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Education Week Roundup, Oct. 3

You can read all about the meaning of the latest round of scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in this week's issue of Education Week.

President Bush says the mostly positive results mean Congress should get to work and reauthorize NCLB, I write in Bush Pushes NCLB as Renewal Percolates. But I didn't have much to report on lawmakers' progress when I wrote the story. (And I still don't have much to report. Anybody out there want to clue me in? Here's my e-mail.)

In an important NCLB-related story, Lynn Olson reports in Teacher-Pay Experiments Mounting Amid Debate that pay for performance is growing in popularity in states and districts while the national teacher unions are fighting to strike such pay plans from the next version of NCLB.

In Superintendents Content in Jobs, But Stressed, Too, Christina Samuels says that NCLB is unpopular among superintendents, relying on data from an annual survey of local school chiefs. She quotes Jerry D. Weast, the superintendent of the Montgomery County, Md., Schools as supporting the law's requirement that districts track achievement across demographic subgroups. “What we don’t need is the specificity, and the structure,” Weast added.

For the Federal File, Alyson Klein talked with author Jonathan Kozol about his partial fast to protest NCLB. He says he wants the law's accountability system to be built on portfolios, calling the current testing programs "useless."

"They give you no specifics on the child’s areas of weakness," he said. "They simply place a label of success or failure on the child’s forehead."

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