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Afternoon Announcements: September 6, 2011

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September 06, 2011 06:08 pm

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Here are your education announcements from over Labor Day weekend!

Congress is back in session, and policymakers now face a slew of unfinished business regarding K-12 education reforms. Education Week reports that federal lawmakers must finish the appropriations bills for fiscal 2012 while dealing with education funding issues and the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.

Major national media outlets published a slew of articles about digital learning over the long weekend. The New York Times reported on the digital education movement and the lack of data available to prove that providing a technology-centric education actually increases test scores. The Times uses the Kyrene School District, which has invested roughly $33 million in technology, as an example of the uncertainty. The district’s test scores have not increased with the digital-learning initiative even though the state’s scores have.  The Associated Press reported on school districts’ increasing reliance on iPads to replace textbooks. Lastly, the New  York Times provided an interesting take on digital education by displaying expert opinions on what they think school will look like in ten years.

The New York Times reported further on the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to rule out going on strike over the city’s push to implement longer school days. Chicago public schools officials want to lengthen the district’s days by 90 minutes, but the union rejected the district’s offer to give elementary school teacher a 2 percent raise. Now, several elementary schools have broke from the union and agreed to lengthen the day for a 2 percent raise, and schools officials are reaching out to more principals to get them on board.

The National Education Associated is set to create a super political action committee, which has no set limits on how much it can spend on political activity, according to Education Week.

Education Week reported on the difficulty of districts putting data systems in place that accurately connect teachers to their students. More states are considering legislation that ties teacher evaluations to student achievement, which is incentivized by the federal Race to the Top competition.

Tennessee has hired Chris Barbic, the found of the YES Prep Schools in Houston, to steer the states’s more troubled public schools. He will co-manage five of the worst-performing schools in Chattanooga and Memphis, according to the Associated Press.

Baltimore  has tried several radical education reforms in the past in an effort to turn around its urban schools that continued to be poor-performing. Now schools in the suburban areas are going to adopt some of the same approaches, including  national standards, a new test in core subjects, and the use of student testing data to assess teacher performance, according to the Baltimore Sun.

According to The Daily Times, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is ready to hold back thousands of struggling third-graders in order to improve their reading levels. Despite her intent, budget woes may not allow legislators to support the initiative.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is committed to improving early education and may be willing to pay extra to see it happen, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Deal told the newspaper he evaluating the idea to pay for top-notch teachers willing to work with some of the state’s youngest students.

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