November 15, 2006

This Issue
Vol. 26, Issue 12
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Twitchy-thumbed school leaders have a new reason to like the federal E-rate program: It will now help support their BlackBerry habit.
New York state officials are disputing a report that found extensive errors in how they awarded Reading First grants, maintaining that they administered the program the way the federal Education Department demanded.
The leaders of the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress say they will make college affordability their top education policy priority, while also working to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, a goal they share with President Bush.
Voters in Wake County, N.C., approved one of the largest school construction bonds on local ballots last week, giving the green light to build schools that will house an exploding student population.
The departures of the superintendents of two major school districts on opposite coasts are prompting criticism of their school boards, and worries about the systems’ ability to attract highly capable leaders to replace them.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Philadelphia, Guilford County, N.C., and four small districts in northern New Mexico have scooped up the last of the $42 million in federal grant money on offer this fall for rewarding teachers and principals who get higher student test scores in needy schools.
Arkansas and Wisconsin have dropped portfolio assessments for English-language learners after receiving letters from the U.S. Department of Education saying the states had to prove those tests were valid or their large-scale assessment systems would be rejected under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Amid concern over the high dropout rates in many big-city high schools, district and community leaders are turning to researchers for a more fine-grained understanding of the nature and scope of the problem.
Mathematics teachers are increasingly turning to interactive technology that provides them with instant information about student progress.
Relations between large philanthropies and education institutions are “seriously frayed, and in some places … in tatters,” finds a new analysis from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
At a time when technology has changed how K-12 students learn, create, and interact with others, schools are behind the curve in teaching the skills they need to be savvy consumers and producers of digital media.
More than two-thirds of American children ages 6 to 17 lack the sustained supports needed to put them on track for adult success, according to a report scheduled for release this week.
Report Roundup
Two new studies shed light on how the achievement gaps between groups of students grow as they move from elementary to middle school.
Even though voters rejected a number of statewide measures to boost school funding last week, they showed that they don’t want policymakers to be tied down by strict budget formulas that could affect spending on education.
If the winners in the 36 races for governor make good on their campaign promises, the next four years will bring renewed financial investments by states in their public schools, with emphasis on expanding early-childhood programs, improving teacher quality, and preparing students for college.
State Journal
Just days after Michigan voters approved a ballot measure to bar “preferential treatment” for women and minorities in university admissions and state programs, a coalition of civil rights and labor advocates and students launched a court challenge seeking to prevent it from taking effect.
While Democrats scored big in last week’s congressional and gubernatorial elections, the GOP fared better in state education races.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
With the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act scheduled to begin next year, the Bush administration has raised the idea of expanding the law’s requirements into high schools. But some educators think the attention should be directed downward—toward the preschool years.
The Department of Education last week added three more states to a pilot program that evaluates schools under the federal No Child Left Behind Act based in part on the growth individual students make over time.
Federal File
The war in Iraq may have dominated public discussion leading up to last week’s midterm congressional elections, but debate over the No Child Left Behind Act was one of the most prominent domestic issues in three hotly contested House races in Connecticut, which is suing the federal government over funding for the law.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Assistant Secretary of State Dina Habib Powell planned to lead a delegation of 12 U.S. college presidents to Japan, China, and Korea this week.
A new Georgia program aims to give every high school a full-time educator dedicated to dropout prevention.
Jack Scott, a Democratic California state senator, and Michelle Rhee, the chief executive officer and president of the New Teacher Project, share their thoughts on why other states should follow California’s lead in reforming teacher-transfer rules.
Morris Freedman, professor emeritus of English at the University of Maryland, in College Park, Md., writes about the important role reading plays in effectively teaching students how to write.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Denzel Washington, the Academy Award-winning actor and a national spokesman for the youth-mentoring organization, has gathered accounts from 70 Americans prominent in politics, sports, entertainment, journalism, and business, profiling the people who had a positive impact on them early in their lives.
This month's book reviews cover civics, desegregation, disadvantaged students, and more.
On Nov. 1, readers discussed findings from “The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher” for 2006 on job satisfaction with two guests who were involved in the project: Dana Markow, the vice president of youth and education research for Harris Interactive Inc., and Michelle Armstrong, the corporate-contributions manager for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
Honors & Awards
Roy E. Barnes and Joseph A. Aguerrebere Jr. write that a consequence of the "highly qualified" teacher requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act is "that the quest for excellence has become an exercise in meeting the lowest common denominator of quality."

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