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Afternoon Announcements: September 15, 2011

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September 15, 2011 05:44 pm

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The New York Times reports that average scores on the SAT fell across the nation this year, with the reading score for the high school class of 2011 falling three points to 497, the lowest on record. This information comes from a report by the College Board, which administers the exams. The report shows the average writing score dropped two points, to 489, and the math score was down one point, to 514. The College Board attributed the decline to the increasing diversity of the students taking the test. For example, about 27 percent of the nearly 1.65 million test-takers last year came from a home where English was not the only language, up from 19 percent a decade ago.

A group of key U.S. Senate Republicans—led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, a former U.S. secretary of education—are going their own way on reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, according to Education Week. Back in January, the top lawmakers on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee pledged to work together on a bipartisan, comprehensive bill to fix NCLB, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. But almost eight months later, those talks haven’t resulted in a bill.

A judge Wednesday ordered teachers in Washington state’s third-largest school district to go back to work, a day after they walked out over issues that include pay and how teachers are transferred, according to the Associated Press . However, it wasn’t immediately clear when classes would resume for the 28,000 students kept home by the Tacoma teachers strike.

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy and Hollywood philanthropist Megan Chernin have launched an effort to raise $200 million over five years to benefit local public schools. The collaboration, in the works for several months, was announced in a letter signed by Deasy, Chernin and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press reported that both Kansas and Maine could be one of six states selected to develop national science curriculum standards, meaning they  could provide strong input into the formation of those standards.

Negotiations over extending the length of the school day in Chicago public schools seems to have taken a step forward. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Schools is taking a Chicago Teachers Union offer over longer school days for next year as a positive sign that the union will be working with the district on structuring the lengthened school day.

According to NPR, Maryland teachers have a new requirement this year: All schools in the state must develop plans to promote environmental literacy. The new requirement is creating some challenges for teachers. The goal is to integrate environmental concerns into science, social studies and other topics.

Colorado will join other states seeking a waiver from parts of the highly criticized federal No Child Left Behind law, the Colorado Board of Education decided Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. State Department of Education officials told the board that Colorado has changed how school districts are evaluated since the 2002 law took effect, and that parts of it have become outdated and put unnecessary and duplicative administrative burdens on schools.

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