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education news bulletin

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  • Courtney Schroeder
    Message 1 of 117 , Sep 3, 2002
      > OTHER
      > Leaving Many Children Behind From the Education Gadfly by Checker Finn, http://www.edexcellence.net When Congress overhauled the Title I program last year in the "No Child Left Behind" Act, it included a provision somewhat like Florida> '> s: if a Title I school fails for two straight years to make adequate progress toward its state> '> s academic standards, the local school system must provide its pupils with "public school choice" and may use some of their federal dollars to pay for the transportation. In the original Bush formulation, a student> '> s choices would also have included private schools and public schools in other districts. But Congress instantly balked at "vouchers" and the White House quickly yielded. Then the education establishment pressed lawmakers to confine children> '> s options to public schools within the same district. Hence Chicago children have no right to enroll in Winnetka> '> s excellent schools nor Los Angeles youngsters in those of Beverly Hills nor Boston kids in those of neighboring Brookline. Their choices are limited to schools run by their present systems (and charter schools within district boundaries).
      > Study: Charter students score lower From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram 9/3/2002 http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/3991845.htm Students in charter schools, often seen as an alternative to failing neighborhood schools, are scoring significantly below public school pupils in basic reading and math skills, a new study shows. Charter school students were anywhere from a half year to a full year behind their public school peers, researchers at the Brookings Institution concluded after reviewing 1999-2000 reading and math achievement test scores of 376 charter schools in 10 states. The study, the first independent snapshot of charter school performance across the nation, found that 59 percent of students at traditional public schools scored better than charter school students during the period studied. The findings don't necessarily reflect poorly on charter schools, which often attract students who are looking for a way to improve their skills, the authors caution. Researchers found that scores of urban charter school students were no worse than others but suburban and rural charter schools had much lower scores. They also found that about 38 percent of charter school students are poor - the same as in public schools. But charter schools serve a slightly higher percentage of black and Hispanic students than their more traditional counterparts, the study found.
      > Edison's Troubles From Newsweek's Periscope section http://www.msnbc.com/news/798768.asp#BODY This hasn> '> t been an easy summer for Edison Schools, the nation> '> s largest for-profit school chain. A few months ago Edison was in line to run 45 schools in Philadelphia. But when classes start next week, the company will manage only 20. Since mid-July, the stock price has been below a dollar. And last week Dallas school trustees voted to end their contract with Edison next June, two years early, because they said test scores weren> '> t good enough to justify Edison> '> s fee. ... Other believers in for-profit education are trying new models. Chester E. Finn, president of the Fordham Foundation and a former Edison founding partner, says the future may lie in hybrids, like New Schools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy that backs for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs who start innovative schools. > "> I think we> '> ll see a lot of experimenting,> "> he says. Families have to hope that a few of those experiments will succeed.
      > Great principals are key to keeping good teachers in poor schools From The Washington Post 8/27/2002> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2000-2002Aug27.html It has often been noted that high-poverty schools tend to be staffed by less experienced teachers. In an online piece at WashingtonPost.com, Jay M> athews examines some of the reasons for this and some of the proposed solutions. In the end, he concludes that the key to keeping good teachers in high-poverty schools may be to put our best principals in our worst schools and persuade them to stay there. He suggests some ways to make this happen.
      > Searching for a Superhero: Can Principals Do it All? From The Education Writers Association June 2002 http://www.ewa.org Until recently, principals mainly supervised teachers, managed the building, and dealt with parents. Today, they are also being asked to develop visions of learning, build school cultures, and develop instructional programs conducive to learning for all. Increasingly, they must be able to handle budgets, personnel, politics, and public relations for their schools, as more authority is devolved to them and they become more accountable for academic results. Does this add up to more than an ordinary human can reasonably manage? This report argues that the era of the effective principal as a > "> larger than life maverick> "> is over. Today, the authors write, > "> The truly effective principal is the first among equals, a team builder, a leader of leaders who encourages others to take responsibility for what happens in the school.> "> ... According to Harvard> '> s Richard Elmore, who is quoted extensively in this report, > "> The content and institutional structure of existing training programs are undamentally unsuited for the jobs we are asking [principals to take].> "> (Summary by Terry Ryan, Fordham Foundation)
      > Edgy About Exams, Schools Cut the Summer Short From The New York Times 8/19/2002 http://www.nytimes.com More than a dozen school districts in Florida -- and others in Texas, Maryland, Kentucky, Colorado and California -- have moved up the opening day of school this year, cutting short summer vacations and requiring students to report a week or more earlier than in recent years. The reason, in many instances, is to give students an earlier start on preparing for state standardized tests, which are usually given in late winter or early spring. While the tests are not necessarily new, schools face stiff federal sanctions this year under the new Bush education law if they fail to meet specified goals for progress on those tests.
