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The News Fly Express: Reader's Digest Version

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There's good stuff in this week's PEN NewsBlast, as usual, including how Kentucky educators are trying to relieve test stress, a provocative piece about school violence, and a good catch on the topic of vouchers and suburban backlash. Ditto for The Gadfly, which this week includes some advice on Republican education strategy, some analysis of the Romer-led education campaign announced this week, and a slam on The Governator for his many education mis-steps. The Ed Trust's "Equity Express" (wish it was a blog or web-friendly) also has a slew of achievement gap stories (see messy email version below).

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Portland Schools Chief to Head Gates’ Education Efforts Education Week

Vicki L. Phillips, the superintendent of the Portland, Ore., school system, is stepping down to become the head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s education division.

Higher Graduation Rates in City, but ‘More Work to Do’ New York Times

Half of New York City’s high school students graduated on time in June 2006, up from 47 percent the year before, according to figures released yesterday by the New York State Education Department.

HIGH SCHOOL

Indianapolis Star Examines Truancy

A Star Editorial Board analysis found that about 13 percent of students in the county's public schools -- roughly 16,000 children -- recorded 10 or more days of unexcused absences in the 2005-06 school year. The story series is available below:

Too many empty seats in classrooms

Schools try different methods

Chronic truants often fail to earn their diplomas

Motives for skipping class vary

From high school to higher education Minnesota Public Radio

More than one-third of Minnesota high school graduates require at least one remedial course when they enter college. Almost 75 percent of Minnesota students who take the ACT entrance exam are not college-ready in all four key subject areas.

ASSESSMENT, ACCOUNTABILITY AND REFORM

School choice data adds up Portland Tribune

Just under half of Portland Public Schools students who transfer to other schools do so to pursue special programs, while 13 percent do so to flee underperforming schools, according to new data collected by the district.

Eight District One schools closing learning gap The Greenville News (SC)

Eight Anderson District 1 schools were recently recognized by the state for closing the achievement gap. Four of the schools have been recognized for narrowing the achievement gap for the past four years

TEACHER QUALITY, PREPARATION, SUPPORT AND RETENTION

Program Turns Students into Teachers UC Daily Bruin

The program – called California Teach – pledges to produce 1,000 credentialed math and science teachers with degrees from a UC campus each year until 2010. Approximately 80 UCLA students have participated in the California Teach program since the first class was offered last year.

Education commissioner urges boost to teacher training Boston Globe

Education Commissioner David Driscoll wants the state to spend $150 million over the next several years to enhance and streamline teacher training, licensing and support, saying better teachers means better students.

Teachers must be up for count Boston Herald

You would think that all elementary teachers know elementary math. After all, they are college graduates. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

CA Teachers Quitting in Droves San Francisco Chronicle

At a time when California is short of qualified instructors, the problem of teacher attrition is largely preventable, says a new California State University study of more than 1,900 teachers.

Editorial: Teachers in short supply Las Vegas Sun

District recruiters, who have been fanning out across the country since September, have interviewed 3,700 prospective candidates in their quest to hire more than 1,600 teachers. To date, however, only 476 job offers have been extended and only 173 have been accepted.

PRACTICE, POLICY AND ED THOUGHT

Military model may help close gap Harvard University Gazette

Growing up in Eisenhower-era Washington, D.C., Hugh Price noticed that school dropouts who joined the military came home “ramrod straight and full of purpose. I knew something powerful had happened.”

New school hopes to engage those overage Florida Times-Union

Crystal Rock missed so many days of school she was held back in the eighth grade and tossed out of a dropout prevention program in high school. She remembers having no motivation for showing up. "It was like every time I got off the bus when I got to the school, I felt sick," Rock said. A new charter school at Florida Community College at Jacksonville for potential dropouts was her saving grace.

New program aims to help students learning English North County Times (CA)

Teaching students who come from non-English backgrounds the ABCs of, well, ABCs has always been a challenge for educators. But a new program recently begun by the Menifee Union School District aims to help teachers make major gains in educating students who are still learning English.

LEADERSHIP

Taking the Candidates to School Time

The "Ed in '08" campaign, announced Wednesday afternoon in Columbia, S.C., on the eve of the first debate among Democratic presidential candidates, is the joint project of two of the biggest education philanthropies in the nation: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. Each is putting up $30 million to promote a grassroots, multimedia campaign — creating probably the biggest single-issue war chest in American campaign history.

Project Wants More Talk About Education Associated Press

Getting Down to Business Washington Post

The D.C. Council gave Mayor Adrian M. Fenty a political victory in voting last week to put the city's troubled schools in his hands. It will be a meaningless victory, though, if Mr. Fenty doesn't deliver on his promise to create world-class schools from today's tattered system. Enormous challenges await; failure will doom many more District children to lost futures.

Minority leaders look forward to new superintendent Rochester Post-Bulletin (NY)

It appeared that what gave Dallemand the edge over Ludwell was his scope of knowledge about diversity and achievement gaps between white, middle-class students and poor, minority students.

LAUSD report card: All F's Los Angeles Daily News

"The lack of accountability is pervasive throughout the organization at all levels," says the report. "The current culture in LAUSD is one typified by not responding to priorities and deadlines, and there is no sense of urgency among managers."

HIGHER ED

State college graduation rates show increase, report says Boston Globe

"Although we have made progress on graduation rates of minority students, we need to continue to hammer away on the graduation rate gap between white students and minorities."

State lags in college preparation, study shows Maryland Gazette

More Maryland students will be better prepared for college and work if state officials follow through on their pledge to align high school graduation and college acceptance standards as part of the American Diploma Project.

Arkansas to join multi-state initiative for two-year colleges Arkansas News Bureau

Arkansas has been invited to participate in a multi-state initiative designed to help low-income and minority students attending community college improve graduation rates, the state Department of Higher Education said Wednesday. The "Achieving the Dream" initiative provides data to participating two-year colleges to identify best practices that all colleges involved can use to increase student graduation rates.

More CPS graduates going on to college Chicago Sun-Times

The number of Chicago public school graduates going on to college is on a steady uptick, rising from 44 percent to 46 percent to 48 percent over the last three years, CPS officials revealed Wednesday.

Students Get a Push Towards College Minneapolis Star-Tribune

A new partnership involving the University of Minnesota, St. Paul officials and organizations on the city's West Side will target determined students in an effort to enhance their outlook on academics and encourage them to go to college.

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