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Afternoon Announcements–November 30, 2011

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November 30, 2011 07:13 pm

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Here are today’s top education headlines, brought to you by Alliance Policy Intern Bill DeBaun.

Good afternoon and welcome to your Wednesday edition of afternoon announcements! While you’re more than halfway to the weekend, you’re 100% of the way to arriving at today’s education news!

A town hall featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other local and state education leaders agreed that education is the key to fixing the nation’s economy, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Secretary Duncan noted, “Jobs are going to go to where the knowledge workers are.” Nevada, which faces a poor economy and an education system held in low esteem by many surveys, can improve quickly despite these hurdles, according to the Secretary. For a more national angle on this story, check out the Associated Press’s take, via the Las Vegas Sun.

US News and World Report tackles dropout factories, an issue that the Alliance has been raising awareness of for years. The article’s discussion notes that while the number of dropout factories nationally has decreased in the last decade, tens of thousands of students are still failing to graduate from these schools. The article identifies a number of areas where many dropout factories struggle, including having “a hamstrung principal,” “high suspension rates,” “overwhelmed students,” and a “lack of technical training.” For more information on the dropout crisis, check out some of the Alliance’s reports and publications on the topic.

The Raleigh News & Observer relates a developing conflict in North Carolina over a policy that extends the public school year by five days to 185 days. Although almost all of the state’s school districts received exemptions from the policy for the 2011-12 school year, far fewer of the 69 districts and four charter schools are expected to be extended that exemption for the 2012-13 school year. At issue is that the additional days will cost districts money for busing and personnel, and these additional days are being taken out of professional development time for teachers. The policy extending the school year was put into place during state budget negotiations in June.

Despite many states’ budget outlooks improving somewhat, 18 states recently passed midyear budget cuts to education, according to Education Week. This is still an improvement over last year, says the article, because 35 states made similar cuts in the 2010-11 school year.

The Christian Science Monitor offers up a disconcerting picture of how Americans’ budgets are hurting school-age children. According to the article, “considerably more school-age children are living in poverty than in the pre-recession year of 2007, the US Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Of all 3,142 counties in the US, 653 counties saw significant increases in poverty for children ages 5 to 17, according to the 2010 Census Bureau survey. Only eight counties saw a decrease.” The Huffington Post takes on this issue in a similar fashion by relying on a segment of 60 Minutes from this past Sunday. That segment described families and students forced to live in cars.

The Alliance has also done some work on the challenges–educational and otherwise–that face homeless youth. Here are a series of interviews that the Alliance conducted with students who were homeless in high school. The Alliance also hosted a webinar in partnership with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) on the issue of student homelessness. Watch video from the webinar.

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for reading our afternoon announcements. We’ll see you tomorrow!

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