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Big Stories Of The Day (July 11)

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Texas to End High-School Exit Exams NPR
The Texas legislature has voted to end one of the most controversial aspects of its school accountability system: exit-level exams that students must pass to get their high-school diplomas.

Locke High's weary teachers face a hard multiple-choice test LA Times
They're divided over whether to become a charter school.

School settles after student's mouth taped MSNBC.com
A school district agreed to pay $33,250 to settle a lawsuit by a former student who accused an elementary school teacher of wrapping tape around his head for talking too much.

Pittsburgh schools drop 'public' from name to boost image Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pittsburgh Public Schools will drop "public" from its name and adopt a new, standardized way of referring to its schools as part of a campaign to brighten and strengthen the district's image. Via EdNews.org.

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The way you change the image of the schools is by changing the schools. Good buildings, modern equipment, certified, experienced career teachers who are paid well and have power, a flexible student centered curriculum, principals who have their jobs because of what they know, not who they know. That is how you change the image of a school system, not by changing the name.

Plus, the money spent to change all those forms and stationery is much better spent on, say, one-on-one computers or a paraprofessional for the lowest achieving classes.

In Atlanta they love to change street names, usually going from the name of a confedrate era leader to that of a civil rights era leader. Sometimes they change a name not to reflect the modern make up of the city but to change the image. A few years ago they changed the name of a street infamous for prostitution and violence from Stewart Ave to Metropolitan Parkway. It was still and is today best known as a good spot to find a really cheap hooker. Plus, matters were complicated by the fact that there was a Metropolitan Ave. across down that they did not consider.

It's not not in the name (Except possibly for the high school in one of the "Scary Movie" satires which was B.A. Corpse!)

Kids and communities know if the schools are good or bad. There was one school in a generally successful system that had low scores and a low income demographic. Although the real name ws just fine, it was referred to by students from other schools as "Ghettobrook".

In particular it would not be right to take the word "Public" out of a name. You need that distinction so that people can tell the schools from the parochial schools which tend to suck many of the best students from the only schools that should receive public money---the public schools.

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