September 3 2004 Edition

CAMPAIGN 2004: The Republican National Convention this week provided lots of chances for Bush defenders to laud his accomplishments in education, including Paige: 'No Child Left Behind is working' (CNN), 12 Million Languish In Failing Public Schools, Report Says (Washington Times), as well as plenty of opportunity for critics to weigh in and concerns to be raised: Freedom, Liberty, Freedom (AlterNet), The 'Texas Miracle' (CBSNews), Molly Ivins: The GOP is from another planet (Naples Daily News), and Madame Cheney's Cultural Revolution (Salon Magazine).

As with the election itself,there are precious few folks whose opinions fall in the middle:
Faith without works (Eduwonk's Andy Rotherham appearing in The Gadfly). Apparently President Bush would expand NCLB to high school in a second administration: Bush Pledges More Help For High Schools In A Second Term (San Francisco Chronicle), and Bush Touts Ed. Law's Successes, Promises High School Reforms (Education Week), or Bush vows to strengthen high schools (Boston Globe/Associated Press).

AYP UPDATE (NCLB): Either I'm just getting too used to the numbers or the AYP results after three years or they just aren't that bad. In Mississippi: More Schools Testing Higher (CLARION-LEDGER). In California: State Data to Show How Well Schools Met Academic Goals (Los Angeles Times), More California schools meet NCLB targets; some districts still struggling (Los Angeles Times), San Jose Mercury News, 64% of schools meet federal testing goals (Sacramento Bee). In New York: Failing schools' list released for Big 5 districts (Newsday). In Virginia: Arlington Schools Fall Short on NCLB (Arlington Connection). In Oregon: Oregon students backslide on state tests (The Oregonian (Portland).

QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES (NCLB): Or, instead, maybe states and districts are just learning to game the NCLB system too well: States sidestep NCLB reporting requirements for disabled students (The New York Times), Schools To Get Second Chance To Show Progress (HONOLULU ADVERTISER), Improvement on WASL Carries Asterisk (SEATTLE TIMES), and my favorite: Most Michigan failing schools give themselves top marks (The Detroit News), or Metro schools pad rankings (Detroit News).

DISTRICTS IN NEED OF IMPROVEMENT (NCLB): In the meantime, perhaps the most notable new NCLB trend is the slew of districts now being declared in need of improvement (DINI). Under NCLB, districts are rated pretty much the same way as schools, though the start date was often later than it was for schools. New York City found out it was a DINI this summer, and Chicago has recently been declared a DINI and may have to stop providing SES services soon as a result: CPS corners tutoring market but runs risk of losing it all (Catalyst). In Arizona: More Districts Failing (ARIZONA REPUBLIC). In California:Â 18 School Districts May Face Sanctions (LOS ANGELES TIMES).

CORRECTIVE ACTION (NCLB): At the spear-point of NCLB are the handful of schools that are now in corrective action, meaning they face conversion to charter or contract status, state takeover, or any other number of things that will make choice, tutoring, and being on the failing list seem like nothing. In Arizona: 20 Ariz. schools fail Fed's standards 4 years in a row (Arizona Republic).

NEW AND NOTABLE: Charter Schools, Student Retention, Dropout Prevention, Computerized Grading, SAT and AP Scores:
Record Number Of Minorities Take SAT (USA Today)
Advanced Placement is booming and changing high school experience (Associated Press)
Charter Demand Rising In Suburbs (St. Paul Pioneer Press)
U.S. Cutting Back On Details In Data About Charter Schools (New York Times)
Sixty charter schools fall, with a little state shove (Los Angeles Times)
Atlanta schools will hold back 7% of third-graders (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Standardized tests do not change promotion rate (Dallas Morning News)
Automatic grading programs getting better, but still not infallible (
The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Knock, knock: It's Houston's new truancy gambit (Christian Science Monitor)
Behind Top Student's Heartbreak, Illegal Immigrants' Nightmare (New York Times )
Depressed teens respond to interpersonal therapy in school (US News & World Report)

REMAKING RENAISSANCE 2010 (CHICAGO): Parts of the CPS response to last week's contentious Board meeting and community concerns about eroding local control (see Chipping away at LSCs (Catalyst), and (Latinos say plan for 100 new schools ignores their overcrowding problem (Tribune) for the backstory) started to become clear at yesterday's City Club appearance by Messrs. Duncan and Scott and Mme. Eason-Watkins, among others, during which Duncan talked frankly about some of the city's most troubled schools like Austin High School and called for increased business and university involvement in the school system. Duncan Touts University-Run City Schools (Sun-Times), Duncan to colleges: Help (Chicago Daily Southtown). It wasn't quite as direct an appeal for Ren-10 funding as might have been expected. But then again it was an overwhelmingly friendly crowd. Duncan has certainly become a much more polished speaker over the past three years, and even managed a little bit of well-placed humor. But if there's a clear strategy for making the school closing/reopening process as transparent and legitimate as it needs to be, I haven't seen it. And without one, all the best new school ideas in the world won't make a difference. As I've said before, CPS needs something like a School Closing Commission modeled on the old Base Closing Commission Congress invented when faced with the impossible job of picking which military bases to close. Everyone gets his or her say. The process is difficult but clearly established. There are no surprises.

Enrollment In AP Classes Sets Record In Illinois (Sun-Times)
Illinois SAT Scores Far Exceed National Averages (Sun-Times)
SAT Scores For Latinos In State Drop (Tribune)
A new breed of teachers (Catalyst)
Interview with
Arne Duncan (Catalyst)
Four schools on new course (Catalyst)

SCHOOL LIFE: Those crazy educators.
Superintendent: Porno slide-show 'a total accident' (Pittsburgh Live)
Ban on cupcakes at school crumbles (Houston Chronicle)
Parents, coaches rail against increasing 'pay to play' fees Christian Science Monitor


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