presidential campaign in its final weeks, voter education and recruitment programs have been pushing to promote student interest and participation in the electoral process.
State schools chiefs don’t often seek election to the U.S. Senate. But this year, Democrats Inez Tenenbaum, the incumbent chief in South Carolina, and Betty Castor, a former Florida commissioner, are doing just that.
A national panel of researchers has gotten high marks for its report sketching out ways to improve scientific studies in education.
Now that policies and resources to improve basic reading instruction in the early grades are in place, educators need to turn a sharper focus to a more challenging task: building more complex literacy skills for older students, particularly struggling readers in middle and high school, a panel of prominent reading researchers contends.
Health Update
Business
Report Roundup
A University of California, Berkeley, researcher set off a political firestorm this month when he released an analysis casting doubt on the Bush administration’s contention that academic achievement is rising across the nation.
Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa is stumping statewide to galvanize support to expand his state’s early-childhood-education system and strengthen high school course requirements.
The Texas Education Agency made it easier this month for Texas school districts to apply for waivers from the state’s class-size requirements, without needing a public discussion every time a waiver request is made.
State Journal
Gov. Tom Vilsack wants to increase college graduation rates, thus, improving the economy.
For the first time, state spending on Medicaid soon may grow larger than state spending on K-12 education, says a report released last week by the nation’s state budget officers.
Capital Recap
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Tax reform and school spending are among the most common themes of state ballot measures that will go before voters Nov. 2.
Alabama voters will have a chance on Election Day to remove from their state constitution a provision that calls for separate schools for black and white children.
President Bush and Sen. John Kerry were never asked directly about education during their three televised debates this month, but that didn’t stop the two presidential contenders from finding segues into the issue, whether it was questions about jobs or even abortion.
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to hear two appeals involving displays of the Ten Commandments on government property, public educators may get fresh guidance on the emotionally charged questions of whether and how religious documents can be showcased in schools.
Federal File
Campaign Notebook
Public schools would not be able to use the Boy Scouts of America’s exclusion of homosexuals as a reason to deny the group equal access to facilities or recruitment opportunities, under proposed regulations announced last week by the Department of Education.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Since 1996, the Young Women’s Leadership Foundation has opened six single-sex public schools—five for girls and one for boys.
Canada's largest school district has launched an ambitious pilot project that invites community groups throughout Toronto to use school facilities seven days a week, and often late into the evening.
The Department of Education's guidance for parents makes flawed assumptions about the nature of school-parent partnerships, argue Maurice J. Elias and Yoni Schwab.
Christopher T. Cross, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education, recounts the conception of the cabinet-level body.
Letters
Letters
Drug-Free Communities Grants.
Law professor Rosemary Salomone believes that legal battles between states and religious parents over home-schooling can lose sight of the best interests of the child.

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