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683education news bulletin

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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Feb 21, 2006
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      Education News Bulletin
      February 10 - 17, 2006


      COMMENTARY: Fast-Track Certification - Can We Prepare Teachers Both
      Quickly and Well?

      NATIONAL - Teacher-preparation programs today come in many shapes
      and sizes. Traditional and alternative programs have morphed into
      one another, making broad comparisons between them useless. What
      matters instead is how particular programs work. Do they attract
      candidates to teaching? Do they provide what they promise? Do they
      give new teachers what they need to get started and grow on the job?
      Do participants report that they're prepared to teach their
      students? With such questions in mind, we studied 13 fast-track,
      alternative-certification programs in four states, observing the
      training and interviewing directors, faculty members, and
      participants. … Fast-track preparation is a deceptively simple idea.
      In fact, surprising capacity is required to train teachers both
      quickly and well. (by Susan Moore Johnson of Harvard University's
      graduate school of education and consultant Sarah Birkeland for
      Education Week - registration required)

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/02/15/23johnson.h25.html (see
      also "A Difficult Balance: Incentives and Quality Control in
      Alternative Certification Programs" at

      Parents, teachers have educational divide

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- Considering they share responsibility for 50
      million children, parents and teachers sure have some different
      views about what goes on in school. From discipline to standardized
      tests to the quality of high schools, parents and teachers disagree
      on basic aspects of education, an AP-AOL Learning Services Poll
      finds. They come together, though, on the need to hire and keep good
      teachers. … On testing, the poll found teachers are much more likely
      than parents to say standardized exams get too much emphasis. Yet
      most parents and teachers agree testing has weakened the ability of
      educators to give individual attention to students. (Associated
      Press via CNN)

      html (see also "Press Release: 87% of Teachers Say Parents Should
      Spend More Time with Children on Homework" at


      Assessment Testing >> In Their Hands: Handheld devices empower
      teachers with assessment data they can put to immediate use

      NATIONAL - At the Orange County Public School District in Orlando,
      FL, assessing reading skills among the youngest students used to be
      quite a process. Relying on rudimentary products such as paper and
      pencils, the strategy hinged on the bubble sheets teachers
      administered to students once a year. After teachers scored the
      exams, they sent them to the district office, where results were
      scanned, analyzed, and combined to form summary reports. These
      reports gave teachers information about which students needed extra
      help, and which subjects were proving to be troublesome. But because
      the reports took weeks to generate, it was difficult for teachers to
      use them to better serve the needs of their students. Everything
      changed with the implementation of a three-year pilot program that
      kicked off the 2003-2004 school year. District officials, eager to
      improve their assessment techniques, turned to Wireless Generation
      to find a way to assess students so that teachers could actually do
      something with their data. Change came in the form of Palm handheld
      devices. Teachers used them to record student performance on a
      series of questions designed to gauge reading skills. (T.H.E.


      Grading Equity: Tisch Lecturer Outlines Report Card on Education

      NATIONAL - Richard Rothstein agrees with No Child Left Behind
      supporters on at least one point: Holding schools accountable for
      improving children's reading and math skills may, in fact,
      eventually lead to improvement in those skills. The problem, as
      Rothstein outlined it on Monday evening, January 30th during the
      first of a three-part Teachers College lecture series known as the
      Tisch Lectures, is that those skills could improve -- to the
      detriment of others that are equally important. "What gets measured,
      gets done," said Rothstein, Tisch Visiting Professor at TC and
      research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, in a talk he
      titled Equity in What? Defining the Goals of American Education for
      which We Seek Equity. For the past year and half, Rothstein and two
      graduate assistants, Rebecca Jacobsen and Tamara Wilder, have been
      working to create a new "report card" that will assess the nation's
      progress in providing equal educational opportunities across a much
      broader range of skills. The list, unveiled at the first Tisch
      lecture, includes basic academic skills; critical thinking; social
      skills and work ethic; citizenship; physical health; emotional
      health; the arts and literature; and vocational education. (Teachers
      College at Columbia University)



      Can Bush make America more competitive in math and science?

      WASHINGTON - Americans have heard the warnings for decades: The
      nation is in danger of falling behind other technological
      powerhouses in the world, posing a threat to its way of life.
      President Bush's competitiveness initiative, outlined in his federal
      budget, would focus $136 billion over 10 years on boosting research
      and education. Much of that cost would come in the form of tax
      incentives for research and development; the rest represents new
      funding, including a doubling of the budgets of three federal
      agencies focused on science and technology. The education piece of
      Mr. Bush's plan seems relatively small - $380 million in fiscal
      2007 - but it is getting most of the attention. Overall, Bush's AP
      Incentive Program aims to boost the number of students taking AP
      math and science exams from 380,000 today to 1.5 million in 2012. In
      a nation that seems to have a cultural aversion to tackling "hard"
      subjects like math and science, can those numbers be achieved? And
      without the stark image of Sputnik - the Soviet satellite whose
      launch in 1957 caught the US by surprise - to spur a fear of
      national decline, will the nation rally to the "competitiveness"
      cause and push Congress to fund the plan? (Christian Science Monitor)



