April 13, 2005

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While about half the states require high school students to pass tests to graduate, or have plans to do so, policymakers in the nation’s smallest state have struck out on a path that values multiple ways of measuring achievement.
If President Lyndon B. Johnson were alive today, he might be a little surprised to see what’s become of the federal schools legislation he signed into law 40 years ago this week.
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced this deal for states last week: Prove your student achievement is rising, and I’ll give you new flexibility in meeting federal mandates.
When Pope John Paul II visited Immaculate Conception School in Los Angeles 18 years ago, he came with a message of support for Roman Catholic education and with rosaries for the students.
If a student says she’s had money stolen in school, don’t strip-search the whole class to ferret it out.
A breakdown in contract negotiations between the Denver school district and its main teachers’ union may cloud the future of a widely watched plan for revamping how teachers there are paid.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
More than seven out of 10 Americans favor at least modest changes to the traditional way teachers are paid, although six out of 10 would endorse higher teacher salaries even without such changes, according to poll results released last week.
The Maryland State Teachers Association violated federal labor laws by threatening and reprimanding two employees who asked for different assignments and sought employment benefits, according to the National Labor Relations Board.
People in the News
Students in Britain, a country with rising obesity rates, will soon be eating more healthy school meals. They can thank British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
To find out what America’s children are really eating at school, just ask the people who serve it to them.
Not long ago, buying a class ring was a simple yes-or-no decision. Today, though, buying a class ring is all about choices and the personal touch.
Education Inc.
Private Schools
A Louisiana school district has come up with an unusual way to meet its need for highly qualified educators: a comfortable bus that will drive teachers to and from schools in the remote district.
The school board for Minnesota’s Red Lake school district, whose high school was the site of a March 21 attack by a student gunman, voted unanimously April 6 to reopen its schools this week.
Student test scores rose faster under Florida’s high-stakes testing program than they did under the federal program that was partly modeled after it, a study concludes.
The Educational Research Service has collected nationally representative data on the salaries and wages of 23 professional and 10 support positions in precollegiate education for the current school year.
Reporter's Notebook
Report Roundup
After more than 16 years of educating Japanese students in rural Tennessee, the Tennessee Meiji Gakuin high school will shut down in 2007.
A prominent state education group has recalled an online report that presented the number and percentage of schools that states have identified as needing improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Gov. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia officially took control last week of the state panel that oversees school construction in his state, signaling that he intends to reverse policies that have forced more than 200 schools to close since 1990.
State Journal
Homeowners across Pennsylvania have signed up for a new property-tax cut. But their local school boards hold the power to activate those reductions, and only a handful have agreed to do so.
The Education Commission of the States is urging state legislatures to take a more active role in ensuring that an arts education is provided to K-12 students.
Wisconsin’s state schools chief cruised to a second four-year term last week, turning away a challenger who had sought to make an issue of the incumbent’s close ties to the main state teachers’ union.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The backlash against the No Child Left Behind Act was raised to a new level last week when Connecticut’s attorney general announced that his state plans to sue the U.S. Department of Education over the testing mandates in the sweeping federal law.
The pending reauthorization of Head Start this year is causing long-term concerns about the federal preschool program to bubble to the surface, amid an all-out battle between those who want to overhaul the 40-year-old program and those who say that, in most cases, it works well.
Despite some early partisan skirmishes over student-loan programs, members of Congress say they are optimistic that the Higher Education Act will finally be reauthorized in the two-year span of the 109th Congress.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
After meeting as a community to set policy on schools and other matters since 1766, residents of Deerfield are altering that democratic process to make room for modern demands.
Though more recent studies show a link between arts study and achievement gains, advocates Nick Rabkin & Robin Redmond wonder what the evidence tell us about how and why arts education has positive effects on student achievement?
Divisive rhetoric and heated discourse have always surrounded the identification and education of gifted students and have led to perennial philosophical arguments over egalitarianism vs. elitism. Authors Frances R. Spielhagen & Bruce S. Cooper set out to demolish them.
Ellen Condliffe Lagemann reflects on what's changed and what hasn't since passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 40 years ago this week.

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