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Morning Announcements: October 6, 2011

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October 06, 2011 04:07 pm

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Education Week reports that if high schools are going to better prepare students for college and careers, experts say they need to track graduates enrolling in higher education, whether they take remedial courses to get up to speed, and whether they earn a degree. At a meeting in Washington Wednesday, politicians from both sides of the aisle, along with educators and nonprofit leaders, discussed the importance of using data to support the college- and career-ready agenda.

Black and Hispanic students are far more likely to be kicked out of school when they break the rules, including some that often have nothing to do with keeping students safe, according to a new report from a civil rights research and advocacy group. Education Week reported school discipline records are too often seen as a measure of how safe a school is and not often enough as a gauge of how healthy a school is academically.

The Huffington Post reports on this year’s class size battle. According to the most recent national data available from the Education Department, student-teacher ratio declined from 22.3 in 1970 to 13.1 in 2008, when class sizes averaged at 20 in elementary schools and 23.4 in secondary schools. But since then, as the recession took its toll, reports from around the country point to a surge in class sizes. A survey conducted in September by the United Federation of Teachers found a spike in class size grievances in New York City, with 6,978 classes reported as having more students than the contract allows.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram , President Barack Obama urged listeners to call, tweet, fax and email their members of Congress about his $450 billion jobs bill and ridiculed Republican leaders for blocking the measure during a speech Tuesday. “The time for gridlock and games is over,” he told hundreds of students at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. “The time for action is now.”

Education Week reports the American Jobs Act proposed by president Obama last month would save nearly 400,000 educator jobs if states spent all the money in one year, according to a report released today by the White House. The legislation is part of a nearly $450 billion package that would include $30 billlion to prevent teacher layoffs, and $25 billion for school modernization and repair.

On that same note, the Christian Science Monitor investigated the question: by hammering on the jobs bill, can Obama rekindle hearts of U.S. teachers?

A new study looking back at nearly 20 years of data on Chicago’s public schools suggests that changes in standards and in test-taking and data-reporting policies over time have led to misconceptions about the city’s progress in improving school and student performance, according to Education Week.

The Associated Press reports Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Wednesday he wants to copy Florida’s efforts to overhaul its failing public schools by promoting charter schools and ending social promotion. Sandoval said Nevada needs to do more to keep underachieving students from being promoted to the next grade level. He also said that Nevada parents need more choices, including charter schools.

Paper textbooks might soon go the way of the slide rule and typewriter as the Clark County School District launches a $790,050 iPad program, the largest of its kind in the nation, according to the Associated Press. Instead of receiving hefty books, about 1,150 Las Vegas middle and high school students were given thin, iPad 2 tablets, each loaded with an interactive textbook application for their Algebra 1 classes.

According to the Associated Press, North Carolina’s public schools chief says the state is ready to require a college entrance exam for high school juniors in March to determine whether students are learning curricula and are prepared for college. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson says her department has cobbled together funds to offer ACT tests to the roughly 100,000 11th-graders. Atkinson told a legislative committee Tuesday that the first test will serve as a baseline for future classes.

Tennessee judges and attorneys have joined forces to create a program geared to educating the public about the legal system. The Tennessee Judicial Conference and Tennessee Bar Association developed the GAVELS program, which stands for Gaining Access to Valuable Education about the Legal System, according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reports West Virginia students are joining a national campaign aimed at setting a world record for the largest shared reading experience. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record event is set for Thursday, when children and adults will read the children’s story “Llama, Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney.

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