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MEETING THE CHALLENGE: New AFT Report Highlights Ways to Attract Qualified Teachers to High-Poverty Schools

Teachers’ unions and school districts need to join forces and work together to attract and keep qualified teachers in high-poverty schools. So says Meeting the Challenge: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers in Hard-to-Staff Schools, a new report from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Among the strategies the report lists for attracting qualified teachers into highpoverty schools are an emphasis on school safety, professional development and induction programs, better recruitment and hiring practices, and higher teacher salaries.

To correct these flaws, the Every Student Counts Act would ensure that schools are held accountable for increasing the graduation rates of all students by requiring graduation rates to be disaggregated for both reporting and accountability purposes. The bill would also require that schools make incremental annual improvements in their overall and disaggregated graduation rates. These annual goals are based on rates of improvement that have been achieved in successful high schools.

In addition to holding high schools accountable, the bill would also help to better identify lowperforming high schools for additional attention and support and would give schools credit for graduating students who need extra time by allowing increases in both the four-year and fiveyear graduation rates to count toward achieving AYP.

Currently, twenty members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors of the Every Student Counts Act. A complete list of the cosponsors, as well as other information on the bill and other high school legislation currently pending before Congress, is available at


Advancing Literacy: Carnegie Corporation of New York Website Tracks Recent Reports on Adolescent Literacy


Those on the lookout for some summer reading should visit Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Advancing Literacy website, which includes a list of recently released reports on adolescent literacy. The Alliance for Excellent Education report Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas: Getting to the Core of Middle and High School Improvement is one of the featured reports. The website also includes information about reports from the National Academy of Education, the Migration Policy Institute, and the National Association of State Boards of Education, among others.

Advancing Literacy, part of a greater effort to improve the knowledge base on the teaching of reading after third grade, is devoted to disseminating research and sharing effective practices for reading instruction for older students. It provides tools for policymakers, parents, and educators and includes resources on the current state of adolescent literacy. It also explains why adolescent literacy matters and which adolescents are most at risk.

The Corporation plans to continue to identify, evaluate, fund, and promote information-sharing, research, and policy initiatives to remediate the crisis in adolescent literacy until it sees evidence that the crisis has been resolved.

More information is available at



Registration Now Open for the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Fourth Annual High School Policy Conference


This year, Congress has the opportunity to improve the nation’s secondary schools as it considers the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The question is whether Congress has the will to take the actions that are necessary. In an effort to ensure that Congress’s deliberations adequately address the needs of high schools, the Alliance for Excellent Education will hold its fourth annual high school policy conference, From No Child Left Behind to Every Child a Graduate, on October 4–5, at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference will convene local, state, and national education leaders to discuss federal strategies for improving the achievement of the nation’s struggling middle and high school students.

Last year’s conference examined the consensus that has been building around a federal agenda for high school reform. Leveraging that momentum, this year’s conference will focus on explicit policies that should be included in the reauthorization of NCLB to improve secondary schools.

Confirmed speakers at this point include Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Mike Petrilli, vice president for national programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, JoEllen Lynch of the New York City Department of Education, Bob Balfanz of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University, Rene Islas of Baker and Daniels Consulting, Charity Smith of the Arkansas Department of Education, and John Jackson, president of the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

The cost to attend is $100 if payment is received by September 5, 2007 and $150 if received after that date. Conference space is limited, and registrations are accepted on a “first come” basis. To register, view the agenda, or access hotel and travel information, visit


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.