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Morning Announcements April 18, 2012

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April 18, 2012 04:19 pm

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Happy (and hopefully not hectic) Wednesday! It’s the middle of the week, so in between thanking your lucky stars that it’s not Monday or Tuesday and praying for Friday, get caught up on the latest in education news.

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is coming under fire for expressing his intent to largely slash the Department of Education. The two-time Harvard professional degree recipient told a room full of campaign donors that he’d slim down the U.S. Department of Education if he were elected president, according to Education Week.

That battle for public schools continues in Chicago; between teacher unions, schools days, and funding, every day is a different fight. With changes to the length of next year’s school day, a continuing budget deficit and ongoing teacher contract talks that pose the potential for a strike,  Chicago Public Schools principals are gearing up for a struggle. The Chicago Tribune reports that teachers are already planning for a longer school day next year.

From the New York Times, a new report finds students in certain well-off neighborhoods have more access to high-performing middle schools than students from low-income communities in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The report from the Schott Foundation also finds that students from low-income, mostly black and Hispanic districts, have fewer experienced teachers and are less likely to attend gifted and talented programs and specialized high schools.

As the Alliance for Excellent Education has previously reported, access to Advanced Placement courses for minority and low income students is a challenge that often results in perfectly qualified students opting not to take the tests. The Los Angeles Times now reports that, in order to tackle this issue, 200 schools are eligible for funds for the next three years through the College Board initiative, including 30 in Los Angeles County.

Also in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times notes that the LA United Schools District is considering lowering its standards for graduation.  The district could face a flood of dropouts if it doesn’t ease its policy that all students pass college-prep classes.

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