July 27, 2005

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At a time of growing concern around the country about the academic accountability of charter schools, Ohio has mandated a new regime of testing solely for those schools that may force the shutdown of repeated low performers.
Many national policymakers and experts believe that professional development, which teachers often have regarded as wasted time, is potentially an important tool for improving student learning. But as often happens in education, the research on such programs and their effectiveness hasn’t kept pace with the rhetoric.
Acknowledging that graduation rate disparities in state data are common, state and federal officials are taking steps to make sure that states publish figures that compare graduation rates using the same scorecard.
A generation of reform measures in the Southeastern states appears to be paying off in higher student achievement, as measured by “the nation’s report card.”
Long criticized for including two minutes of commercials in its broadcasts to classrooms, the for-profit Channel One Network has lost a steady stream of advertisers and revenue in recent years.
A new campaign to improve the quality of education in juvenile-justice facilities aims to help incarcerated students meet federal education requirements and form a network of administrators to share best practices in the field.
Take Note
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
What can the Cuban missile crisis, the Ford Motor Co., and Starbucks Coffee teach about school leadership? Principals across Massachusetts are about to find out.
The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to reopen its lawsuit against a Kentucky school district that was ordered to provide training emphasizing tolerance toward gay students.
People in the News
The push for secondary schools in Kenya and elsewhere among the poorer countries of the world follows a widespread move toward free basic education for all.
As more high schools rush to offer Advanced Placement courses, the College Board says it will soon start auditing all such courses to ensure schools aren’t watering down the program’s standards.
Rural Education
Eight districts in North Carolina will share four new high schools focused on international studies, as the state expands its drive to prepare students for the global marketplace, Gov. Michael F. Easley has announced.
English-Learners & Immigrants
Report Roundup
Elementary and middle school students in the Southeast made the greatest gains on the latest long-term National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading and math.
In the movement to improve reading instruction, many states and districts are building an army of specialists to help teachers apply research to practice.
Seven Louisiana districts are seeking to make principals better observers of teaching with a technique called “walkthroughs.” Administrators in each system are being trained to coach school leaders on what to look for, and how to use what they see to plan professional development in their schools.
The possibilities of online learning for educators have been dazzling, and over the past decade a slew of providers have rushed to create Web-based opportunities for more and better professional development—and institutional gain.
Principals engage in a range of professional-development activities aimed at improving teaching and learning in their schools, but traditional forms of training like workshops are predominant.
States need to clarify and strengthen their policies on full-day kindergarten so youngsters have high-quality learning experiences during that critical year, concludes a study released by the Education Commission of the States.
The percentages of children enrolled in full- and part-day kindergarten in 2002 differed when broken down by family income and race.
Just as Minnesota lawmakers add a performance-pay measure for teachers, other officials in the state are studying ways to establish a licensure system for teachers of nontraditional, multiple-subject classes.
State Journal
Capitol Recap
Reporter's Notebook
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The two largest federal programs for K-12 education would see an end to the significant increases they have received in recent years, under a spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee for the 2006 fiscal year.
Judge John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, has dealt closely with some of the most controversial issues in education in his past work as an appellate advocate.
Federal File
Teachers and principals could get cash rewards based on performance, and colleges geared to minority students could apply for federal grants to create centers of excellence to train teachers, under a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act approved by a House committee late last week.
Parents of children with disabilities and representatives of disability-rights advocacy groups said at a recent public hearing that they were worried the proposed regulations for the Individuals with Disabilties Education Act would tip the balance of power toward school districts.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Some parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder say alternatives such as brain exercises or music therapy are better than medication.
John Moir, a mentor teacher in Santa Cruz, Calif., says poor working conditions have a negative effect on teacher mentoring efforts and students' success.
Eugene W. Hickok, a former deputy U.S. secretary of education, reflects on the impact the Education Leaders Council, which was formed in 1995, had on today's school reform efforts.
Authors Ron Avi Astor and Rami Benbenishty say districts across the U.S. need a better tracking system to monitor violence in schools so that every child has a chance to learn in a safe, peaceful environment.

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