October 1 2004 Edition

Iraq= NCLB (Campaign 2004): Last night's debate was a vivid reminder that Senator Kerry's current quandary on foreign policy is not all different from his predicament on education. Think about it: Kerry voted for going to war with Iraq, and for authorizing NCLB. Since then, he's criticized the implementation of both but fully renounced neither. His own alternative ideas are moderately interesting but none of them wildly compelling or strikingly distinct. If, in some other imaginary world, the Presidential election turned on education issues alone, would John Kerry's political situation be much different than it is now?

No Child' Law Remains at Top Of Bush Record (Education Week), Kerry on education: teeth and funding (Seattle Times), Soundbites vs. sound answers (USA Today), Both presidential candidates fall short on accountability (Washington Post), Bush's No Child Left Behind Education Plan Gets Failing Grades (Bloomberg), Bush Touts Spending He Never Proposed (Education Week), No Child Left Behind may be 'battlefield' topic (Chicago Daily Herald), Bush & Kerry: A Big Divide (The New York Review of Books).

Suspicious School Ratings (NCLB): Meanwhile, problematically late and suspiciously low(er) results from last spring's testing continue to come in, thanks at least in part to increased cell sizes and other forms of creative calculation:
Sanctioned Schools List Improves (Newark Star-Ledger), 199 Texas schools fail to perform (Dallas Morning News), More SC schools hit federal targets, meet No Child ... (Orangeburg Times Democrat), Rule changes boost results, spark debate (Charleston Post Courier), 74 percent of NJ schools pass No Child Left Behind test (Asbury Park Press), Fed goals met by 73% of Maine schools (Bangor Daily News), Schools failing federal standards 27% not making adequate progress (Portland Maine Press Herald). My those folks learn fast -- the bureaucrats, I mean.

Transfers in a Teapot/ Tutoring Tizzy (NCLB): Two years ago, nearly everyone was all worked up about the school choice option in NCLB, but it's the tutoring provision that's turning out to be the big shot in the end -- sort of like on the WB's "Jack and Bobby." One set of issues surrounds whether the kids are getting the tutoring their supposed to:
Students missing out on subsidized tutoring (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Another more recent set of issues surround the issue of whether the tutoring is any good: Report: Impact of tutors isn't tracked (Philadelphia Inquirer). The entire report can be found here: Accountability Left Behind PDF (ACORN).

Somewhere in between the two is the practical and financially important question of whether the same schools and teachers who have been teaching students during the regular school day should also be providing the tutoring, as they are in some places*:
Schools Expect Law to Require Private Tutors at City Sites (New York Times), City Teachers May Lose Tutor Roles (Hartford Courant).

Meanwhile, the choice provision, which was always notoriously weak, continues to fizzle and frustrate: Few Parents Use 'No Child' Law's Clout (Seattle Times), Providence parents call school choice a 'sham' (Providence Journal), Suburban Students Choose To Stay Put (Chicago Tribune).

More NCLB Pro and Con:
Paige: 'No Child Left Behind' Debate Over CNN.com
New Organization Formed to Defend NCLB (Achievement Alliance)
Schools are awash in federal money Cincinnati Enquirer
District wants inequities in NCLB law changed Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Schools chief sees trouble in federal law Chicago Sun Times
Rating Schools on More Than Scores Washington Post
Educational Accountability in Minnesota: No Child Left Behind and Beyond (PDF)
Summary of Hess/Finn in Public Interest
Getting to Average New York Times

Charters, Outside Management, Privatization -- Everybody's Doing It:
Novel Fix in Works for Ailing Schools San Diego Union Tribune
Board to seek bids to reform schools San Diego Union Tribune
In Maryland, a "go slow" approach to charters
The Baltimore Sun
30 NYC. Schools Gain Autonomy From Rules by Promising Results Education Week
Bid for charter school moratorium dropped Buffalo News
High Test Scores Validate Charter Schools The Oregonian
New Charter School Plan Assailed As Underfunded Chicago Tribune
New charter school plan assailed Chicago Tribune
Schools Explore New Funding For Charters Chicago Sun Times
We won't say we told you so, but. . The Gadfly
Rocky Start for Renaissance Catalyst Chicago

Big City News:
Software Companies Claim Educational Gains NPR
Vallas Brings Sense of Hope to Beleaguered City Schools Philadelphia Inquirer
Minnesota's achievement gap stymies schools
Minnesota Public Radio
Mayor's Promotion Standards are Approved for Fifth Grade New York Times
Schools should allow flexible pacing through the curriculum
New York Times
A third way on social promotion Gadfly
National studies rate initiatives, atmosphere under superintendent SD Union-Tribune
Jewish leaders want apology for trustee's Nazi analogy
Success, Strife At S.D. Schools San Diego Union-Tribune
Overcrowding is said to be worse at large public high schools in the city NYT
Cleveland schools administrators get the bad news in the mail now Clev. Plain Dealer
Philadelphia's church-school experiment CSM

New and Notable:
A reporter looks back at 33 years on the education beat
The Baltimore Sun
Politics aside, a school's real success NYT Where everyone can overachieve Forbes Magazine
The mad, mad world of textbook adoption Gadfly
Virginia considers lowering Praxis I cut score
Richmond Times-Dispatch
State to 'coach' lagging schools Bangor Daily News

Chicago Illinois:
Three schools to open at DuSable next year
Study: Small school pioneers plagued with problems
Chicago Tribune
News mall schools rated safer, more cooperative Chicago Sun Times
New small schools feel pains of change Chicago Tribune
Chicago approves school reform policy CNN.com
Record number of city schools on probation Sun Times
130 more schools put on probation Tribune
Half of public schools have errors in test data Chicago Sun Times
State Report Cards Full Of Errors For 3rd Year Tribune

School Life:
Students Grade Teachers Online, And Some Are Riled USA Today
Naptime is Over in Kindergarten The Baltimore Sun
Study: Overweight Students Sapping School Finances CNN.com
Schools Relax Cellphone Bans, Nodding to Trend- The New York Times
Some students slow to bite on schools' healthier menus
Student Athletes Adrift Christian Science Monitor
Japanese schools test use of RFID tags to track students
The Discipline of Wonder Education Week
Resignations rock education council Washington Times
Online learning: A smart way to nurture gifted kids USA Today

*Education Week's story this week on districts providing NCLB tutoring is here:
District-Run Tutoring Classes In Jeopardy. My story in last month's Catalyst is here: CPS corners tutoring market but runs risk of losing it all. As it should be, the EW story is better written and less Chicago-centric than mine -- it's also written almost a month later. Now I never went to J-school, so what do I know? Maybe this happens all the time, or I'm supposed to take it as a compliment. And, after all, I've made enormous and sometimes underacknowledged use of information from Education Week stories over the years, usually as background reading. I resolve to do much better on this count. But it's still irksome and not quite the same thing that they couldn't bring themselves to credit me (or the good folks at Catalyst who ran the story) for the forethought and hard work that went into reporting and writing it.


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