| Comparisons of educational outcomes in different countries, states; attempts to institute accountability by No Child Left Behind federal legislation and its equivalents in many American states; compromises in academic integrity associated with such programs.
RACE TO THE TOP FOR FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDING: HOW TO SUCCEED BY BEING A FAILURE. Tennessee and Delaware were the only two states approved in the first round of inter-state competition for discretionary funds controlled by the Secretary of Education. A new study by Harvard University grades the states on their "academic standards" and Tennessee gets an "F" while Delaware gets a "C minus"
Analysis & views:
British government facing possible teachers union boycott of administration of comprehensive assessment tests for primary school childred aged 10 and 11.
MA, CHEN ISN'T SICK, WHY IS SHE HOOKED UP TO AN OXYGEN TANK? Because she's studying for gao kao and needs the oxygen for her concentration. Chinese students are going through the annual ritual of preparing for tests the results of which are the sole criterion of prized admissions to colleges and universities. The test is twice as long and much more consequential than SATs in the U.S., and families go to extraordinary lengths, including cheating in some instances, to assure a successful outcome for their children.
Two computer companies, Intel and Ausutek, are planning to market a PC notebook for as little as $200, targeted mostly to developing countries and to children. The promotion is a called One Laptop Per Child.
No Child Left: Group promoting repeal NCLB:
Students Against Testing:
Urban Institute: Standards-Based Reforms in Education: (abstracts of published articles and papers) http://www.urban.org/education/reform.cfm
Analysis & views:
RACE TO THE TOP FOR FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDING: HOW TO SUCCEED BY BEING A FAILURE. Tennessee and Delaware were the only two states approved in the first round of inter-state competition for discretionary funds controlled by the Secretary of Education. A new study by Harvard University grades the states on their "academic standards" and Tennessee gets an "F" while Delaware gets a "C minus"
TEACHER, WHY ARE YOU WEARING A PINK SLIP FOR OUR LAST DAY OF SCHOOL THIS YEAR? Next year, public school teachers may be more "accountable," but there will considerably fewer of them; Education secretary Arnie Duncan says from 100,000-300,000 may be laid off, as states across the country struggle with budget deficits and school payrolls are often the first to suffer. Education "bailouts" like that proposed by Senator Tom Harkin, even if passed (unlikely) would be little more than a drop in the bucket of school budget deficit.
STRUGGLE FOR CAREER SURVIVAL IS LOOMING FOR TEACHERS IN NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS. With the schools facing thousands of layoffs for teachers in the city's budget crisis, School Chancellor Joel Klein is proposing that "performance" rather than seniority be used to determine who is kept and who is fired. Teachers' unions oppose this, saying it breaks the contract which promises job security to teachers and might not even be to the advantage of younger teachers, whose best performance level has yet to be reached until they have developed some teaching experience.
4100 Massachusetts high school seniors (6% of all seniors) are facing non-graduation prospect has they have failed the state's comprehensive science test
FINALLY, A CONTROVERSY TO EQUAL THAT OF BCS FOOTBALL RANKINGS: THE "SCORING" OF STATE APPLICATIONS FOR FEDERAL EDUCATION STIMULUS FUNDING. 40 U.S. states applied for the funding, many instituting major "reforms" in the directions encouraged by the Department of Education, only to find that (for now) only 2 states (Delaware and Tennessee) will get funding (with more promised later this year, about when---coincidentally of course---political races heat up), and even that funding "capped" at a lesser grant than expected. Many states are questioning the criteria by which the awards are made and wondering whether it is worth the effort to re-apply for "second round" grants with so little certainty of their being able to run a successful "race to the top" or what the prize for the winners will be.
FEDERAL EDUCATION STIMULUS FUNDING: "WHATEVER ARNIE WANTS... 15 states and District of Columbia are "finalists" in the "race to the top" competition for funds dispensed at the discretion of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The finalists give brief "beauty pageant runway" presentations on "why we should get the funding" and Duncan sends all but two (Delaware and Tennesse) back to the drafting board before their applications are approved. Successful applications seem to include such Duncan favorites as generous provision for charter schools and well-developed "data bases" on all aspects of school functioning. Whatever Arnie wants...
"(ARNE) DUNCAN IS A ONE-TRICK PONY WHO BELIEVES THAT FIRES ARE BEST PUT OUT WITH GASOLINE." Dave Zirin, the self-described "southpaw" sports editor of The Nation, characterizes the Secretary of Education as he imposes himself into the perennial debate about low graduate rates of college sports teams like those participating in the current March Madness of NCAA basketball competition. Duncan believes that schools' eligibility to participate should depend on fulfillment of "standards" of a school's graduation rate for its athletes. Zirin reserves some of his biting analysis in seconding the observation of some coaches that college is not just "about" education, but as well about the contribution of athletes to the finances and the recruitment prowess of their institutions of "higher" learning.
WHILE HE WAS CEO OF CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, EDUCATION SECRETARY ARNE DUNCAN'S AIDE KEPT A LIST OF V.I.Ps SEEKING HELP GETTING THEIR RELATIVES INTO ELITE CITY SCHOOLS. The aide had a 40-page list of student applicants with a designation of the prominent person who had requested help, including 10 sought by Duncan himself. CPS officials say this was not an indication of political pressure on school officials, but rather a device to relieve that pressure by deflecting it from principals to the CEOs office; and that the CEO never interfered with admission decisions that were totally in the control of principals. (Believe it or not.)
Protests over mass firing of teachers of a Rhode Island school lead to an effigy of President Obama being found in a teacher's classroom, an action condemned by school officials
"WE CAN NO LONGER EXPECT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF EDUCATION BY THROWING MONEY AT IT." California politicians continue to make statements like this as the state now ranks dead last among states in the per capita amount of money "thrown at" educational funding. It's all part, thinks Jack Random, of failure across the U.S. of public commitment to public education and the substitute of a fallacious "blame the teachers" syndrome.
OBAMA AND DUNCAN SEEK "SWEEPING OVERHAUL" OF AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. Speech by the President seems to put aside the stringent "accountability" requirements of "No Child Left Behind" in favor of a more flexible way for school's academic progress to be measured. Gone will the labelling of "failing" schools on the basis of results on comprehensive assessment tests for students. Gone will be the "every child" requirement that literally every child will achieve math and reading achievement by 2016, now recognized as "unrealistic." What remains and perhaps will be expanded will be a degree of "federal intervention" in which schools which fail to show "progress" by however the Department of Education chooses to measure progress will be subject to the kind of "turnaround" demonstrated in Rhode Island of massive "interference" motivated by the "Race to the Top" competition for funding of the "reformed" system. As well, the "unrealistic" standard of no child left behind in reading and math competency would be replaced by an equally questionable standard of 100% "college-readiness" of every student by 2020.
