September 13, 2006

This Issue
Vol. 26, Issue 03
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Whether high school students take college-admissions tests used to be an individual decision. But a growing number of states are requiring that step and even making the exams a core part of their own testing systems.
No matter what state you live in, the future of education policy—at least for the next few years—will be heavily influenced by the votes cast in the November elections.
As another school year begins, a new crop of highly publicized books depicts American students as overburdened with academic demands, many of questionable value. But some experts contend that such a portrait distorts the truth: Most students, they say, are not particularly challenged in school.
The educational prospects of some 120,000 students who attend Detroit public schools continued to hang in the balance last week, as a teachers’ strike rolled past the opening day of school and district officials canceled classes indefinitely.
While striking Detroit teachers remained on the picket lines last week and district administrators conceded they couldn’t keep schools open without them, parents, community leaders, and experts pondered a more long-term problem: Would this latest crisis accelerate the student exodus from the city’s already withering school system?
District Dossier
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Clarification
Teachers in Gary, Ind., returned to work Sept. 1, the morning after resolving an 11-day strike.
Teaching & Learning Update
A growing number of states are providing new forms of coaching and training for novice principals in the hope of turning what’s often a sink-or-swim experience into one more likely to lead to improved school performance.
Leading Indicators
Private Schools
Health Update
Nearly a decade after the World Wide Web became widely available, a significant gap persists between minority and white students in their use of that potentially powerful educational tool, according to a federal report.
Charter Schools
A superior-court judge in California last week denied a religious organization’s claims that history texts adopted for use in the state’s middle schools portray Hinduism inaccurately or negatively.
The slow pace of Washington bureaucracy is the stuff of legend, and, occasionally, satire. But even by Washington standards, the progress of the Commission on Reading Research has been particularly plodding.
Report Roundup

Special Report

This special pullout section is the third annual Education Week report examining leadership in education, a topic of critical concern at a time of ever-increasing expectations for schools. The report also includes a mix of explanatory articles and research findings analyzed by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center.
• Includes a PDF version of the entire report. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
The Education Commission of the States needs to actively engage policymakers on emerging educational issues if it’s going to thrive, according to an ad hoc group formed to map the future of the struggling 41-year-old group.
The stage for the Florida governor’s race is finally set. In a matchup determined by last week’s primary, a Republican former education commissioner under outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush will square off against a Democratic congressman and former state lawmaker in the campaign leading up to the Nov. 7 election that is likely to focus heavily on education.
State Journal
Disappointed by voters’ rejection in June of a broad plan to deliver free preschool to all California 4-year-olds, advocates for early-childhood education have been reinvigorated by the legislative success of a more modest proposal to expand the state’s existing preschool system.
Capitol Recap
Just as the Department of Education is preparing its own prescription for improving the nation’s higher education system, a report issued last week finds that the United States is slipping behind other countries in its rates of college enrollment and completion.
The challenging task of writing final federal regulations for the so-called 2 percent assessments for students with disabilities could be finished by the beginning of next year, according to a Department of Education official.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Political and economic context is essential to the kind of science curriculum American schools need to produce a more informed and knowledgeable electorate, writes Charles W. Anderson.
While it seems that race has taken a back seat to class in the nation’s education agenda, racial discrimination is a continuing problem that must not be pushed aside, writes Tierney T. Fairchild.
Letters
Letters
On Aug. 30, readers directed their questions on student motivation to a panel that included Edward L. Deci, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester; Carol S. Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University; and Susan N. Graham, a teacher at Gayle Middle School, in Stafford County, Va.
Grants
Events
Research, teaching, and funding communities need to maintain a much higher standard of evidence about the effectiveness for enhancing student learning of professional-development interventions that they support, writes Pendred Noyce.

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