January 9, 2002

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Vol. 21, Issue 16
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Following an exhaustive effort by Congress that spanned nearly three years and ultimately generated broad bipartisan support, President Bush was expected to sign the revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law this week.
State tests are familiar medicine to students. Most of the country's prospective teachers get a dose of them as well. But when some 33,400 Pennsylvania classroom teachers recently took state-mandated tests of their reading and mathematics skills, it was something of a first.
Philadelphia's 200,000 students returned from winter vacation last week to the same desks and books they had 12 days earlier. But a profound change had occurred while they were gone: The state took charge of their schools and embarked on what is sure to be one of the nation's most scrutinized educational experiments.
Based on a strict interpretation of the federal education legislation passed by Congress in December and set for signing by President Bush this week, few states currently meet its requirements for an unprecedented expansion of state testing systems.
Poverty and race may still be two of the strongest predictors of a school's performance, but the results of a recent analysis are being used to argue that it doesn't have to be that way.
While 39 states and the District of Columbia together spend more than $1.9 billion a year on prekindergarten for at least some children, states' efforts to finance and monitor the quality of early-childhood education vary greatly, an Education Week report to be released this week concludes.
Departments
  • State Infusion Saves Jobs Of 180 Teachers in Buffalo
  • Court: Mich. Group Discriminated In Girls' Sports Schedule
  • Texas Judge Tosses Out Dallas Board's Redistricting Vote
  • Compton, Calif., School Board Regains Control of District
  • Catholic-School Teachers in New York End 17-Day Strike; Talks Continue
  • W. Va. Court Bars Panel's Role In Teacher-Licensing Hearings
  • Oregon Principal Excludes Girl's Senior Photo With Rat
Departments
A recent study suggests that pay raises alone may not be enough of an incentive to attract teachers to hard-to-staff, low-performing schools.
A New York state appeals court has dismissed a class action brought on behalf of poor children in the Rochester public schools that contended students were denied a sound, basic education because the state had failed to alleviate concentrations of poverty in the 37,000-student district.
Departments
Accelerated Schools, a school improvement program designed to bring challenging curricula to disadvantaged students, appears to have paid off in some of the schools that tried it early on, according to an independent study.
Departments
A study says NAEP has failed to make itself useful; parties on both sides of the evolution debate dig in; Minneapolis makes plans to close nearly one-third of its schools; prominent authors defend a book about that contains four-letter work; and more.
Now that the heavy veil of Taliban rule has been lifted by the United States-led war in Afghanistan, dissident educators and relief workers are hopeful that the grassroots educational movement there will now strengthen and thrive. Includes an accompanying international education story, "Scotland Yard Official Police Track Child Troublemakers."
A warning to all the bad little boys and girls in London: Scotland Yard is watching.
Two new projects have been launched to examine the quality of high school exit exams and their effects on students.
The Cambridge, Mass., school system has joined a small but growing number of districts seeking to integrate schools on the basis of income rather than race— helping to expand what some experts see as a coming trend in American education.
A New Jersey school district broke a little-known federal law two years ago when it surveyed students on drugs, sex, and other sensitive topics, the U.S. Department of Education has declared.
A California state effort to help disadvantaged students improve their math and science skills and a teacher-mentoring program in Toledo, Ohio, were recently honored with prominent national awards that recognize government innovation.
Departments
  • Experts Take Aim at Obesity Problem
While Pennsylvania's new control of the Philadelphia schools marks the largest state takeover of a school district, other districts around the country have been the subjects of intervention in their governance systems or management over the past decade or so. Here's a look at some prominent examples.
With a court-imposed deadline looming, Arizona lawmakers passed legislation late last month to increase the amount of money the state spends on students with limited proficiency in English.
Departments
The Wall Street giant Standard & Poor's has released the first of what will be an annual report on the condition of Michigan's public schools, providing a taste of the kind of data-driven analysis it hopes to market to other states.
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Calif. Teacher Crisis Getting Worse,
    New Statewide Review Suggests
  • N.H. Court Rejects Funding Suit
  • California Denies Secession Vote
  • Hawaii Gets State Superintendent
  • Virginia Has New Education Secretary
  • Wisconsin Regents Defer Test
In 1993, when the National Education Goals Panel was near the height of its influence, a focus group reviewed its publications and documents. "This too shall pass," one anonymous educator remarked.
Public school commencement season this spring could be marked by renewed legal uncertainty because of the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to review a Florida school district's policy allowing student messages at graduation. The policy has often resulted in student-led prayers.
Departments
More than 7,000 people rushed late last fall to log on to a new Department of Education Web site that is intended to illuminate the quality of the nation's teacher-preparation programs and their graduates. The heavy first-day response both surprised and pleased federal administrators.
  • Former Virgina Official
    Gets Postsecondary Job
  • Pell Grant Ceiling Raised to $4,000
  • Reservists Get Repayment Window
  • Department Prevails in Loan Dispute
  • Meetings on Student Aid Set
Just nine states have testing systems that meet the new ESEA's requirements. Under the federal law, states must give standards-based English and math tests annually to students in grades 3-8.
Here are highlights of the "No Child Left Behind" Act, the legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which President Bush was expected to sign into law this week.
Upon bolting from the GOP to become a political Independent, and handing control of the Senate to Democrats, Sen. James M. Jeffords reasoned that he might succeed in a move to inject billions of additional dollars annually into special education. It didn't work out that way.
The Department of Education has received a record increase of $6.7 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2002, which began Oct. 1, for a total of $48.9 billion. That represents a 15.9 percent increase from fiscal 2001. Here are some highlights from the new budget and comparisons with last year's levels.
South Carolina schools are getting new report cards, but it's not clear if the state's latest effort to improve will make the grade.
An expected decrease in philanthropic support for school reform may have a bright side, if it motivates education reformers and philanthropists to concentrate their efforts on high-yield strategies and high-impact projects, write Chester E. Finn Jr. and Kelly Amis.
The time has come to embrace a vision for school choice that is based on the information-technology revolution, J.H. Snider argues.
In assessing criticism of the standards and accountability movement, says Marc S. Tucker, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of the problems to which the movement was a response.
Teacher Sara Matthews wonders at the paradox of grade-inflation outrage at a time when schools are being exhorted to "leave no child behind."
Letters
Departments
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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