AMERICA'S BIGGEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITY, SUNY, IS UNDER ATTACK BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. Governor Paterson is proposing and the legislature is considering under the stress of budget restraints, the effective "dismantling" of the system as it removes restrictions on the ability of individual colleges to raise tuition rates now at less than $5000, rates designed to make higher education accessible to all families in the state. At the same time, the legislation would open a flood gate to corporate "accessibility" to the "public" university, allowing campuses to make all kinds of contracts for the intrusion of private business interests.
37 "worst" schools in St. Louis area face possible "turn around" closings next year in the model of the one carried out in Central Falls RI.
"TAX THE RICH TO FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION." This sign seen at a San Francisco demonstration of teachers, parents and students on March 4 provides the text for labor acvtivist Shamus Cooke's article on the "war on public education" in America. This war began with the "No Child Left Behind" educational policy in the Bush administration and intensified in the "Race to the Top" approach in the Obama one. The way school systems reach "the top" (are granted federal funding) is by engaging in anti-union policies, blaming teachers for the "failure" of schools that cannot succeed in a situation in which education is severely under-funded, as demanded by the political agenda of "starving" public services and blaming the employees for their failure. If it is happening with teachers in schools, it will happen with other public service workers elsewhere. The San Francisco event merely suggested a preliminary awakening of the "sleeping giant" of union power in America. How many times will it hit the snooze button?
Fulton County (Atlanta) school board, having already approved increase in class sizes, now targets cut of 480 teachers to help balance budget.
EVERYTHING'S UP TO DATE IN KANSAS CITY: RECESSION-WISE, THAT IS. The city, long a model for its efforts at desegregation and facilities upgrades for its inner city schools, is now a model of near-bankruptcy as huge budget deficit prompts the Superintendent of Schools to propose that 29 of the city's 61 schools be closed.
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND LEAVES DIANE RAVITCH BEHIND. The educational historian has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the federal educational program, inaugurated in the Bush administration and continued in that of Obama. As Congress prepares for a rewrite of the law, she has had an intellectual epiphany and now sees the program as essentially an assault on public education, on behalf of which she has always been a strong supporter.
Teachers through union representative confront school board on board's decision to fire all teachers in "turnaround" operation for "failing": Rhode Island high school; (video)
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION'S VERSION OF SHOCK AND AWE IS VISITED ON RHODE ISLAND HIGH SCHOOL. Central Falls High School, deemed to be a "failed" school by virtue of its high dropout rate and low student testing scores, gets the "Chicago-treatment" that Arne Duncan brought with him from his days as CEO of that city's public school system. The treatment consists in the school board firing every teacher as well as the principal of the school, to be replaced by "better" ones or at the least the "better" among those who were fired. Public school board meeting at which the names of the fired were called off person-by-person elicits angry outcries against the board by teachers and parents of the students. Duncan expresses his personal approval of the action, a form of which seems to be a requisite for states to receive stimulus funding through the DOE.
Top education leader in Georgia urges state legislation to reduce number of annual school days for children rather than trying to balance school budgets by teacher furloughs.
NEW PLAN FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE OF AMERICAN SCHOOLS GOES ON THE TABLE. President Obama unveils a plan that would make federal grants to states under Title 1 to support education for poorer students limited to the states which develop academic standards that are certified as 'college- and career-ready' and provide for standardized tests that assure the standards are being met. No word yet on whether students who graduate under these standards will be able to find a college they can afford to attend or a job by means of which to launch their careers.
Washington is one of the only ten U.S. states that have not joined the "Race to Top" of application to compete for federal education stimulus funding, as the state's plan to submit an application has yet to be completed.
Obama administration seeking major overhaul of No Child Left Behind education law.
Low graduation rates in Alaska high schools lead to efforts to eliminate the state's high school exit examinations.
Local versus federal control of academic standards for U.S. schools is generating conflict across the country.
Texas governor, with approval of state's teachers unions, decides to opt out of competition for federal education stimulus funding, on ground that the program deprives the state of ability to make its own school curricula.
Many of 26 U.S. states that have adopted "exit tests" for graduating high school seniors are said to have "watered down" these tests in the interest of maximizing passage rates.
"RACE TO THE TOP" EDUCATIONAL POLICY MAY PUSH INTELLECTUAL EQUITY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SCHOOL BARREL. Michelle Chen criticizes the Obama administration's educational policy from this perspective. Demands for accountability, with standardized testing for students and merit pay for teachers of better-performing students, may lead the way to charter schools and corporate models of educational administration. They will, however, do nothing positive for the core relationship between teacher and student in producing the "intellectual equity" of truly educated children.
Next round of education stimulus funding will come with more strings attached as schools are expected to adhere to Obama/Duncan model of "education reform."
THAT FIRST GRADER WHO BROUGHT HIS CUB SCOUT CAMPING UTENSIL TO SCHOOL AND GOT A 45 -DAY SUSPENSION? JUST A SYMBOL OF PERVASIVE "PEDAGOGY OF PUNISHMENT" IN U.S. SCHOOLS. An excerpt is printed here of Henry Giroux's new book on education in America, which highlights the many ways in which the "crime complex" model for schools is replacing the model of schools as a "public good." Zero tolerance rules, popular in a fear-ridden society always looking for "safety," translate youthful transgressions into crimes, and security guards and electronic surveillance devices transform schools into danger zones for children, especially those of poor and minority backgrounds. The official educational policy of the U.S. government encourages these developments.
Kansas Board of Regents pushing state colleges and universities to achieve retention and graduate rates to 10% above national average.
SUBURBAN SEATTLE TEACHERS GO ON STRIKE AND PROVIDE A "TEACHING MOMENT" FOR MOVEMENT TOWARD EDUCATION REFORM. Teachers in Kent WA go on 17-day strike on "quality of life" issues (for both teachers and students) to challenge the corporate model of "reform" that has prevailed both locally and nationally. Demanding such reforms as smaller classroom sizes and less time for teachers to spend in faculty meetings, the teachers enjoyed a high level of support from rare sources of support: parents and the teachers union establishments in Seattle and Washington. While they didn't achieve all their demands, they did give local people---and presumably people watching from elsewhere---a working model of how grassroots efforts can seize control from the CEO suits from Arne Duncan to the local powers of Boeing and Microsoft.
University of Colorado admissions office is using Facebook to field prospective students' questions about the admissions process.
