September 22, 2004

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Battered by the worst hurricane season in recent memory, Florida school districts are asking the state to ease its rules on testing, class sizes, and instructional time.
A Texas judge declared the state's beleaguered school funding system unconstitutional last week, largely because it fails to close the achievement gap between white and minority students.
While unusual in its high-profile approach, Houston’s aggressive outreach effort reflects a growing urgency among district and state leaders nationwide in combating truancy.
Fake firearms are a growing problem that schools need to address, educators and safety experts say.
Take Note
Thousands of California students were suddenly left without classrooms when the company that operated their charter schools closed last month. But a new report shows that most of the students who were of regular school age have moved to other charter schools.
New York City school leaders, who only months ago withstood intense criticism for holding back 3rd graders who failed city tests, have announced that the program was so successful they plan to expand it to 5th grade.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
An increasing number of school districts are adding programs in the evening and on weekends to accommodate immigrant students who hold jobs.
When the National Museum of the American Indian opens to the public this week, Carole L. Whelan stands ready to soak up knowledge that she can almost immediately pass on to her students.
Learning Links
Many schools return dividends to their communities, on top of educating children, such as allowing use of their meeting and recreation spaces. But a partnership in Kentucky is taking that idea into an unusual arena: aiding cancer research by sharing computers.
High school students in many states are more academically prepared for college than they were 10 years ago, but they also face greater financial obstacles in trying to acquire a postsecondary degree, asserts a study that examines trends in all 50 states over the past decade.
Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have won contracts from the U.S. Department of Education to head the first of a new generation of national education research centers.
Reporter's Notebook
Health Update
Teaching & Learning
Law Update
Report Roundup
Early Years
Joe Sacco steers a white van through Patterson Park in this city's Highlandtown neighborhood, a blue-collar enclave of brick row houses. The park is prime hangout territory for truants, and the 62-year-old Baltimore native and retired police officer is on a "sweep" to find them. It's just after 9 a.m on Tuesday last week. All is quiet.
California school districts could see lower textbook prices and gain more control over choosing instructional materials for their classrooms, under legislation on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.
State Journal
Virginia has joined a growing number of states requiring schools to give students alternatives to performing dissections of animals in class.
States worried about complying with the No Child Left Behind Act should consider increasing the supply of high-quality charter schools and mapping out plans for converting failing schools to charter status, argue a pair of policy papers scheduled for release this week by the Education Commission of the States.
Connecticut education officials are sending a new message about the state's vocational-technical schools: Slackers need not apply.
Reporter's Notebook
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
A group of 51 school districts filed suit last week arguing that Georgia is failing to spend enough money to provide an adequate education for all the state's children.
Scholars and practitioners last week proposed mending the No Child Left Behind Act to better address the needs of students with disabilities and those learning English. The law's accountability requirements pose unique challenges for such students and the schools that serve them, contributing to many schools' identification as inadequate.
Leading Senate Democrats on education policy, expressing dismay with how the Bush administration has handled the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, have sought to take the matter into their own hands with a set of legislative changes unveiled last week.
Federal File
Proposals to fix perceived flaws in the No Child Left Behind Act’s accountability provisions are mounting.
The Senate is on track to outbid both a House of Representatives plan and President Bush's request for education spending in fiscal 2005, while financing a couple of new programs aimed at helping states and school districts meet the mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week unanimously passed a spending bill that would provide a $3.2 billion increase, or 5.7 percent, for the Department of Education in fiscal 2005. The House of Representatives passed its version on Sept. 9. Highlights include:
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Campaign Notebook
In an era when performance on standardized tests is the coin of the realm, the small public high schools pioneered by Big Picture founders Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor offer a distinctly different vision of educational success.
As the Big Picture Co. seeks to scale up its design, its summertime 'enculturation extravaganza' has become a means of forging unity in an increasingly far-flung network.
Mike Rose, a professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles, explores different ways schools can better integrate academic and vocational education to achieve more intellectual enrichment.
Victims of a changed climate in Washington, education authorizations once considered "must pass" are languishing in Congress, says Jay Urwitz, a senior partner at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
What had once been viewed as the strongest part of the education system had become its weakest link, say W. Norton Grubb & Marvin Lazerson.

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