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News Update

 

HONORED

Superintendent Frank S. Porter of Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, Calif., is the 2010 recipient of the Leadership through Communications Award for his enhancement of school-to-parent communication.

A first of its kind, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act has been introduced to set national standards for the practices of controlling disruptive and potentially dangerous students. The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in early December 2009, was in response to two studies revealing hundreds of cases across the nation of the misuse of restraint and seclusion.

Seventy-seven percent of high school students nationwide are missing the core benchmarks necessary to prepare them for their first year in college, according to a new study conducted by the research and policy arm of ACT, which conducts curriculum based college entrance exams similar to the SAT.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has released the Milestones for Improving Learning and Education (MILE ) Guide, a new tool for K12 leaders to assess where their district falls in providing their students with critical 21st century skills.

The MILE Guide is the most recent release from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, an organization that promotes the integration of these critical skills into core academic subjects.

An unsettling trend is emerging in urban pockets across the country as some school districts are redrawing their boundary lines. As a result, many municipalities are showing glaring gaps in race, ethnicity and economic status.

 

Activist Passes

Author, advocate, and defender of public education Gerald Bracey died Oct. 20 at age 69. Renowned as an expert on standardized testing, he released his final book, “Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality,” earlier this year.

Larry Williams, assistant superintendent for facilities and construction in the Lewisville (Texas) Independent School District, received the Pinnacle of Excellence Award at the annual meeting of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) in Chicago in October. He was honored for spearheading a project to make his department’s work more efficient and more cost-effective. It included the initiation of the “classroom blitz,” in which every 60 days each of the district’s 4,000 classrooms is inspected.

Saying that many schools of education are doing a “mediocre job,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called for a “sea change” in how they train teachers. In an address on Oct. 22 at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Duncan said, “America's university-based teacher preparation programs need revolutionary change—not evolutionary tinkering.”

A report issued by the New York City Charter Schools Evaluation Project in September, and since been held up as clear evidence that charter schools are doing a better job than traditional schools, is now facing criticism that its claim of being an “apples to apples” study just isn’t true.

 

RAISING THE BAR

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