Teachers in Houston and across the country are participating in pilot program of paying bonuses to top teachers to work in "academically unacceptable" schools to see whether this will improve schools' performances
INTO THE WILDERNESS OF EDUCATION REFORM: THE HYPING OF CHARTER SCHOOLS. Danny Weil continues his series of investigations of the agenda of education reform, Arne Duncan style. In this installment, he gives extended attention to the dense thicket of "think tanks," public officials, "civil rights leaders" like Al Sharpton and media outlets like the Oprah Winfrey show and ABC's 20/20 in promoting a radical agenda of assault on the public schools and promotion of charter ones. As in other exposes, it pays to follow the money trail in which operations of questionable merit are sustained.
Chicago teachers trying to put a stopper on Arnie Duncan's "turn-around" plan for American schools.: . After Chicago Teachers Union refuses to go to bat for them, a renegade group of teachers files racial discrimination suit against the city school board for the action, during Duncan's administration of CPS, of "turn-around" operations in which, they claim, schools in mostly poor black areas were closed and their mostly African-American teachers were replaced by white ones at no higher competence levels. Since the Obama administration with Duncan as Secretary of Education is now proprosing to do 5000 such turn-arounds nationwide, the outcome of the Chicago teachers' suit could have profound impact on American education.
"Edu-curmudgeon" speaks out on No Child Left Behins. Diane Ravitch, an educational historian who has been so labelled in an education journal, says that Barack Obama is giving George W. Bush a "third term" as he continues and enlarges on the same themes of NCLB: "accountability" enforced through standardized test results, school privatization and sanctions for "failing" schools. She asks pointedly how Secretary of Education Arne Duncan expects to find 5,000 principals and an incalculable number of teachers to implement the school "turn-arounds" for failed schools that he has promised.
Are elite U.S. colleges reaping what they sow by the nature of their systems of student selection?: Peter Schmidt suggests this may be so, noting how their students tend toward establishing a "culture" of social insensitivity and personal entitlement for the children of the privileged. "Getting into" an Ivy League college is a class-biased process in every way from the expensiveness of "test-preparation" technology to admissions of children of wealthy donors. The irony of this is that these colleges may have "educated" a generation of "leaders" who have contributed to the current financial woes of "endowed" universities; as their bungling of public affairs in business and government has led to the current debacle of plummeting endowments as their stock investments decline.
Maryland considering whether to have its students take standardized tests designed to measure their school performance with those of students in other countries
"We finally have an education president." Head of American Federation of Teachers makes this statement after Obama makes his first major education speech and proposes measures that are highly unpopular with professional leaders: lengthening school days, merit pay for teachers based on student performance (presumably on standardized tests), promotion of charter at expense of public schools. (After being slapped in the face, AFT says "thank you!")
Baltimore school head looks to closings, mergers and layoffs for the city's "low performing" schools.
The fallacy of No Child Left Behind. The program demands equal educational testing results for students in communities in vastly different resources for attaining those results. From Miami to Chicago, a hugely disproportionate number of schools in areas of resource deprivation are destined to be labelled as "failing" schools.
“We've got to find him somewhere where he's going to blossom " Parent of a child in New York City reflects a common anxiety that, in entering her 10-year-old son in a middle school, she will make the "right choice" of a school that will allow him to "blossom" and be admitted to a "top" high school and college. In her search for such a choice, she stations herself in a bathroom stall and eavesdrops on what the kids are saying about the school among themselves when they don't think they are being "interviewed."
Obama picks a "reformer" as secretary of education:. Or, a media watchdog group notes, most of U.S. media would lead you to believe. His choice of Arne Duncan, chief of Chicago public system, is hailed as a progressive move, though the agenda of his Chicago "reform" is exactly that of the Bush adminstration's No Child Life Behind emphasis on tough accountability and diversion of education from public to private schools. Linda Darling-Hammond, another prospect who is a critic of the NCLB model, is castigated as an agent of the "status quo," especially of the unions of the teachers who gave Obama so much electoral support. By going against his "base" and choosing to preserve and enhance the Bush agenda, Obama is credited with a courageous, progressive choice. (Roll over, George Orwell.)
SEE ALSO, BY GREG PALAST:
Educational progressives take note:. Chicago public schools head Arne Duncan is said to be in line for appointment of Secretary of Education. He has, at best, a mixed record on educational issues, getting high marks for the quality of his administration of Chicago schools but criticism from those skeptical about the expansion of "accountability" standards embodied in the No Child Left Behind federal educational policy. As head of Chicago schools, he presiding over the demise of "failing" schools that failed under that policy.
WILL THE NEXT SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BRING ANOTHER "HOUSTON MODEL" TO THE WHITE HOUSE? Education expert fears that it will, as the heads of the school systems of Chicago and New York are among the most commonly floated names for the post. Arne Duncan and Joel Klein are called "test-crazy" bureaucrats, proponents of further extensions of standardized testing and perhaps a prescribed national college curriculum. The one true reformer in the batch of "floated" candidates, Linda Darling-Hammond, is being assaulted by the conservative press as a proponent of the educational "status quo." Will Obama include in his cabinet an official that progressives can believe in? (See the string of comments debating this issue in Common Dreams re-post of Nation article.)
Experts say schools in U.S. are crowding out play time and facilities for children because of over-extended academic curricula.
Massachusetts seeking to incorporate more tests of "critical thinking" is its assessement tests for state students.
U.S. schools are having to deal with an increasing number of poor students needing special services while their resources for providing these resources are declining.
Backlash in U.S. to stringency of "accountability" pressuring students to high academic performance is creating a widespread movement to eliminate or reduce the amount of homework that kids carry home in their backpacks.
Instructors at Antioch College in Ohio, temporarily closed because of financial problems, are continuing to teach at area coffee houses and other unofficial venues.
Texas legislators looking at improvement in standardized test scores rather than the level of these scores as the basis of judging schools' performances.
U.S. Department of Education officials hold forum in Annapolis and tell participants there will be "no flexibility" in requirement that No Child Left Behind goals be met by 2014.
Houston school officials protesting the state's "Robin Hood law" which requires that funds collected in relatively wealthy districts be transferred to relatively poor ones.
Maryland educators are demanding better information on how much the state has been able to assist low-achieving students.
"I know No Child Left Behind has worked "...says President Bush, but professional educators and many Democrats in Congress beg to differ, and prospects of a re-authorization of the Education Law during 2008 dim as Bush promises to veto any bill that represents a retreat from the "accountability" feature of the legislation.
“You don't make a hog fatter by weighing it" ...is John Edwards' crack about the No Child Left Behind education act, with its emphasis on measurement of student performance and distribution of sanctions based on results. His is but one of a flood of such negative statements by Democratic presidential candidates, no doubt hoping to appeal to the nation's teachers who are generally extremely critical of NCLB, the renewal of which is now very much in doubt.
Thousands of U.S. schools, including 1,000 in California, face prospect of closing as "chronic failures" in achieving No Child Left Behind standards.
