January 25, 2006

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Vol. 25, Issue 20
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Teachers may reap rewards on payday during the upcoming school year, thanks to increasingly flush state coffers and the political dynamics of an election year.
A consensus is growing among members of Congress, educators, and corporate leaders in favor of a stronger federal effort to bolster mathematics and science education from the earliest grades through college.
A federal program that provides housing vouchers to help poor families move out of high-poverty neighborhoods appears to be having little impact so far on children’s academic achievement, a new report finds.
In a move signaling the profound change in store for the St. Louis public schools, the superintendent has broken up the district’s most troubled high school in the middle of the year, creating a separate school for the freshmen and placing the most accomplished seniors on a college campus.
In the first legal skirmish over “intelligent design” since a federal judge declared it to be illegitimate science, a rural Southern California school system has agreed to drop an elective philosophy course presenting the highly charged topic.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Correction
A New York City mother asked a state judge last week for public money to send two of her children to private school. If her request is granted, she could change the course of school finance cases in New York and other states.
Leadership
A program that puts teachers in charge of evaluating and helping some of their own will get a trial run in Chicago starting next fall.
Minneapolis teachers will no longer be forced to change subjects to prevent the layoff of another tenured teacher, at least for a year, under a tentative agreement reached between leaders of the teachers’ union and the public school system.
Boston’s experiment with small, autonomous public schools appears to be paying off in higher test scores, attendance, and college-going rates, a report sponsored by supporters of the schools concludes.
Rather than write a new curriculum from scratch, Charleston County bought one from the Houston Independent School District. By building on what the Texas system already had produced, the superintendent, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, guesses she saved at least a year in her effort to bring about greater instructional consistency in her own district.
High Tech High Learning, a charter-management organization based in San Diego, has become the first recipient of special status from the California board of education that will allow it to open 10 new schools without having to receive approval from local districts.
Report Roundup
A new study of the federal voucher program in the District of Columbia finds that private schools that accept students using the government tuition aid have more racial integration than the city’s public schools.
State of the States
Critics of the actor-director Rob Reiner’s latest early-childhood ballot initiative are fine-tuning their case for defeating the measure on the June 6 statewide ballot.
State Journal
Utah students can receive a high school diploma even if they fail to pass all portions of the state’s exit test, but those diplomas will specify that the students haven’t passed the exam.
State of the States
State of the States
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Alaska officials are seeking their own version of the pay-for-performance models being tested or proposed in some of the Lower 48 states. The plan offers bonuses not only to teachers, but also to principals, secretaries, cooks, janitors, and other school employees.
With the departure this month of the first head of the Department of Education’s office of innovation and improvement, those who follow the 3½-year-old-office are wondering whether it will continue to play a prominent role in federal policy or whether its influence will fade.
A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit that challenges activities of the centers for faith-based initiatives in the Department of Education and other U.S. agencies.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
A master’s-degree program blends courses in education and business to prepare leaders for the entrepreneurial world of charter schooling.
Though philanthropies backing small schools are well-intentioned, David C. Bloomfield writes, their efforts lacks accountability.
Retired high school teacher Nina Hurwitz writes that educators need to provide disadvantaged urban students with effective college preparation and guidance so that they have a fair chance of attending a good school.
Letters
Events
Grants
Early-childhood educator Samuel J. Meisels argues that, given what we know about the development of babies, children younger than 4 should not be overlooked when it comes to prekindergarten policy.

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