December 13, 2006

This Issue
Vol. 26, Issue 15
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Despite Reading First's $1 billion-a-year investment in improving reading instruction, little has changed in the kinds of reading products and programs being offered since the initiative was rolled out, according to some experts.
At the invitation of the Chicago school board, the actor and comedian Bill Cosby shared his sometimes-controversial message about responsibility with some 9,000 parents last week, urging them to take charge of their households.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week on the constitutionality of using race as a tool in assigning students to public schools, in two cases in which advocates on both sides claim to be defending the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education and the nation’s commitment to equality.
A local judge has appointed a panel to supervise three Arizona schools that serve homeless children, following the indictment of the superintendent who oversees them.
To those who knew him, Tom Mooney, the president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, represented the future of teacher unionism: a progressive leader who cared as deeply about the schools his teachers worked for as he did his constituents.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
After facing recent accusations about the money it receives from the oil industry, a science teachers’ group received new criticism last week about one of its corporate-supported products, which a number of experts say presents misleading information about global warming.
Report Roundup
A pair of researchers contends the enthusiasm for youth mentoring is outpacing the research base on how best to nurture productive, lasting bonds between mentors and the young people they’re matched with.
Report Roundup
From his own analyses of the research on youth-mentoring programs, David L. DuBois has identified seven features—the “seven C’s”—of effective youth-mentoring relationships.
A study of more than three dozen countries, including the United States, challenges the popular belief that superior student achievement on international mathematics and science tests breeds national economic success.
Republicans took control of Congress in 1995 promising to change dramatically the federal government’s role in K-12 education. Twelve years later, they have done just that, but not in the way they expected.
In its second year of detailed disclosure to the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Education Association is reporting that it has more members, a larger budget, and fewer employees in Washington.
Charter Schools
Philanthropy Update
The nation’s governors last week called on states to improve math and science instruction in high schools, rethink the role of higher education in supporting economic growth, and use state policies to develop more fast-growing, high-tech businesses in their regions.
Thirteen Western states that are home to more than 93 percent of the nation’s federally owned land have formed a coalition to lobby Washington for an annual $4 billion in lost local and state property-tax revenues on the federal land, nearly $1.9 billion of which would have gone to pay for public education.
State Journal
California students are unlikely to meet the academic goals for mathematics and English under the No Child Left Behind Act unless policymakers continue to improve the quality of the state’s teaching workforce, a research study suggests.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Most states report that funding for public schools will be their top priority—and their most significant source of long-term financial pressure—in 2007, according to a 50-state survey released recently by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in a case filed by two New Mexico school districts that object to the way the U.S. secretary of education calculates which districts are eligible to receive impact aid for educating children who live on federal land or near federal installations.
Flexibility was the watchword of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ first year in office. But not her second, says a report by state officials who are responsible for carrying out the No Child Left Behind Act.
A case on student freedom of speech that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide in its current term is potentially far-reaching, not least because it is the court’s first foray into this area of school law in the Internet era.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The No Child Left Behind Act is slated to be reauthorized in 2007, and both President Bush and the leaders of the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress have signaled their interest in keeping renewal of the law on schedule.
Antonia Cortese and F. Howard Nelson debunk myths and inaccurate assumptions about teacher transfers and collective bargaining.
Peter W. Cookson Jr., the dean of the graduate school of education and counseling at Lewis & Clark College, cautions that uniformity and control, often equated with educational equality and accountability, do not trump creativity and the innate messiness of learning.
J.H. Snider, a former school board member in Vermont and research director at the New America Foundation, writes that it's time for public schools’ financial statements to start looking more like the statements of public companies.

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