March 15, 2006

This Issue
Vol. 25, Issue 27
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After years of efforts aimed at boosting girls’ achievement in science and mathematics, researchers, writers, and educators are now expressing alarm about the plight of boys.
The impending closure of the Manual Education Complex in Denver is sparking a conversation about what can be learned from the experience at a time when the nation has pinned high hopes on improving secondary schools by turning them into smaller, more personalized environments.
The U.S. Department of Education bypassed its own policies when officials awarded a grant early in President Bush’s first term that benefited a company founded by former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, as well as others to groups with close ties to the administration, federal auditors have concluded.
The Partnership for Teacher Excellence, a new venture to aid aspiring teachers in New York City, takes the professional-development-school model to another level by adding such features as free tuition, continuing support for new teachers, and the cooperation of two universities, all with the goal of producing—and retaining—teachers who are well-qualified, particularly in such shortage areas as math and science.
School administrators could ward off bitter battles over issues of sexual orientation by taking an active role in bringing people of different views together for discussion before controversies erupt, according to a resource guide for educators and parents developed by a center that promotes First Amendment values.
District Dossier
New York City universities and public schools are teaming up to train teachers for shortage areas such as math and science and to reduce turnover.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
News in Brief: A National Roundup
Private Schools
Shrinking enrollments and tight budgets are forcing urban education leaders around the country to close schools and shift thousands of students to different campuses next school year.
The Ohio Federation of Teachers, long a vocal critic of charter schools, issued a report last week that portrays one for-profit charter operator in the state as far more concerned about making money than improving student learning.
Teacher-training programs are highlighted in a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education report that investigates how institutions are complying with the performance-based assessment standards it instituted in 2001. The standards were revamped in part to address complaints that institutions did an inadequate job of preparing their graduates.
Two private tutoring companies offered cash to principals and gifts to students in New York City to boost attendance in their programs and maximize the share of federal money they got for serving low-income families under the No Child Left Behind Act, an investigation has found.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s proposal last fall to create a new breed of independent, publicly financed schools—an English twist on American charter schools—has made plenty of waves across the Atlantic. But while the initiative has riled many lawmakers in his own Labor Party, it now appears headed for approval by Parliament.
States and school districts appear to be making good progress toward including students with disabilities in statewide assessments and reporting accountability statistics for such students, but they still need to work on reducing dropout rates and preparing general education teachers to work with students with special needs, a federally sponsored study says.
Report Roundup
As Colorado’s public universities move to boost their admissions requirements, the state’s rural districts worry they will have to sacrifice local priorities, such as arts and vocational education, to provide the extra math and foreign-language courses students will need to get into four-year public institutions.
Gov. Janet Napolitano has broken the legislative stalemate over how to pay for the education of English-language learners in Arizona.
State Journal
Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has earned high marks from advocates of early-childhood education in recent years for keeping his promise to increase funding for preschool by $30 million each year since 2003. Now, with his latest plan to provide prekindergarten to all 3- and 4-year-olds in Illinois, his approval rating among supporters of preschool has shot up even higher.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
State of the States
Congress is within its authority to require colleges to open their job fairs to military recruiters, even if campus nondiscrimination policies clash with federal law restricting gays in the military, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week.
Federal File
A private commission formed to explore potential changes to the No Child Left Behind Act plans to focus on such topics as adequate yearly progress and teacher qualifications, sidestepping more politically charged issues such as the level of federal funding for the law.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
By pairing up core-subject teachers with traditional voc. ed. instructors, a Michigan district tries to show that rigor can be built into vocational programs.
Nancy S. Grasmick, the lone K-12 representative on the National Academies’ committee on science, engineering, and public policy, offers ideas on how to strengthen math and science education in the U.S.
A professor of education leadership writes that part of the solution to implementing meaningful and effective education policy could be found in the greater inclusion of classroom teachers in the process.
On March 2, readers questioned two of Education Week's staff members who had recently toured hurricane-ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast: Sarah Evans, the director of photography, and Alan Richard, a staff writer who covers many Southern states and has done extensive reporting about last fall’s storms and their effects on schooling.
Robert Gordon, a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, writes that the adoption of national standards in education does not have to be—and in fact, is not—a divisive political issue, but a workable idea whose time has come.

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