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From DA

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in June upholding a school voucher program in Cleveland, pundits across the country said the decision would transform the nature of education in America. They predicted a state-by-state shakeout, with school choice advocates plotting their next offensive, minority parents forming powerful grassroots movements, and Republican legislators slyly soliciting support for voucher amendments.

I am an enthusiastic user and advocate of digital technology. I am not a utopian and I appreciate how colleagues and pundits alike remind us to be aware of the potential negatives associated with technology use. As far as I can tell, the greatest downside of the computing and communications revolution is that every two-bit, weasely politician and mediocre educational bureaucrat in the world has read Peter Drucker.

Ms. Jones has been teaching English for 10 years, and the community loves her. She's creative, energetic and great with kids. However, she frustrates her principal. Last year, he purchased six computers for her classroom and sent her to a week-long workshop on integrating technology. Still, the computers sit idle most of the time. Ms. Jones says she doesn't have time to cover the state-assessed English curriculum and teach technology.

The presidential vote-counting debacle of 2000 was the first in a spate of recent national events that put the spotlight on understanding our democracy, Constitution and lawmaking.

After the election was resolved, President George W. Bush maintained the focus with his call for Americans to be "citizens, not spectators." The terrorist attacks on September 11, the resulting war on terror and its attention to homeland security, and the new likelihood of war with Iraq have kept issues like privacy, war powers and the duties of citizenship in our collective consciousness.

As an educator, Deborah Meier walks the walk. Her learning theories are evident in the successes of the urban schools she's touched, and those theories have generated thinking about alternatives to large, impersonal one-size-fits-all schooling. The schools she has overhauled set the standard for excellence and raise educational expectations without falling into the trap of standardization. Meier's students demonstrate their knowledge to the community through her pioneering work with student exhibitions and the development of habits of mind.

We all sing the praises of parent involvement as an essential ingredient to increased achievement for students; yet in most school districts it's cultivated at only the lowest levels. We want parents to come to the ball games, school concerts, school plays and awards assemblies. But, do we really want them sitting in on classes or debating the merits of the curriculum? It doesn't seem so.

The academic lives of college students revolve around computer networks, with nearly every institution offering course descriptions and schedules online, class Web sites, student-teacher chat rooms, work and grades delivered via e-mail and more.

Let's assume you've had the same job for the past 12 years. In that time, you've changed in numerous ways, the typical maturation that follows college, marriage, buying a house and having children.

But today, when you come into work, you realize that the job is still relatively unchanged from when you started and it doesn't use the talents you've developed in the intervening years. Worse yet, you're treated as if you're still 22, with bosses overseeing your every move and telling you what's good for you.

Everybody's talking about data-getting it, using it, sharing it.

Unearth the realities of data-driven decision-making and how it can be just what your district needs to help at-risk students

Growing up on a farm in Gilman, Wisc., a town with just 400 people, Tim Micke learned that experience is the best teacher.

Take the time he was out in a field and the tractor ran out of gas. As he walked the mile round trip to and from the gas tank, Micke knew he would never start farm work again without checking the gas gauge.

From Montana to West Virginia, just having enough students is a problem. In New Mexico, low test scores of Native American children are the thorn. And in rural Oklahoma and Pennsylvania schools, the problem can lie in having enough money to hire more teachers and aides, maintain school buildings, and buy updated science textbooks, technology, new buses and even playground equipment.

MARIACHI MAGIC

This district is keeping its large Hispanic student population in school and interested with a different type of music program

When Jose Salinas' eighth-grade band students play, they stand but do not march. You will never hear "Pomp and Circumstance" from them.

Instead the guitarrone players will pluck out a strong bass line, and the trumpets, violins and guitars will work through the unmistakable melody of "La Bamba."

What do you do when your primarily Hispanic student body shuns band?

SOUTHERN PASSIONS

This Atlanta superintendent doesn't need research to tell her all students can achieve-she's living proof

It was when Beverly Hall was growing up in her native Jamaica with an optimistic and hard-working mother that she learned she could achieve.

ENRON and Education

Why are education experts being tossed aside in favor of politicians and business officials?

When I grow up I want to be ... politically connected. This is the lesson taught across America as politicians dismantle local school boards, fire superintendents and replace them with men lacking any expertise in the complex issues facing the public schools.

Generals, border czars, basketball players and prosecutors must be more qualified to lead schools than those pesky educators. Right?

VIRTUAL CAMPUS TOURS

Online multimedia technologies deliver the sights and sounds of college, without the cost and inconvenience of traveling

The excitement of a new school year quickly gives way to panic as college-bound seniors scramble to narrow college choices and complete applications. This anxiety-laden process may involve last-minute visits for open-house weekends and interviews that cost time and money. As the parents of one senior told me recently after a disappointing trip, "The best part of that college was the brochure."

The Digital Bridge

Divides occur all around us, but don't constrain access in the name of equality

Some families with school-age children have computers and Internet connections. Some don't. We call that the digital divide, and it gets an awful lot of attention.

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