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Morning Announcements: September 23, 2011

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September 23, 2011 04:02 pm

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The New York Times reports President Obama on Friday will offer to waive central provisions of the No Child Left Behind law for states that embrace his educational agenda, essentially ending his predecessor’s signature accountability measure. In a White House speech, Mr. Obama plans to invite states that agree to overhaul low-performing schools and adopt more rigorous teacher evaluation systems to apply for relief from the Bush-era law’s 2014 deadline for bringing all students to proficiency in reading and math, as well as other unpopular provisions, senior administration officials said Thursday, according to the Times.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander wants Education Secretary Arne Duncan to show restraint in granting waivers to states on the No Child Left Behind Law, according to the Republic. Duncan announced the waivers last month and said in order to get one, states must agree to education reforms the White House favors — from tougher evaluation systems for teachers and principals to programs helping minority students.

The New York Times reports single-sex education is ineffective, misguided and may actually increase gender stereotyping, a team of psychologists asserts in a paper to be published Friday. The report, “The Pseudoscience of Single Sex Schooling,” to be published in Science magazine by eight social scientists who are founders of the nonprofit American Council for CoEducational Schooling, is likely to ignite a new round of debate and legal wrangling about the effects of single-sex education. It asserts that “sex-segregated education is deeply misguided and often justified by weak, cherry-picked or misconstrued scientific claims rather than by valid scientific evidence.”

The Associated Press reports that teachers in Washington state’s third-largest school district approved a new contract Thursday, ending a 10-day strike that had kept Tacoma’s 28,000 students at home for more than week. Nearly 99 percent of teachers voted to approve a deal brokered Wednesday night by Gov. Chris Gregoire, who called representatives from the district and the teachers union to her office in Olympia after negotiations stalled.

The number of overcrowded classes in New York is the largest in 10 years, according to a survey conducted by the teachers union and released on Thursday, according to the New York Times . As a result of attrition, budget cuts and increased enrollment in some areas of the city, nearly 7,000 classes are over their contractual limits this year, the survey, by the United Federation of Teachers, found. That figure exceeds last year’s number by almost 1,000.

The Oregonian reports Portland Public Schools are putting more students in study halls this year after having to layoff employees. The schools added required study halls to its seven biggest high schools this year after it cut more than 40 teaching jobs, taking money-saving measures to a new level.

Oklahoma’s state and higher education leaders will work to boost the number of college degrees earned per year by 67 percent during the next 12 years, Gov. Mary Fallin announced, according to the Oklahoman. Last year, 30,500 students earned degrees in Oklahoma. State officials hope to increase that number to 50,900 by the year 2023.

Students across the state may notice something as they head back to class this year — faster Internet, according to the Associated Press. The Dakota Digital Network K-12 Broadband Upgrade project has upgraded Internet speeds at 178 schools. Another 31 districts are currently converting to an Ethernet connection, which allows for faster and more reliable Internet access.Officials say any remaining districts will be done in the future. The long-range plan is to make high-speed broadband services available to every school district in the state.

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