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Morning Announcements: September 30, 2011

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September 30, 2011 02:39 pm

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According to the Huffington Post, House Republicans on Thursday unveiled plans to cut federal money for job training, heating subsidies and grants to better-performing schools. The draft measure for labor, health and education programs also seeks to block implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, cut off federal funds for National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood, and reduce eligibility for grants for low-income college students.

After months of negotiations, it’s finally happening: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has set a date to take up a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act., according to Education Week. The markup is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. No details yet on the actual legislation, but it’s the product of 10 months of negotiations between U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the committee chairman, and Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming, the top Republican.

Education Week reports that although U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ultimately decides which states get relief from key requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, a group of outside judges will wield tremendous influence in deciding states’ fates. With states facing compliance deadlines under the law and Congress moving slowly on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, whose current version is NCLB, the U.S. Department of Education on Sept. 22 released long-expected waiver guidelines.

According to the Birmingham News, Interim State Superintendent Larry E. Craven said Alabama schools are prepared to check the citizenship status of new enrollees, as required by the state’s new immigration law. But he emphasized that no student will be kicked out of school if their parents fail to provide the documentation. Craven said a memo was sent today to local school superintendents informing them a judge had cleared for implementation the section of Alabama’s new immigration law requiring schools to check citizenship status.

According to the Chicago News Cooperative, in nearly 20 years of near-constant reform efforts, Chicago’s elementary school students have made few gains, high school students have advanced, and the achievement gap between poor and rich areas has widened, a major University of Chicago study found, contradicting impressions created by years of Chicago Public Schools testing data.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/us/assessments-of-chicago-schools-are-flawed-report-says.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
Philadelphia’s new “Renaissance” turnaround operators are reporting big gains on Pennsylvania’s 2011 state standardized tests at the seven long-struggling public schools that were converted to charters last year, according to Education Week. All the converted schools saw improvements in both reading and math scores. Six of the seven saw double-digit gains in math.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a broad cross-section of major business, education and philanthropic leaders in Milwaukee have joined forces to look at improving educational outcomes for all children in the city, regardless of whether they attend traditional public, charter or private schools. The group, Milwaukee Succeeds, and its top leaders were formally announced Wednesday by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which has been spearheading the effort since early 2011.

The Portland Tribune reports preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds is a rarity in many lower-income neighborhoods of Portland, as well as nationally. Federally funded programs such as Head Start and Early Head Start – which serve only the lowest-income, highest-risk children – are at capacity in Portland, serving just two-thirds of those eligible.

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