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From DA

The 2005 Nation's Report Card, a large sample, fifty-state assessment of reading and math achievement among fourth and eighth grade students, provides cause for cautious optimism. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings touts steady gains among American students and says the results demonstrate that schools are on the right track. Math achievement scores rose to the highest level in 15 years for both fourth and eighth grade students. Eighty percent of fourth graders and 69 percent of eighth graders performed at or above the basic level in math, up from 50 percent and 52 percent in 1990.

Curriculum director Jerry Foucher says nobody paid much attention to the development of course content for social studies and civics classes in his district. Until last school year. Then there was uproar.

The controversy started in March, about the time of the outbreak of war in Iraq. The district, Farmington (Mich.) Public Schools, was introducing changed graduation requirements, including a new international affairs class geared toward making students better global citizens.

After hearing about the class, some parents were unhappy. And they complained. Bitterly.

Thanks to growing reliance on technology and increasing sophistication on the part of digital miscreants, security issues are uppermost in the minds of many districts. To fend off the worms, viruses and hack attempts that happen every day, many IT managers and superintendents have implemented firewall-based security systems that give them at least some shelter from the storm.

Canon

Network Cameras, www.usa.canon.com, Hardware, Starts at $1,349

Everyday, teachers are confronted with many challenges, from prodding stubborn learners to subduing undisciplined students. But one of the most important parts of every teacher's equilibrium can go unchecked day after day.

Ethics.

Ten States Allowed to Use Growth Models to Calculate AYP

In November, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced a pilot program to let up to 10 states use growth models to determine Adequate Yearly Progress. Many states and lobbyists have requested this approach.

Cost-benefit analysis. High yield. Economic return. Such phrases from the world of finance have been cropping up in recent reports and articles on preschool education. What kind of yields can be expected on pre-K investments? As a financial advisor might say, "It depends on the quality of the investments."

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