September 10 2004 Edition

Picks of the Week:

N.C. Schools Begin Steps To Pair Best Teachers with Neediest Students (CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER). I just love this idea, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what happens in most school districts, where the better teachers understandably but lamentably cluster in better-functioning schools due to seniority and transfer rules that pretty much allow them to go wherever they want and limited incentives to rotate through tougher schools.

New reading test tracks progress (Arizona Republic). Either the best or worst thing to happen to early elementary education, these new reading assessments (DIBELS, PALS) and reading intervention programs are spreading quickly to states like Arizona and districts like Chicago. Fueled by Reading First grant requirements, which call for frequent assessment ofchildren at much earlier ages than in the past, these assessments horrify some classroom teachers but have really ratcheted up achievement levels in somedistricts.

This Week In NCLB: Along with all of the good news/bad news stories about schools makingAYP or not this week, perhaps the most important is this story about the tougher AYP standards coming online next year in many states: Missouri AYP targets to leap much higher next year (The Kansas City Star).

Meanwhile in other NCLB news:
Data ShowSchools Making Progress on Federal Goals ((EDUCATION WEEK)
Number of failing schools smaller than expected: (USA TODAY)
StatesMaking Some Gains in Teacher Quality, Study Says (Education Week)
Good Schools or Bad? Conflicting Ratings Leave Parents Baffled (NewYork Times)
Are kids still left behind? Yes (New York Daily News)
Are kids still left behind? No (
New York Daily News)
Massachusetts 10th graders' scores climb on state tests (The Boston Globe )
Mass. schools aren't making the fed grade (Boston Herald)
Nearly a Third of Arkansas Schools Make Academic Problem List KATV
Listening to Teachers: Classroom Realities and No Child Left Behind (Civil Rights Project)

Grownups Behaving Badly (NCLB):
Parents won't get tell-all letter on teacher skills (Birmingham News)
No Schools in State Are Listed as 'Persistently Dangerous' (NYT)
When Citizens Are Left Out, Children Get Left Behind (Tampa Tribune)
Ohio NAACP takes back invitation of education chief to convention (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Texas Trouble:
Texas Misses School Reporting Deadline (NYT)
Education Dept. Might Withhold Texas Funding (USAT)
Texas Punished Under 'NoChild Left Behind' Rule (Los Angeles Times )
TEA's violation could cost millions (San Antonio Express-News)
Ed. Dept. Seeks Return Of Bilingual Funds (Education Week)

Renaissance Watch (Chicago): Contrary to initial reports, Renaissance2010 is not really about handing schools over to private companies or about avoiding already-weak union hiring rules. But is Renaissance 2010 the right wayto go? There are at least three main challenges facing CPS this year, including community opposition to closing elementary schools, growing disarray in the much-vaunted Chicago Reading Initiative, and the fundamental insufficiency of Ren-10 alone to transform Chicago's school system. Three constructive ways to begin addressing these challenges are (a) a better, more transparent school closing process, (b) more university and independent school start-ups like those in New York and LosAngeles, and (c) meaningful LSC reform. From Can Renaissance 2010 ReallyWork? (from tomorrow's Sun-Times)

Daley defends school closings(ChicagoSun Times)
Homeless kids' advocates sue Chicago schools (Chicago Tribune)
It's timefor a Chicago school Renaissance (Chicago Sun-Times)
Making students and teachers pay for the crisis (Socialist Worker)
Charter offers 'great start in life' (ChicagoSun Times)
Duncan Touts University-Run City Schools (Chicago Sun-Times)
Thousands of students from closed schools have to start over (Chicago Sun Times)

Charters and Choice:
Charter schools enter new territory: the suburbs (Associated Press)
Two schools of thought over choice (SeattleTimes)
Bill Gates gives $300,000 to charter schools campaign Seattle Post Intelligencer
Group challenges school data (Akron Beacon-Journal)
Study: Charter School Students Outperform Peers In Public Schools (WHDH-TV)
New Data Fuel Current Charter School Debate (Ed Week)
Can Competition Really Improve Schools? (CSM)
Charter offers 'great start in life' (Chicago Sun Times)

Retention News (NYC, Chicago): Mayor Bloomberg announces that his newretention program is working and will soon be expanded to 5th aswell as 3rd graders: SocialPromotion Will End in 5th Grade, Mayor Says (NYT), FLUNK STATS SHOW MORE 3-PEATERS (New York Post). Meanwhile, Chicago announces arecord low number of retained students, due to a combination of academic gains and changes in the retention policy that focus only on reading scores, not math, and prohibit repeat retention (http://www.cps.k12.il.us/ September 10 press release)

New and Notable:
Reading focus made the difference. (Indianapolis Star)
Key factor: 'Turnaround leader' (Times Union)
Where Do Public School Teachers Send Their Kids to School? (Thomas B. Fordham Foundation)
Is vo-tech dead? (LAT)
Houston tackles school dropout problems (Boston Globe)
State May Test Online Pupil Testing (KENTUCKY POST)
LA Unified Opens 8 New Schools (LosAngeles Times)
Union veteran works to save Philadelphia's traditional assignment (Philadelphia Inquirer)
More districts are turningto separate 9th-grade centers (Indianapolis Star-Tribune)
Opinion: Midlevel staff need to spend more time in schools (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Select Group Ushers In Reading Policy (Education Week)
Taught to Be Principals, and Now Facing the Test (New York Times)
"Multiple intelligences" theory comes under fire(Washington Post)
What's to blame for the rise in ADHD? (MSNBC)
Idea of the Week: A National Pre-KStrategy (NDOL.org)

Rally for dropout schools (ChicagoTribune)
Dropout program funding cut protested (ChicagoSun Times)
1st-day attendance rises for city'spublic schools (Chicago Tribune)
Metro briefs (Chicago Sun Times)
Not many glitches on 1st day of school(ChicagoTribune)

School Life:
Hello, Mr. Chips (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Hoping to boost revenue, district urges students toforgo sick days (San Diego News)
At school, twilight of the Twinkie? (Christian Science Monitor)
Tablet PCs engage students in classwork (New York Times)
They grow up so fast - Barbara Feinberg objects to the gloom and doom of young-adult novels. (Christian Science Monitor)
Columnist: School reform will have limited impact if parents don't valuelearning (Dallas Morning News)
Crying inthe Kitchen Over Princeton (Atlantic online)


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