December 1, 2004

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Vol. 24, Issue 14
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The No Child Left Behind Act has spawned new opportunities—and challenges—for an increasingly diverse testing industry.
The pressure on schools and instructors to improve science instruction is likely to intensify with approaching federal requirements on states to test students in science and for instructors to become “highly qualified” in the subjects they teach.
The U.S. Department of Education will see its smallest budget increase in nearly a decade under the catchall spending plan approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in a lame-duck session.
The first overhaul of the nation’s main special education law in seven years is getting guarded approval from education officials and advocacy groups.
A new federal study, drawing on data from five states, found that the charter school students there were less likely to meet state achievement targets than children in regular public schools.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Leaders of the Detroit public schools may be forced to lay off as many as 4,000 employees and close 40 schools in the face of a continuing decline in enrollment.
Ninth and 10th graders in the Miami-Dade County school district whose math teachers were certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards scored slightly higher than other students on a Florida mathematics exam, a study finds.
People in the News
The notion that teachers should be paid for how well they’re doing their jobs, and not for how many years they’ve been in them, is whipping up plenty of talk in statehouses and at policy get-togethers.
Pat Campos reported for “boot camp” here recently with more than two dozen other newly elected Latino school board members from across the country. They were treated to crash courses on school finance, conflicts with superintendents, and savvy media relations.
A furor over science and religion in the classroom has roiled a small school district in south-central Pennsylvania, although strictly speaking, the tumult does not center on evolution or creationism.
Philadelphia schools chief Paul G. Vallas pressured Edison Schools last month to remove an Edison-hired middle school principal, after one student allegedly raped another student inside the middle school.
U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has withdrawn five of his children from a cyber charter school, following a barrage of stories in home-state newspapers challenging the propriety of schooling them at state taxpayers’ expense when his family lives most of the year in a Washington suburb.
Rural Education
Report Roundup
With so much now riding on student test results, states are introducing stiff penalties and other provisions into assessment contracts to provide an incentive for publishers to deliver results on time and error-free.
Enrollment in state-financed preschool programs continues to rise nationwide, while access to such services still varies significantly from state to state, concludes the second preschool “yearbook,” released last week.
Momentum is gathering in New Jersey to accomplish what many have tried without success to do: lower local property taxes, which rank among the nation’s highest. But leading education activists fear that the effort could backfire and lead to cuts in school spending.
State Journal
Reporter's Notebook
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The impending departure of Secretary of Education Rod Paige and the start of President Bush’s new term are expected to result in an exodus and a reshuffling of high-ranking personnel at the Department of Education.
With Margaret Spellings’ nomination to succeed Secretary of Education Rod Paige, some school choice advocates are worried that their cause will get crowded out in President Bush’s second term by a heightened focus on test-based accountability.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, approved by Congress in late November and now awaiting President Bush’s signature, would make changes in several areas of special education.
With the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act out of the way, Congress in its next term is expected to finally get around to renewing three other major education measures: the Higher Education Act, the Head Start preschool program, and the main federal law on vocational education.
A former governor of Colorado runs the Los Angeles school district with a hands-on passion for high-quality instruction.
A professor of health education writes that schools have an important—perhaps critical—stake in children’s health if they want to achieve academic goals.
The most common disciplinary practice in schools—detention—is also the most ineffective in addressing behavioral problems in students, argues a former teacher.
Letters
Letters
Two education advocates highlight the school schedule as the next frontier of education reform.

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