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education news bulletin, 8.30.2004

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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 8.30.2004 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Column: Report Offers No Clear Victory for Charter School Opponents (by columnist Sam
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2004
      Education News Bulletin


      Column: Report Offers No Clear Victory for Charter School Opponents
      (by columnist Sam Freedman)

      NATIONAL – Statistics culled by the American Federation of
      Teachers from a national examination and then published on the front
      page of The New York Times revealed that charter schools, one of the
      most ballyhooed reforms, actually trail conventional public schools
      in bringing children of various ages, races, and incomes to
      proficiency in math and reading. ... The instant polarization that
      followed the charter school report misrepresented the issue in
      dangerous ways. … On the ground, charter schools range from
      ultraprogressive to determinedly back-to-basics, with operators as
      divergent as private companies, nonprofit social service
      organizations, and coalitions of parents. Put another way, it is
      risky to draw any conclusions too sweeping and too soon about a
      phenomenon that lumps together Dennis Littky and Kristen Kearns
      Jordan. (New York Times)


      School of Hard Choices: In the KIPP Academy Program, It's Motivation
      That's Fundamental

      NEW YORK – When Mike Feinberg, then a recent University of
      Pennsylvania graduate, and Dave Levin, just out of Yale, met at a
      1992 summer teacher training institute in Los Angeles, they were
      typical of young people signing up for the Teach for America
      program -- smart, idealistic, confident. Then they started to teach,
      and realized they had no idea what they were doing. Most such
      stories in America end right there. Young educators intending to be
      classroom heroes discover that they lack the skills and energy and
      patience. Then they do what their mothers always wanted and apply to
      grad school. But this story is different. Levin and Feinberg, more
      than a decade later, have invented something very rare in American
      education: a way of teaching low-income children that actually works
      in 36 public middle schools, producing the largest and fastest
      learning gains around the country. (Washington Post)



      Louisiana may be first to draw link - Plan ties student success,
      teacher training

      LOUISIANA – Louisiana may become the first state in the nation
      that rates teacher training based on how students fare in the
      classroom. The plan, outlined to the Board of Regents on Wednesday,
      could pinpoint successful programs in the state's 19 public and
      private schools with education colleges as well as those producing
      teachers whose students are low achievers. The change could also
      make it easier for principals to hire an elementary school teacher,
      for instance, by reviewing which colleges and universities produced
      students with high marks in that area. (The Advocate)



      More Reasons Why We Need Value-Added Assessment

      SACRAMENTO, CA – Two recent events underscore the importance of
      improving the way we measure student achievement. The first was a
      front-page New York Times story that cited an American Federation of
      Teachers (AFT) study that said that charter school students often
      performed worse than comparable students in regular public schools.
      The second was the release of California's 2004 student test
      scores. Instead of comparing today's third-grade scores with today's
      fifth-grade scores, which compares the performance of different
      groups of students, the scores of individual fifth graders should be
      compared with their own third-grade scores. That comparison would
      allow policymakers to see whether a student was growing in
      achievement. The state has taken a first step in this direction by
      assigning identification numbers to students so their performance
      can be tracked. (Pacific Research Institute)


      Two tests, two results: What are kids learning? - Educators call the
      exit exam different, not easier

      SACRAMENTO – When state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack
      O'Connell and other state education officials unveiled the latest
      statewide test results last Monday, the mood was unusually subdued.
      Following several years of steady gains in the California Standards
      Tests, which measure students' academic mastery of a state-set
      curriculum, progress was stalled. Scores were about the same as last
      year's, and worse in some cases. But a separate test given to the
      same students had radically different results. Last year's 10th-
      graders will graduate from high school as the class of 2006, the
      first class that needs to pass the California High School Exit Exam
      in order to receive a diploma. They were the first class to take the
      recently revamped, mandatory test after a vote by the state Board of
      Education last year to postpone the requirement for two years. The
      results: 74 percent of those students passed the math portion of the
      high school exit exam, and 75 percent passed the English-language
      arts portion. How to explain the disparity? The divergent
      results "suggest that when the stakes are low, the standards are
      high," said Bruce Fuller, a co-director of the Policy Analysis think
      tank and professor of education and public policy at UC Berkeley.
      But when it comes to the exit exam, "the stakes are high, and the
      standards dip down." (Sacramento Bee)



