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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.

Afternoon Announcements: May 16, 2012

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May 16, 2012 07:29 pm

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As the days get warmer and spring starts creeping toward summer, high schools around the country are starting to prepare for Graduation Day.

Today, we get two separate profiles on high school graduates who faced long odds, but who will be receiving their high school diplomas. The first, from the Journal News (Hamilton, OH), focuses on J’aime Murray, who lost the ability to move when doctors removed a tumor from her brain in 2008. She missed months of school after her surgery and has spent her summers since eighth grade catching up. The second, from the Middletown Journal (OH), spotlights Jennifer Frongia, who spent time in two high schools and several home school programs before finding the right fit for her at Middletown’s Success Academy, which features smaller classrooms.

Reminding us how every high school graduate benefits the community in which they live is KUT, the public radio affiliate in Austin, Texas. Citing data from the Alliance for Excellent Education, the article points out that cutting the high school dropout rate in half in the Austin metro area would translate into $38 million more annually in earnings, an extra $59 million on home purchases, and $2.4 million annually on vehicles.

As the summer months begin to draw near, Soapbox Cincinnati focuses on the “summer slide.” No, that’s not the great ride at your local water park, it’s a time when “many disadvantaged and/or low-income students experience a deterioration of concepts and skills they’ve learned throughout the year,” the article notes. It spotlights Cincinnati Public Schools’ “Fifth Quarter” program, which combines reading, writing, and arithmetic in the morning with fun outings in the afternoon to places like King’s Island, the self-proclaimed “largest amusement and waterpark in the midwest.” King’s Island doesn’t have a summer slide, but it does have a Aruba Tuba.

The Charleston Daily Mail highlights the impact of West Virginia legislators’ decision to cut back on the state’s “Promise Scholarship,” which had previously covered all tuition and fees at any public school in the state, to a cap of $4,750, which fails to cover tuition at most state schools. Alliance President Bob Wise, who signed the Promise Scholarship into law when he was governor in 2002, is quoted in the article as saying that legislators could have found a way to completely fund the scholarship if they had wanted to.

In education-related comings and goings, the New York Times reports that David Coleman, an architect of the Common Core State Standards that have been adopted in forty-six states and the District of Columbia, will become the new president of the College Board in October.

Sticking with the Common Core, the PBS Newshour asks whether the Common Core will help boost reading skills. In the piece, John Merrow goes to three schools in the New York City area that are using three different reading programs to teach their students how to read to see if any of their books are up to snuff with the new standards. Watch Merrow’s report by clicking on the video to the right.

Before we go, we wanted to highlight four different articles on college. The first, from the New York Times, is the latest in a series showcasing the tremendous burden of paying for a college education. The article, “A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College,” notes that the average debt for all borrowers in 2011 was $23,300; 10 percent of borrowers owe more than $54,000 and 3 percent owe more than $100,000.

Is all of this debt worth it? A new report from the Centers for Disease Control says it is. The report, which is covered in USA Today, finds that individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher live about nine years longer than those who don’t graduate from high school. So, whether you go to college certainly matters–but so does what you study. Bloomberg News, citing a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, reports that this year’s class of college graduates will enter the strongest job market since 2008. In particular, students with backgrounds in computer science, engineering and accounting are in high demand. And what happens if this most recent batch of college graduates doesn’t get the job they want? Many of them will likely tap their parents for help. USA Today reports that nearly one third of 500 recent college graduates report that “their parents are in some way involved in their job search process — in some cases, very involved.”

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.