In the News the week of January 14-18, 2008 | Teachers College Columbia University

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In the News the week of January 14-18, 2008

NCLB has changed the way state tests are created and administered, but do state tests make the grade? * The research on teacher absenteeism * Urban schools aim higher than high school diplomas


Teacher absenteeism: Research shows that the time students spend with substitute teachers throughout their school years can add up to more than one year

NCLB has changed the way state tests are created and administered, but do state tests make the grade?

Urban schools aim higher than high school diplomas: Beyond lifting dismal graduation rates, schools strive to prepare students for college or post-secondary school training

School officials have differing views on measure that establishes voluntary environmental-health and -safety guidelines for locating and constructing schools, and authorizes grants for states to develop programs around those standards

School Funding Litigation/Policy

OK Superintendent of Schools outlines legislative funding requests for education; if approved the request would push the state’s public school budget to a record $3 billion next year

While KS shows bipartisan support in the Legislature for spending more on education, there is no consensus on how much to add and how that money should be allocated

Proposals to establish a statewide school-finance formula in RI are debated, but the fate of the formula remains uncertain

UT legislators say kindergarten spending is not efficient

UT lawmakers demand accountability on money to reduce class size

State Roundup

Proposed budget cuts ignite fury in CA; coalition calls the proposal “unworkable and reckless”

With the help of the Denver preschool tax, CO rolls out a plan for record expansion of preschool seats

Campaign to repeal the ME's school-district consolidation law does not yet have enough support to force a referendum on the issue

NE bill would create a commission to ensure statewide testing, reporting, upgrading of standards and tracking of student achievement, as well as a quality education accountability office under the auspices of the governor

To avoid “empty diplomas” PA education secretary pushes for rules that would require sixth graders to pass state tests before they can graduate in 2014

PA state panel approves high school exit exam

Deadline approaches for a rewrite of TX’s language arts curriculum; some educators are worried that the rushed process will leave little time for input from teachers

Urban schools aim higher than high school diplomas:,5143,695244822,00.html

In the News on January 16, 2008


MN senators will debate whether the state should refuse to follow NCLB mandates and potentially forfeit up to $250 million in annual federal funding

UT school faces an unusual challenge under NCLB – attendance

Research emerging from the recent wave of K-8 conversions shows that determining what grade configurations are best for students is still a complicated and unsettled matter

Commentary – Why markets are important (and what they could do for public education)

School Funding Litigation/Policy

NE governor wants to know details about the $53 million unexpected increase in state aid to schools

PA lawmakers eye cost of school finance revamp

RI coalition attempting to develop a school-financing formula breaks apart just as the state grapples with a $600-million budget gap over two years, leaving the future of the ambitious plan in jeopardy

State Roundup

Former Gov. Jeb Bush forms a new organization to advance his education policy goals in FL, including school accountability, teacher merit pay, and voucher programs

IL will provide free ACT prep tests for 9th and 10th graders to complement existing state exams and help districts gauge the academic progress of high school students,1,548507.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

MS teens join to address high school drop out rates

A snapshot of one school’s experience with overcrowding – which it considers to be an outcome of the NY Department of Education’s decisions to open scores of small schools close large ones perceived as academic failures

Survey says SC students like single gender classrooms; minority students are among the most enthusiastic


In the News on January 15, 2008

Study finds AP participation and scores to rise with cash incentives, but as money-for-achievement programs grow, research considers whether remuneration works and what the trade-offs are

Commentary – “Rural schools: Growing, diverse, and ...complicated:” What presidential candidates and policymakers should know about rural schools

School Funding Litigation/Policy

KS senators want to add a fourth year to the $1 billion, three-year school funding plan approved in 2006

MA governor plans to unveil a budget next week that would increase spending on education by $368 million

Lawyers for major NV casinos challenge teachers' union petition to raise gambling taxes to fund education

PA Coalition of Taxpayer Associations urges a vote on legislation to eliminate school property taxes by broadening the state sales tax and increasing the state income tax

State Roundup

D.C. public hearing on the controversial proposal to close 23 schools is long and emotional

NE considers a bill that would allow for smaller schools in rural areas of the state, to prevent students from having to spend long hours on a bus every week

NY school districts will be ordered to stop providing special education services to home-schooled students, according to state officials who say the change is mandated by law

KS governor recommends spending $50 million for new early childhood education programs and all-day kindergarten at public schools

OR lawmakers will allow school districts to keep charging full-day kindergarten tuition, despite state legal advisories saying the practice is illegal

WI governor cancels meeting to discuss ideas for revamping 's school voucher program


Schools are on the lookout for out-of-district students illegally attending classes

U.S. Education Secretary unveils a new tool to distill student achievement data into a simple format to help parents and policymakers understand how each state is performing

Struggling schools worry about possible funding cuts - of more than 60 percent - to ‘Reading First’ program

Schools nationwide take part in a field test of a new way to gauge principals’ effectiveness


Critics of NCLB call for fairer standards, and say the goals it mandates are unrealistic and set up schools to fail

Revival of NCLB suit reopens talk of ‘unfunded’ obligations

NCLB’s future is still uncertain: Most pundits agree that renewal of the law will go nowhere until the White House has a new occupant

School Funding Litigation/Policy

IL’s new budget implementation law will divert public money to private schools; opponents fear the precedent

Though task force determines education is under-funded, NM school districts scale back requests for state funds

Possible education cuts spur fear in KY, districts could lose $46 million

State Roundup

CA parents, teachers, and education advocates react with outrage to proposed $5 billion cut

Private school enrollment increases in HI, reflecting the growing state trend of families choosing private schools

ME education panel backs school consolidation, and hopes to get the final emergency bill to the full Legislature as soon as possible

Published Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008