"Poor results" noted in first statewide administration of a science test in Massachusetts.
It used to be said that students avoided learning in their pre-occupation with "making the grade." Now, says Bob Herbert, U.S. schools, under the pressure of high stakes testing mandated by No Child Left Behind, are manipulating test results rather than engaging in signficant educational reform
Paul Street: The mantra of "our schools must do better"must address a couple of causes of failure of education of the nation's disadvantaged: The focus on educational technology and the "high stakes testing" system in the schools is like trying to "clear the air from one side of a screen door." Education will only improve when the country addresses social reforms that deal with the fundamental inequalities that children take to school with them, and when the corporatized dependence on standardized testing designed to create "robots" for the workforce is replaced by genuinely educational education.
Some Washington D.C. educators are bucking the national trend:. Superintendents in several suburbian Virginia counties support the idea of national standardized testing when No Child Left Behind is re-written.
"The mania of obsessive testing " Lawrence Kozol, entering the 67th day of his partial fast to demand major changes in the No Child Left Behind Law, describes what he sees as the destruction of inner-city schools by the flight therefrom of their best and brightest teachers, their talent and commitment worn down by the demands of "teaching to the test."
In a Christian Science Monitor analysis sure to draw criticism from professional educators, it is noted that most of the highest rated public schools in the U.S. are located below the Mason-Dixon line, many of them in Miami for example. The Monitor begins to assess this unlikely result, and suggests that such "villains" as "Governor" George Bush of Texas may deserve some credit for this result. (As a first installment on this criticism, it might be noted that these "ratings" are based largely on the very "No Child Left Behind" standardized testing system about which those "professional educators" are so incensed.)
School testing fraud cases are proliferating on Long Island and across New York state.
School officials in New York state are dealing with a perceived statewide problem of lax security for the state's Regents exams.
Education writer on No Child Left Behind: The question is not how to save NCLB so it can improve our schools; the question is how to save our schools from NCLB, which was never really intended to improve the quality of public education, but to eliminate it in favor of private schools.
Maryland will implement full-day kindergartens for the first time in the fall of 2007
Who is accountable to whom for the quality of U.S. education? The "noble idea" behind the No Child Left Behind education law was that quality education would be available without discrimination to Americans of all ethnicities and social classes. As the law has operated, the system for punishing "failiing" schools for the performances of their students on standardized tests has worked against that goal, as schools can "pass" only if they limit access of lesser-performing students. What is needed instead is a "Marshall Plan" for education, a massive federal commitment to investment in education, especially for poor and for ethnic minorities
Philadelphia Inquirer reporters give essentially favorable report cards to local schools for their innovative ways of trying to meet the mandates of No Child Left Behind.
Credentialism and a disengagement compact between professors and students: two of the indications of college education "crisis" explored in a book, Ivory Tower Blues, published by University of Toronto Press.
Maine Governor proposes cut in school funding because of revenue shortfall and the victims are the usual suspects: sports, band and drama clubs
Boston pre-schools get a report card, and the grades are not good.
No Child Left Behind may be left behind by 110th Congress: As renewal of the Education Act is being considered by Congress, key GOP legislators sign on to amendments that would allow states to "opt out" of participation in the unpopular program.
NChild Left Behind: A "rhetorically brilliant" label for defective legislation. As Congress considers renewal of an Education Act that is universally recognized as unrealistic in its aspirations, it is politically difficult to make changes that appear to put the reformer on the side of restricted educational opportunities for children.
Space-stressed schools in suburban Baltimore mean that gyms have to be used for classes and are not available for the increased amount of physical fitness being mandated by Maryland legislature.
Budget crunch in Detroit may result in closing of 40 of 232 public school buildings by mid-2008.
Incoming Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty joins the growing list of big city mayors throughout the country who have either taken over control of the city's school system or are threatening to do so, citing dismal statistics on the failure of those systems under elected school board control.
"High powered" panel of American education experts propose a revolutionary approach to education reform, including such provisions as putting children in college after the 10th grade and establishing universal pre-K.
Some D.C.-area elementary schools are going international, as schools sign on to an IB (International Baccalaureate) program designed to promote world awareness (and access to elite colleges.)
St. Louis public school system is under fire for alleged failures to prepare students for their post-high school careers and the school board is taking a lackluster approach to dealing with the problems.
Mississippi education funding difficulties continue as state's schools appeal for full funding of its mandated programs.
Professionals in higher education are highly critical of the U.S. Education Department's recommendation that colleges and universities use standardized testing devices to insure their quality accountability.
Wisconsin schools are under the gun from national educational establishment for alleged failure in maintaining standards of accountability. State officials claim they are doing well, just don't fit very comfortably with the practices of No Child Left Behind.
Federal commission empanelled by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings gives the boss what she wants: recommendation that colleges and universities be held to higher standards of accountability for their graduation rates and standardized testing to assess the quality of their teaching. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/11/education/11educ.html?th&emc=th
Utah high school students will have to take more language arts, science and math to graduate; critics note they restrict elective opportunities like music. Oh yes, remember history, that which "nobody knows" today? That's one of those lost "electives."
What's to determine when a charter school is "failing?" This issue is highlighted by consideration of closing a charter school in Milwaukee, the Truth Institute for Leadership and Service school. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=479571
No College Student Left Alone: commission on higher education appointed by U.S. Education Secretary, whose chairman pioneered No Child Left Behind in Texas, may be set to propose a national "tracking" system for college students supposedly to improve "accountability" of colleges and universities for graduating their students, but opening up the possibility of a database that violates student privacy.
Broke and better fix it: U.S. Education Department decrees that 40 states face possible loss of federal funding because of inadquate performance under No Child Left Behind standards.
Eleven Baltimore schools are "saved" for a year from outside takeover because they failed to meet testing standards of No Child Left Behind and state accountability mandates: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/politics/bal-te.md.schools12apr12,0,4027872.story?coll=bal-mdpolitics-headlines
Duelling "non-partisan" educational research centers fight it out over education effects of No Child Left Behind:
In Minnesota, College Board and its contractor affiliate are sued in class action suit on mistakes in scoring S.A.T.
