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Morning Announcements: September 20, 2011

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September 20, 2011 03:37 pm

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Education Week took a look at who in the education world has given a lot of money to the legislative supercommittee, made up of Democrats and Republicans who are tasked with coming up with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. The nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association, comes in 32 for biggest donors to the supercommittee members – giving $297,650 between 1989 to 2011. The American Federation of Teachers wasn’t far behind at 68th on the list of top 100 donors. While hefty, these donations are tiny in comparison to other organizations, including more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the Club for Growth, a political action committee that supports candidates who favor low-taxes and slimmed down government.

The Chicago Tribune reports on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel angering the city’s teacher’s union by offering teachers a bonus pay if they waive union contract provisions and agree to lengthen the school day at their schools. City officials and the teacher’s union have been battling over pay in relation to a longer school day for the past month.

A new study reports that many high-performing students lose ground from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school, according to Education Week. The study, released Tuesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, raises questions about whether in the era of the No Child Left Behind Act and the widespread dismantling of policies that group students by ability, public schools have been forced to make a trade-off.

A judge in Washington state said Monday he’s considering giving the state’s third-largest school district the option of replacing teachers who have been on strike for days despite the judge’s order to return to work, according to the Boston Globe. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff said the Tacoma school district could decide whether it wanted to hire temporary replacements, permanent replacements or come up with another plan altogether.

Teacher attrition among first year teachers may be as high as 10 percent, Education Week reported on a new data analysis from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. It’s the first release of data from the NCES’ Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study, which was begun a few years ago to track the career paths of beginning teachers from 2007 and 2008, according to Education Week.

The Huffington Post reports that most four- and five-year-olds who take an English proficiency exam before kindergarten in California are bound to fail the test, according to a new study. Taking the California English Language Development Test “almost guarantees” a student will be classified as an English learner, the University of California, Berekely’s Center for Latino Policy Research, study reports. Just 12 percent of kindergarten students who took the CELDT in the 2009-2010 school year were considered English language proficient, misidentifying the many others as English learners, according to the study.

The Orlando Sentinel reports on Florida’s pre-K program getting tougher evaluation standards. The Legislature passed a bill stating the State Board of Education needed to create a new grading system, which it plans to vote on today for Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program. The new standards would mean the number of Florida providers that fail and receive “low-performing” labels likely would more than double.

Utah education officials are unveiling a new website that will allow parents to compare the state’s public schools — and perhaps individual teachers — online, according to the Associated Press. The State Office of Education says superintendents have been previewing the Public School Data Gateway site this month. It is set for a public launch in coming weeks.

Georgia wants to overhaul its high school curriculum, making it more like college with courses tailored to what students want to do after they graduate, according to the Associated Press. Under the proposed plan, students would choose a “career cluster” that would lead them through the classes they need to either go on to a two-year or four-year college or to go straight into a job.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that a new audit released Monday from Minnesota’s Office of Legislative Auditor finds enrollment in online courses is booming. But it also raises concerns about how well those students perform in that setting, and also how the state regulates the entire venture.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia today will become one of the first states to seek relief from a controversial federal law that measures the success of public schools almost exclusively through students’ CRCT scores.

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