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Afternoon Announcements: July 28, 2011

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July 28, 2011 06:46 pm

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News outlets all over the nation are talking about states bracing for plummeting high school graduation rates as districts nationwide dump flawed measurement formulas that often undercounted dropouts and produced inflated results. According to CBS News, “experts hope the changes will draw attention to the dropout issue and lead to resources being focused on the problem. … ‘We’re going to take an honest look in the mirror and see how real our graduation rate is and where we need to cut the dropout rate,’ said former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which has extensively studied the nation’s hodgepodge system of graduation rates. ‘You’ve got to know how deep the hole is in order to develop a strategy for getting out of it.’”

NPR finishes out its five-part series “School’s Out: America’s Dropout Crisis” with this story:

Part 5: A High School Dropout’s Midlife Hardships
Today, the people who seem to be hurting the most in our sputtering economy are dropouts in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday on 2012 education spending, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan defends education funding and policies, according to the Huffington Post.

The Washington Post reports on a national poll that finds a wide majority of parents believe that it is just as important for their children to know digital media skills as traditional learning skills, but they remain wary about the role social networks play in young people’s lives.

“The Master’s as the New Bachelor’s”: In this article, the New York Times writes that colleges are turning out more graduates than the market can bear, and a master’s degree is essential for job seekers to stand out—that, or a diploma from an elite undergraduate college.

The New York Times also reports that once nearly 100 percent, teacher tenure rate drops to 58 percent as rules tighten.

Yesterday, education leaders told a U.S. House of Representatives committee to focus on crafting comprehensive blueprint for teacher evaluations as Congress moves ahead in overhauling No Child Left Behind, reports the Huffington Post.

In a New York Times op-ed titled “This Is Your Brain on Summer,” Jeff Smink writes, “The American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. Summers off are one of the most important, yet least acknowledged, causes of underachievement in our schools.”

For poor kids, however, the opportunity gap for attending summer learning programs has widened this year as some cash-strapped local agencies have eliminated thousands of summer school slots, leaving needy students with fewer ways to keep pace with their more affluent peers, reports the Washington Post.

But there’s at least one camp serving low-income students this summer—the New York Times writes about Bard College’s sleepaway camp for low-income students gifted in mathematics.

According to the Hattiesburg American, Mississippi is blessed to have an active reading program showing success for schoolchildren, and that should be broadened statewide.

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