May 25, 2005

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In a case being watched nationally and by educators and families in Miami, the Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments June 7 on whether the state’s original school voucher program violates the state constitution.
Small, college-based high schools give students who are struggling in traditional schools a second chance at learning.
Connecticut officials balked when federal officials recently suggested using multiple-choice tests instead of open-ended ones to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Congress should pay for the development of a national teacher test, using performance to judge accomplishment, and the test results should be incorporated into state licensing requirements, a report set for release this week argues.
The Pentagon’s proposal to close or downsize dozens of military facilities nationwide has school districts facing the loss of federal impact aid and the military populations they have embraced over the years.
A five-year study of some of Philadelphia’s lowest-achieving high schools suggests that an improvement program known as the Talent Development model may be leading students to come to school more often, take more algebra, pass more academic courses, and stay in school.
Researchers found that Talent Development students improved at higher rates than their peers in other Philadelphia high schools over the course of three to four years.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Correction
Alan D. Bersin, the outgoing superintendent in San Diego, agreed to cut short his tenure after an election there gave allies of the teachers’ union majority sway over the school board.
Virginia wants a few good math teachers for middle schools in academic trouble—and will pay annual bonuses of $10,000 to snag them.
People in the News
Testing
Aspiring to set the pace for other big-city school districts, Chicago leaders announced last week that they have undertaken a major rethinking of their high schools that will yield a strategic plan touching the entire 430,000-student school system.
States should extend foster-care services to youths until age 21 because young adults who leave the child-welfare system at 18 face steeper challenges in becoming independent adults than those who stay in foster care, a national study unveiled last week says.
Nuzha Preparatory Girls School No. 3 is one of 177 schools in Jordan run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, established by a U.N. resolution in 1949 to care for Palestinian refugees. The schools have educated several generations of Palestinians and are marking their 55th year of operation.
Concerned that the Democratic Party is increasingly unfriendly to charter schooling, some left-of-center advocates of the independently run public schools are urging like-minded members of the education community to do a better job of making their voices heard.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has removed five schools from its list of 23 elementary schools slated for closing at the end of the academic year. The schools getting a reprieve have shown they will be financially viable for at least another year, archdiocesan officials say.
Report Roundup
Antonio Villaraigosa was elected mayor of Los Angeles last week, besting incumbent James K. Hahn in a race that often saw the two Democrats competing over who could better promote improvement in the city’s schools.
Children in rural America are 60 percent more likely than their nonrural peers to be placed in special education programs in kindergarten, according to an analysis of 22,000 pupils that was sponsored by a research center at Mississippi State University.
Federal officials last week gave Florida more leeway in calculating the progress of students under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. But the state is still negotiating over a proposal to track the learning gains of individual students to help determine whether schools have met the law’s achievement targets.
School funding staged a surprising comeback in Washington state’s 2005 legislative session, considering that just last fall, voters resoundingly rejected a ballot initiative that sought new money to pay for a raft of education improvements.
State Journal
Missouri lawmakers, looking to face down a legal challenge brought by more than half the school districts in the state, have voted to overhaul the school funding system for the first time in 12 years.
Texas lawmakers are working on bills that would dramatically alter the way the state’s schools are financed and operated.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Capitol Recap
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
A bill to reauthorize the federal Head Start preschool program gained bipartisan support from the House education committee last week, but the planned addition of language to allow faith-based groups to hire only members of their own religion could derail the cooperative process.
Federal File
A generous Texas donor to Republican candidates who has a history of involvement in education and long-standing ties to President Bush is expected to be named to a senior Department of Education position.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
A majority of high school students occupying the stratosphere of America's science and math competitions are the children of immigrants. Among them is June-Ho Kim.
Lew Smith, associate professor of educational leadership at Fordham University, says it's time to learn from the best features of both university and non-university models of leadership development.
Letters
Letters
James J. Gallagher says the tendency to homogenize education into a single setting or common curriculum may thwart our most talented students.
In part due to failures in the education system, the United States may be losing its edge in the culture of innovation, observes researcher Joseph Renzulli.

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