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Afternoon Announcements–November 8, 2011

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November 08, 2011 06:26 pm

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This morning, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on a bill it recently passed to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As Education Week notes, the hearing was an unusual one because hearings typically come BEFORE the committee passes legislation. The article also examines a couple of issues that could prevent the bill from reaching the Senate floor, including a full Senate calendar and pending House action on NCLB’s accountability provision.

Here are the rest of your top education headlines for Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

The Associated Press reports on President Obama’s speech at a Head Start center in Pennsylvania where he “chided” congressional Republicans Tuesday for “trying to gut our investments in education.” Obama also announced new steps to tackle early childhood education that won’t require legislation.

Shifting its focus to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Associated Press reports that Duncan is “encouraged” by efforts that some states are making to allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges. “They are either going to be taxpayers and productive citizens and entrepreneurs and innovators or they are going to be on the sidelines and a drag on the economy,” Duncan said in an interview with the Associated Press.

In Halifax County, North Carolina, parents will be held accountable for their children’s school attendance, the Daily Herald reports. The process begins with the principal notifying the parent or guarding when a students accumulates three unexcused absences in a school year. Additional notices are given after six unexcused absences. Once a student has ten unexcused absences and the school principal determines the parent has not made an effort to comply with the law, a criminal warrant for school attendance law violation against the parent or guardian will be secured. Halifax County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey believes that the effort could help lower the number of students dropping out by addressing school attendance early.

The Miami Herald reports on a new state law that will use student scores on standardized exams to help evaluate teachers and set their pay. The model will initially use results on the FCAT, which has gotten tougher, and will expand to include other tests that are being developed in every subject at every grade level. The article spotlights Orlando Sarduy, a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High, who teaches calculus–a subject not assessed by the FCAT. According to the article, Sarduy’s value-added score will be tied to the FCAT reading score of his entire school, which is a notion that “infuriates him, even though he appreciates the level of objectivity the new system brings, and the ways it strives to isolate a teacher’s impact on student learning,” the article notes.

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