No Child Left Behind has adverse effects on rural schools and students:
American schools are cutting back on other subjects to push math and reading because of federal "accountability" standards of NCLB: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/education/26child.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
College Board acknowledges that additional "scoring errors" on SAT tests may be found: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/14/education/14sat.html?th&emc=th
Mistakes in scoring of SAT test results raise new qualms about high-stakes testing practices: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/10/education/10sat.html?th&emc=th
College Board minimizes damages:
Demands for accountability of colleges for the learning of students won't go away by opposing standardized testing (opinion): http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/opinion/26sun3.html?th&emc=th
Basketball is the curriculum at some schools, and NCAA has done little to address the matter: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/25/sports/ncaabasketball/25preps.html?hp&ex=1140930000&en=
Education secretary defends No Child Left Behind
Accountability standards make school life difficult for 10th graders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/06/AR2006020601581.html
Analysis & views:
BEING A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE IN FLORIDA MAY BECOME NO LAUGH-IN MATTER. Lily Tomlin's famous Laugh-In skit as a telephone operator has her fuming with indignation at a caller whose lack of respect is a violation of her status as a high school grad-u-ate. In Florida, that status is likely to get harder to obtain, as a new education bill increases the amount of math and science instruction required for graduation. It remains to be seen whether the state will be able to fund the cost of additional science and math teachers to deliver the instruction being required for graduation.
FLORIDA GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST VETOES EDUCATION BILL THAT WOULD TIE TEACHER PAY TO STUDENT PERFORMANCE ON STANDARDIZED TESTS. Republican leaders are outraged, teachers are ecstatic, public opinion is mostly approving. What some call a victory of grassroots democracy, a critic calls "government by applause meter." Crist may be preparing to cut loose from GOP to run as an independent for U.S. Senate as his race for GOP nomination continues to falter.
OPPONENTS OF "ANTI-TEACHER" EDUCATION BILL IN FLORIDA HAVE ONE LAST HOPE: THAT GOVERNOR CRIST WILL VETO IT. House passed 64-55 early this morning a measure already passed by Senate 21-17 that would remove tenure protection from teachers and make their pay depend on performance of their students on standardized tests. Governor Crist, who has promised to sign the bill, and is now in a faltering race for U.S. Senate, says he simply "doesn't know" whether he will sign it, as the wrath of the state's teachers may be visited on him if he signs.
FLORIDA LEGISLATURE NUDGES THE STATE EVER NEARER TO TEACHER PAY BASED ON "MERIT" AS MEASURED BY STUDENT TEST PERFORMANCE. A House committee on "party line" 12-5 (12 Republicans) vote, delivers a "slap in the face" of the state's teachers by advancing the "merit pay" measure for House consideration. The measure also, as the Tallahassee Democrat puts it, makes it easier for "bad teachers" to be fired, a euphemism for the fact that teaching employees will be stripped of tenure protection. Again, "who would want to be a teacher in Florida?"
FLORIDA LEGISLATURE MAY BE GIVING SOME TOUGH LOVE TO THE STATE'S TEACHERS. Teachers and their unions feel there may be little love and much actual "insult" in a measure, passed by the Senate and headed to the House where approval is expected, to abolish pay scales based on years of service and replace them with "merit pay," with a teacher's merit based largely on the performance of his/her students on standardized tests. If passed, it is said that Florida will be the first state in the country to go this far in implementing the federal "race to the top" agenda of the Department of Education. Some teachers say this will spell the end of teaching as a "career."
INTO EVERY FCAT TEST, A LITTLE COMPUTER GLITCH MUST FALL. Leon County (Tallahassee) high school seniors are participating in a 14-county pilot study of problems in the administration of the Florida Comprehensive Assessments Tests that all Florida seniors will take next week. Results indicate "minor" glitches like being timed-out by "expired log-in" as the tests are completed online. Department of Education officials are considering the radical (so pre-21st century!) alternative of letting the students actually complete paper versions of the test.
FLORIDA PUTS ON ITS "RACE TO THE TOP" RUNNING SHOES AND HOLDS GUN TO THE HEAD OF RELUCTANT TEACHERS' UNIONS. Now a "finalist" in the national competition for federal stimulus funding, Florida's application gained the signature of teachers unions in only 5 of the state's 64 counties. The unions object especially to imposing on school districts the requirement of making teacher retention and pay based on student performance on comprehensive assessment tests. This seems not to matter to the state, which will use the power of the withholding funds from those districts that do not "cooperate" with the terms of the state plan for which federal funding is sought.
McDonalds in Florida offers free breakfast for Florida children taking FCAT test this week: egg mcmuffin, apple dipper, orange juice, milk---no substitutes.
The way Florida teachers are paid and its students tested could change "dramatically" as result of upcoming legislative session.
WHO LET THE FCAT OUT? It may be the Florida legislature in its upcoming session that begins the process of "phasing out" the very unpopular system of Florida's version of standardized testing as it takes up proposals that would replace FCAT with end of year examinations in subject areas as the basis of rating of students and schools. It remains to be seen what strength remains in the ghost of Jeb Bush.
Opposition by teachers' unions, some local officials and grassroots groups are hampering Florida's application for "race to the top" educational stimulus funding.
Amendment of controversial class size amendment in Florida is being considered by Florida legislature.
FLORIDA LEGISLATURE SEEMS INTENT ON CONTINUING STATE'S "INSANE" EDUCATION POLICY. If insanity is doing to the same thing repeatedly and getting the same futile results, GOP legislators are certifiable, according to Ray Seaman. The Jeb Bush policy of tough standards and accountability, combined with extreme under-funding of schools, has pushed the state near the bottom in the quality of its schools. Now, to "reform" the system, legislators plan new "tougher" standards and the usual under-funding. They'll get the same results.
Florida schools may face a year of "overhauls," as legislators seemed disposed to insist on tougher performance standards for them.
Some south Florida teachers may be bending the rules of FCAT administration in an effort to get better student performance on the state's standardized tests.
ON THAT RACE TO THE TOP IN EDUCATION? FLORIDA TEACHERS SAY HOLD UP! 59 of Florida's 67 county school districts have signed "memorandums of understanding" in support of the state's application for $1 billion in federal stimulus funding for its schools. Teachers' unions in only 5 of those counties have signed on, the union urging non-support of the application because it requires, as a condition of dispensing of funds, that a school district must implement a system of merit pay based on student performance on standardized tests, a proposal that the union has long resisted.
Increase in civics education in Florida public schools will get another look in upcoming state legislative session.
WITH STATE "REFORM" IN SYSTEM OF RATING SCHOOLS, FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOLS WILL HAVE HARDER TIME THAN EVER IN EARNING "A" GRADES. While half of a school's grade will still be based on students' performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), new criteria of success like graduation rates and student performance on advanced placement tests will give teachers new headaches on how to earn a favorable rating for their schools.
Florida Board of Education adds graduation rates and other factors in assessing performance of high schools, previously graded only on FCAT results.
NEVER UNDER-ESTIMATE THE POWER OF SOME FEDERAL EDUCATION STIMULUS DOLLARS. Tampa Bay area schools find a "shovel ready" outlet for economy-generated federal stimulus dollars, as some 2800 jobs for area teachers are credited with being "saved or created" by these funds. School officials say the funding allowed the opening of schools this week as schools have gotten their "heads above water," but few have any idea of how they will stay afloat two years from now when the stimulus funds are gone.
