House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Joseph Lieberman plan to introduce bills tomorrow to revive the D.C. vouchers program, which was phased out two years ago because of Democratic opposition, the Washington Post reports The latest results from the National Assessment for Educational Progress science tests were released today, and only about a third of fourth graders and a fifth of high school seniors scored at or above the proficient level, according to the New York Times A Los Angeles judge has approved a settlement that limits or prohibits teacher layoffs in some of the city’s neediest schools, the Los Angeles Times reports And Wyoming lawmakers are considering a measure that would put video cameras in classrooms to help evaluate teachers’ performance, setting of a debate between accountability and free speech rights, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
School Board News Today, an online publication of NSBA, provides timely and relevant stories and analysis from NSBA and other news outlets to school board members, administrators, and all others interested in K-12 education.
Articles in the Announcements category
First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming with Wal-Mart to further her campaign for healthy foods for children, the Washington Post reports When is it too cold for schoolchildren to go outside to play? The answer varies widely based on where a school is located and what the kids are used to, USA Today writes… An evangelical family has traveled from Alabama to Northern Kentucky, saying they were sent by God and are suing a number of entities in Northern Kentucky, including law enforcement, school boards and teachers for allegedly violating their civil rights, according to Cincinnati’s Local 12 News And Los Angeles schools have stepped up their security measures after a school shooting last week, according to the Associated Press.
Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews reviews journalist Gene Maeroff’s new book, “School Boards in America: A Flawed Exercise in Democracy,” and finds that despite the tedious and frustrating aspects of the job some Washington-area boards have made some impressive accomplishments. (Read more about Maeroff’s book in the November issue of ASBJ)
Several school districts across the country are trying out video cameras as a way to deter drivers from passing buses that are loading or unloading children, USA Today writes And school board members in Prince George’s County, Md. , were awakened at 4 a.m. one morning last week in what the Washington Post is called “robo-call revenge.” Turns out, a school system employee mistakenly set a robo-call informing parents that school was closed for a snow day for 4 a.m. instead of the usual 6 a.m. earlier this week, and one annoyed parent decided to send a prank call back to school board members to let them know he did not appreciate the early wake-up call.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its draft regulations for the Child Nutrition Act this week. After many concerns about the costs and requirements of the new law, NSBA’s advocacy department is carefully reading the proposal and will issue a response in coming weeks.
The proposed regulations require schools to serve more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. One of the biggest changes, though, is the limit on sodium contentmeals would have to have at most only half of what is currently allowed. Those guidelines are based on 2009 recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.
The USDA provided a sample before-and after school lunch menu to show the proposed changes in the works. For Monday through Wednesday, the main entrees would change from a bean and cheese burrito, pizza sticks, and hot dog, all served with sides such as applesauce, canned pears, and celery and carrot sticks with ranch dressing, to a submarine sandwich on wheat bread, whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce, and chef salad, accompanied by items like jicama, green pepper strips, and kiwi slices.
NSBA had many concerns, particularly related to the lack of full funding and implementation of the new law. More information about the law is available on the school nutrition resource page.
The proposed regulations are available in the Jan. 13 Federal Register. School officials and the public may also give responses and recommendations to the USDA. All responses are due by April 13.
Across the country school districts are watching a federal court case in Pennsylvania, which will address whether students should be allowed to wear the “I love boobies” breast-cancer awareness bracelets, USA Today writes… The Washington Post examines the Wake County, N.C. school board and its new members, some with ties to Tea Party groups, and their efforts to dismantle the school system’s acclaimed economic diversity policies School officials in Detroit say they may close half of the city’s schools and increase high school classes to as many as 62 students to deal with a $327 million deficit unless the state steps in to help, the Detroit News reports Meanwhile, officials in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., are planning to cut 1,500 jobs to balance their budget, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The Miami Herald writes that the Miami-Dade and Broward County, Fla., school districts face nearly $10 million in penalties for violating Florida’s class-size law, the state Department of Education announced this week Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report examines state policies and budgets as most are coping with new demands and fiscal shortfalls… An editorial by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in the San Francisco Chronicle outlines why education funding is critical to the nation’s future economy as new California Gov. Jerry Brown tries to save K-12 funding by cutting higher education programs and social services, the newspaper writes And Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tells the Washington Post that the Arizona community college where Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter in this weekend’s killings at Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s community meeting, did all it could to keep students safe in the wake of his erratic behavior.
Pittsburgh residents didn’t have a huge endowment for student scholarships, but a major public engagement campaign is helping build a scholarship program as well as support for the public school system, USA Today writes… Florida’s new governor, Rick Scott, and education advisor Michelle Rhee visited a charter school and spoke of plans to increase the number of charters as part of a major education reform movement, according to the Miami Herald After years of shortfalls, Georgia is facing big cuts to its HOPE Scholarship program that provides in-state tuition to students with B-minus grade averages, the New York Times reports And a Nebraska high school tried to return to normal after a student shot and killed and assistant principal and wounded two other staff members before taking his own life, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
A new federal law allows states to classify teaching interns as “highly qualified,” nullifying a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that banned the practice after civil-rights advocates in California complained about poor and minority students being taught by inexperienced teachers. The legislation was passed during the lame-duck session of Congress and signed by President Obama last month, the Associated Press writes… A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad to teach subjects from history to math, the New York Times reports And former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has joined the Washington Speakers Bureau and will be marketed as an advocate for public education and expert in reforming urban school systems, a Washington Post blog reports. Fenty’s hiring of controversial former Chancellor Michelle Rhee has been cited by many experts as a factor in his loss last year.
In a commentary for the Washington Post, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan writes that the Obama administration will seek a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will focus on “more flexibility and fairness in our accountability system, a bigger investment in teachers and principals, and a sharper focus on schools and students most at risk.” NSBA officials are encouraged by the tone of the editorial, which calls for more support for local control, and are awaiting details of the administration’s ESEA proposal.
Education Week reports that in state capitols across the country, numerous lawmakers are looking to follow the legacy of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who put in place accountability and school choice measures And the number of gay-straight alliance clubs is growing fast in high schools in Utah, one of the most conservative states where Mormons have tried to block their activities, the New York Times reports.
High-tech cheating is meeting its match: a relatively new company analyzes answer sheets by computer and flags those with so many of the same questions wrong or right that the chances of random agreement are astronomically small, the New York Times writes. The technology already has helped curb students’ cheating on secondary tests in several states… The Washington Post reports on how Fairfax County, Va., one of the wealthiest and most diverse school systems in the nation, is dealing with a recent influx of homeless students The Post also reports on the efforts of the large and diverse T.C. Williams High School, scene of “Remember the Titans,” as it tries to recover from its recent label of “persistently low achieving” And Florida’s Sun Sentinel reports that a charter-school student who was suspended for posting derogatory comments about her teacher on Facebook has accepted a settlement from the school, ending a two-year, high-profile lawsuit.