March 2, 2005

This Issue
Vol. 24, Issue 25
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At issue before the high court in Schaffer v. Weast is which side bears the legal burden of proof when parents and school districts disagree over the services or placement that children with disabilities require. Judges in federal and state courts repeatedly have come down on opposite sides.
Even before the nation’s governors convened in Washington this past weekend for a national summit on high schools, many already had proposed plans to make secondary education more rigorous.
Population shifts, steep housing costs, open-enrollment policies, and competition from charter schools are reshaping city school districts.
The federal government has taken control of state education systems, and state leaders want them back, legislators around the country say.
Four years after a private management company assumed responsibility for most of the Chester-Upland, Pa., schools, the system is in dire financial and academic straits, and is considering letting the contract expire.
An unusual partnership between a nonprofit organization and the state of Maryland will certify principals for the Baltimore schools without the involvement of a university.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
While policymakers and business leaders have lamented American students’ inadequate knowledge about the world, a growing number of schools around the United States are beginning to infuse a global perspective into the curriculum and classroom activities.
People in the News
Education officials in Anchorage, Alaska, have prohibited teachers from using a guide to teaching about the Arab world—the same guide that a national Jewish advocacy organization is now urging districts across the country to ban.
Media
The use of stun guns on unruly students has alarmed school officials and parents, who in some cases had no prior knowledge that police departments had equipped their school-based officers with the shock-delivering devices.
Many school districts are turning to global-positioning-satellite and radio-frequency tracking systems to follow the movements of their buses.
Nearly two dozen districts soon will be able to compare the effectiveness and efficiency with which they assess student achievement, recruit and select teachers, and manage their information-technology systems, thanks to a pilot project launched by the Houston-based American Productivity and Quality Center.
A new report highlights a big reason teachers may be leaving urban schools: They want to work closer to home.
Teacher education programs need to prepare their students to understand and support child development, include a study of language acquisition, and give prospective teachers depth in a particular content area as well as a broad liberal arts foundation, according to a new book released at the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teachers Education.
The Educational Testing Service was expected to solidify its foray into K-12 education this week by unveiling a new, online “item bank” that teachers can use to produce classroom assessments aligned with state academic-content standards.
Report Roundup
The North Dakota House has approved a bill that would force sweeping changes to the state’s school finance structure and could potentially resolve a 2003 lawsuit by low-wealth districts challenging the school funding formula.
Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida wants a major new voucher program for students who score at the bottom on state assessments for three consecutive years.
State Journal
Reporter's Notebook
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
State of the States
The National Association of Secondary School Principals has outlined a detailed, and expensive, agenda for ways the federal government can help improve high schools—from dramatically boosting federal aid for adolescent literacy to establishing a big, flexible spending pot to help low-performing high school students.
Last year, congressional lawmakers outraged by scattered reports of six-figure salaries for Head Start administrators put in place a cap on how much employees of the federal preschool education program could be paid. This year, federal and local officials are figuring out how to make the pay limit work.
Federal File
A Department of Education grant program that helps disadvantaged high school students go to college failed to properly guide and monitor grantees, which overstated the number of participants during the 2001-02 award year, according to an audit by the department’s inspector general’s office.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
A partnership between Baylor University and the Waco public schools embeds every teacher-candidate—from the freshman year on—into the K-12 system.
For school change to last, we need initiatives that set out to generate improvement at the community, district, and state levels, write Michael Barber, a chief education adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Michael Fullan, a professor of education at the University of Toronto.
Letters
Susan Senator, a member of the Brookline, Mass., school committee, reflects on how a tough teacher helped her son grow into the 6th grade.
Letters
Letters
The growing body of research on gender differences in learning raises new considerations for single-sex education programs, writes Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association of Single-Sex Public Education.

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