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Morning Announcements: August 18, 2011

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August 18, 2011 03:08 pm

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A new report shows the United States is far behind many countries in student math proficiency. America ranked 32nd out of 65 countries that participated in the latest international PISA exam that is administrated to samples of 15-year-old students in different countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Despite the United States’ relatively poor standing, Massachusetts ranked among the highest performers, along with Switzerland and Singapore, according to the Christian Science Monitor reported. The Huffington Post also wrote about the report, stating that the poor ranking in both domestic and international math exams could add to the world’s financial problems over the years.

Joplin, Missouri filled the headlines again today as students headed back to school for the first time since a tornado ripped through their town and destroyed their only public high school. City officials created temporary locations throughout town for students to return to class in addition to supplying every high schooler a computer on their first day. “You can judge a community by the way it takes care of its kids,” said C.J. Huff, a Joplin schools superintendent, according to ABC News. “We take care of our kids. Every student in ninth- through 12th-grade will have a computer on their first day.”

The Los Angeles Times reports on the newspaper’s analysis of the local school district’s lowest-performing schools. It found the school district has done  just as good of a job – if not better – at improving math and English scores than outside reform groups despite not receiving outside funding to do so.

Wisconsin public school and voucher school students are testing around the same level, state auditors said on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. The report found little difference in test scores between students in Milwaukee’s school-voucher program and those in the public school system.

South Dakota is working on a new assessment system for students in public schools to replace standards under No Child Left Behind, the state educations secretary told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Idaho has announced it will cover the costs of taking the SAT for all high school juniors, according to the Spokesman Review. The state Legislature passed a bill in 2007 requiring all high school juniors to take a college entrance exam by the end of the year as a graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2013. It is now appropriating roughly $960,000 to make the SAT for free.

A Dan Jones & Associates poll released Wednesday shows Utahns with a higher degree or certification are better off in nearly all aspects of life. They tend to have a better income level, feel happier in general, have a better family life, and use less public assistance than those who don’t have a post-secondary education. The study shows those who received higher education make, on average, 75 percent more than those who did not, according to the Desert News.

Online schools have been popping up around the country recently. In the case of Louisiana’s first online charter school, it has dropped plans to immediately expand its enrollment by more than 65 percent. The Connections Academy launched on Monday with nearly 600 students grades kindergarten through high school, the Advocate reports.

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