October 18, 2006

This Issue
Vol. 26, Issue 08
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Large companies and major business groups are known for hiring well-heeled lobbyists to push for their interests, especially in such areas as tax and spending laws. But their federal lobbying presence on education issues has been relatively modest. Until now.
Two prominent national organizations have declared in the past month that “less is more” in state standards for what students should know and be able to do.
New Jersey leaders have launched a campaign to build support for boosting high school rigor, but some are worried that the effort could produce a higher dropout rate as the state phases out an alternative exam used by nearly 15 percent of its students.
Educators, law-enforcement officers, crisis counselors, and students—some from communities that have experienced deadly school shootings—shared their hard-earned lessons and ideas about how to prevent further incidents at a school safety summit last week called by President Bush.
District Dossier
Several leading snack-food makers have entered into a voluntary agreement to provide healthier options for school vending machines as part of an agreement with former President Clinton’s foundation and the American Heart Association.
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
A nation full of students who enjoy mathematics and feel confident in the subject is not necessarily a nation that scores high on international math tests, a report being released this week concludes.
Total membership in the American Federation of Teachers dropped in the 2005-06 fiscal year, even as the union spent nearly 10 percent more than it did the previous year, including generous outlays to bring back teachers.
The United Teachers of New Orleans, once a powerful force in the city, is today a shadow of its former self.
Impatient to prepare better-qualified school leaders, a growing number of states are giving their universities an ultimatum: Redesign your preservice programs, or get out of the business of training school administrators.
Teaching & Learning Update
Teachers’ satisfaction with their careers has increased significantly over the past two decades, according to an annual survey by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and the Committee for Economic Development, which tracks the opinions of teachers, principals, and education deans.
While school nutritionists are working hard to introduce healthy choices to schools, and districts are implementing federally mandated wellness programs, the strongest research into the effects of lower-fat food and fitness for students in schools shows that the efforts often do little to make overweight children less fat.
Report Roundup
Six states have elections for schools chiefs on the November ballot, and voters’ decisions in at least a couple of those states could significantly alter education policy over the next four years.
When New York City father Robert Jackson started his crusade to secure more money for his children’s public schools, he had a daughter in 1st grade and another in intermediate school.
State Journal
In Toksook Bay, Alaska, help for new teachers arrives by phone, Internet, and e-mail—and occasionally, by snowmobile.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley has brought renewed attention to the page program, with some observers calling for a temporary halt and others for the abolition of the program amid questions over how well officials in Congress have supervised it.
Federal File
State and school officials, advocacy organizations, and members of Congress have raised objections to proposed federal guidelines for collecting and reporting the race and ethnicity of students, contending that the changes would distort, and in some cases obscure, the true number of students belonging to different minority populations.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
In Mobile County, Ala., the district attorney believes fighting juvenile crime starts where children are: in the schools.
Larry Cuban, education historian and professor of education emeritus at Stanford University, writes that the concept of one-to-one laptop programs as a panacea for improving test scores is shortsighted.
Freelance writer and editor Brenda Power shares what she thinks schools can learn from exotic-animal trainers.
On Oct. 4, readers posed questions to Denise Clark Pope, a Stanford University lecturer who has written about the impact of pressure on students, and Herbert J. Walberg, an emeritus research professor of education and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, on the amount of stress students are facing in school.
Honors & Awards
Robert E. Slavin, the chairman of the Success for All Foundation, looks to a "10 percent solution" to make evidence-based reform a reality.

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