      Venture Capitalists Are Investing in Educational Reform

      CALIFORNIA - Venture capitalists of Silicon Valley, who have backed
      hundreds of high-technology entrepreneurs, are eagerly financing a
      new group these days: schoolmasters. "We give education
      entrepreneurs money to start or to speed up building their
      companies," said L. John Doerr, who over 26 years has helped start
      dozens of ventures, including Sun Microsystems, Amazon.com and
      Google. He help found the New Schools Venture Fund in San Francisco
      six years ago for a new breed of entrepreneur - the kind who doesn't
      have to produce a profit. … New Schools Venture Fund is still
      investing its first $80 million, contributed by individuals like Mr.
      Doerr and organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
      which gave $22 million. New Schools has begun raising another $125
      million to expand the reach of charter schools as models of reform
      for traditional public school systems. (by James Flanigan for the
      New York Times - registration required)


      Column: The New Engines of Reform (by David Gergen of US News &
      World Report)

      NATIONAL - There won't be any sleek limousines drawing up at the
      door, no red carpets, no paparazzi, no Vanity Fair afterglow, and,
      alas, no Annie Leibovitz. But when dozens of people roll into the
      Mohonk Mountain House in the Hudson Valley this week, they'll be
      holding their own Oscar party--one celebrating the stars of a new
      group of emerging leaders in the United States. They're
      called "social entrepreneurs," and if you haven't heard the phrase
      yet, you're missing one of the hottest movements to ripple across
      college campuses and into young urban communities. Social
      entrepreneurs do more than treat society's ills--they envision
      widespread, systemic change that could prevent those ills from ever
      occurring. They tackle social problems with entrepreneurial and
      innovative spirit. … The roster of all-stars in the social
      enterprise movement is growing rapidly--and just as in business and
      politics, they are forming networks among themselves. (US News &
      World Report)

      (see also "Two Guys...and a Dream" on the founders of KIPP in the
      same issue at


      Put Learning First: A Portfolio Approach to Public Schools

      NATIONAL - Today, public education policies and administrations are
      organized to serve the needs of the institutions and the adults that
      work in them. Addressing our stunning achievement gaps, particularly
      those affecting minority students in our cities, means that
      students, not the system, must become the primary organizing
      principle for educational policies -- and, more importantly, for
      schools themselves. The current system is intended to advance
      individual, community, and national goals, but is, in fact,
      engineered for stability. That is normally a good thing. We want
      schools to open on time, teachers to count on having jobs from one
      day to the next, and parents to feel secure knowing that their
      children will have a place to go to school. Stability alone,
      however, is the wrong goal in a complex, fast-changing, modern
      economy. Students -- disadvantaged students, in particular -- need
      schools that are focused on providing them with the skills they will
      need to succeed in today's society, schools that are flexible enough
      to try a variety of teaching methods until they succeed in reaching
      these goals. (by Paul Hill of the Center on Reinventing Public
      Education, for the Progressive Policy Institute)


      The New Reverse Class Struggle: Although Smaller Sizes Are Touted,
      Some Say Bigger May Be Beneficial

      NATIONAL - Billie-Jean Bensen, principal of Herbert Hoover Middle
      School in Rockville, called [math teacher Jane]
      Reiser "outstanding," "fabulous" and "truly amazing," able to get
      great results despite her large class size [32 students, way above
      the national class size average of 25]. So why, some experts are
      asking, are educators and politicians so bent on reducing class
      sizes? Wouldn't it be better to let classes get bigger? Then schools
      could reduce the number of teachers, keep good ones like Reiser and
      pay them more. The idea seems odd to many. But some scholars and
      administrators say raising class sizes and teacher pay might improve
      achievement. (by Jay Mathews for the Washington Post - registration


      President's Budget Would Cut Education Spending

      NATIONAL - President Bush's blueprint for federal education spending
      in the next fiscal year includes a high-profile plan to boost math
      and science education, new money for private school vouchers, a
      renewed push to improve high schools-and the most drastic cut in
      Department of Education funding in more than a decade. In his
      proposed federal budget for fiscal 2007, released last week, Mr.
      Bush calls for a 3.8 percent drop in the department's discretionary
      spending, or $2.1 billion less than the agency received for fiscal
      2006, excluding hurricane relief and adjusting for a recent
      accounting change for financial aid. If approved by Congress, his
      plan would mean the largest percentage cut for the department since
      fiscal 1996. The president would sink new federal education money
      into fresh initiatives, particularly those intended to strengthen
      learning in mathematics and science, and provide generally flat
      funding to K-12's two largest programs: Title I for low- income
      students and special education state grants. (Education Week -
      registration required)

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