January 25, 2006
Education Week, Vol. 25, Issue 20
Law & Courts Legal Challenge to Faith-Based Initiative Is Revived
A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit that challenges activities of the centers for faith-based initiatives in the Department of Education and other U.S. agencies.
School & District Management Whither the Ed. Dept.’s Innovation Office?
With the departure this month of the first head of the Department of Education’s office of innovation and improvement, those who follow the 3½-year-old-office are wondering whether it will continue to play a prominent role in federal policy or whether its influence will fade.
College & Workforce Readiness Utah to Give Diplomas to Students Who Fail State Exit Exam
Utah students can receive a high school diploma even if they fail to pass all portions of the state’s exit test, but those diplomas will specify that the students haven’t passed the exam.
School Choice & Charters California Gives High Tech High Special Statewide Charter
High Tech High Learning, a charter-management organization based in San Diego, has become the first recipient of special status from the California board of education that will allow it to open 10 new schools without having to receive approval from local districts.
Education Funding Houston Marketing Its K-12 Curriculum Nationwide
Rather than write a new curriculum from scratch, Charleston County bought one from the Houston Independent School District. By building on what the Texas system already had produced, the superintendent, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, guesses she saved at least a year in her effort to bring about greater instructional consistency in her own district.
Teaching Profession Boston’s Small ‘Pilot’ Schools Found to Outperform Others
Boston’s experiment with small, autonomous public schools appears to be paying off in higher test scores, attendance, and college-going rates, a report sponsored by supporters of the schools concludes.
Curriculum Minneapolis District Relaxes ‘Bumping’ Rule for Teachers
Minneapolis teachers will no longer be forced to change subjects to prevent the layoff of another tenured teacher, at least for a year, under a tentative agreement reached between leaders of the teachers’ union and the public school system.
Equity & Diversity D.C. Schools That Take Vouchers Found to Be Less Racially Isolated
A new study of the federal voucher program in the District of Columbia finds that private schools that accept students using the government tuition aid have more racial integration than the city’s public schools.
Education Childhood Obesity
The study—published Jan. 1 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine—is based on data on 768 randomly selected children in 10 rural and urban communities across the nation. At age 7, the researchers found, children growing up in communities perceived to be dangerous were four times more likely to be overweight than their counterparts in the neighborhoods considered safest.
Education Early-Childhood Education
Produced by the RAND Corp., based in Santa Monica, Calif., the study says well-designed programs return more to society in benefits than they cost in dollars by helping the children improve their thinking and social skills, which in turn help them perform better in school.
Education Youth Crime
According to the poll of mayors and city officials from 436 cities—conducted by the Washington-based National League of Cities—96 percent of officials from towns with curfews believe the laws are “very” or “somewhat” effective in preventing youth crime. Ninety-three percent of those officials view curfew enforcement as a good use of police officers’ time.
Science Calif. District to Scrap Course on ‘Intelligent Design’
In the first legal skirmish over “intelligent design” since a federal judge declared it to be illegitimate science, a rural Southern California school system has agreed to drop an elective philosophy course presenting the highly charged topic.
School Climate & Safety St. Louis Breaks Up Troubled H.S. at Midyear
In a move signaling the profound change in store for the St. Louis public schools, the superintendent has broken up the district’s most troubled high school in the middle of the year, creating a separate school for the freshmen and placing the most accomplished seniors on a college campus.
Mathematics Advocates Urge Bush to Boost Federal Role in Math and Science
A consensus is growing among members of Congress, educators, and corporate leaders in favor of a stronger federal effort to bolster mathematics and science education from the earliest grades through college.
Education Letter to the Editor A ‘Reprehensible’ Side of Federal Hurricane Aid
Congress’ high-handed provision of millions of dollars for vouchers for faith-based schools in Louisiana and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is a slap at both of those states’ constitutions ("Congress Passes Hurricane Aid for Schools," Jan. 4, 2006).
Education Letter to the Editor To Raise NAEP Scores, Improve Access to Books
You report that comparing 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores from 11 cities is not beneficial in determining the effectiveness of reading approaches ("NAEP Results Offer Scant Insight Into Best Reading Strategies," Jan. 11, 2006.). But NAEP has taught us a great deal: NAEP results consistently confirm that children with more access to reading material read better, and that children who read more likewise read better.
Education Hurricane-Hit Colleges Get Federal-Aid Bonus
The Department of Education has turned up $30 million in unspent federal financial aid that it will direct to help colleges and universities in the Gulf Coast region recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The money was designated for participants in the federal work-study program, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, and the Perkins Loan Program, but was unspent for various reasons.
Teaching Profession NCLBlogging
As politically oriented Web logs become increasingly popular, more education groups are setting out to join the sometimes-edgy medium. The 1.3 million-member American Federation of Teachers last week stepped into the cyber arena with a blog that is part of its campaign geared toward the scheduled 2007 reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The blog is called “NCLB, Let’s Get It Right.”