PISA Math and Science Results "Disappointing"
The results of the 2006 programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) were recently released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), showing that U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 25th in mathematics among OECD member countries and 21st in science. The results place American 15-year-olds below the member country average in both subjects.
PISA is administered triennially to 15-year-olds in participating countries and education systems through OECD, and about 400,000 students in 57 countries participated in the 2006 assessment. Many countries implement the test to provide more information to policymakers to assist them in making informed decisions about ways to improve student achievement.
Overall, the survey revealed considerable interest among students in scientific and environmental issues such as forest clearing and greenhouse gases. Interestingly, those who performed better in science were more pessimistic about the future.
Says Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on the results, "While disappointing, it speaks to what President Bush has long been advocating for: more rigor in our nation's high schools, additional resources for advanced courses to prepare students for college, and stronger math and science education."
L.A. Dropouts Get a Second Chance
Twenty-five percent of L.A. students dropped out in 2006, and now the district is trying to bring them all back. As part of a new campaign targeting both at-risk students and actual dropouts, the Los Angeles Unified School District is drawing on the popularity of Web sites such as YouTube and MySpace to educate students on the lifelong benefits that come with earning a high school diploma and on alternative pathways in the district to obtain it.
Using streaming videos, radio spots and informational resources, the site, www.myfuturemydecision.com, features testimonials from former dropouts and highlights the district's numerous continuation schools and community college programs.
Special Ed Center Rolling Out
Next month the U.S. Department of Education will announce the names of six states to participate in the development of a new national education center aimed at improving student achievement, particularly for students with disabilities.
Through a $1 million multi-year grant to the University of South Florida, the new Center on State Implementation and Scaling-Up of Evidence-Based Practices (SISEP) will work with the states to broaden the use of proven, wellresearched special education strategies. Lessons learned will be disseminated nationwide through a Web site, conferences and publications.
Teachers against School Board
A proposed order from a judge for the Ohio State Employee Relations Board (SERB) states that the Brookfield Board of Education should return lost wages to its teachers union and address a number of other claims the teachers have brought against the school board.
"Brookfield has the lowest tax rate of any township in Trumbull County," says teachers union president Sally Schneider. The board is operating unilaterally based on the community members not wanting any tax raises, she adds.
Schneider says the board will appeal the order, and the union will likely file its own response. The entire SERB will issue a final decision in the coming months.