It may be the middle of summer, but there were plenty of important education stories in the news this week. Here’s a few highlights from School Board News Today‘s weekly roundup:
A major new federal report dissects the black-white achievement gap and shows some troubling trends in some areas. Although elementary grades recently have made great gains in closing the gap, the progress all but vanishes in middle school. And while the gap has lessened in some Southern areas where it has traditionally been the widestit has stagnated or even regressed in other parts of the country. That means that the widest black-white gaps are now in Northern and Midwestern states like Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, rather than Alabama and Mississippi.
After years of debate and four state Supreme Court rulings against its school finance system, Ohio has a new, “evidence-based” funding plan this week. New budgets will be based on the actual cost of providing a high-quality education, rather than what the state can afford to spend, and will be less reliant on property taxes. While this year’s K-12 budget will see an overall 5.5 percent increaseall from federal stimulus funding some districts will see cuts, and some worry that the plan will not be viable in future years if the state does not increase its revenue.
House Republicans have chosen Rep. John P. Kline of Minnesota to serve as ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, which will oversee the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. What’s interesting is that he wasn’t in office when the law was passed in 2002 and he also says he’s not committed to the law’s core testing requirements.
A Chicago civic group released a report that undermines the progress made during the seven years that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan led the city’s school system.
And should parents have a say in choosing their children’s teachers? Principals debate that issue here.
Check School Board News Today each day for a quick read of the day’s most interesting and relevant education stories.