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Afternoon Announcements: November 7, 2011

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November 07, 2011 06:12 pm

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The Washington Times reports that key lawmakers and educators are growing increasingly pessimistic that Congress can pass a massive overhaul of federal education policy before the 2012 election-year battles doom any hopes for major bipartisan legislation. To that point, Alliance President Bob Wise is quoted, saying, “Education is really about the only issue left that has not managed to make itself totally toxic. If Congress really resents the waiver proposal, then they have an obligation to act now. It’s not fair to states to begin implementing significant changes and then suddenly change all of the rules on them. The longer Congress waits, the more the waivers take effect.”

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, writes about education and the 2012 election in a Huffington Post op-ed.

Middle and high school science classes are holding kids’ interests; surveys show the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and math) is on the rise. But as these new coeds fight their way upstream through a flood of calculus, physics, and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students, the excitement quickly wanes leaving many swimming for shore. Read more in the New York Times about on why science majors change their minds.

The Huffington Post reports that the National Governors Association has announced plans to work with three states and one territory on developing new teacher evaluation guidelines, which could then be shared with other states.

The Wall Street Journal reports that among minorities, there is a new wave of “disconnected youth,” the term for young adults who are neither in school nor working. The article cites data from the U.S. Census Bureau: the unemployment rate last year among high-school dropouts between ages 16 and 24 was 29 percent, which is up from 17.7 percent in 2000 and seven points higher than that of their peers who finished high school but didn’t go on to college. The problem is particularly acute among Hispanics and African-Americans. Several studies find that only about 50 percent of black and Hispanic students graduate from high school, compared with 75 percent of white students.

Once every four years, the Corn Belt Mathematics Conference takes place and all day Friday, Pontiac Township High School plays host to schools from all over the Corn Belt in addition to feeder schools around and near Pontiac and gets a chance to show others how math is moving to the digital age at their high school. Read more at the Pontiac Daily Leader.

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