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Afternoon Announcements: January 9, 2012

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January 09, 2012 09:34 pm

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It’s the beginning of another work week, so between anxiously awaiting another weekend and praying for a snow day, take in the latest in education news.

Republicans in the U.S House of Representatives are looking to combat the many issues plaguing the American educational system, beginning with the weaknesses of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. According to CNN, a draft was released last Friday and could scale down the federal role in education reform.

The struggling economy is taking a toll on families all across the country, and as the Chicago Sun-Times points out, financial hardships are also resulting in more homeless students. The number of homeless students in the Chicago Public School system reached more than ten thousand at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. The increase is putting a strain on schools and underscores a growing trend nationwide.

According to a study released by the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation, old-fashioned in-class observation of teachers is the most effective means for adequate elevation. The Los Angeles Times reports the study concluded that the previous once-a-year observation of a classroom is insufficient but the process of observing classroom operation is beneficial despite often being costly and time consuming. The study asserts that the best way to evaluate teachers is to use several methods that incorporate date-based analysis such as standardized test scores with in-class observation. This also helps teachers improve.

Parents in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross, Georgia are fuming over the response of the Gwinnett County school district after they complained that a math worksheet sent home to elementary school students contained inappropriate references to slavery. According to the Atlantic Journal-Constitution, school officials assured parents that the principal at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, where most of the students are minorities, would work with teachers to develop more appropriate lessons. Parents, however, felt the response was not enough and are demanding an apology and diversity training for the teachers and staff. The worksheet contained questions such as: “Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?” and “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”

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