May 17, 2006

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Teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are for the most part no more effective in producing student academic progress than teachers without the special status, a long-awaited study concludes. However, national-board officials say they do not intend to release the full study.
Children don’t have to be academically gifted to take advantage of some of the richest, and most fun, learning opportunities at South Grove Elementary School. In fact, average pupils, those struggling to keep up with their grade-level peers, and even youngsters in special education all take part in the kinds of activities and projects once reserved for the select few in “gifted and talented” programs.
According to a recent report, fiscal 2006 revenue estimates are exceeding original targets in 44 states. But while schools in many states will share in the spoils, some lawmakers are instead spending unexpected revenue elsewhere or are saving it for a rainy day.
A federal judge overseeing a 26-year-old school desegregation case in Chicago has indicated that as long as some details are added, he is inclined to approve a proposed final settlement between the school system and the U.S. Department of Justice that could end court supervision of the district by July of next year.
The National Education Association has given its blessing to the merger of the two teachers’ unions in New York state—a step officials say will take the NEA’s membership to an all-time high of 3.2 million.
District Dossier
Obituary
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Six years ago, the Modesto school system sought to foster understanding among students of different faiths through an unusual step: a mandatory course on world religions. That approach seems to be working, concludes a study released last week.
Private Schools
Early Years
The worst mumps outbreak in 20 years is prompting school administrators to use the generally mild disease as an opportunity to strengthen their ties with local health officials and test emergency plans that would be used in the breakout of a more serious illness.
About 300,000 school-age children in the United States have been diagnosed with autism, according to two comprehensive federal surveys of parents.
Media
New York City’s public school, the nation’s largest school system, has hired Cambridge Education, based in the English city of the same name, to help design a process for judging how well schools make decisions about instruction.
Florida education officials are crying “unfair” about the way teachers’ salaries are reported, and they want the federal government to do something about it.
Report Roundup
Teaching & Learning Update
When the Florida Senate took up a measure this month designed to protect voucher programs from legal challenges, the chamber couldn’t have been more divided: The bill was defeated by just one vote. Two days later, however, another voucher bill won unanimous Senate support.
State Journal
Georgia’s former state schools superintendent—a political maverick who once aspired to be governor—is now slated to serve as many years in prison as she did in the top education post.
The final legislative session of Gov. Jeb Bush’s two-term administration handed the Florida Republican mixed results on his agenda for middle and high schools.
Education took center stage in Iowa’s 2006 legislative session, resulting in measures to boost teacher salaries, start a pilot program that bases teacher pay on student achievement, expand preschool, and establish statewide graduation requirements.
Rising natural-gas and oil prices have left energy-rich Wyoming in a financial position that state officials usually can only dream of—a $1.8 billion surplus projected for this year, and barely enough ways to spend the money in the sparsely populated state.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The Department of Education, in a bid to make its $15 million What Works Clearinghouse Web site more useful to policymakers and practitioners, quietly unveiled a new face for the site this month.
A Senate-approved measure that includes new funding for districts educating students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita would change the controversial mechanism under which private schools receive some of those funds.
Federal File
The No Child Left Behind Act imposes the wrong kind of testing on schools, educators need better systems to interpret the test data they get, and the federal government should help pay for the mandates it imposes, according to several advocates who last week addressed a private panel studying the education law and how to improve it.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Religious schools are being pressed to spell out their policies regarding gay students and the children of same-sex couples.
One of the hottest topics in education is high school reform. But traditional reform goals are no longer sufficient indicators of student preparedness, argue Ken Kay and G. Thomas Houlihan.
Many American parents may try to avoid putting their children in schools with high immigrant populations. However, multicultural schools offer valuable lessons and perspectives that cannot be learned in homogeneous classrooms, argues Eileen Gale Kugler.
Letters
On May 5, Christopher B. Swanson, director of the EPE Research Center, and Caroline Hendrie, project editor of Technology Counts 2006, discussed the findings of this year's Technology Counts report and states' use of technology and data.
Events
Grants
Gary Lichtenstein, the director of research and evaluation for the Colorado Children’s Campaign during the conversion of Denver’s Manual Education Complex, looks at how the failure of Manual encapsulates many of the challenges of school reform.

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