January 4, 2006

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In issuing a blistering, unequivocal decision declaring “intelligent design” to be illegitimate science, a federal judge in Pennsylvania may have provided an authoritative guide for school officials and science teachers seeking to defend the teaching of evolution, legal observers say.
The favorable revenue forecasts greeting state lawmakers as they begin convening this week for the 2006 legislative season are tempered by the spiraling costs for Medicaid, high energy prices, and increased demands from K-12 and higher education.
Paulden Elementary School wasn’t supposed to be open this academic year. State officials in May revoked the charter for the rural Arizona school, citing several violations of state and federal law, including the failure to fingerprint some teachers.
By proposing to run the Los Angeles schools, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is facing what experts say could be the most difficult takeover of schools yet to be tried by a mayor. In fact, his bid is raising the political and educational stakes enough to spark concern among many in the sprawling district.
Residents of a Colorado town have decided they would rather pay more in taxes than force their tiny district to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
District Dossier
News in Brief: A National Roundup
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
Early Years
Business leaders and politicians in the United States could be scaring away high school students from pursuing math- and science-related careers by focusing on the large numbers of engineers produced by China and India and the loss of such U.S. jobs to outsourcing, a report says.
The number of teachers entering New York City schools through alternative routes to licensure has risen dramatically, even as the number holding temporary certificates has dropped, a study released last week says.
Radical changes are needed in teacher education and professional development to prepare educators to meet students’ literacy needs throughout the K-12 years, the latest in a series of books from the National Academy of Education concludes.
Worried that a district with a national reputation for improvement could lose its luster, civic leaders are pitching a wide-ranging plan to reorganize the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools.
The U.S. Department of Education has ordered the Birmingham, Ala., school district to allow students from a dozen low-performing middle schools to transfer to other schools under the No Child Left Behind Act.
From his cozy home office in Warrenton, Va., Christopher J. Klicka is dispensing advice to two evangelical Christian ministers who also happen to be home-schooling dads from Japan.
When administrators in St. Paul, Minn., announced a policy to have school district employees voluntarily either unplug or pay for small appliances used in classrooms, they found the temperature dropping between them and some teachers.
The newly reconstituted Dover, Pa., school board appears ready to enforce a federal judge's ruling that forbids school officials in Dover to require that students be introduced to the concept of “intelligent design” in science class.
Report Roundup
While charter schools sometimes resort to lawsuits to stymie efforts to shut them down, many others wage their fights with less dramatic weapons, such as administrative appeals.
Report Roundup
State Journal
Black legislators and school leaders in Arkansas are protesting the loss of dozens of African-American school board members, superintendents, and principals, nearly two years after the legislature voted to force dozens of the state’s smallest school districts to merge with neighboring districts.
Arizona legislators and Gov. Janet Napolitano have their work cut out for them in this new year: to come up with a plan to provide more money for teaching English-language learners, or face fines of up to $2 million a day.
Capitol Recap
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The long-awaited federal aid for schools damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and for those that took in thousands of students displaced by the devastating storms appears to be on the way.
Despite efforts to provide small increases for Title I and special education, a late 1 percent across-the-board cut in most federal discretionary spending means that the Department of Education’s fiscal 2006 budget differs little from last year’s spending plan.
Federal File
A proposed federal regulation on testing students with disabilities provides details on the flexibility available to states and schools for meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
California’s lowest-achieving schools are routinely visited by inspectors on the lookout for, among other things, inadequate textbook supplies, dirty drinking water, and evidence of vermin.
A 2004 legal settlement in the Williams v. California school finance case has led to new efforts to improve conditions in the state’s most academically needy schools. A set of laws passed following the settlement established an inspection program to ensure that those schools are in good repair and free of major health and safety hazards.
The No Child Left Behind Act provides new opportunities and responsibilities to involve parents as rightful partners in school and district improvement, write Denis P. Doyle and William J. Slotnik.
Michael Holzman says it is school segregation, not cultural issues, that is holding back African-American boys.
Michelle Rhee and Jessica Levin of the New Teacher Project say urban schools often have one hand (and sometimes both) tied behind their backs as they try to build high-quality teaching staffs.

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