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Afternoon Announcements: August 17, 2011

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August 17, 2011 05:19 pm

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Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup Poll released findings today from their study investigating the public’s attitude toward the public schools. Researchers asked about 1,000 people questions about education issues including quality of teachers, charter schools, voucher programs and more. The study found Americans have great appreciation for and trust in public school teachers, but less so for teacher unions at our nation’s schools in general. Some of the key findings include:

– Nearly three in four Americans have trust and confidence in public school teachers and believe theyshould have flexibility in how they teach curriculum.

– Two of three Americans would like a child of theirs to become a public school teacher.

– Nearly 70 percent of Americans said they generally hear negative, rather than positive, stories about schools in the media.

– Nearly 50 percent of Americans said they believe teacher unions have hurt the quality of public school education in the United States, while 26 percent said they have helped and the rest believed they made no difference.

Read the Huffington Post article here and the full report here.

ACT released its annual report yesterday, showing more students are college and career ready than in the past but that the number of prepared students still needs serious improvement. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia, spoke to the Washington Times about the findings, which show 25 percent of students who took the ACT test achieved all of the company’s preparedness benchmarks, while 75 percent will likely need to take at least one remedial course in college to brush up on high school material. Wise called this type of remediation “taxpayers paying twice” – once for the student to learn the information in high school and then again in college.

Another national study published today found that one in five children in America lives in poverty. The research was conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and discovered child poverty increased in 38 states from 2000 to 2009, resulting in 14.7 million children — or 20 percent — being poor in 2009. That represents a 2.5 million increase from 2000, when 17 percent of the nation’s youth lived in low-income homes. The study also found that Nevada had the highest rate of children whose parents are unemployed or underemployed, according to the Associated Press.

Arkansas officials announced Tuesday they are launching a nearly $2.7 millioneducation program – STEM Works —  that aims to have more students studying in high-technology fields in the future by updating high school curriculum and getting college graduates to teach in those areas. The main focus areas will be on updating science, technology, engineering and math courses, the Associated Press reports.

Minnesota is joining the list of states seeking a waiver from No Child Left Behind, calling the it a “failed law.” Under the waiver, hundreds of Minnesota schools would avoid federal penalities and being added to a list of “failing schools, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Have questions for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan? You can ask him any education-related question on Twitter — just use the hashtag #AskArne. Duncan will answer questions at his first-ever Twitter Town Hall on August 24, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. Journalist John Merrow will moderate, and the town hall will be broadcast live online.

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