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Afternoon Announcements: July 7, 2011

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July 07, 2011 06:57 pm

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Writing for Education Week‘s K-12 blog, Alyson Klein notes that Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is less than thrilled with the response from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to his request for more information about the department’s plan to give states leeway on parts of the No Child Left Behind Act in exchange for signing onto a package of reforms-to-be-named-later. Summarizing Duncan’s response, she writes, “If you expected the department to provide Kline & Co. with a thorough, detailed explanation of the waiver proposal, you’ll be sorely disappointed. “

In another post from earlier this afternoon, Klein (the reporter) writes that Kline (the congressman) gave a preview of the House Education and the Workforce’s funding flexibility bill today on former Education Secretary Bill Bennett’s radio show, Morning in America. And he said that the bill won’t be introduced with bipartisan support. More details on the bill are expected to come out this afternoon. You can listen to audio from Chairman Kline’s radio appearance at http://edworkforce.house.gov/Audio/.

Now that your speakers are warmed up, you can also listen to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talk to NPR about No Child Left Behind, the plan aimed to improve failing public schools; as well as the Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for some undocumented youth.

On debt limit news, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told fellow House Republicans this morning that the chances of congressional leaders and President Obama reaching a tentative debt-ceiling deal within 48 hours are “maybe 50-50.” National Journal has the story.

The Detroit Free Press reports on a state investigation finding that teachers and principals in dozens of Atlanta public schools doctored students’ test papers. The investigation, detailed this week in a report issued by Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, showed that Atlanta school administrators emphasized test results “to the exclusion of integrity and ethics.” The article contains additional information on test-tampering and other scrutiny on standardized tests from around the country.

Education Week reports that a student-achievement test under consideration by nearly half the states has been redesigned to ease their concerns that it would cost too much, shape curriculum, and eat up too much instructional time. The change was announced last week by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, one of two state consortia using federal Race to the Top funds to craft shared assessments for the common academic standards in mathematics and English/language arts that most states have adopted.

The Associated Press writes that educators increasingly find themselves caught between their obligation to educate each child and conflicting guidance, or simply no direction at all, about whether to help illegal immigrants beyond the classroom.

In the Washington Post, Jay Mathews examines why urban school districts are often late in hiring teachers. “Summer is often a bad time for urban school districts, as officials fill teacher openings too late to get the best candidates,” he writes. “If the D.C. schools are waiting until July to see if the new teacher evaluation system is going to cost 600 teachers their jobs for being ‘minimally effective,’ that means their best possible replacements will already have been hired by other districts.”

The Washington Post editorial board encourages higher education officials to think harder about affordability, including not only more scholarship money but also lower costs and higher efficiency. The board points to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of Americans think higher education is not a good value, even though they know how much it boosts earning power. “Three-quarters say that college is too expensive for most people,” the article reads. “And with the cost of many state universities skyrocketing – next fall, the University of California’s in-state tuition may be double what it was just six years ago – those perceptions are understandable.”

And as your reward for making it all the way to the end of today’s clips, here’s a short video of the 20-year history of the space shuttle, which is scheduled to make its final launch tomorrow-although there are reports that the launch could be postponed because of inclement weather. The Washington Post has complete coverage on the last launch, as well as a look back at the space shuttle program. And of course NASA has a ton of coverage, as well as a link to watch the launch live.

 

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