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Friday Reading List: District News and Views

Here's a roundup of what's new and news around the edu-verse this week, along with a few columns tackling education issues.

  • In San Fransisco, the school board approved a new student-assignment plan using a rather unusual factor: Census tracts. The measurement was used as the district tried to balance between diversity concerns and a move toward neighborhood schooling.

  • A Detroit News columnist wonders: Should Otis Mathis be allowed to serve as Detroit's school board president when he has difficulty writing a coherent sentence? Laura Berman's column is a must-read, especially to hear Mathis' honest answers.

  • Officials believe students used cheap USB key loggers to steal teachers' passwords at a high-achieving suburban Maryland high school and change grades. Students had been changing grades for months before they were caught.
  • Meanwhile, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy, district officials are looking into excessive grade changes, including an instance where a whole group of students were given automatic A's. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has control of the schools, was not happy when he read about this in the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, calling the grade changing the "easy way out" and "unacceptable."
  • Since officials in the Jefferson Co. (Ky.) public schools unblocked social networking tools like Twitter and YouTube a few weeks ago, teachers have put the tools to good use in the classroom, Toni Konz reports in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper.
  • The Kansas City, Mo., school district has plenty of challenges ahead now that it has decided to close 26 of its 61 schools by fall as part of a major revamping. The Kansas City Star's Joe Robertson takes a look at some of the big policy questions district officials will have to answer in the months ahead. You can read our interview with the superintendent, John W. Covington, in next week's issue of Education Week.
While you Shakespeare lovers are enjoying the Ides of March be sure to check out edweek.org. We will have brand new blog items and stories up for you to read come Monday—I'm writing one such story right now.
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