Florida schools on a "roller coaster ride to mediocrity" as education experts debate just how bad is the state's rate of high school graduation of its students.
New report on high school graduate rates shows Florida 5th lowest in nation in terms of "on time" graduation of its students.
Florida's community colleges in a time of recession; Expected to m\do more with less.:: Hard times for college students and their parents force many into community colleges who otherwise would have attended 4-year ones. With booming enrollments and cuts in their budgets from funding-strapped public agencies, college administrators resort to cutting programs that are "too small to survive."
"FLORIDA'S BIGGEST STATEWIDE, EDUCATION-RELATED DEMONSTRATION IN 40 YEARS." Orlando Sentinel's description of the scene in Tallahassee when 6000 educators descend on the capital to demand restoration in school funding cuts, demonstrations that include a mock "funeral" for public education.
It's a "dark and stormy night" for Florida 4th graders:. Their teachers complain that the children, for the FCAT essay tests, use catch-phrases and flowery similes ("I was as nervous as a marshmallow at a bonfire") in their essays. (Maybe the kids tuned in on some presidential campaign speeches and "debates" during the last year and a half.)
In Florida, the most important result of the November election may have occurred before the November election: The state's Supreme Court takes out its little ax and cuts down three contentious constitutional amendments referred to the November election by the state's taxation and budget commission. Amendment 5, the "swap" of lowered property taxes for raised sales ones, was knocked down because the Court felt the wording of the amendment obscured for voters exactly the nature of that for which they would be voting. School-related amendments (7 and 9) mandating increased vouchers for private schooling and a percentage of school funding to be used directly in classrooms were rejected on grounds that the commission was using its "taxation and budget" mandate to legislate what they thought were desirable changes in school policy.
Florida's high school students perform considerably below the national average for SAT scores associated with college entrance.
De-emphasis on FCAT testing is a feature of the school year that has just started in Florida.
How good are Florida schools at graduating their high school students? Depends on whom you ask. National studies rank Florida near the bottom among states in their graduation rates. State Education Department statisticians say this is because of a flaw in national rankings and their own stats indicate much better performance. A study just released by Leroy Collins Institute at FSU in turn criticizes the counting methodology of the Education Department.
THE LEROY COLLINS REPORT:
Homestead, Florida high school gets an "F" (again). Bucking a trend of improved scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in south Miami-Dade County schools, Homesteaders are shocked by another failing grade when they thought they were making good improvement. Reminiscent of what is often said about the validity of the Bowl Championship Series way of evaluating college football teams, the state's Education Commissioner admits that the result of FCAT ratings is based on a complex and somewhat unpredictable computer formula: ''It goes back to what goes into the formula for providing a school grade and unpacking that,''
What will Florida kids be learning in school? More social studies? Literature? Don't hold your breath.... A contentious session in the Florida House precedes a unanimous vote for "reform" in the school curriculum looking to a broadening of the content basis for the FCAT, and/or shifting emphasis away from the FCAT as a basis for educational accountability. With legislation in the Senate of dubious likelihood and the prospect of extended "commission" deliberation, don't yet tell your children: "Brush up your Shakespeare, start quoting him now" and don't expect them to recite the Declaration of Independence.
Florida schools are using "creative" ways to fit the state's mandate of 30 minutes a day of physical education for students into their busy curriculum: "stretching" and "walking" count.
Florida legislature bows to band boosters, "the most powerful lobby in the world" as one legislator puts it, in backing off from requiring physical education in middle schools instead of band.
Florida legislators moving away from exclusive use of FCAT results as a measure of school performance.
Florida schools' reliance on student FCAT scores as basis for teacher recognition is cited as resulting in cases of schools unable to fire those teachers they regard as "incompetent" on other grounds than their students' scores.
Florida's report card on its public schools improves, as it moves from 31st to 14th in national rankings; but its grade is only a C plus.
Florida law mandating later school year start is pushing the first semester of the school year past the holiday break, with effects on educational quality yet to be determined.
Outside expert report confirms that Florida's 2006 3rd grade FCAT test was seriously flawed.
New Florida law requires 150 minutes per week of supervised physical education. Gainesville educators complain that this requirement forces them to "squeeze" the time in a school day, in some cases eliminating recess time, at which children might have a chance to develop their social skills in unsupervised play. Lengthen the school day? Well no, the teachers' union is said to oppose that and, besides, Johnny has to get to his after-school soccer practice and Sally to her ballet lesson.
By FCAT measurement standards, Florida high school students are terrible readers: Test results show that only 32% of Florida 10th graders are reading to their grade level. In Alachua County only 7% of black students demonstrate that reading level. (This despite the story of several days ago about "power-house" schools in Miami and elsewhere in the South with over-achieving students.)
Amid critics' charges against newspaper and magazine rankings of universities and colleges as "beauty contests," Florida colleges and universities grow less "beautiful" in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings on grounds such as UF being less "selective" in having accepted more students not in top 10% of high school graduating classes.
Florida A&M University warned that it faces loss of accreditation unless it puts its financial affairs in order.
Florida pre-K schools are now being subjected to "accountability" standards based on the standardized testing of school readiness.
Florida schools nervously await state "report cards" on their latest FCAT results. Many are expected to be "terrible" since they will reflect lack of "progress" from the previous year, when scores were erroneously inflated.
Some Florida community college heads see possible financial "disaster" for themselves in Governor's veto of tuition increase in state's colleges and universities, fearing this might establish a legal basis for preventing them from charging any tuition.
Florida delays release of FCAT results in light of concern for improper scoring of last year's 3rd grade results.
Democrats in Florida legislature are calling for a general overhaul of the state's educational accountability system in wake of failure of accurate scoring of the 2006 3rd grade FCAT's.
Controversy continues to swirl around Florida Department of Education's actions in regard to mistakes in scoring on last year's FCAT tests.
Officials of Texas assessment test company that designs and scores FCAT tests are scrambling for an explanation of what went wrong in the scoring of last year's test for Florida 3rd graders.
A moratorium on use of FACT to assess Florida student performance? This is one of several ideas in the wake of a discovery of a major "error" in test scoring on last year's tests. The idea is unlikely to be implemented as state education officials say we have "no choice" under federal No Child Left Behind legislation but to have a standardized testing program; so it may take a while to "fix" the program, but fix it the educators will.
Florida education officials say that last year's third grade FCAT tests were improperly scored, producing inflated pass rates and will have to be re-scored for purposes of comparison of test results with those of future years.