      > OTHER
      > California Test Scores Rise; Goals Still Unmet From the Los Angeles Times 8/30/2002 http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-me-scores30aug30005048.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection California's public schools have raised their scores on a nationally standardized test for a fourth straight year, but most students have not mastered the more rigorous lessons the state says they need to learn, according to statistics released Thursday. Only one-third of the state's students are proficient in reading, math, history and science as defined by California's tough new academic standards. The gap between what students are supposed to know and what they do know is larger in urban school systems such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, where a mere 16% of sixth-graders met the state standards in reading and writing this year--even as their scores rose on the national Stanford 9 test.
      > NYC Chancellor Pares Teacher Training; Adds School Days From the New York Times 8/27/2002 > http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/27/education/27SCHO.html In his first attempt at improving instruction for New York City schoolchildren, Chancellor Joel I. Klein has added two days to the coming school year, time that had been set aside for teacher training. The last-minute change comes on top of a switch to earlier starting times for students, with most schools opening roughly 20 minutes earlier. The earlier starting times, a result of teacher workweeks that will be 100 minutes longer this year, creates logistical hurdles for teachers and parents alike. Most, though, were informed of the schedule change in June, school officials said, so they have had ti> me to prepare. Just yesterday, however, Mr. Klein informed school principals that two days that had been set aside for training - Sept. 27 and Dec. 13 - would now be regular school days, meaning many students will be in the classroom 184 days a year, 4 more than the state requires.
      > 20,000 Baltimore children to repeat a grade From the Baltimore Sun 8/28/2002 http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/bal-te.md.schools28aug28.story?coll=bal%2Dlocal%2Dheadlines More than a quarter of Baltimore elementary and middle school pupils will have to repeat a grade in the coming school year, the first real indication of how sweeping new passing standards will affect families across the city. About 20,000 of 70,000 schoolchildren in grades one through eight failed to meet the standards, even after the majority of those pupils who were in danger of failing attended a five-week summer school. Although the implications of failing so many children are serious, board member J. Tyson Tildon suggested he was encouraged by the result because it meant thousands of children who couldn't read, write or do math would no longer continue to pass as they have for decades in the city.
      > Standards-based reform boosts scores in LA From the Education Gadfly 8/29/2002 http://www.edexcellence.net Test scores in Los Angeles elementary schools are rising nicely and many view such gains as evidence that state and district reforms in math and
      > reading are working. Turning its back on a hodgepodge of exploratory math programs, L.A.U.S.D. standardized its math program and now uses only two textbooks in the elementary grades, both of which stress fundamental skills. The latest Stanford 9 math results show that the percentages of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders scoring at or above the national average are all about 20 points higher than 4 years ago. Reading scores also rose for the fourth consecutive year in grades 2 through 5, and teachers and administrators say that the district> '> s embrace of the Open Court reading program, a heavily scripted curriculum, may deserve some of the credit. The state> '> s high quality academic standards and a statewide accountability system that ranks schools based on their test scores were also given some credit for the impressive results. > "> Math Scores Equal Success,> "> by Solomon Moore and Erika Hayasaki, Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2002,
      > http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-math22aug22.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dcalifornia
      > ; > "> L.A. Unified Hails Reforms as Test Scores Rise for Fourth Year,> "> by
      > Duke Helfand, Solomon Moore, and Erika Hayasaki, Los Angeles Times,
      > August 21, 2002,
      > http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-me-scores21aug21005115.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Dlearning
    • edupreneurs_moderator
      Education News Bulletin February 10 - 17, 2006 HUMAN CAPITAL COMMENTARY: Fast-Track Certification - Can We Prepare Teachers Both Quickly and Well? NATIONAL -
      Message 117 of 117 , Feb 21, 2006
        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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