October 13, 2004

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There’s no doubt that the two major-party candidates in the hard-fought 2004 presidential contest part company on some education issues. But it’s striking how much ground they seem to share on the fundamentals of policy.
A reawakened Mount St. Helens is not the only source of tremors in Washington state these days. Education issues that figure in the Nov. 2 general election are stirring up the electorate with an energy the state hasn’t seen in years.
In a forgotten corner of Mississippi's state capital, test scores are going up at a middle school for struggling students, thanks to a program imported with the state’s guidance.
The gap in school funding between wealthy and poor districts is growing in most states, a striking reversal of progress made during better economic times, according to a report issued last week.
Take Note
Security concerns have led a small but increasing number of school districts and counties to move polling sites off school campuses.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Legislative momentum continues to build at the federal and state levels to tackle childhood obesity.
Joining a national trend among urban school districts, the Los Angeles board of education last week approved a plan to scale down all the sprawling district’s secondary schools into smaller units of 350 to 500 students apiece.
People in the News
The Ministry of Education finally opened schools in Iraq on Oct. 2, after a two-week delay caused by security concerns.
On the brink of the first direct presidential election in Afghan istan’s history, some 4.5 million Afghan children had returned to school, despite crude facilities, poorly trained teachers, a lack of basic supplies, and growing security concerns.
Trying to alleviate a severe cash crunch in the federal E-rate program, the Federal Communication Commission directed the program’s manager last week to convert $210 million in investments to ready cash that could be provided to schools and libraries.
New research on mathematics teachers suggests that having “mathematical knowledge for teaching” matters for students’ learning.
Charter Schools
Report Roundup
Improving high schools has proved much tougher than changing elementary schools, but does it require fundamentally different leadership?
Teaching & Learning
Reporter's Notebook
Most state education agencies and local school districts are counting on academic coaches and teams of experienced educators to turn around underperforming schools.
State Journal
California leaders are hailing a new law that gives school administrators more control over the state money they receive as a historic development.
Nationwide, five states will hold elections for the top education post on Nov. 2. A total of 14 states elect their schools chiefs.
Strict new state-imposed limits on the budgets of New Jersey school districts are causing concern that districts might have to cut programs or forgo building repairs. Such worries have prompt ed a state lawmaker to introduce legislation to repeal the spending caps.
Wyoming officials have approved an unusual testing contract focused on improving instruction in classrooms at the same time that it yields data for accountability purposes.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Federal File
Any school staging separate social events for students of different races and ethnicities should be prepared to hire a lawyer, two federal agencies are warning in a letter sent to school districts and state education agencies across the country.
States are falling behind in efforts to carry out the main K-12 law championed by President Bush, and the Department of Education isn’t doing enough to help them catch up, according a report from Congress’ watchdog agency.
Researchers who drafted a hotly debated report last year that the Bush administration used to justify proposed cuts in federal aid for after-school programs have released further study results suggesting that such programs have little academic benefit.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week let stand a lower-court ruling against a Chicago teacher who caused a flap by reprinting part of the city’s battery of standardized tests.
Campaign Notebook
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
The House of Representatives last week approved a proposal to tighten a loophole that has allowed lenders participating in a federal student-loan program to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues in recent years—and fueled acrimonious debate over why the payments weren’t halted sooner.
Last spring, as Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee, was formulating his teacher-quality proposals, his campaign held several meetings with outside education experts.
Manhattan Institute researcher Jay Greene is turning out controversial studies at a fast pace, even as critics question his objectivity.
The emphasis we put on testing is expensive, unnecessary, and probably harmful to millions of children, writes Ronald A. Wolk.
Should we be worried that young girls are not pursuing math-related careers at the same rate as young men?, asks Rosaline Chait Barnett and Caryl Rivers.
Achievement standards are not absolute at all, says Bruce Fuller. They are, he claims, politically negotiated.

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