January 19, 2005

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Vol. 24, Issue 19
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Margaret Spellings, now the president’s chief domestic-policy aide, appears headed for easy confirmation in the Senate, possibly as soon as this week, when President Bush begins his second term.
Responding to a potential cheating scandal uncovered by a recent newspaper investigation, Texas officials last week announced a sweeping review of test security and plans for a new monitoring scheme for the state accountability system.
As American schools pitch in with an array of charitable projects in response to the tsunami in South Asia, experts say educators and students should consider carefully how they can most effectively support relief groups, avoid fund-raising scams, and incorporate their efforts into service-learning programs.
A series of unsavory revelations about the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to sway the public in favor of its major school improvement measure could stain the law’s reputation and cast doubt on future information from the agency, say many observers, including supporters of the law.
A school board in California is considering revoking the quasi-independent status of a charter school that employed a teacher who is charged with having sex with two 13-year-old students.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
A federal judge in Georgia has declared that a district’s practice of labeling evolution “a theory, not a fact” on stickers placed on science textbooks amounts to an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
A Colorado school district will forfeit more than $500,000 in federal aid rather than let its students take part in a national test.
People in the News
For most universities, running a public school is as foreign an enterprise as operating a gas station. Yet it’s happening in a growing number of cities.
Approximately 1,200 people at a pro-education rally in Jackson, Mississipi, presented state lawmakers and the governor with more than 137,000 signatures on Jan. 11, asking them to spend more on education this year.
Party Lines
The U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released their joint 2005 dietary guidelines last week, urging Americans to better monitor their food consumption and raise their levels of physical activity to maintain healthier lifestyles and prevent chronic diseases.
Amid the devastation inflicted by a tsunami the day after Christmas, a school reopened in Galle last week, a small but vital sign that the community in Sri Lanka is determined to seek recovery and normalcy. Includes "International Baccalaureate Program Launches Rebuilding Effort."
The International Baccalaureate Organization, a nonprofit venture that provides curriculum programs to schools in 117 countries, is launching its own campaign to help schools in the devastated tsunami zone.
International Update
Report Roundup
Urban Education
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fiscal 2006 budget plan for California may be balanced, but it is drawing the ire of education groups that say it reneges on a promise made last year to restore school aid to levels called for in the state constitution.
State Journal
State of the States
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
State of the States
State of the States
President Bush last week renewed his pledge to expand educational accountability in U.S. high schools, promising to seek as much as $1.5 billion in his next budget for improvement in those grades.
Two federal education grant programs promoting sexual abstinence have been shifted to an agency now led by a strong supporter of abstinence education, a move that is raising concerns in some quarters.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Federal budget appropriations for selected programs in the Department of Education and other agencies.
The Department of Education and Ketchum Inc. agreed last year to subcontract part of a program to promote the No Child Left Behind Act to Armstrong Williams and his public relations and production company, the Graham Williams Group.
A new private school aims to help overweight boys and girls make better decisions about how much to eat and how often to exercise.
The case against Advanced Placement lies in what we know about the learning process, writes Bruce G. Hammond.
The recently released summary of the report “Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40” shows the value of high-quality preschool programs, but includes some troubling points as well, writes Michael Holzman.
Politicians need to pay more attention to the academic and management-expert communities if they want to be successful in reforming public education, argues David S. Seeley.
We need new ways to spread the ‘gospel of achievement’ where it is needed most, says Hugh B. Price.

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