July 27, 2003


The Daley generation. A Chicago Sun-Times special report, July 27-28, 2003, in collaboration with the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. The report deals with the progress of the 36,000 children that started first grade in a Chicago public school in 1995, just after Mayor Daley won control of the school system. Those that stayed on track have just completed eighth grade. Sunday's article focusses on grade promotion and retention, and Monday's article will look at why middle class children are still leaving the system at a high rate.

Education Secretary Defends School System He Once Led, New York Times, July 27, 2003. Based on a conversation with secretary of education and past superintendent of Houston schools Rodney Paige. The "Texas education miracle" has received plenty of well-deserved scepticism over time. Presently in the news are the result of an audit of drop-out figures from Houston public schools. According to the article, Houston as a whole reported a 1.5 percent annual dropout rate, though education experts estimate that the true percentage of students who quit before graduation is nearer 40 percent.

(Clearly the two rates, 1.5% and 40%, are not directly comparable. Is it 1.5% of the high school population or of the entire school population? For how many years should we count those 1.5% to obtain the reported percentage of students who quit before graduation? I am guessing 5 or 6 years. Even then the discrepency between reported and estimated drop-out rates is substantial.)

College Board Scores With Critics of SAT Analogies, LA Times, July 27, 2003. About the elimination of the analogies section from the SAT in response to demands by University of California president Atkinson. The famous "oarsman : regatta" question that appeared on the SAT several decades ago is hashed up as representative for the analogies questions. I trust that Kimberly Swygert will have something to say about this in her Blog on testing. [Addendum, 07/28: she has indeed, and Joanne Jacobs too.]

Is 'minimally adequate' education good enough?, The State (SC), July 27, 2003. My answer to the question in the title would be "Yes, of course, just barely", but a group of South Carolina school districts is arguing otherwise and wants a circuit Judge to order the state government to provide additional aid, beyond present additional aid, to rural and poor communities.

Sources: EducationNews.Org and a certain Google News search that I have bookmarked.

Posted by Bas Braams at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2003


Academic bar lowered to get schools on track, Arizona Republic, July 14, 2003. "Arizona isn't alone in lowering passing scores on standardized tests and setting up dual rating systems to help schools meet tough new student achievement goals. [...] This year, Arizona will lower its proficiency rate for the math portion of Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards, the big state test. [...] Texas has lowered passing scores for third-graders in math and reading. [...] Colorado used to have a four-tiered state accountability system, but to appease new federal rules, lowered its standard of 'proficient' to include what used to be deemed 'partially proficient.'"...

Edison Schools Announces Merger Agreement with Management Team and Liberty Partners to Take Company Private, PRNewswire, July 14, 2003. "Edison Schools (Nasdaq: EDSN - News), the nation's largest manager of public schools, announced today that it has signed a definitive merger agreement with a company formed by Chris Whittle, its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, and an affiliate of Liberty Partners, a private equity firm based in New York City"...

Analysis: Darwin's defenders inspire debate on education board, Lawrence Journal World (KS), July 14, 2003. "If evolution plays a major role in Kansas politics during the next 18 months, Darwin's defenders - not Darwin's detractors - will have revived the debate"...

Putting the brakes on auto shop, SD Union Tribune, July 14, 2003. "Hampered by spiraling costs, inflexible curricula and a culture that places more emphasis on college-prep courses, districts have cut back on teaching trades in classes like auto shop. The result, educators say, is that the student who needs a shop class more than a philosophy course may be suffering. And the automotive industry - and every motorist - is feeling the consequences"...

(Sources: Google and Education News.)

Posted by Bas Braams at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2003


Occasionally I may feed some education related terms to the Google News search engine and post here whatever I find of most interest.

Ed board to discuss science testing standards, Topeka Capital Journal, July 8, 2003. "Evolution could become a hot topic again for the State Board of Education. Board members planned to discuss Wednesday whether they want to review science testing standards in place for the past two years, which make evolution an important topic for students to learn. The alternative is a limited, internal review of how students are performing on science tests"...

Drop the control, monsieur, Telegraph (UK), July 2, 2003. "Charles Clarke and his French counterpart have much to learn - about how not to run schools, says Anthony O'Hear." Centers on a book by French minister of education Luc Ferry that was distributed to all schools.

Exit exam likely to be postponed for 2 years, The Mercury News, July 8, 2003. "California's high school seniors have been told since they were in eighth grade that they would be the first class to have to pass an exit exam to get a diploma. Now, the State Board of Education appears poised to deliver a revised message: You're off the hook. The board is expected to vote Wednesday to delay enforcing the high school exit exam requirement for at least two years"...

Sometimes high school just isn't enough, Christian Science Monitor, July 8, 2003. About members of the first graduating class of Bard High School Early College in New York City. The school compresses high school in two years and offers two years of college level material. [I don't quite see how this differs from offering plenty of AP/IB classes.]

NEA vows to undo President Bush's education programs , USA Today, July 6, 2003. "Wrapping up its annual meeting Sunday in New Orleans, the 9,000 delegates to the National Education Association crowded special kiosks to telephone and e-mail members of Congress, asking them to amend or reject provisions of Bush's No Child Left Behind education reform law. [...] The delegates also approved a resolution aimed directly at its core, saying generic, 'norm-referenced' standardized tests should only supplement classroom tests"...

Posted by Bas Braams at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)