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Education News Beat

Find out the latest in education news, breaking public school education issues concerning funding and student safety issues. News that matters, covering issues of concern to parents of school aged children. [Submit an article.]

 Title   Date   Author   Host 

Providence Journal (RI)

by Julia Steiny

October 5, 2003

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to allocate vouchers valued at $7,500 to 1,300 low-income Washington, D.C., children.

The D.C. schools have the sad distinction of having both the worst performance of the nation's schools as a whole and having among the highest costs, about $11,000 per pupil. The Senate hasn't weighed in yet, so it's not a done deal.<br><br>The one, pretty sizable reservation I have about vouchers is that they transfer money from an accountable school -- presumably deemed failing -- to an unaccountable school, which might well be failing too, according to the same standards. We don't know. This seems both inexplicably unfair, but more importantly, specifically designed not to tell us anything. No private school students in the existing voucher programs -- Milwaukee, Cleveland, Florida and now Colorado -- take tests that are remotely comparable to those the public school students take. We need to know how they compare.

Independent Record (MT)

by Laura Tode

October 5, 2003

Laura Tode spent time with a number of Helena students recently to get their perspective on how safe their schools are and what problems they see.

There isn't any question in the minds of Helena's high school students as to what might cause someone to bring a gun to school.<br><br>The constant torture of threats, harassment and bullying can push most anyone to the brink -- a breaking place where a child will consider anything to stop the insults, stop the battery and stop the fear.

by R. Cort Kirkwood

October 4, 2003

Skeptics who rightly scoff at the latest brainstorm from the public schools, giving grades to parents, ask a logical question: Why not grade the teachers-

It's a good question, but only a rhetorical one for two reasons. Teachers and school bureaucrats will never submit to impartial evaluation of their performance, and if they did, the evaluations would be a waste of time.<br><br>Government schools operate beyond the control of parents and taxpayers and no matter how many bad "grades" teachers might get in whatever form, nothing will improve them.

Austin Chronicle (TX)

by Lou DuBose and Molly Ivins

October 3, 2003

Education policy in George Bush's America

Where did this idea come from -- that everybody deserves free education- ... It's like free groceries. It comes from Moscow. From Russia. Straight out of the pit of hell.<br>-- Representative Debbie Riddle, Austin, March 5, 2003

BBC News (UK)

October 3, 2003

Parents caught with a child out of school could face an on-the-spot fine of up to 100 pounds.

The fines could be imposed by head teachers, police or council officers in England.

The Capital Times (WI)

by Nancy A. Allen

October 2, 2003

Suppose we had laws that required that every automobile sold be defect-free;

...that every person who entered a hospital be cured; or that every individual be thin, healthy and cavity-free. Furthermore, suppose we attached sanctions to these laws, perhaps in the form of fines for individuals or threats of government takeover or the replacement of all employees for businesses. No one would seriously consider such foolish laws.

by R. Cort Kirkwood

October 2, 2003

"Schools," a friend recently observed during a chat about home-schooling, "have a tendency to infantilize parents."

Rational 40-year-old adults, he observed, are more worried about science projects and grades than the kids. Through schedules and activities, parents are slaves to the school.<br><br>This is true for all schools, public or private, but the public schools have taken things a step farther. In Philadelphia and elsewhere, the schools are "grading" parents and how they raise their children.

The Christian Science Monitor

by Debra Bruno

October 2, 2003

An A, I told them, was achieved by hard work, not a checkmark to acknowledge work completed.

At first, he thanked me for my comments. How could he do better- We talked for a few minutes. Then he dropped his bombshell: "I'm taking a really heavy load this semester." Science, math, economics, a language. In short, he needed an A in English or he'd lose his scholarship and be forced to drop out. He figured English was his best bet for a not-too-difficult A. He paused, smiling.

Saint Paul Pioneer Press

by John Welsh

October 2, 2003

Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposed Wednesday staffing the state's most difficult schools with "super teachers'' who could earn up to $100,000 through bonuses.

The teachers would have to give up such union protections as tenure, allowing them to be fired at will. The teachers also would have to be willing to let student test scores be a key factor in how much they're paid. In return, the teachers could reap some of the largest nonadministrative salaries in public K-12 education today.

The New York Sun

October 1, 2003

The Department of Education, it seems, doesn't know quite what to do with all of the children who have a right to transfer out of failing schools under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The city's dilemma is not difficult to understand.The federal law has established a right to transfer into a non-failing school, but it's beyond the Congress to will into existence more successful schools or more seats therein. The city has managed to slide by so far only by dint of the low rate at which parents are asking for transfers. Ahead of this school year, the parents of only about 8,000 out of 300,000 children in low-performing schools asked for and received transfers - that's fewer than 3% of those eligible and only about 0.6% of the 1.2 million children in New York City's public school system. Some have claimed that the Department of Education did not do enough to inform parents of their choices the last time around; one group even filed a class action lawsuit against the city.


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