Monday’s News

The CSM recently reported on graduation from the SEED school, a public charter school in Washington, DC that is the nation’s only public boarding school. It’s a college prep school, serving students from Washington’s most underserved neighborhoods, and its students are attaining great results and heading off to top colleges. It’s a great example of what’s possible in public education yet an NEA analyst still manages to find fault as both Gadfly and Joanne Jacobs note. Ridiculous…there is no other word. A Jacobs reader sums it up saying, “I find it interesting that a teachers union is bitching about how much it costs — aren’t they the ones who keep saying that throwing more money at the problem will fix it?”

Also in Gadfly, Checker Finn rises to the defense of the Sunshine State and says lay off Florida. He thinks the FL is being unfairly maligned in the press. He makes some good points about some steps the state is taking and notes problems with the choice programs. Still, Florida’s schools have a long way to go for poor and minority students and the state’s accountability system was ignoring this prior to NCLB.

Important new bill proposed by Senator Kennedy and Rep. George Miller. It would make the recent NCLB accountability changes retroactive if schools apply for a change. This seems commonsensical but, of course, the Bush Administration is resisting. In the current climate with a lot of pressure to gut NCLB’s accountability provisions a legislative battle is not a great idea but it’s the only option when the Administration pointlessly digs its heels in on issues like this. By the way, the bill would not nullify transfers or supplemental services that students are now being offered so there really isn’t much reason for Bush Administration foot-dragging here.

In Sunday’s NYT Julia Mead looks at the story of a valedictorian who can’t go to college because she’s an illegal immigrant and is not eligible for public aid. Fortunately, she has public school officials in her community who are lobbying private colleges to help her. As an aside, a few charter schools are exploring ways to leverage private aid to help such students and institutionalize support for them. And, as the article notes, bills to help these students are bogged down in Congress right now.

Clarence Page discusses the “talented 10” plan in Texas.

Garnett Coleman, a Texas state senator and chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus responds to last week’s NYT story on the talented 10 plan.

Cox’s Bob Kemper reports that the Bush Administration is going squishy on their pledge to help historically black colleges. Via Educationnews.org.

Thomas Keane writes in the Boston Herald that charter opponents are getting the upper hand in Massachusetts. Via Joanne Jacobs.

Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman looks at new graduation requirements in Virginia and the story of one student. A very balanced piece showing where the student and the system went awry. Everything she writes seems (a) interesting and (b) balanced and in-depth…Draft Helderman!

Finally, if you still have not read James Hunt’s excellent Education Week commentary, as Ben Stiller said in Starsky and Hutch, “Do it”.

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