April 12, 2006

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Vol. 25, Issue 31
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The Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, a widely touted network of mostly charter schools that targets low-income communities, is adjusting both its growth and leadership-training strategies as it ramps up its work around the country.
For years, Marilyn Arons, 67, has taught parents how to use the main federal special education law to get the most appropriate education for their children. And now, the role of experts such as Ms. Arons is at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case that will be heard next week.
English is hot in many foreign language schools abroad. But as the trend accelerates, so too has debate over the value of English in a global society, its strong historical connection to imperialism, and the monolingualism to which English-only countries steadfastly cling at the risk of losing their share of the world marketplace.
The Indiana Supreme Court has struck down a school district’s $20 school activity fee as a violation of the state constitution because, the court said, it is equivalent to a tuition charge.
Hoping to motivate more California students to finish high school and find future success, the James Irvine Foundation last week announced a new center aimed at expanding work-based learning programs that integrate high-level academics.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Educators have several reasons to follow the volatile debate over immigration in Congress—a debate that ground to a halt last week before lawmakers’ spring recess.
When the U.S. space agency pinned badges on the 11 newest members of its astronaut corps this winter, it also increased by three its cadre of educator astronauts.
More than 500 schools that have signed on to use a free, federally financed school improvement program will have to pay for it after this school year if they want to continue.
Shared decisionmaking and site-based management are not unusual in the San Francisco Unified School District, where the two leadership principles are central to the 56,000-student district’s strategy for raising student performance.
A charitable donation by former first lady Barbara Bush to buy products from her son’s educational software company has cast a spotlight on the ethical questions for schools that can accompany contributions from high-profile benefactors.
A new economic-policy initiative launched by the Brookings Institution last week includes specific suggestions for improving K-12 education, such as changing teacher hiring and retention practices, and setting up scholarships for low-income students to attend summer school.
An audit of three Oklahoma school districts has found that 98 percent of the children the districts counted as participants in the federal migrant education program during the 2003-04 school year didn’t meet eligibility requirements.
A white boy who lives in the city and has an older teacher is more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than a black girl who lives in the South and has a white teacher, according to a study of thousands of elementary school students that was published in the April issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Health Update
Report Roundup
A reading program that its developer contends has been shunned by some federal and state officials has again been proved to help poor and minority children learn to read—this time with the kind of research methodology used in medical studies.
As the Knowledge Is Power Program pursues plans for further expansion, a recent study takes a closer look “under the hood” of KIPP’s model for educating disadvantaged students.
As Mexican education officials expand English classes from junior high to primary schools, they are relying on technology until enough teachers can be trained to speak and teach English well.
Even as the focus on foreign-language instruction up north and Down Under has waned recently in the wake of renewed attention to reading, mathematics, and science instruction, countries outside the United States where English is the primary language have more than a decade’s head start in their language skills and public attitudes on the importance of language learning.
The U.S. Department of Education upped the ante in the battle over Baltimore schools last week with a threat to withdraw Title I funds from Maryland if the state fails to move forward with a plan to restructure 11 low-performing schools under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State is the latest school finance case that seems as if it will never end. Three weeks after winning its latest victory in the courts, the New York City-based legal-advocacy group that represents the plaintiffs is still waiting for the final resolution to the lawsuit, filed in 1993. It seeks additional operating money for schools in the city.
State Journal
To earn a diploma under a bill passed by the legislature late last month, high school students will need to earn four credits of mathematics and English, three credits of science and social studies, two credits of foreign language, one credit of physical education and health, and one credit in visual, performing, or applied arts.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
As part of President Bush’s efforts to place more emphasis on mathematics and science education to keep the United States economically competitive, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is leading a panel of high-level administration officials that is evaluating the effectiveness of more than 200 federal programs in those areas.
Federal File
The states that made the first cut to qualify for a new pilot program that would let them use so-called growth models to judge whether schools and districts meet their performance targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act are using a variety of approaches to tackle the task.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Students aren’t taking advantage of tutoring options under the No Child Left Behind Act, schools are faltering when it comes to notifying parents about school transfer options under the law, and the number of Title I schools identified as needing improvement has nearly doubled in recent years, according to a study released last week by the Department of Education.
Instead of cracking down on low-achieving schools, the San Francisco school district offers them a helping hand.
Dennis L. Evans, a former high school principal and the director of credential programs at the University of California, Irvine, writes that compulsory schooling has little to do with education. Bringing children to school does not mean that education is occurring.
Lecturer Natasha Kumar Warikoo offers lessons from London on how small schools can be used to foster racial integration.
Letters
Letters
On March 27, readers questioned Anthony P. Carnevale, an economist with the National Center on Education and the Economy, and Lynn Olson, Education Week's managing editor for special projects. The chat was part of a special Education Week series, "Beyond Grade 12: Preparing for College and Careers," that will appear in print and online once a month through June.
Events
Honors & Awards
President of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation and a former U.S. education official, David Mathews argues for a community strategy to share accountability in public education.

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