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Afternoon Announcements: September 1, 2011

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September 01, 2011 06:03 pm

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State education commissioners in the Chiefs for Change group are urging U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to hold those who win Race to the Top grant money accountable for the plans they submitted. The group wrote a letter to Duncan on Aug. 25 saying they understand implementation may require adjustments; however, Race to the Top competition winners need to stick to their plans for improving academic achievement. Education Week reports the letter comes after some states who won the competition scaled back on certain project proposals or delayed projects.

The former Kansas City public schools chief that abruptly resigned this week is heading to Detroit, where he may earn up to $1.6 million to become the new chancellor of a statewide school district for low-performing schools. The Detroit News reports John Covington signed the contract last Friday with the Michigan Achievement System that provides an $800 monthly car allowance, $10,000 in professional development funds, and runs until June 30, 2015. The Kansas City Star reports the Kansas City School District appointed Steve Green as the interim superintendent to replace Covington.

The National Public Radio completed a segment on the persisting achievement gap and how some educators are using  “gifted and talented” programs to help improve underachieving students. These programs, experts say, play on students’ strengths and give them more power in deciding what they learn.

As for gifted children, the Christian-Science Monitor featured aa piece on this group of students in public schools that can often be overlooked. Some of the brightest students tend to hit a “class ceiling” by learning subjects quickly and failing to be adequately challenged in school. The newspaper reports on a new trend of parents taking these kids out of their traditional school and placing them in an institution specically geared for gifted students. Many of these are public schools with a private school vibe and receive private donations.

A new report by University of Missouri researchers shows the vitality of early-education programs leading to success later in students’ lives. The study examined the long-term success rates of Chicago’s Child-Parent Center Education Program and found low-income children who spent two to six years in the program had higher rates of high school graduation,  fewer criminal arrests, reduced instances of substance abuse and earned more money than children of the same age who did not participate in the program.

Fairfax County schools plan to offer several high school honors classes online this fall after parents complained about the elimination of face-to-face versions of the courses. The courses that will be added to the schools’ online campus include World Studies II Honors and Eleventh-Grade English Languages and Composition Honors, according to the Washignton Post.

The Washington Post reports that Washington DC schools are receiving criticism for shutting down a trio of Parent and Family Resource Centers in Northwest Washington that were created several years ago to help parents manager their children’s education. New DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said the centers, which cost $1.2 million last year, are underused and ineffective. She also said they are temporary and will eventually reopen to be operated by community groups.

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