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Help for Haitians

Since the earthquake in Haiti, some educators in Florida have been preparing for the possibility that they could receive a large number of Haitian students, according to stories by Florida’s news media. CNN reports that 90 percent of schools in Port-au-Prince were destroyed in the earthquake.

Whether schools in the United States receive an influx of refugees from Haiti depends on what U.S. immigration policies will be for Haitians. Already we’re hearing about how processing for some adoptions of Haitian children were sped up after the disaster. It will be interesting to see what decisions the Obama administration continues to make regarding this matter.

The Migration Policy Institute reports that the United States has about half a million Haitian immigrants. More than 70 percent live in Florida and New York. —Mary Ann Zehr


Name That Judge

The Education Department has provided some basic demographic information on the jury that will help dole out the first round of $4 billion in Race to the Top competitive grants. Not that these tidbits will satisfy the critics of the department’s decision to keep the panelists’ identities secret, but they’re worth sharing nonetheless.

The crew of 58 includes 30 former K-12 teachers, 30 who have doctoral degrees, 25 who are from the Northeast, and 32 women.

So that seems to indicate that the composite picture of the average peer-reviewer is a former female teacher from the Northeast who has a Ph.D. —Michele McNeil


Climate Change

Kevin Jennings, the U.S. Department of Education’s top school-safety official, is making a pitch for common standards, but not the academic kind. He would like to see standards that describe “school climate.”

Jennings says in an interview with Phi Delta Kappan magazine that school safety includes far more than just making sure students don’t bring guns into the building. He would like to see standards that describe “school climate”—whether a school is a place in which students feel safe and included. Students can’t learn properly unless they’re both physically and emotionally safe and they feel valued, he says. —Catherine Gewertz

Vol. 29, Issue 21, Page 9

Published in Print: February 10, 2010, as Blogs of the week
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