August 31, 2005

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Editors' Note: The next issue of Education Week will be posted on Wed., Sept. 7, 2005, at 6:00 p.m, Eastern Time.
Scientists, teachers, and others who defend the teaching of evolution in public school science classes have grown accustomed to countering accusations that acceptance of the theory disavows religious faith.
Leading national civil rights groups and advocates are increasingly divided over whether the No Child Left Behind Act will improve the academic achievement of poor and minority students, a rift that is generating conversation and concern among a circle of people accustomed to working together.
Lots of districts like to think they have close-knit leadership teams. But few school leaders can say they’ve ironed their clothes together, which became a morning ritual for a group from San Francisco that spent a week at the Harvard Business School here this summer.
It was the first day of school, time for Joseph Robinson to engage in his yearly ritual: He walked his four sons into their elementary school and met their teachers. In bringing his children to school on Aug. 22, Mr. Robinson joined hundreds of parents in this Washington suburb and thousands of others nationwide who are taking part in what is billed as the Million Father March when schools open in their cities.
The National Board Certified Teachers of Miami-Dade has undertaken numerous enterprises since it formed more than three years ago, apparently becoming the nation’s only group of teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to have raised money for its own activities as an incorporated nonprofit organization.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
While the sports apparel companies Adidas, Nike, and Reebok have run high-profile tournaments and selective camps for the nation’s best high school players for several years, the heady world of elite-level youth basketball is now starting even earlier.
A liberal-leaning group of political leaders and education policy experts is urging new strategies for raising the quality of public education in the United States. Its remedies, unveiled here last week, include voluntary national academic standards, universal preschool, a longer school day and year, and at least $325 billion in new federal spending on education over the next 10 years.
Charter Schools
Through the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, or ICPA, thousands of parents in Australia’s tiniest towns and remote areas can bend the ears of national politicians and state education leaders who make the rules for schools in a nation similar in geographic size to the United States but with less than one-tenth the population.
A proposal by the U.S. Department of State to increase screening requirements for adults who interact with foreign youths in high school student-exchange programs isn’t strict enough, some child advocates said last week.
Civic and education leaders in Cleveland have banded together to undertake the search for a new schools chief, saying they want to continue the progress that has taken root under Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who is leaving after a nearly seven-year tenure.
Charter schools, whose leaders increasingly complain of inequitable funding, on average get nearly $2,000 less per student than regular public schools, a detailed analysis of 16 states and the District of Columbia has found.
The nation’s leading soft-drink producers have come up with voluntary guidelines that would restrict the sale of sodas in schools, but critics say the move will have almost no impact where the problem is worst—in high schools.
High school girls exhibit higher levels of vigorous activity if they participate in single-sex, nontraditional gym classes that include aerobics, dance, and other activities tailored to meet their interests, a new study concludes.
How students perform on computer-delivered tests depends, in part, on how familiar they are with the technology, concludes a set of studies conducted by the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service.
Imagine a time, Christopher Whittle says, when a big-city school system like New York City’s would hire a handful of competing companies to run all of its schools.
Report Roundup
In what organizers hope will be a model for other states, more than 500 highly credentialed teachers from across North Carolina gathered here to give policymakers their ideas on how to get more accomplished teachers like themselves into the schools that need them most.
The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future is calling on states, districts, and higher education institutions to offer formal teacher-induction programs that last for years and offer more than just individual mentoring.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Facilities
Colleges
Connecticut last week became the first and, so far, only state to sue over the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a move that some analysts say could embolden policymakers elsewhere to step up their varied challenges to the Bush administration’s signature education law.
It’s still the beginning of the school year in Florida, but predictions that the state’s voter-approved prekindergarten program would get off to a disastrous start have not come to pass.
State Journal
Florida’s forced closing of two charter schools in Palm Beach County has stirred debate over state sanctions for low-performing charter schools, contributed to the resignation of a top state education official, and turned some charter school foes into advocates.
Reporter's Notebook
A plan by the Omaha Public Schools to expand the district’s boundaries and annex schools and land within city limits from three neighboring suburban districts has triggered anger and controversy, straining relations among school officials and compelling the state governor to jump into the fray.
Dissatisfied with lawmakers’ latest cut at writing a permanent school funding law, 19 New Hampshire towns and school districts are taking the state to court—again.
Capitol Recap
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
A new effort by wealthy Democrats to create and finance a network of think tanks to rival similar institutions on the political right will include efforts to nurture what backers consider progressive ideas and programs for education.
The Department of Education’s new guru of public relations views himself as a one-man focus group. With four children attending schools from the elementary level to college, Kevin F. Sullivan figures he has the perfect perspective on the education issues he’s facing on a daily basis.
Federal File
Federal money intended to help students from poor families is being spent to serve students who don’t qualify for the program, a new analysis suggests.
Susan K. Sclafani, who as the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for vocational and adult education won the respect of many career-oriented school officials even as she pressed them to improve their academic programs, announced her resignation last week.
Education researchers and Native American educators are drawing up a blueprint intended to guide research into interventions that will improve the academic achievement of American Indian students.
The Bush administration last week suspended a $75,000 grant for a group that teaches sexual abstinence to teenagers, contending that it has failed to keep the promotion of Christianity out of its federally financed programs.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
A pilot project in New Mexico gives kindergartners— and some 1st graders—20 extra days before the school year begins to learn the ropes and jump into their lessons.
Paul Boyer wonders what his father, the influential educator Enrest L. Boyer, would think about recent developments in education.
A public-television program offers an illuminating look at the work of teacher Rafe Esquith, writes Ronald Thorpe.
Letters
Letters
The final rules for veteran teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act are a joke, says Michael J. Petrilli.

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