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Morning Announcements: September 19, 2011

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September 19, 2011 04:19 pm

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Educators and analysts are taking a hard look at whether the $55 billion K-12 portion of President Barack Obama’s nearly $450 billion jobs plan will provide the jolt to schools still feeling the pinch of a sputtering economy that the administration hopes, according to Education Week.

The Huffington Post reports on whether the quest to extend Chicago’s school day length is because it is a much-needed education reform or if it’s all about politics. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during his campaign that he would propose a longer school day — something that didn’t “raise many eyebrows” at the time but has now led to a controversial showdown between the Chicago Teachers Union, the school board and the Emanuel administration.

The New York Times reports on how more than 20 states are considering adopting legislation, called the parent trigger, which works like this: “parents whose children attend a failing school can band together. If 51 percent of them sign a petition, they can demand, and the district must provide, a new set of administrators to run the school. Alternately, the disgruntled parents can ask that a charter school operator be brought in to take over.” The Times explores how this may affect the role of a parent in the classroom.

The Las Vegas Sun continues in a series about the school district’s initiatives to turn around struggling schools. It reports that one principal is taking to the streets to bring kids about to class who didn’t show up during the first two weeks of class. In another high school, a new principal is putting much stricter rules into place for its students. For example: no cell phones during school hours, no ear buds for music, and no being late to class. But the principal says it’s justified – just three in ten freshmen who entered the school five years ago graduated last year, marking one of the worst graduation rates in the country.

Many Pennsylvania school districts have fewer teachers and larger classes this year, while programs ranging from tutoring to summer school have been scaled back, according to a survey that seeks to gauge the effects of state and federal spending cuts, the Associated Press reports.

The Union Leader reports that iPads are slowly popping up in classrooms in New Hampshire. This increase is occurring while some debate whether they can afford to invest taxpayer funds or grant money to buy the tablets. A state official told the newspaper the option to invest in new technology is at the district level and they shouldn’t expect to get state education funding for such initiatives in this budget climate.

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