      Column: K-12 education - Fumbling in the governor's office (by Peter
      Schrag of the Sacramento Bee)

      SACRAMENTO – Running California's huge, three-headed public
      education system is hard enough under the best of circumstances. But
      when the state Board of Education, which is supposed to set
      curricular policy and standards, is in near-revolt against the
      governor's office, as it was last week, it's time to sound the
      alarm. The main target of the revolt is Bonnie Reiss, senior adviser
      to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the view of board insiders, she
      has mishandled policy and often disregarded the board, which has
      been the prime force in establishing and defending California's
      academic standards and accountability system. The disaffected board
      members have told friends that Reiss, an entertainment lawyer with
      Kennedy family connections, knows little about education - or about
      government - and because she has too much on her plate, she doesn't
      have time to learn. (The governor's education secretary, ex-Mayor
      Richard Riordan of Los Angeles, another novice on state education
      policy, is often out of the loop altogether.) (Sacramento Bee)


      36th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes
      Toward the Public Schools

      NATIONAL – The 36th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the
      Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools continues the previous
      poll's focus on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act because of that
      act's potential for improving student achievement and because of
      last year's finding that the strategies employed by NCLB at that
      time lacked the public support necessary to bring success. … The
      poll addresses these issues against the background of the public's
      assessment of the public schools. It then turns to questions about
      the appropriate venue for pursuing change and how the public views
      selected proposals for change. Finally, the poll explores the
      public's opinion of the two political parties' relationship to
      public education and how that thinking is likely to affect the
      November election. (Phi Delta Kappa / Gallup)

      http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0409pol.htm (see also CNN press
      coverage, "U.S. opinions on schools contradictory," at

      ED gives preview of new ed-tech plan

      WASHINGTON, DC – Student data management, online assessment, and
      eLearning will be key issues in the next national educational
      technology plan presented to Congress by the U.S. Department of
      Education (ED), according to Susan Patrick, director of the
      department's Office of Educational Technology. The new plan,
      expected to be released at the end of September, will continue the
      shift from counting the number of computers in each classroom to
      improving student achievement with technology, Patrick said. With
      the passage in 2001 of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Bush
      administration has changed the way technology is funded by the
      federal government, Patrick said, by pairing ed-tech funding with
      specific educational goals, such as improving assessment, increasing
      literacy, and providing professional development to under-trained
      teachers. (eSchool News)


      Skilled Labor in High Demand: Employers Lament Declining Ranks of
      Capable Workers

      NATIONAL – David L. Hurley is eager to hire new workers at his
      Florida surveying company and isn't asking for much: Only a dozen or
      so people with enough basic math to learn the software he uses to
      make blueprints, and enough basic sense to show up on time. But
      after weeks of want ads and recruiting, he has drawn a conclusion:
      The workers aren't out there. Whether it is in expanding areas like
      health care or in the beleaguered manufacturing sector, employers
      say that once they are ready to add to their payrolls, it is often
      so difficult to find capable workers that positions are left
      unfilled. Those who have the required skills typically already have
      jobs, said representatives in a number of industries, while those
      who are available often aren't qualified. (Washington Post)


      Student Retention and Graduation: Facing the Truth, Living with the

      WASHINGTON, DC – Our nation has the tools to improve the
      retention and graduation rates of low-income students according to a
      new report just released by The Pell Institute for the Study of
      Opportunity in Higher Education. The report, Student Retention and
      Graduation: Facing the Truth, Living with the Consequences, by
      Vincent Tinto, Distinguished University Professor at Syracuse
      University, challenges colleges, the federal government, and states
      to implement strategies that will seriously improve the academic
      performance of students from low-income families. The report, which
      provides a broad survey of what is known about why students leave
      college before completing a program of study, closely examines who
      goes to college and who graduates from college. The report also
      explores graduation rates based on family income and documents the
      dramatic consequences that many students encounter when they choose
      to drop out of college. (The Pell Institute for the Study of
      Opportunity in Higher Education)

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