January 21, 2009

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Vol. 28, Issue 18
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Cash-strapped school districts could see an unprecedented $100 billion infusion of federal aid under a massive economic-stimulus package unveiled by House Democrats this week.
District facilities directors are hoping to reap the benefits of President Barack Obama’s economic-recovery plan, which is likely to include money for school building projects.
State officials credit the setting and refinement of academic standards, as well as efforts to translate them for teachers, as prime factors behind the progress.
While the incoming president is sparking interest in mixed-race children, the research base on their schooling contains sizeable gaps.
News in Brief
Report Roundup
News in Brief
School systems are raising private money, upping fees, and squeezing savings from existing budgets to minimize layoffs and spare programs.
Students in the program are expected to serve as leaders when they return to class, helping their classmates make sense of the lab activity.
Law & Courts
Teaching youngsters about letters and sounds before they begin formal schooling helps them develop skills deemed essential to learning to read, says a long-awaited report.
More attention is needed on college and career readiness, according to groups representing governors, state superintendents, legislatures, and school boards.
Education—and virtually all other government priorities—took a back seat to the state's fiscal crisis as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used his Jan. 15 State of the State speech to push lawmakers to end a deficit stalemate that threatens to paralyze state operations.
State Journal
Here are summaries of recent annual addresses by governors around the country.
A federal judge has ordered the state legislature to increase funding for ELL programs or else face fines of as much as $2 million per day.
Outgoing Secretary Spellings approves more states for flexibility and tells each state where it stands under the federal education law.
Federal File
What remains unclear, as Arne Duncan prepares to take the helm of the Department of Education, is where he would take federal education policy over the next four years,
Two foundations support efforts to improve the public schools in the Windy City.
"Any national conversation about what will make America strong and socially healthy must now, as in Roosevelt's time, include a serious commitment to public education," says Peter W. Cookson Jr.
Bruce S. Cooper offers his advice on ways the new administration can meld educational and economic improvement.
"For too long, schools have assigned parents the role of fundraiser and bake-sale booster. Let’s launch a national campaign that draws them more deeply into their children’s education,” say Bill Jackson & Leanna Landsmann.
"If red and blue are to carry little political salience in the Obama White House, then public and private should prove similarly uninteresting in the new president’s Department of Education," says Doug Tuthill.
“Debating and working through differences about public education could clarify what kind of newly unified society we want to become," writes Ellen Condliffe Lagemann.
“The new president should avoid symbolic gestures, such as buying even more computers for schools. Instead, he should stay focused on the key elements of infrastructure: bolstering school facilities staffed by able, committed teachers," writes Bruce Fuller.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Annenberg Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Spencer Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations.

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