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Mar 2006

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Cover Story


Charlie Brown calls it an effort to make the world a smaller place. The distance learning facilitator of the Magnolia (Texas) Independent School District, just 40 miles northwest of Houston, is the technical advisor responsible for connecting his students to videoconferences with students all over the world.

It was a heady day for the staff and students of the Poughkeepsie Middle School, a struggling institution just 82 miles north of Manhattan. The students and faculty were greeted by U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Discovery Channel CEO and President Judith A. McHale for the grand opening of the middle school's new state-of-the-art television studio.

Few topics strike terror in the hearts of K-12 school administrators like the evolution v. intelligent design debate and with good reason.


What can districts do to ensure that professional development strategies and spending align with findings from the best available research and affect student achievement? Three 2005 reports address these questions.

Forty or so years ago it wasn't far-fetched to consider school administrators as the glass-office workers they may have been, cloistered away from the voices of parents, students and staff they governed. But that's certainly not the scenario in Spokane, Wash., where Brian Benzel ensures daily that there's no communication breakdown on his watch. "Communication is a two-way process: information giving and receiving," says this son of a Ford Motor Co. salesman. And boy does Benzel take communication to a whole new level.

Last May, a first grader named Jasmine transferred to Mendota Elementary School, a K-5 school that's part of the Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District. She could barely read. Her parents were frustrated at her former teachers for letting their daughter fall so far behind.


NAACP Fights Connecticut's Lawsuit

Making clear that the Connecticut NAACP is not endorsing the No Child Left Behind law, President Scot X. Esdaile says the NAACP state chapter is choosing to side with the U.S. Department in Education while the state fights to have their lawsuit from being dismissed.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is fighting a court's decision last December to dismiss the state's lawsuit. Blumenthal says the law is an unfunded mandate and unfairly costs the state and local taxpayers millions of dollars.