08/06/2010 02:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Education News: Recess Round-Up


(Photo by DangApricot)

A round-up of this week's education stories brought to you by The Hechinger Report.

Education in our nation has at its heart race, class, privilege, politics and, oh yeah, people. Take a moment to scroll through some of the week's school-related stories below. Our future depends on the quality of our children's education.

Class size: Consider 45 students in a fifth-grade class in Lodi, Calif. But in Central Florida, core classes in grades 4-8 are capped at 22. (Lodi News-Sentinel and Central Florida News 13)

Diversity: There's controversy at Elena Kagan's high school over the resignation of the third principal in five years. A lack of diversity persists at top New York City public schools. (The New York Times)

Equal rights: A letter to the editor about civil-rights groups and the ed reform controversy from the executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Honestly, can't we all just get along? (The Washington Post)

Evaluating teachers: Aaron Pallas of The Hechinger Report's EyeOnEd blog looks at a D.C. teacher's evaluation and continues his examination of IMPACT, the teacher-evaluation system in District of Columbia public schools, on Valerie Strauss' "Answer Sheet" blog. (The Washington Post)

Public Waldorf schools: They are booming in Sacramento -- but are they legal? (The Sacramento Bee)

Pre-k budgets slashed: "States are cutting hundreds of millions from their prekindergarten budgets, undermining years of working to help young children -- particularly poor kids -- get ready for school." (AP via UCLA / IDEA Newsroom)

A take-away from the "Early Childhood 2010: Innovation for the Next Generation" conference this week, hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education: a policy board to improve the quality of early learning programs and outcomes for young children. (Board Buzz)

Common standards: On the last day to earn points in Race to the Top by signing on, second-round RttT finalists California and Colorado adopted the standards. (Los Angeles Times and Denver Daily News)

Core curriculum: With the common standards now adopted by 34 states and the District of Columbia, what's next? " 'We'll never get ed policy right as long as we continue to conflate standards and curriculum,' notes the Shanker Institute's Eugenia Kemble." (Jay P. Greene's Blog and Core Knowledge )

NewSchools launches a $100 million innovation fund. (Politics K-12)

Race to the Top: Although Washington state didn't make the cut in round two of Race to the Top, the Seattle Public Schools are proposing a bold change that would tie teacher evaluations to student performance. (Seattle Times)

Student assessment: Readers respond to Dear Abby about performance on exams as a true test of a student's education. (via The Detroit News)

KIPP: A $5.5 million gift from Venture Philanthropy Partners aims to expand KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) DC schools. (The Washington Post)

Jobs in education: A controversial bill to provide states with $10 billion to save education jobs sailed through the Senate Wednesday. The money will be passed down to districts using the current school-aid formula. And how's that formula working for schools? (Dow Jones via Albany Times Hearld-Record)

Innovation grants: Teach for America, Ohio State University, KIPP and Success for All are top finalists in the $650 million federal grant competition known as Investing in Innovation (i3). They must secure private-sector matching funds worth 20 percent of their grant, unless they get a waiver from the department by Sept. 8. (Associated Press and Education Week)

School Improvement Grants: The federal government is giving California $415 million to improve schools ranked in the bottom 5 percent of student achievement, "the persistently lowest achieving." But the state board has yet to divvy up the money. Winners and losers in the Golden State. (Santa Cruz Sentinel and Learning First Alliance)

For-profit colleges: Senator Tom Harkin will examine the accreditation process of 30 schools after federal agents discovered deceptive practices in all 15 for-profits they investigated. (The New York Times)

Regulating for-profits: Liz Willen of The Hechinger Report explains why Congress and the White House are considering tighter regulation of for-profit colleges. It's the second story on the lineup. (NPR)

College attainment: A member of the Shoshone Bannock tribe sets her priorities. (Salt Lake City Globe)

Literacy: One Kindle per child? (The Wall Street Journal)

Mind the gap: More than a third of pupils in the U.K. leave primary school without a proper grasp of the basics in reading, writing and mathematics. (Financial Times, free registration required)

Pay to play: Amidst budget shortfalls, some Oregon high school athletes and their families have to pay to participate in after-school sports. (Clackamas Review)

Summer in the city: "... 13 young women and 12 young men spent the last three weeks at the Council on Foreign Relations listening to lectures and taking part in workshops on issues like global warming, China's economic juggernaut, Darfur, child prostitution, international law and world trade. Playful things like that." (The New York Times)

A mission to remove barriers to education in Michigan. (Daily Press & Argus)

Cheating: An investigative panel has recommended that 109 principals, assistant principals, school-based testing coordinators and teachers face further scrutiny or sanctions after it found evidence of suspected cheating at 58 Atlanta public schools. However, some news-outlets have suggested that Atlanta's public schools were largely vindicated by the investigation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times)

Pay and pensions: A new report indicates that key structural elements in teacher retirement plans impair the ability of schools to recruit, hire, retain and compensate high-quality teachers and principals. (Education Sector)

Tenure: A new Delaware law requires good ratings in addition to three years of teaching before tenure is granted. (Dover Post)

Enhanced environments: The Learning, Design & Technology (LTD) program in Stanford's School of Education encourages students to design technology-enhanced learning environments. (The Stanford Daily)

Online education: Virtual High School, or VHS, offers an online learning option for high school students in Columbia, Mo. (Columbia Tribune)