Children's literature professor at University of Florida says that children would become "avid" readers and do better on FCAT tests if they were given more interesting material to read and if there were less school emphasis on a "points for reading" program in which children race through provided reading material to get the points.
Legislature's dropping of "life management" course as a graduation requirement for Florida's high school students concerns educators that students are missing vital lessons in such areas as HIV/AIDS prevention and disease management.
Business of the university is business: curricula of Florida universities are increasingly being dictated by the largesse of deep-pocketed corporate contributors.
Florida legislators want "world class education" for the state's students, but they don't seem too clear on what that means or how to achieve it. (Does it mean, for example, more civics instruction about "the world"; or more math instruction to help meet world "competition" with other countries that do a better job at that?)
Head-scratcher question looms for Florida students, as those who register this week for school session starting in August must deal with question, mandated by Florida legislature, "what's my major?"
After intense lobbying by parents, Florida legisture backs away from plan to cut funding for gifted high school students.
Increasing tendency of Florida's community colleges to offer 4-year degrees is coming under legislative scrutiny.
Science fair you say? That is so pre-FCAT!! While Florida education bureaucracy forces schools to "focus" on science education, the pressure to focus actually on standardized testing is among the factors producing a dramatic decrease in mumber of state students who participate in science fairs, which promote creativity but don't seem to help the test scores.
Consultant's report on Florida universities finds them seriously flawed, as they devote too much attention to graduate study and research as well as to merit scholarships, with insufficient concern for undergraduates and those in financial need.
Florida Department of Education is holding hearings around the state on merit pay for teachers based on student performance; they are getting an earful of complaint in these hearings from those who note that the FCAT covers only some subjects and some teachers have to work with disadvantaged children.
Florida colleges and universities are making a major push toward expanding international education, creating a virtual "global university."
Florida's star teachers may have to prove their worth: 7725 teachers are "certified" by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards but, in light of North Carolina study casting doubt on the effects of such certification on teaching quality, Florida Educational Commissioner thinks teachers may now need to show that their teaching improves students' FCAT performance.
Florida high school students will have choice among 440 majors, a program designed to make "school more interesting" and reduce dropout rate.
Whoever wins at next Governor of Florida, the intensive micro-management of educational policy that was characteristic of Jeb Bush's administration is likely to be a thing of the past.
Carrot is added to the stick of Florida FCAT acccountability enforcement; as "failing" schools are threatened with student waivers and transfers, north central Florida schools with A or improving grades rake in $100 per student in additional funding.
Charlie Crist, former state Education Commissioner and candidate for Florida Governor, is strong advocate of FCAT, but is unable on campaign appearances to say when the tests are given or what constitutes a passing score on them. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/state/content/state/epaper/2006/08/10/a5a_CRIST_0810.html
Florida's funding of its educational system still qualifies it for the label of education "on the cheap," but not cheap for local school districts to which the burden of funding has increasingly been passed and which are able to bear this burden only because of (perhaps unsustainable) rises in property assessments and taxes."
Home schooling an increasingly popular educational option in Florida, with around 50,000 children statewide.
Continuing investigation of the qualifications of people hired to score state's FCAT tests turns up instances of employees whose resumes list degrees from foreign countries.
FCAT grades for schools are posted. While statewide scores show improvement, two high schools in Orlando are among the small number in the state receiving F grades.
Four years after Florida voters approved a class size amendment, the state has done little to fund its implementation. Three of the four leading candidates for Governor support the amendment, but offer little in the way of funding suggestion. The fourth (Gallagher) is opposed to implementation. http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14696401.htm
State Senate, in a tie vote, defeats Gov. Bush's plan to refer the class size amendment to another public referendum: http://www.tdo.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060429/CAPITOLNEWS/604290323&theme=
State Senate to vote today on whether to send class size amendment back to voters: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14448116.htm
As intrepid publisher of The Sun State Activist looks on, Florida House "courageously" passes an anti-bullying law for the state's schools:
Trying to make the sun shine: two Democratic lawmakers sue Florida's Commissioner of Education to release identities of persons who grade FCAT tests:
State of Florida continues to micro-manage school curricula: legislature prepares to institute first program in the U.S. of requiring all high school students to declare a "major;" piled on top of FCAT "accountability" standards that make subjects like music, humanities and social studies irrelevant to school funding, these may spell further trouble for these subjects: http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060414/LOCAL/204140325/1078
Calling such information a "trade secret," company that grades the FCAT refuses to reveal identities of $10 an hour temporary workers who grade the tests:
New House Speaker Marco Rubio wants to "revolutionize" education in the state by developing more diverse and relevant curriculum; some Democrats agree, but point to limitations for such an agenda from Republican-supported system of FCAT-driven "accountability" standards for schools: http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060403/LOCAL/204030330/1078/news
Who grades the FCATs? Florida Senate Democrats wants identities of test graders to be made public: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-fcat3106mar31,0,2949197.story?coll=orl-home-headlines
Legislators looking for ways to circumvent Florida Supreme Court's decision that vouchers for private school students are un-constitutional: http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060311/CAPITOLNEWS/603110320/1011
Two Democrats in Florida Governor's race on FCAT: Davis would limit to diagnosis, not rewards; Smith would eliminate altogether:
Bush plan for Florida schools would have students making early career choices: http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060227/LOCAL/202270348/1078/news
Despite teacher opposition, State Board of Education approves plan to tie teachers' salaries to results of student testing: http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060221/APN/602210905&cachetime=5
Other information sources:
Analysis and views:
A WAVE OF "SICKNESS" STRIKES MIAMI-DADE TEACHERS. Many plan to take a day of personal leave or call in sick on Monday to protest the education bill passed by the Florida legislature, now awaiting Governor Crist's approval or veto, hoping to dramatize their claim that its undue burden on teachers will harm educational quality in the state. Crist has until next Friday to veto the bill or let it pass into law without his signature. Locked in a desperate battle for a U.S. Senate seat, the Governor may find it difficult to ignore this bloc of angry voters
Lawmakers from Miami/Dade County are questioning the wisdom of changes in teacher evaluation based on student performance now being considered in Florida legislature.
Palm Beach Co.:
Palm Beach County FL school district backs down after parental protests that curriculum for "gifted" children is "dumbed down" by district's requirement of uniform curriculum for all students.
Mismatch being noted in Broward County FL school building construction, much of which occurs in areas with empty desks from current enrollment rather than in ones with overcrowded schools
Palm Beach Co.:
Palm Beach County FL loses its application for school improvement grant from Gates Foundation as its application set off a storm of controversy in its negative depiction of the county's teachers.
Palm Beach Co.:
Departmentalization of instruction in lower elementary grades raises the ire of some Palm Beach FL County parents, who prefer the "one-teacher" model for teaching their children.
