March 16, 2005

This Issue
Vol. 24, Issue 27
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The AIDS pandemic raging across sub-Saharan Africa doesn’t stop with personal carnage. It also threatens whole systems, including what is arguably the most critical for the region’s future—education.
Johnny may be learning more about reading and mathematics, but he may have little time to study the discoveries of Columbus, the tenets of the U.S. Constitution, or the social and political causes of the Civil War.
A far-reaching study set for release this week offers a damning assessment of the programs that prepare most of the nation’s principals and superintendents.
Districts are paying scant attention to the provision of federal education law that allows students in low-performing schools to transfer elsewhere, though more are providing children with the supplemental services to which they are entitled.
Observers are mulling whether the defeats of John Perez and of Deborah Lynch in Chicago, who was known nationally for promoting teachers’ involvement in school improvement, signal that the attempt to recast unions as partners in school progress is weakening.
As districts around the country deal with persistent budget struggles, some school boards are introducing or increasing user fees, particularly student parking fees, as their next move in the tug of war between budget constraints and rising expenses.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Correction
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Deborah Jewell-Sherman’s first year as the superintendent of the troubled Richmond, Va., schools was barely over, and though she had reason to rejoice, she felt she needed to call for help.
Platform Learning, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of the tutoring services required by the No Child Left Behind Act, is being ejected from seven Chicago schools.
People in the News
State legislators may be chafing under the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, but the public strongly supports the federal law and doesn’t want to see its goals diluted, according to a report scheduled to be released this week.
The U.S. Department of Education announced an agreement with California last week that would end a discrepancy over how that state determines which school districts are in need of improvement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
In Finland, a long-standing legal tradition known as the “everyman’s right” guarantees the public broad access to the country’s vast, picturesque forests, in most cases regardless of who owns the land. As a result, a prized national asset is shared throughout society, rather than hoarded by a few. For years, a similar principle has applied to education.
The American Federation of Teachers has launched a new venture to bring early-childhood educators together in support of higher wages, better working conditions, and more professional-development opportunities.
Teach for America, the private program that recruits graduates of prestigious colleges for two-year teaching stints, said last week that a record 17,000 candidates have applied to teach at rural and urban public schools next year.
As the number of younger students at community colleges grows, a federal report suggests that colleges, lawmakers, and researchers need to view them differently from older students to ensure their academic success.
Fewer than 20 percent of high school juniors go on to finish college on time, and a national commission is calling for a fresh approach to accountability to counter what it termed a “crisis.”
International Update
Report Roundup
In a move that has incensed California teachers’ unions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing to qualify several major proposals on his legislative agenda for the statewide ballot, including measures that would revamp teacher tenure and public employees’ pensions.
State Journal
State of the States
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Faced with persistent apathy among high school seniors toward the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the board that oversees the federal test is considering potentially significant changes aimed at making NAEP more understandable and relevant to the public.
Federal File
The Department of Education is revamping its structure in a move that some say reflects a more logical division of duties and the new management style of its leader.
In round two of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ efforts to sell Capitol Hill on President Bush’s proposed $56 billion education budget for fiscal 2006, lawmakers last week grilled her on cuts to popular programs.
The full Senate and the House education committee approved separate bills last week to reauthorize the federal career and technical education program, showing no apparent appetite for President Bush’s proposal to eliminate its funding.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The AIDS pandemic has crippled schooling in sub-Saharan Africa. Now, a teachers' union initiative is trying to help heal the education system.
As defined by Harvard, the challenges of business leadership closely resemble those faced by school leaders, writes Patrick F. Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools.
Educators can capitalize on students' natural interest in other peoples' lives, says Bernice Lerner, acting director of the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character.
Letters
The South African experience teaches that the struggle for educational equity requires much more than a committment to race-blind policies., write Edward B. Fiske and Helen F. Ladd.

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