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Afternoon Announcements–October 28, 2011

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October 28, 2011 06:16 pm

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Happy Friday, everyone. Here are today’s top education headlines.

Writing for the Rio Grande Guardian, U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa acknowledges that Congress and the president must work to reduce the nation’s deficit, but argues that the federal budget cannot be balanced “on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable populations: the poor, the sick, the elderly, and our nation’s children and youth.” Hinojosa, who is the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, discusses the Graduation Promise Act, which he cosponsored, and says it would “lay a solid foundation for the nation’s economic future” by reforming the nation’s low-performing high schools. He cites research from the Alliance for Excellent Education finding that the dropouts from the Class of 2010 alone will cost the economy $337 billion in lost wages over their lifetimes.

The Huffington Post attempts to guess the fate of the bill that the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed last week to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind. It notes that critics of the bill, such as “data-driven education reform groups and civil rights groups,” have said that Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) “watered down the bill so much in the name of bipartisanship that it would be better to go back to the drawing board and forgo the small window of opportunity this rewrite has of reaching the president’s desk.” It add that the bill would likely change “enormously” if it reaches the Senate floor. “In order to bring the bill through committee, Harkin cut a deal with Republican senators and teachers’ unions that removed a provision mandating teacher evaluations in every school,” the article reads. “The move lost the bill support from education-reform groups and earned the measure criticism from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.”

Education Week continues the focus on federal education reform in an article entitled, “Obama Using Education Issue as Political Sword.” It notes that President Obama has started “using its record on education–and that of congressional Republicans–as a political weapon as Campaign 2012 heats up.” Among the specific items the article mentions are a recent Obama proposal to reduce college students’ debt, a bill to modernize schools and hire teachers, and a plan to provide states with relief from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Elsewhere in the news, the Associated Press spotlights a bill in Michigan that would allow more “cyber” charter schools; the Chicago Tribune focuses on a “more rigorous internal evaluation system” in Chicago that judge schools on how well they prepare students for college; and New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott tells the Associated Press that the schools the city closed were graduating students at a rate of 40 percent or less.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.