September 6, 2006

This Issue
Vol. 26, Issue 02
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The new school year has brought with it a fresh wave of labor unrest, as teachers in districts large and small went back to school without new contracts and thousands took to the picket lines.
As the war in Iraq continues amid declining public and political support, and the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil nears, students around the country will find plenty to challenge their strongly held opinions, which tend to lean liberal and anti-war.
More than a dozen states will not release information about whether schools have met achievement targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act until after the school year begins, and about a dozen more are just releasing their lists either this week or last.
A year after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, many preschools, child-care centers, and other early-childhood programs in the region are still struggling to reopen.
Education Station—a leading provider of tutoring services under the No Child Left Behind Act—has been purchased by Knowledge Learning Corp., a Portland, Ore.-based company that runs several chains of child-care centers and provides after-school programs in 38 states.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
A study of several school choice programs in San Diego finds that they are promoting more racial and ethnic integration of students, but do not, in general, have any notable effect on test scores.
Tiny, frigid, and remote, Pluto has endured relentless astronomical skepticism since its discovery more than 70 years ago. And now, the shadowy brown orb has suffered the supreme indignity of losing its very status as a planet, to be replaced with a decidedly less-awesome descriptor: dwarf planet.
Even scientists and educators who have an abiding love of physics acknowledge that much of society at large doesn’t share their affection. The study of force and motion has long been regarded as the most difficult, or at least the most intimidating, of the high school sciences.
A flap over a flag display has caused a Colorado teacher to leave his post and await reassignment elsewhere in the Jefferson County district.
A decade after attempts to establish national standards in core subject areas set off a firestorm, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation has joined a growing chorus of scholars and pundits who say the approach to school improvement again deserves serious consideration.
Rather than scare students out of misbehaving, social-norms educators use survey data on students’ actual behavior to underscore that, when it comes to avoiding risky habits, many students are already doing the right thing.
A team of researchers has hit on a surprisingly simple way to potentially narrow the achievement gaps that widen between African-American and white students in middle school: Have students write for 15 minutes at the start of the school year on the values they cherish.
The College Board will partner with three large urban districts to launch a new model for improving high schools through a $16 million commitment announced last week by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Several days after the College Board reported that scores on the reworked SAT showed the most significant drop in over three decades, experts were still speculating about the reasons for the decline and what its impact on college admissions might be.
Report Roundup
English-Learners & Immigrants
Report Roundup
State and federal programs have been set up since the Sept. 11 attacks to help pay for better security programs, and more schools are making it a priority to train teachers and staff members in what to do if a crisis occurs, according to experts.
Ten public schools in Massachusetts will test whether more learning time can boost academic performance and close the achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers.
Though many states have debated changing the way teachers are paid, Texas is one of just three that have succeeded in linking compensation for individual teachers with student achievement.
State Journal
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Capitol Recap
After two days of carefully outlining changes in federal special education policy wrought by recently unveiled regulations, Department of Education officials last week acknowledged that they weren’t ready to give an audience of special educators what it wanted most: answers to hundreds of specific questions.
The key House subcommittee studying the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act held its first field hearing in Chicago last week in what is normally a federal courtroom.
Federal File
As Congress gears up for the scheduled reauthorization next year of the No Child Left Behind Act, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who played a backstage role in crafting the law five years ago while serving in the White House, says she doesn’t see much need for substantial change.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Twenty-five years ago this week, a newspaper nobody had ever seen before broke a national story on education policy.
In the world of journalism, Education Week is an unusual animal. It is a specialized newspaper, but unlike other publications in the commercial world of trade publishing, it is run by a nonprofit corporation. At the same time, it is independent of the many associations and advocacy groups in education.
Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week, grew out of a 1958 venture by 15 editors of university alumni magazines. The success of their collaboratively published report on American higher education led to the incorporation of EPE, further annual reports, a newsletter for college trustees, and the 1966 launch of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
As enrollment in advanced courses has expanded to include a large percentage of the student population, troubling evidence has accumulated that high percentages of students receiving credit for these courses are not learning the content implied by their course titles, the authors argue.
Samantha Cleaver, a first-year, alternatively trained special education teacher, reflects on the challenges of her position.
A mix of book reviews covering college admissions, giftedness, government, and education and memoir.
In this excerpt from his foreword to Child Honoring: How to Turn This World Around, the Dalai Lama looks at the universal importance of education, both in preserving the Tibetan community and in the rest of the world.
Honors & Awards
Needless homework assignments persist because of widespread misconceptions about learning, says Alfie Kohn.

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