May 24, 2006

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Vol. 25, Issue 38
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Preparing students to succeed in the workforce is increasingly seen as a key to global competitiveness. But employers aren't sending clear-cut answers on what young people need to know and be able to do on the job.
The U.S. Department of Education is planning to expand a pilot initiative that would flip the order of key consequences for schools’ low academic performance under the No Child Left Behind Act.
No state is expected to meet the looming deadline for putting a “highly qualified” teacher in every core-subject classroom, federal officials confirmed last week.
The nation’s best-known civil rights group has jumped into the fray over a controversial Nebraska law that would divide the 45,000-student Omaha school system into three separate districts, largely along racial and ethnic lines.
The national organization that grants teachers advanced certification today released the text of an unflattering study.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Latinos have been the most visible group at the wave of immigrant-rights rallies across the country this spring. But youths of South Asian heritage in New York City want America to know that they and their families are the face of immigration, too.
Supporters of a new expert panel on mathematics are confident it will help identify national strategies for improving student learning in that subject—even as critics ask whether its members have the classroom teaching experience, and the objectivity, needed to accomplish that mission.
Students from immigrant families lag behind their native counterparts in the United States and many other developed countries, concludes a 17-nation study released here last week.
Since swarms of French college and high school students took to the streets this spring to protest a youth-employment law, much of the subsequent hand-wringing has focused on problems in the European nation’s troubled public universities. But many believe the furor carried messages for the nation’s elementary and secondary schools as well.
Sports
A popular children’s author has set off a heated discussion on Internet blogs and listservs after posting on her Web site charges that a publisher canceled her contract to appear at a national reading conference in order to censor her criticism of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Report Roundup
Despite widespread concerns that the daily recess period is going the way of the dinosaur, a federal survey issued last week suggests that the vast majority of elementary schools still offer unstructured playtime for students each day.
Dennis Sparks, the executive director of the National Staff Development Council for the past 22 years, has announced that he will be stepping down from the position.
When it comes to work readiness, no topic is more debated than the place of career and technical education in high schools.
Supporters of California’s Proposition 82—the Preschool for All initiative—are turning to high-profile political and community leaders to help counter a backlash to the measure, which goes to the voters on June 6.
Nearly 50,000 students who have not passed California’s high school exit exam remained in a state of uncertainty last week as education officials pressed on with their appeal of a judge’s decision to eliminate the exam as a graduation requirement for the class of 2006.
State Journal
After several failed attempts, Texas is about to get a new school finance system.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Two Florida state senators have won Round 2 in their bout with the nation’s largest educational testing company and the state’s education department to learn the academic qualifications of temporary workers who score Florida’s high-stakes tests.
Capitol Recap
The Department of Education last week chose North Carolina and Tennessee as the first states for a pilot program that will allow them to measure adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act based on the academic growth that students show from year to year.
States that absorbed large numbers of students fleeing last year’s hurricanes will get a pass this school year on making sure those students reach federal targets for reading and mathematics, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced last week.
Federal File
In a blow to efforts to curb corporate incentives offered by states, cities, and school districts, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that a group of taxpayers may not challenge tax credits that Ohio gave to an auto company in return for its investments in a manufacturing plant in the city.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
With an unusual systemwide approach, the Jefferson County, Ky., school district is tackling poor reading skills among high school students.
Jeffrey Cohen, the president of Education Station, a leading provider of supplemental education services, looks at how this No Child Left Behind mandate can be modified so that it actually works.
Letters
Letters
On May 10, readers participated in the second in a series of chats on the recently published Technology Counts 2006: The Information Edge: Using Data to Accelerate Achievement.
Events
Deadlines
A dialogue between two renowned educators with often-opposing views, Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier. The two educators were surprised to discover that they shared a similar opinion on many current education issues, especially the nation’s urban school districts.

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