Across the Nation
Report Condemns Safety Preparedness of Schools
In a new report on the prevention of and response to violence in schools and on college campuses, a bipartisan task force of state attorneys general concluded that the reporting of school crimes is "inconsistent and inaccurate" and "does not promote true accountability" on the part of schools and states. eSchool News, 9/21/07
Debate on Ending SAT Gains Ground
The social scientist Charles Murray has proposed abolishing the SAT. This position cannot help but provoke a double take. However, with so many college officials and parents dissatisfied with the SAT, even those who think Murray’s other theories are misguided or offensive could find themselves agreeing with him on this issue. New York Times, 9/19/07
Parents, Kids Don't See Need for Math, Science Skills
A new report commissioned as part of an initiative to improve math, science, and technology (MST) education throughout the Kansas City area suggests that on the whole, parents, students, and local communities nationwide are complacent about or even resisting efforts to strengthen MST education, failing to realize the opportunities that knowledge of such subjects can bring in the 21st century. eSchool News, 9/21/07
School Discipline Tougher on Black Students
Fifty years after federal troops escorted nine Black students through the doors of an all-White high school in Little Rock, AR, in a landmark school integration struggle, U.S. public schools remain as unequal as they have ever been when measured in terms of disciplinary sanctions such as suspensions and expulsions, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. In every state but Idaho, Black students are being suspended in numbers greater than would be expected from their proportion of the student population. Chicago Tribune, 9/25/07
A study looking at whether poor children do better in wealthier schools turned up an unexpected—and far more controversial—finding that is raising questions about the use of Spanish in classrooms. The analysis shows that students learning English make dramatically greater gains in wealthier schools than in poorer ones. Rocky Mountain News, 9/24/07
In Federal Policy
Coalition Calls on Congress to Increase Education Funding
In the midst of reauthorizing NCLB, lawmakers received a bold reminder earlier this week from education advocates: Don’t forget the funding! The Committee for Education Funding, a nonpartisan coalition of more than 100 education groups, including NASSP, held its annual legislative conference at which it rallied its members for a lobby day on Capitol Hill. Principal’s Policy Blog, 9/21/07
Perhaps your school is getting adequate funding for federal mandates.
Didn't think so.
Use the Principal's Legislative Action Center (PLAC) to remind your elected officials of the message of the CEF lobbying effort: Don't forget the funding!
Writer on Hunger Strike Over NCLB
The No Child Left Behind Act incites fierce passions from opponents, but a hunger strike? Respected education author Jonathan Kozol has been on a "partial fast" since July to call attention to what he calls the racist agenda inherent in the federal education reform act signed into law by President Bush in 2001. Newsweek, 9/20/07
In the States
Denver Schools' New Approach to Discipline
A new discipline policy being discussed for Denver Public Schools focuses on "restorative justice," which aims to correct behavior through positive means instead of big-stick punishments like expulsion and suspension. New discipline techniques would include behavior intervention plans, "peace circles," or anger-management courses. However, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and police involvement would still occur for the most serious misconduct. Denver Post, 9/18/07
The Principal's Book Club
Everyone is talking about professional learning communities. So how do you do it correctly? Join the Principal's Book Club and find out! Subscribe by December 14 to get the January selection, Leading Professional Learning Communities: Voices from Research and Practice.
Almost 10,000 Ninth-Graders Sign Wisconsin College Covenant
Nearly 10,000 ninth-grade students have committed to the proposed Wisconsin Covenant, which promises a route to college if they fulfill a pledge. Gov. Jim Doyle's new program proposed that the state guarantee a place in a college and adequate financial aid to any eighth-grade student who pledges to do well in school and keep out of trouble. The first class of students started making the pledge last spring. Those students are now in the ninth grade, and the program would apply to their first year in college in 2011. Wisconsin State Journal, 9/12/07
The National Association of Student Councils has a fresh look and new programs for developing and recognizing great student leaders in your school. Find out more at www.nasc.us.
Online School Testing Still a Long Way Off in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Education once touted "Online by '09" as its mantra for replacing pencil-and-paper tests. But many school officials now say the goal of totally computerized assessments is a long way off. Districts either don't have enough computers or have too many outdated ones, networks need updating, software glitches occur, and Internet connections can be flaky. Pioneer Press, 9/16/07
Around the World
Studies Show Grouping Kids By Ability Harms Education
Education researchers at the University of Sussex have found major flaws in the British prime minister's education policy, which aims to have ability groupings as the norm in key subjects. Two new separate studies show that sorting school children into sets is neither an accurate way of assessing ability, nor is it beneficial to their learning. Science Daily, 9/21/07
Related item: NASSP Board Statement on Tracking