November 2, 2005

This Issue
Vol. 25, Issue 10
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A debate over a New York state commission formed to study how slavery is portrayed in schools shows that after more than a decade of adding multicultural curricula, educators there are still at odds over how the distinctive experiences of racial and ethnic groups should be taught, and who should decide.
Efforts to merge popular digital games with education seem to rev up with every new generation of technology. The latest came last week, when game developers, researchers, and educators came together to explore whether digital games’ powerful attraction for young people could be used to pull them deeper into academic learning.
States and districts are going to get more breathing room to meet the federal mandate that teachers be “highly qualified,” but extending the deadline, teacher-quality advocates say, could ultimately bring more pressure on school officials to make progress.
As many people and organizations jostle to play roles in the rebirth of the New Orleans public schools, worry is mounting that the process lacks a strong, central force to forge a coherent vision.
The latest reading and mathematics results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress suggest that, despite federal efforts to curb the practice, states still vary widely in the numbers of students with disabilities and English-language learners whom they excuse from taking the tests.
Accompanying table to story, "States Vary on Students Excluded From NAEP Tests."
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
The United States could recoup nearly $200 billion a year in economic losses and secure its place as the world’s future economic and educational leader by raising the quality of schooling, investing more money and other resources in education, and lowering dropout rates, scholars argued here last week.
The U.S. Department of Education is following its own internal timetable for completing final regulations for the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, but the final approval of the rules may be bogged down in a bureaucratic logjam at the White House budget office, a federal education official told state special education administrators here last week.
Like 18 other district chiefs in Iowa, Superintendent Bob Lehman splits his time between two school systems, each of which pays half his salary. Though sharing leaders helps small districts cut costs, it makes for a taxing job.
A new blueprint outlining the content that students will encounter on the science version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress places too little emphasis on applying science to technology, engineering, and real-world problem-solving, a number of critics contend.
Report Roundup
Reporter's Notebook
Rural Education
Both the positive and the negative effects of spending long hours in organized child care and preschool are evident even after children move into elementary school, two new studies show.
With the recent release of this year’s results from “the nation’s report card,” supporters and critics of charter schools have renewed their debate over charter students’ relative performance, even while acknowledging serious limitations in the data’s reliability.
Reporter's Notebook
When the federal government released the 2005 results last month for “the nation’s report card,” a few observers detected some subtle changes in the way the scores were presented—changes they say could lead to lower expectations all around for the level of performance considered good enough on the tests.
The New Orleans school board’s decision to open its first post-Hurricane Katrina group of 13 schools as charter schools was declared void last week by a local judge, who ruled that the panel’s vote violated the state’s open-meetings law.
Reporter's Notebook
When President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law with great fanfare in January 2002, plenty of skeptics said states and districts would not be able to meet its demanding expectations.
As the state official who oversees teacher-qualification rules, Dorothy Gotlieb is proud, she says, of the work Colorado has done to decide how veteran educators will meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
For the students at Philadelphia’s Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, much of what they’ve learned about African-American history has been centered on the South and embedded in American history and other courses.
With Louisiana’s revenues greatly reduced in the wake of two hurricanes, and thousands of students still displaced from their home districts, state lawmakers will meet this month to figure out how to distribute money for the remainder of the 2005-06 school year.
Simply completing the 8th grade might not be enough to make it to high school in Idaho.
State Journal
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Capitol Recap
The Senate approved a spending bill last week that would provide only minimal increases for Title I and special education, the two largest federal K-12 education programs.
A recent order issued by the Federal Communications Commission seeks to help hundreds of schools affected by Hurricane Katrina restore their telecommunications through the federal E-rate program.
Federal File
Children need to be surrounded by caring adults, including teachers and mentors, to make better choices that lead to more successful adult lives, first lady Laura Bush told a group of educators, academics, children, and religious leaders at the White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth last week.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Accompanying table to story, "Senate OKs Modest K-12 Spending Boost.” The Senate approved a spending bill last week with only a minimal increase in its total budget for fiscal 2006.
A Republican plan to send hurricane aid to both public and private schools was defeated unexpectedly last week in the House education committee, after coming under attack as a voucher program in disguise.
In Los Angeles, the free tutoring required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act is opening doors for students— and making demands on the school district.
Case studies of supplemental education services funded under the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Case studies of supplemental education services funded under the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Case studies of supplemental education services funded under the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Mary Catherine Swanson, founder of the AVID center, writes that "the vast middle" in our schools—education's average students—are being ignored and the education system has returned to a tracking system by default.
Howard Good relates his experiences as a member of a school board — and explains why he never wants to serve on another one.
Honors & Awards
Former New Jersey state commissioner of education Saul Cooperman favors a controversial route to teacher quality. Increasing class size.

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