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February 02, 2010 1 min read
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STATE EDWATCH

States Race

Some tidbits on Race to the Top applications that didn’t make it out of my notes:

In California, a new law allows parents to force districts to undertake one of the four turnaround models outlined in the federal rules if at least 50 percent sign a petition.

In Rhode Island, students who are taught in one year by an instructor who earns an “ineffective” rating must be assigned to a teacher with an “effective” rating the next.

And Massachusetts just gave its ed. commissioner authority to intervene in low-performing schools when district leaders and their union counterparts can’t agree on certain issues. —Lesli A. Maxwell

TEACHER BEAT

Program Survival?

President Obama’s 2011 budget request will propose collapsing the number of federal K-12 programs from 38 to 11 and eliminate six altogether. Translation: Overall education spending will go up. But it might not be going to the teacher programs, and the one you depend on may go buh-bye.

If I were a betting man, I’d expect the administration to preserve the Teacher Incentive Fund and the Teacher Quality Partnerships program. But keep in mind that this budget will have to make it through Congress. And every program, no matter its size, has one or two ardent defenders on Capitol Hill. —Stephen Sawchuk

WHY BOYS FAIL

Ignoring the Gender Gap

In England, Australia, and New Zealand, slipping academic aspirations by boys is a steady news story. What’s unique about the United States is the lack of debate and attention paid the topic. The U.S. Department of Education is mum on the subject. It’s not part of the NCLB accountability system, so local educators are free to ignore it and focus on the factors that do matter on the score card: race and income. Problem is, solving race gaps appears to be impossible without addressing gender gaps.

Why the deaf ear in this country? It dates back more than a decade, when conservatives exposed the gender gap and blamed feminists, who responded by denying boys were having problems in school. The entire issue became politically untouchable. —Richard Whitmire

A version of this article appeared in the February 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Blogs of the Week

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