Palm Beach Co.:
85 Palm Beach FL county high school seniors may be finding a way to circumvent FCAT requirements by obtaining their diplomas from Pennsylvania school.
JONES HIGH SCHOOL IN ORLANDO "PAVES ITS WAY TO AN A"---AND A TRIP TO ATTEND OBAMA'S INAUGURATION. 40 students from a predominantly black area of Orlando "win" a trip to D.C. (all expenses paid courtesy Bob Mandel, an Obama fund-raiser) after one student wins an essay contest. Jones has been a chronically "failing" school based on FCAT test results; a new principal came in 2007 with a "Pave the Way to an A" agenda of educational "reform" that will probably endear Jones to the heart of Obama's Secretary of Education-designate Arne Duncan, who did the same kind of "paving" in Chicago.
531 students have requested transfer from one of Jacksonville's three "failing" high schools.
First in partying, last in studying: Princeton Review grants these dubious "honors" to students at University of Florida.
Duval County (Jacksonville) 4th and 5th graders win reprieve from FCATs required for grade promotion as the tests arrive too late for be implemented for the coming school year.
Trioubled lives in a troubled school:. Orlando Sentinel focuses on Evans High School, F-rated by standardized testing standards and, in this installment, follows the obstacles encountered by a teenage girl who has fought through a forest of home and school problems, only to encounter in her Senior year the ultimate obstacle: passing the FCATs, without which she can't pursue her dreams of going to college and becoming a social worker.
With over 50% of its high school students dropping out before graduation, Miami-Dade schools have one of the highest drop-out rates in the country.
Orlando is asking; "Can this school be saved?" The answer is far from clear, as a public hearing is scheduled this week on the possible re-location of Evans High School, a chronic "F" performing school on the FCATs. A new reformist Superintendent has made valiant efforts to change the situation and much-improved performance scores were expected until rampant neighborhood violence drove many parents of high-performing students to withdraw their children from the school. (Orlando Sentinel special report, with many informative links.)
Duval County School Board attempts to fire the Superintendent it hired two years ago, is threatened with a lawsuit, and now decides on a "move on" tactic that allows the Superintendent to resign, receive $275 k in salary and benefits in return for his agreement not to sue the Board.
Parents of students at Edgewater High School in College Park (Orange County) demand that Edgewater school be expanded rather than busing their children to an F-rated school (Evans.)
Broward County school board acknowledges an "FCAT overload" problem in the schools, as testing anxiety places students under severe pressure.
Palm Beach Co.:
One of 3 F-rated schools in Palm Beach County acquires a donated high-tech electronic microscope, part of an effort of these schools to pull up their ratings.
Manatee County school board considers firing teacher accused of helping 3rd grade students complete the FCAT. She claims age and religious discrimination
Miami Herald tells Broward County's cautionary tale for failed efforts to get public services to those who need them: Under the provisions of No Child Left Behind, poor children in failing schools were entitled to public tutoring assistance, some 16,000 eligible ones in Broward County. 8 months after they became eligible, only 3,600 were receiving the services. Reason: the usual suspects in such entitlement programs (like CHOICES medical insurance for the working poor in Alachua County, for example): a combination of failures of school district to publicize the program, the inefficiency of the corporation hired to process the applications, a thoughtless design of the program that would require some children to go to Miami (the next county over) to get tutoring.
Science education is getting new attention in northeast Florida schools as science is added to the subjects of FCAT testing.
In Volusia County as elsewhere in Florida, FCAT scores for 3rd graders in reading decline, while math scores improve.
Hillsborough County high school teachers protest school board's actions in planned reductions in staffing and increase in class loads that they say will imperil the quality of their instruction.
Palm Beach Co.;
140 Teachers left behind: teachers at low-performing schools in Palm Beach County FL are told they won't return to their classrooms next year.
Some of the effects of educational accountability programs may be questionable, but in Tampa as elsewhere in Florida, there is no doubt that these programs have spawned a highly profitable tutoring industry.
Hillsborough County teachers, having already turned down participation in Florida's "pay for performance" compensation plan, are to be faced with a similar plan proposed by the county.
Palm Beach Co.:
ACLU is targeting school board in Palm Beach FL County for its "dismal" performance in rate of graduation of high school students.
Superintendent of Duval County FL schools says it will be a "long and difficult struggle" to reverse the trend of an increasing dropout rate in the county's schools.
Duval County's high school graduation rate drops to 60.5%, the second lowest in the state (Miami-Dade has the lowest).
Leon County buck the statewide trend and shows a rise in its high school graduation rate to 79.9%, one of the highest in the state.
Proud to be from Cow Patty High: students in North Marion County are beginning to win more respect from rest of county schools, overcoming their "cow patty" label, as behavioral modification approaches and improved FCAT scores begin to change the perception.
Saving Ribault...or tearing it apart? Duval County and Florida education officials have an e-mail war going on about what to do with Jacksonville's "failing" high school. State says it must make mandated improvements, county officials say they are being "micro-managed" into oblivion.
School in August in central Florida without air conditioning? Ask the kids at South Lake High School in Groveland.
Florida Times-Union begins a series of articles on attempt to deal with the situation in Duval County's largest high school, Sandalwood, noted in recent year for its academic mediocrity and its "culture of violence." First two parts of the series:
Marion County school board candidates are asked how they will deal with a likely 50% growth of the county's student population in the next decade. http://www.ocala.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060730/NEWS/207300392/1001/NEWS01
State Department of Education gives "ultimatum" to Orange County: "fix" your two "failing" high schools (Evans and Jones) or face $25 million in fines.
A Mickey Mouse curriculum at Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale? To find out you gotta click here:
Ribault, an F-rated school in Jacksonville, requires assistant principals and teachers to re-apply for their job, offers monetary incentives to those helping to improve school's FCAT performance. http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/070106/met_22242314.shtml
School district report cites an "inefficient and deficient" transportation system for Hillsborough County schools. Low pay and high turnover among bus drivers are factors in finding that 1/5 of school buses are late on any given school day.
Alachua County school board opposes state's plan for merit pay distribution to teachers (E-Comp): http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060424/LOCAL/204240327/1078
"Benign neglect" of Miami-Dade inner schools ends as communities take charge of revamping their "failed" schools:
Grade-changing scandal hits Palm Beach County schools: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/pbcsouth/content/local_news/epaper/2006/03/23/s1b_skhacker_0323.html
St. Petersburg teachers object to Board of Education's plan to peg teachers' salaries to FCAT results: http://www.sptimes.com/2006/02/20/State/Teachers_could_have_p.shtml
Central High to remain open despite test scores: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/13770636.htm
Parents of children in "struggling" Central High School in Miami claim the kids are "set up to fail." http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/13752008.htm
Other information sources
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