November 16, 2005
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The school shooting at Campbell County Comprehensive High School in Jacksboro, Tenn., last week, which left one assistant principal dead and the principal and another assistant principal seriously wounded, is an extreme example of the dangers school leaders can face on the job.
The forces seeking to subject the theory of evolution to greater criticism tasted both victory and defeat last week. Kansas officials approved an overhaul of their state science standards to do just that, while voters in a rural Pennsylvania district ousted advocates of “intelligent design” from the school board the same day.
A new evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s campaign to improve U.S. high schools offers a decidedly mixed picture of the early returns the foundation is getting from the roughly $1 billion it has invested in the initiative so far.
Now that almost all of the school districts that suffered damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have reopened, their leaders are scrambling to find the money to keep the districts solvent.
Devastated Gulf Coast districts have begun reopening schools and re-employing teachers who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But with student-enrollment numbers changing daily, many administrators remain uncertain about how many teachers and other staff members they will need, at least initially.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Supporters of a policy in Wake County, N.C., that seeks to integrate the district’s schools based on family income levels celebrated the outcome of school board elections last week.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York won a chance to expand his makeover of the city’s schools last week, as voters overwhelmingly chose to keep him in office for a second term. In Detroit, schools moved from appointed to elected leadership. And the Los Angeles Unified School District won approval to raise billions of dollars to ease crowded classrooms.
When it comes to documenting what goes on in classrooms, education scholars tend to fall in two camps. On one side are researchers who send in paid observers, usually graduate students, to meticulously track the goings-on, like proverbial flies on the wall. In the other camp are those who go the cheaper—but less accurate—route of surveying teachers once a year or so.
Activists opposed to military recruitment in public schools are reaching out to Spanish-speaking parents to make sure they know they can tell school officials not to provide their children’s contact information to recruiters.
San Francisco voters approved a nonbinding ballot measure last week that opposes, but doesn’t ban, military recruiting in the city’s public schools and colleges.
Teaching & Learning Update
In its continuing bid to ensure free tutoring for as many eligible students as possible, the U.S. Department of Education has granted waivers allowing two more urban school districts to provide the extra help.
A Harvard University economist offers evidence in a new study to bolster the controversial theory that high-achieving black and Latino teenagers are shunned by their peers in school for “acting white.”
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger needs to look for ways to join with his political opponents to improve California’s failing schools, observers in the state say, instead of pushing proposals like the ones state voters firmly rejected in a special election last week.
Timothy M. Kaine, the newly elected governor of Virginia, told a crowd of supporters during his election-night acceptance speech that one of his first plans is to carry out his campaign promise to start a universal prekindergarten program.
Seventeen states will share $5.2 million in private money in the second phase of the National Governors Association’s efforts to improve high schools.
Connecticut appears poised to join the growing list of states that have been sued in an effort to ensure that their public schools receive enough money.
Tennessee will pilot-test a children’s-health program in an effort to lower the number of children who take antidepressants and other medications used to treat behavioral disorders, particularly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Two popular programs that offered classroom resources for math and science teachers—via the Internet and other means—have lost their federal funding, forcing one of them to shut down and the other to charge for services it once provided for free.
When Republicans bring a House budget measure that trims many federal programs, including some in education, to the floor this week, it won’t include a plan to aid schools taking in students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
PAGE 27 - On Assignment
Under Edison Schools Inc., educators work in teams, a model that encourages the development of leadership throughout a building.
PAGE 31 - Commentary
Rachel B. Tompkins writes that rebuilding rural schools damaged by the recent hurricanes should not be overlooked and pushed to the back of the line when the rebuilding starts.
PAGE 32 - Commentary
Learning specialists, Barbara Klein, John D. McNeil, and Lynn A. Stout voice their concerns about the trend in U.S. education to focus on academic achievements based on standardized tests rather than cultivate students' aptitude for learning.
PAGE 34 - Commentary
Reviews of the latest books on education, including an autobiography of John Hope Franklin.
Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis, recounts in his third memoir, Teacher Man, the 30 years he spent teaching English in four New York City public high schools. He spoke with David Ruenzel for Teacher Magazine.
PAGE 44 - Commentary
Valerie Forti, president of the Education Partnership, recommends that communities and school districts should examine if current spending is appropriate before asking the taxpayers for more money.
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