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Afternoon Announcements–November 28, 2011

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November 28, 2011 05:50 pm

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Today’s top education headlines come to you courtesy of the Alliance’s policy intern, Bill DeBaun:

We have a veritable ton of education news to share with you today. We hope you made your Thanksgiving leftover sandwich extra big today, because it’s going to take you a while to sift through all the happenings from the past few days!

The New York Times and The Huffington Post both offer takes on what the Congressional super committee’s failure to strike a deal means for education. The long story short is that automatic cuts to a variety of education programs will trigger in 2013 unless Congress intercedes. Cuts to Pell grants, special education funding, and general Title I funding will all be made in the 2012-2013 school year. This will compound budget crunches in states across the nation.

US News and World Report reports on Pathways in Technology Early College High School in New York City, a six-year high school program that sees students graduate with a diploma, associate’s degree, and job opportunities. The school is a partnership between IBM, the New York City Department of Education, and the City University of New York. Students who graduate from “P-Tech” will be “‘at the front of the line’ to be hired for entry-level positions at the company, according to Stanley Litow, IBM Foundation president.” Students from any of New York’s five boroughs can apply to matriculate to P-Tech.

Persistent truancy in the Detroit Public Schools could cost the district a hefty sum, according to The Detroit News . Michigan could charge DPS up to $25.9 million for poor attendance in the past school year. Detroit’s public schools had less than the state-mandated 75 percent attendance on 46 days last year. In the article, Steve Wasko, a DPS spokesman, noted, “Anecdotally, at the beginning of the year we have low attendance…We finally turned that trend around this year. Last year, we didn’t get the full 75 percent of attendance until the 10th day of school. This year, we reached on the fifth day of school.”

Now for the multimedia part of today’s announcements! The Huffington Post contributes this article and video of a retired school teacher, Juanita Martinez of Brighton, Colorado, who was able to sit down and have dinner with the President of the United States last month. Martinez expressed her concerns about schools’ available resources, and President Obama affirmed his commitment to education and noted its importance for him personally.

Education Week describes a new study from the Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series at Harvard University that describes how students’ middle school transitions may be hurting them in middle school. The study found “that students moving from grade 5 into middle school show a ‘sharp drop’ in math and language arts achievement in the transition year that plagues them as far out as 10th grade, even risking thwarting their ability to graduate high school and go on to college.”

Finally, the New York Times reports on the growing trend of textbooks going digital through technology like the Kindle and iPad. Textbooks have been slower to make the jump to this medium than consumer books, but according to the Student Monitor, a private student market research company, “about 5 percent of all textbooks acquired in the autumn in the United States were digital textbooks. That is more than double the 2.1 percent of the spring semester.”

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