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Morning Announcements: August 25, 2011

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August 25, 2011 04:17 pm

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Here are your Thursday morning announcements!

A judge ruled yesterday that the New York State Board of Regents erred in its interpretation of a new law on teacher evaluations. The state teachers’ union sued the board in June arguing that the Regents made last minute changes that increased the role of student test scores in teacher evaluations beyond what a 2010 law permitted. Justice Michael C. Lynch of State Supreme Court in Albany sided with the union, but the board plans to appeal, according to the New York Times.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held his first-ever Twitter Town Hall yesterday, answering questions submitted by people via the social-networking site. Duncan discussed waivers to No Child Left Behind, how much testing is too much, and the country’s dropout rate. Check out Education Week’s summary of the key highlights from the Q&A session.

Education Week reports the U.S. Department of Education is allowing states participating in the federal School Improvement Grant program more time to  figure out how to best approach teacher evaluation. The program received $3 billion in from the stimulus packages and allows states to identify the lowest 5 percent of under performing schools and then implement one of four improvement models, one of which is teacher evaluation.

Campus Progress, part of the Center for American Progress, reported on a study that claims colleges of education within U.S. universities have lax grading standards for students, which in turn negatively affects their future performance as K-12 teachers. The report by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research’s Cory Koedel states that university students in education departments consistently receive higher grades than their peers in other areas of study, and not because they are higher achieving, but because they face lower grading standards. The study’s author then argues the lax standards while in college produce under-skilled teachers.

The Associated Press reports Ohio schools are seeing a decrease in their graduation rates as districts switch to new federal standards to calculate the number of student finishing high school. The new figures first became available on Wednesday and showed some of the state’s largest schools’ graduate rates plummeting under the new federal law calculations.

A Kentucky appeals court on Wednesday called for the state’s largest school district to stop busing students for “desegregation purposes” to other schools and focus on building neighborhood schools. Judge Kelly Thompson said public schools officials in Jefferson County needed to halt any plans to bus students across the county, according to the Associated Press.

Vermont is set to join the growing list of states  seeking a waiver from the federal education law, No Child Left Behind, according to the Burlington Free Press. Only 28 pecent of the state’s schools met federal performance benchmakers in 2010.

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