October 12, 2005

This Issue
Vol. 25, Issue 07
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An effort to require school districts to funnel 65 percent of their budgets directly into classrooms is gaining traction in several states.
Lots of hugs and stories were shared last week in the Archdiocese of New Orleans as students returned to class in 37 Roman Catholic schools that opened for the first time since Hurricane Katrina blasted the region six weeks ago.
Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate education committee have joined the debate over the implementation of Reading First, with a call for an investigation into the federal program by the watchdog arm of Congress.
African-American students in Pinellas County, Fla., could get the opportunity in court to show that they receive inferior educations and face discriminatory practices in classrooms.
A new provision of federal law taking effect this school year allows, and in some cases requires, school districts to focus some of their federal special education money on reducing the enrollment of minority students in such programs.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Early Years
Former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett abruptly resigned last week from the education company K12 Inc. after his racially charged remarks on abortion and crime sparked a firestorm of criticism.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week brought policymakers, corporate leaders, and education professionals together here as part of an aggressive new venture to increase the business community’s involvement in education.
Anyone who has ever seen movies like “The Paper Chase”and “Legally Blonde” can picture what goes on in a law school classroom. The routine, repeated in law schools throughout the country, calls for an instructor to stand at the center of a semicircle of desks and pepper individual students with questions based on assigned readings of legal cases or statutes. There are no such trademark practices, however, for preparing teachers.
Despite policymakers’ continuing pledges to end “social promotion,” a new national study suggests that, when it comes to kindergartners, schools do more harm than good by making struggling pupils repeat a grade.
More than two years after the old contract expired, New York City and its teachers’ union announced a tentative agreement last week that would raise all teachers’ salaries by 15 percent over five years, require more time on the job, and strip away some rights conferred by seniority.
After Hurricane Katrina flattened schools along the Gulf Coast and floodwaters swirled into classrooms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency did something it had never done before: It created strike teams of education experts to help schools in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Only one of the 11 independent schools in the greater New Orleans area that were affected by Hurricane Katrina has reopened, though most expect to reopen by January, private school leaders said last week.
Report Roundup
Three Ohio high schools are being honored this week for outstanding work in fueling the success of African-American male students.
Thanks to new financial-reporting requirements, Californians soon will know how much is spent on teachers’ salaries at their schools. And when that happens, there may be some explaining to do.
Advocates say a new California law will help reveal the differences in what districts spend on teachers in each of their schools.
School choice advocates from conservative-leaning state policy groups gathered here recently to compare notes and map out strategies for expanding families’ school options during the 2006 state legislative sessions.
State Journal
Capitol Recap
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
A bill giving county-level education officials the power to investigate suspected fiscal malfeasance by charter school operators is among several charter-related measures that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has signed into law.
The U.S. Supreme Court delved into the complexities of federal special education law last week as it took up a case involving the burden of proof in disputes over individualized education programs.
The Department of Education violated a federal law prohibiting covert government propaganda when it paid for the commentator Armstrong Williams to advance its policies, the Government Accountability Office has concluded.
Federal File
House Republican education leaders released a proposal last week that they say would help schools and districts affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by easing a number of federal restrictions.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
A First Amendment challenge to a principal’s power to alter religious murals and a complaint by parents in a special education dispute over their child’s reassignment to another school were two appeals out of hundreds of cases that the U.S. Supreme Court turned away at the start of its new term last week.
Harriet E. Miers, President Bush’s choice to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, helped shepherd the No Child Left Behind Act through its final stages in her staff role at the White House, according to one of the president’s closest advisers on education at the time.
The Clemson University-based Call Me MISTER program is recruiting young black men to become elementary school teachers.
Thorunn R. McCoy recounts how she grew into the role of an English teacher.
Teachers are bombarded with claims about “brain-based learning” these days. However, in reality, all of this happens at a considerable remove from actual research in neuropsychology or the chemistry of the brain, writes Thomas Newkirk.
Reviews of the latest books dealing with education, including a collection on the college admission process.
An excerpt from Jonathon Kozol's latest book, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America .
Author Douglas B. Reeves offers four keys to a mediated solution to the No Child Left Behind debate.

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