May 10, 2006

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Vol. 25, Issue 36
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The No. 2 staff member at the Education Commission of the States resigned last week, saying that the Denver-based group faces a financial crisis, and that she doubts the current ECS president can fix it.
The soft-drink industry vowed last week to voluntarily curb selling sugary sodas and other high-calorie beverages in schools, a move that was taken under threat of litigation by critics who see the industry as a prime culprit in a national obesity crisis.
The reading and math skills needed for success in the workplace are comparable to those needed for success in the first year of college, a study set for release this week shows.
Middle school advocates have launched a campaign aimed at persuading policymakers to help improve education for 10- to 15-year-olds—or, they say, watch efforts to prepare more students for college and work falter.
District Dossier
Responding to recent news stories about star college athletes with fraudulent or sketchy high school qualifications, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is sharpening its scrutiny of high school programs that are not under the purview of accreditation agencies or other authorities.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Obituary
Correction
Months after Hurricane Katrina damaged its office, the United Teachers of New Orleans is being kept afloat with help from its state organization and the American Federation of Teachers.
Despite significant pitfalls, a new program for New York City’s rookie teachers shows promise for boosting their quality and helping stem the number who leave, a report has found.
For the second year running, more than 1,000 Chicago teachers have been asked not to return to their schools in the fall.
If you have trouble identifying Iraq on an unlabeled map of the Middle East, or are unaware that the population of China is more than four times that of the United States, you are not alone. Most young adults in the United States have difficulty answering such questions, a new survey finds.
Tens of thousands of students across the country began last week by staying out of school to join a nationwide boycott, organized mostly by Latinos, to oppose federal proposals that would crack down on illegal immigration.
Almost one-quarter of school districts nationwide and nine states have invested millions of dollars in “one-to-one” laptop programs, hoping the availability of a computer for every student will improve achievement and other skills.
Colleges
Math teachers from across the country, already facing enormous pressure to raise scores on high-stakes tests, should embrace other, more creative forms of assessment as a way to improve their instruction, peers at their annual meeting urged.
Reporter's Notebook
A federal plan for responding to a possible flu pandemic places great responsibility on local governments, including school districts, should a human-transmitted outbreak occur.
Charter school authorizers are getting “choosier” about which applications for schools they will accept and are basing decisions not to renew charters more on student-achievement issues than previously recognized, an analysis by a pro-charter organization finds.
Report Roundup
More than one-quarter of all children younger than 5 living in the world’s developing countries are underweight, a major sign of malnutrition and susceptibility to disease, a new report finds.
Facing court deadlines to fix the way they finance their public schools, lawmakers in Kansas and Texas have been wrangling over possible solutions.
Connecticut is on the verge of banning most sales of sodas and other sugary beverages in K-12 public schools as part of legislation that some observers say would create the strictest school nutrition policy adopted by any state.
State Journal
Capitol Recap
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is in a political dogfight with Democrats and members of his own party over proposals to help preserve Opportunity Scholarships and other voucher programs in the Sunshine State.
Capitol Recap
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
High schools may use a variety of methods to provide a “rigorous” curriculum that would allow their low-income graduates to qualify for a new federal college-grant program, the Department of Education announced last week.
States and school districts that opened their doors to students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are anxiously watching the fate of $650 million in a potential second round of federal aid to cover the costs of educating such students.
Federal File
Some members of Congress raised objections last week to what they see as a steadily diminishing role for the National Science Foundation in mathematics and science education, a shift that backers of the agency say curtails innovation and increases the potential for political interference in school research.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Prekindergarten is becoming part of elementary school in the growing number of districts that treat the pre-K-3 years as a distinct learning period.
Yong Zhao, the director of Michigan State's U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence, points out China's shortcomings as a model for education reform.
Leo Hindery Jr., a director of Teach for America, argues that teachers should be rewarded for their vital contribution to society by receiving full exemption from federal income taxes.
Letters
Letters
On April 26, readers questioned B.J. Bryant, the executive director of the American Association for Employment in Education, about teacher shortages and surpluses, and general trends in the education job market.
Events
According to the Foundation for Child Development's latest Child Well-Being Index, American children have shown virtually no improvement in achievement levels over the past three decades. Gene I. Maeroff looks at the first level of education—a period beginning with prekindergarten and continuing through 3rd grade—as one key to boosting achievement.
Compared to other nations around the world, the United States places relatively little value on early education. In this Education Week Commentary, Kathleen McCartney looks at the benefits of a stronger early-education system.

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