September 21, 2005

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Vol. 25, Issue 04
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New Orleans will probably never be the same after Hurricane Katrina. But when it comes to schools, many educators and analysts say that might not be all bad.
As schools scrambled to absorb hundreds of thousands of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, experts last week urged administrators to consider and plan for a host of academic and emotional issues that could come along with them.
More special education students are being excluded from federal accountability provisions, driving up the number of public schools able to make adequate yearly progress and raising questions about the pledge to “leave no child behind.”
The superintendent of the Miami-Dade County schools is vowing to fire more than 750 teachers if they knowingly participated in an alleged scheme to present phony credits for recertification and license endorsements.
Classroom teachers who give instructional and emotional support can improve academic outcomes for 1st graders who are considered at risk for school failure, concludes a University of Virginia study released last week.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
A federal judge in California ruled last week that public-school-led recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional, a decision that could pave the way for another round of debate over separation of church and state just as the U.S. Supreme Court’s membership is changing.
The founding president of a group that offers teacher certification based on results from standardized tests resigned last week, as board members called for redoubling efforts to woo states into accepting the credential.
After Hurricane Katrina pounded parts of the Gulf Coast late last month, the Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Virtual School lost track of some 400 of its 2,300 students. But it had re-established contact with half of them by last week and was continuing its efforts to reconnect with the remainder.
As debates over the legitimacy of intelligent design and other so-called alternatives to evolution erupt across the country, some school and elected officials are suggesting that social studies, humanities, or comparative-religion classes offer the best venues for those discussions.
Jonathan Kozol has been writing about education and the lives of poor and minority children since 1967, when he published Death at an Early Age, the story of his year as a teacher in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. For his latest book, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, released this month by Crown Publishers, Mr. Kozol visited some 60 schools in 11 states. He discussed his findings with Staff Writer John Gehring.
Report Roundup
Health Update
The Bush administration is proposing up to $1.9 billion in federal aid to help school districts and charter schools that are enrolling some of the 300,000-plus students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Districts recovering from Hurricane Katrina are getting ready to start the 2005-06 school year for a second time, with most of the storm-damaged Gulf Coast school systems planning to welcome students by mid-October.
These are among the national groups providing Web-based information or coordination to help schools, students, and educators affected by Hurricane Katrina.
A federal law that guarantees education for homeless children is easing the way into new schools for the thousands of children forced from home by Hurricane Katrina. But the law may also pose legal, financial, and administrative challenges for state and district officials striving to help them.
Educators across the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast are helping many thousands of student evacuees take part in sports and other aspects of campus life—activities that can help students and communities return to the rhythms of daily life.
Since the federal No Child Left Behind Act became law in early 2002, the U.S. Department of Education has acknowledged that at least some special education students may not be able to reach proficiency on grade-level tests.
Battle lines are being drawn in Florida’s escalating debate about how to meet a state mandate to shrink the size of public school classes.
After years of seeing no increase in funding from the legislature for New York state’s universal-prekindergarten program, school leaders in New York City decided that if more 4-year-olds were going to get a chance at an early-childhood education, the district officials would have to do something about it themselves.
State Journal
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Judge John G. Roberts Jr.’s path to the U.S. Supreme Court seemed clear of any serious hurdles late last week, after he survived more than three days of questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, including repeated efforts by Democrats to draw him out on several legal issues in education.
As the Department of Education marks its 25th anniversary this year, it continues to fend off critics who say it should be eliminated or demoted in the hierarchy of the federal government.
Federal File
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
From his office in a Texas strip mall, Neal Frey carries on the legacy on Mel and Norma Gabler to promote Christian values in textbooks.
Accompanying story to "Reading from the Right"
Turf battles and politicial rivalries do not have to be the norm in the relationship between city and school leaders, argue three education advocates.
Adam Golub would like to see the "unsafe schools" choice option of the No Child Left Behind Act reformed, and uses Evan Hunter's 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle to point out why.
Circumstances after Hurricane Katrina call for a coherent strategy, not just a round of do-gooding, research professor Paul T. Hill writes.

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