Pay up, or all you'll get is a cheese sandwich. That's the story from The San Diego Union-Tribune, which reports on elementary schools in Chula Vista, Calif., where the method for getting deadbeat parents to pay their children's school-lunch fees is restricting their children to a cheese sandwich lunch. In Chula Vista, a school lunch costs $1.50. District officials say they racked up $285,000 in unpaid lunch bills just four years ago, but their new sandwich restriction cut that debt by more than $100,000 in 2003, the first year it was implemented. When a student's lunch account ...


Love your grad, but hate the graduation ceremony hassles? Why not just kick back at home and watch the festivities there? Thanks to "gradcasts," as some are calling them, several school districts in Texas are offering live streaming video of all the pomp and circumstance, the Houston Chronicle reports. District officials told the newspaper the technology was not hard to master. "We spent $150 and made absolutely no promises," said John Crumbley, director of technology and support services for the Aldine (Texas) school district....


In a new report based on five years of research, RAND Corporation considers standards-based accountability in three very different states—California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Educators' views of standards-based accountability were "mixed"—they liked the idea, but not always the reality, RAND said. The report also lays out educators' recommendations for improving the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, including finding better methods for measuring school and student performance. One area of agreement across state lines: school improvement. RAND said that, despite differences in accountability systems, superintendents "generally ranked three activities as most important: aligning curriculum with state...


Catholic schools are struggling these days to remain viable options for students, particularly in the inner city where they often deal with some of the most disadvantaged students around. This City Journal story chronicles the efforts of Harlem’s Rice High School and its struggle to stay afloat, along with a solid overview of Catholic schools in general as they face falling enrollment and the decline of donations. Education Week details one recent bright spot for Catholic schools, however, with a story this month on some mega-donations New York’s Catholic schools received from wealthy philanthropists....


New regulations taking effect in England today make it easier for dissatisfied parents and groups to open government-supported schools of their own. The Guardian reports on new rules under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 that hold local school authorities "directly accountable" for expanding parental choice. As the Guardian puts it: "For the first time, parents would be able to call for changes if they are unhappy with the quality of schools and local authorities would be under a legal duty to respond formally." The Department for Education and Skills Web site offers a wealth of information and lays out ...


Along with its annual list of "America's Best High Schools," Newsweek explores the role of the principal in making a school great. Principals "set the tone for what happens from the moment the opening bell rings and can turn a troubled school around with a combination of vision, drive and very hard work. It's a 24/7 job," Barbara Kantrowitz and Jay Mathews write in the magazine's May 28 issue. The woman named the 2007 Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals tells Newsweek that running a school takes energy, leadership skills and an ability ...


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